Funding, from the Swire Mandarin Chinese Foundation, has been secured to raise awareness of the language and culture through Tapton School.
Awareness events, not just at Tapton but through the city, are being held to introduce students to activities from cooking to calligraphy. And with the steel city building its links to international trade, said organiser Pat Ward, the aim is not just to inspire students but to help broaden their options when it comes to future careers.
“The hope is, with the use of Mardarin Chinese becoming more widespread, that can be of use for our young students,” she said, as the first event was held at Forge Valley School this week.
“It’s about raising awareness, but also about igniting their interest. Hopefully, if we can ignite that interest, it can open up options for their future careers.”
Among the activities underway at Forge View this week were cooking and calligraphy, language lessons in Mandarin Chinese, and history briefs based on the tales of the Shang Dynasty. Some of the Year 7 students also created a dragon dance which they performed.
Tapton has been recognised as a Chinese Languages Centre, supported by Swire, and its brief as such is aimed at engaging students by exploring new cultures, traditions and values.
There are Mandarin lessons at breakfast club, after school club, and in some lessons as well. While Tapton already teaches three languages, Spanish, French and German, Mandarin is gradually being introduced alongside them.
“There are more international businesses coming to Sheffield, and into England as a whole,” said Mrs Ward. “And the activities so far have gone really well.
“The students loved it. They were really enthused, and you can always tell when kids are engaged with what they are learning.”