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The Marco Polo Academy "The First UK-based English-Chinese Bilingual Primary School"

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We are a group of parents, teachers and professionals who plan to open the first English-Mandarin Chinese bilingual primary school in the UK. The school would be located in Barnet and would open in September 2014 through the Free Schools programme. We are excited about this opportunity and believe that it will provide a high quality educational experience that is open to all and that prepares students for 21st century life. We wanted to share our vision with you and would love to receive your feedback (via our i-petition at the bottom of this page).
The Marco Polo Academy
There is an unprecedented need for schools to equip children with the skills, knowledge and competencies required for success in life. Youth unemployment is at an all time high and fewer British students are choosing foreign language subjects limiting their attractiveness in an increasingly global market. Analysts predict that China will soon become the world’s largest economy making Mandarin Chinese an ideal language choice.

In response to these needs we are planning to launch the first English-Mandarin Chinese bilingual primary school in the UK.
The school will run a rigorous academic syllabus, which will be in line with the national curriculum, yet will also incorporate the best of internationally recognised and research-based innovative teaching techniques. This will be a two-form entry school, to maintain a small family-orientated learning community. The curriculum will be delivered through Mandarin Chinese for some subjects and through English for others. This approach is modelled on tried and tested programmes in other countries.

In addition, the curriculum will draw on the cultural heritages of the languages of the school, and in particular, will promote an ethos of hard work, resilience, and respect. A particular feature will be an extensive after-school and weekend enrichment programme, which will be open to all in the community. Classes will include Mandarin for adults, Mandarin for children, Chinese dance, martial arts, abacus, orchestra, choir, and Chinese chess.
The result will be a school that delivers high quality education and bi-literacy in English and Mandarin Chinese for all students. Students will develop high-level competency in both Mandarin Chinese and English and leave the school as confident, engaged and productive global citizens.
Community Partnerships
Family and community are considered the most important element of Chinese culture. The Marco Polo Academy will be located close to the centre of Barnet allowing its resources to be accessed easily by all.
Here are a few examples of how our school would link with the local community:
- Schools, nurseries and other related groups
We aim to develop a programme whereby we share and exchange expertise with local schools. Such a programme could include Mandarin teaching, organising cultural events for schools, help with setting up sister schools in China.
- The wider community
We aim to share our premises and programme, such as T’ai Chi, ESOL, Mandarin, Chinese painting, with the wider community. We hope to add to the cultural enrichment of the local community.
- The business community
We will be looking for further strong links with local employers and looking for companies to assist us by setting pupils real problems and assessing their solutions. For example, we are developing links with a local Chinese Television channel to help us set up a school TV/radio station. We can also organise Mandarin classes for local businesses.
We also want to enable our students to engage with and benefit from the global community:

- Links with schools in China
We plan to link with sister-schools in China, primarily through email, video conferencing technology and immersion exchange trips. This will give students exposure to different perspectives and could lead to lifelong relationships.
- Working with international businesses and partners
We will work with partners that have the capacity, expertise and scale to deliver a school in line with our vision. In particular we will look to work with industry leaders in education and technology, and with organisations that share our passion for improving outcomes for students. We have already had preliminary discussions with a number of organisations that are keen to support us.

How can you help us make this vision become reality?

Please show your support through We are also looking to organise taster lessons, cultural events and meetings with the community to better communicate the vision of our school to the widest audience possible (contact us for more information).

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,
The Marco Polo Academy Team


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