Friday, 24 May 2013 13:39

Learning Chinese at Saint Paul’s

April 2013- Press Release


Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe recently extended their language teaching to include Chinese. They are being taught by the school’s resident Chinese teacher, Mr Yantong Li, from Beijing. 

The Year 7 and 8 pupils are not only learning Mandarin Chinese but they are also discovering traditional Chinese cultural activities such as Knot making, Origami and Tai Chi.

Mr Li is here as a cultural envoy to exchange ideas on teaching and breakdown cultural barriers between China and Britain.  He was here last year and did a lot of work with the Saint Paul’s feeder primary schools so a lot of the children he is teaching already have a little knowledge of Chinese. 

The school has developed a partnership with the Beijing Huimin School which is where Mr Li has come from. Both schools are benefitting through the sharing of expertise and practice, as well as providing opportunities for students and teachers to experience vastly different cultures.

“The subject opens pupils' eyes to the biggest country in the world, it hones general language skills and engages them, especially the boys who relate to the visual and spatial aspects of the language,” explained Mrs Helen Farrar, Head of Modern Languages at Saint Paul’s. “The children are enjoying it as it is something very different to the language lessons they are use to and it can be a subject in which pupils who struggle with other languages do well.”

Mrs Farrar added: “The subject is engaging the pupils, they love learning about the culture and it is very motivating. The whole programme has clearly given many pupils a feeling of confidence and achievement.”

“The partnership has been an excellent opportunity to continue to develop and strengthen our links with China,” said Saint Paul’s Head Teacher, Mr Wiktor Daron. “Working with the Beijing Huimin School has allowed us to enrich our curriculum and support language awareness and learning; and to provide professional development opportunities for staff.”

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Notes for Editors

1.The 2012 GCSE results for Saint Paul’s Catholic High School were its best ever with 90% of pupils achieving 5 A* - Cs. 59% of pupils gained 5 A*-C plus English and Maths. This is the eighth year in succession that the school has improved its GCSE pass rate. 

2.Saint Paul’s received congratulations from the Rt Hon David Laws MP Minister of State for Schools when they were recognised as one of the 100 most improved schools in the country in 2012.

3.At the last Ofsted inspection of the school in March 2010 the following comments were made by the inspectors: “Good teaching enables students to make good progress and achieve well. Relationships between teachers and students are strong. They result in good behaviour.”

The report stated that the school is “enabling students to learn effectively and make good progress. Attainment is rising rapidly as a result. Achievement for all students, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities and those with English as an additional language, is good.”

4.The Ofsted report is reinforced by the preceding inspection of the school  by the Diocese of Shrewsbury under the guidance of the Bishop of Shrewsbury. The Diocese report stated “Saint Paul’s is a good Catholic school. The Head and Senior Leadership Team have a clear vision ….. an outstanding feature of the school is the pastoral care of students and the support of staff.”

5.Saint Paul’s was the first school in Manchester to be awarded Engineering College status.

6.The work of Saint Paul’s drama teacher, Ms Ellie Brookes, was recognised with her winning the much coveted North West Teacher of the Year Award. Also Head of Humanities at Saint Paul’s, Ms Ursula Gallagher, gained third place in the Outstanding New Teacher of the Year category of the Northern Area Teacher of the Year.

7.Lively approaches to teaching maintain vigour and ensure that firm foundations are established for higher level work. The school has a modern approach to learning supported by a programme of constant refurbishment and development of its facilities and resources. Saint Paul’s is currently undergoing a total rebuild with the new school buildings due to open in November. 

8.The aims of the school are to:

•Teach and foster a Christian perspective in all that it does

•Provide teaching of the highest calibre

•Promote excellence in all areas

•Develop the ability, talents and character of each pupil, enabling them to make their own unique contribution to school life

•Encourage boys to play their part in helping the community run smoothly and effectively, by taking on responsibility and leadership

More information about Saint Paul’s Catholic High School can be found at or contact Jane McAuliffe-Hall (Marketing and Publicity Manager) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or on 0161 437 5841.




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