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Mandarin lessons for six Northern Irish schools

By Rebecca Black

Six schools in Northern Ireland are set to have lessons in Mandarin thanks to the arrival of three Chinese language assistants.

St Joseph's PS, Crumlin; Rathmore Grammar School and Carr's Glenn PS in north Belfast are just three of the schools which will benefit from the experts who are here thanks to the British Council's Language Assistant programme.

Changxu Chen from Henan Province in central China will be teaching at Rathmore Grammar in south Belfast.

He said he was looking forward to learning more about Northern Ireland: "The pupils seem very keen so I'm looking forward to teaching them Mandarin and learning about how our schools systems differ." Mandarin is one of the world's most widely spoken languages.

Co-ordinator of modern languages, Paul McGlone, said they had been on the lookout for another international language, and adding Mandarin "fits perfectly".

"Changxu will start with the upper and lower sixth, and then hopefully we can roll this out to all pupils including our Year 8s, who will learn more about the cultural side of things," he said.

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