■ Mandarin Chinese

Benenden has established an outstanding profile for its expertise in Mandarin teaching and learning and China studies in the region, nationwide and overseas. We have been teaching Mandarin to non-native speakers for 12 years, and the number of pupils is growing as the subject becomes more popular and embedded in the life of the School.

We have had an A Level/Cambridge Pre-U cohort for 7 years now and are seeing non-native speakers applying to read Chinese or Oriental/Asian Studies courses at Oxbridge, Peking University and other leading Universities.

We also teach Chinese to native speakers who board at our School from their homes in Hong Kong, mainland China and Singapore and we provide a programme which allows them to accredit their language at IGCSE, AS and A2.

We have been putting on a range of cultural activities including Summer Camps in China for both native and non-native speakers at our school, as well as providing Mandarin clubs, workshops and events as part of our outreach programmes to local schools and communities.

Awards include:

  • Confucius Classroom award for the excellence of our Mandarin teaching and our promotion of Asian culture
  • Winner of the Good School Guide Award for Excellence for Girls taking GCSE Chinese Full Course 

Head of Department

Alice Webb

Alice is the winner of UCL IOE Confucius Institute Excellence Award in 2014 for her contribution to leading the teaching and learning of Chinese and about China in schools. Under her leadership, Benenden School was awarded "Excellence for Girls taking Chinese" by the UK Good Schools Guide. 

Apart from school responsibilities, Alice has been the Chief Examiner and Lead Exam Writer for a UK leading exam board since it first introduced Mandarin Chinese qualifications and her job also involves developing teaching resources and delivering teachers' training in the UK. In recognition of her continued leading role in public examinations, she has won the "2017 Examiner Award" by the UK Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).

Together with her school career, Alice is also a PGCE professional and subject mentor, a subject consultant to several UK schools and their Mandarin departments, as well as being a university associate lecturer for more than a decade. Alice has been commissioned to be a Chinese textbook author and involved with university subject related projects, ranging from Cambridge Language Routes East to a number of Open University language, extended translation and business modules. These extended roles have indeed contributed to making Benenden School recognised as a centre of excellence for Mandarin teaching and learning nationally and internationally.

Teaching Staff

  • Mrs A Webb, BA (Fudan, Shanghai), QTS, MAEd
  • Mrs Y Zhao, BA (London), PGCE (London), QTS
  • Jenny I-Shian Lee, BA (Aletheia, Taiwan), Postgraduate Diploma (SOAS)

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