For the last 3 years, students at Carmel have had the opportunity to learn Mandarin as part of the college’s Enrichment Programme. Yesterday saw the official opening of the Confucius Learning Area within the Modern Foreign Languages department at the college. The dedicated classroom for the teaching of Mandarin was opened along with the new study area which is kitted out with new computers, tables, and comfortable chairs and will be used by all MFL students.

We were pleased to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens, Professor Peng and John Tasker from the University of Liverpool Confucius Centre, as well as Cllr Jeanette Banks and Cllr David Banks from St Helens Council and Kath Boullen the CEO of St Helens Chamber.

To celebrate the official opening, staff and students were treated to musical performances from three of our music and performance students – Lydia Hutton (Cello), Nathan Sharratt (Guitar) and Jamie Boyd (Guitar) who sung one of her own songs. China Spirit Group UK then demonstrated several martial arts skills and performed a traditional Lion Dance which caused lots of laughter as the lion ventured up into the audience!

The partnership between the college and the University of Liverpool’s Confucius Centre, is a very successful one with over 60 students benefitting from the programme so far. Carmel will develop the programme further to become a Hub in St Helens where students from local schools can have taster sessions in Mandarin or study for a qualification. This year 26 students have completed their HSK Level One in Mandarin at Carmel and most of those will go on to study for their Level Two qualification. Three of these students, who received their results yesterday, are taking part in an annual two week trip to China at the end of August along with four other students. What a brilliant opportunity to practice the language and experience the culture and traditions of the second fastest-growing economy in the world!