Deputy Headmaster, Thomas Walton, said: “Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world, with approximately one billion native speakers. By offering the opportunity for all our students to learn this language we will undoubtedly provide them with a distinct advantage in an increasingly globalised job market. They will also be exposed to a rich and varied culture with the chance to visit China and sample a different way of life as part of their studies.”
Headmaster Bennett Carr added: “The curriculum we offer is broad, balanced and challenging – the best of the old and the best of the new– where the study of Latin, the traditional arts and sciences co-exist in equal value with the latest developments in science, computing and technology. Whilst we are an ancient school that cherishes its traditions I believe that the past is a place for reference and not residence. By introducing Mandarin we are helping prepare our young people for the future.”
The introduction of Mandarin is not the only exciting development at KES this year, the school is also planning to open Shakespeare’s schoolroom to the public for the very first time in April following a £1.8million restoration.
Dr Paul Edmondson, head of research at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said: “’The Latin that Shakespeare learned in the King’s New School (now known as King Edward VI School) helped him to become one of the leading writers of his day, and one of the greatest of all time. Now successive students continue to follow in his footsteps with twenty-first century opportunities and challenges. I think Shakespeare would be astonished and excited about the teaching of Mandarin in his old school. He’d certainly appreciate the creative and entrepreneurial prospects that the language will no doubt present to receptive minds.”
In September 2015 the chancellor George Osborne announced that the government would invest £10 million to boost teaching of Mandarin in British schools in an effort to get 5,000 more pupils to learn the language by 2020.