VICTORIA HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGES IN EDUCATION

The below account is taken from the official House of Commons Hansard for 10 October 2016:

Justine Greening (Secretary of State for Education): Absolutely. Indeed, new schools such as Northampton International Academy, which have an academic curriculum with a language specialism but also links to schools in other countries, are the sorts of schools that can really play a key role in ensuring that there are strong options for children on languages.

Mr Speaker: I call Victoria Prentis.

Victoria Prentis: Thank you, Mr Speaker—I cannot tell you how grateful I am not to be excluded this afternoon. Given the importance of China in the global marketplace today, not least to my constituents who work in Bicester shopping village, does my right hon. Friend agree that our children should be taught Chinese in schools?

Justine Greening: My hon. Friend is quite right that having more young people learning Chinese is important for the UK’s place in the world; indeed, many employers are looking for more staff able to speak Mandarin Chinese. This September, we launched a £10 million Mandarin excellence programme, and hundreds of pupils in England have started intensive lessons in Chinese. By 2020, 5,000 pupils will be working towards a high level of fluency in Mandarin Chinese.