Beckton state school outshines top independents in Mandarin competition

Kingsford Community School Year 8 pupil Daniela Tanasiychukwon

Year 8 pupil Daniela Tanasiychuk won first prize in the Beginner Plus category at the British Council Mandarin Speaking Competition 2021. - Credit: Kingsford Community School

Two pupils from a secondary school in Beckton claimed first prizes at a national Mandarin speaking competition.

Eleven pupils in years 8 and 9 at Kingsford Community School were awarded prizes at the British Council Mandarin Speaking Competition 2021, which featured more than 200 pupils from 67 schools.

Daniela Tanasiychuk in Year 8 and Matas Juska in Year 9 won first prize in the Beginner Plus and Intermediate Plus categories respectively.

Kingsford Community School Year 9 pupil Matas Juska

Kingsford Community School Year 9 pupil Matas Juska won first prize in the Intermediate Plus category at the Mandarin speaking competition. - Credit: Kingsford Community School

The state school in Kingsford Way was the only entrant to win two first prize awards, outshining top independent schools. 

Headteacher Joan Deslandes said: “To achieve national recognition in this way is testament to our exceptional teachers who provide our pupils with an outstanding, far-reaching and forward-thinking education.

“Our Mandarin teaching opens up a world of opportunity for our pupils, inspiring them to discover more about cultures and become truly global citizens.” 

Nine other Kingsford pupils claimed second and third prizes in the beginner and intermediate group categories respectively.

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The competition, held virtually this year, is judged by a national panel of fluent Mandarin speakers.

Students were asked to give a short presentation, and then speak with the judging panel in Mandarin.

Kingsford says it is the only school to have secured one of the top three prizes every year since the competition was established 17 years ago.

The Minister of State for School Standards, Nick Gibb, met with Kingsford pupils virtually to congratulate them.

Head of Mandarin and assistant head teacher Chunlei Li said: “We are thrilled that so many of our pupils have seen such success in this competition.

“Pupils and teachers alike have worked so hard to prepare for this competition and I am delighted that their diligence, dedication and hard work has paid off.”

Kingsford was the first school in the UK to introduce compulsory Mandarin lessons into the curriculum in 2000.

There are currently 900 pupils learning the language at Kingsford - 250 of whom are enrolled on the Mandarin Excellence Programme, which the school was chosen to help pioneer by the Department for Education.

The school's pupils achieved the highest Mandarin results in the country in the HSK3 examination last October.

Kingsford was also awarded the British Council International School Award in 2020.