20th October 2018
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Confucius Classroom launched at Mid Yell Junior High School

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Shetland’s links with China have been strengthened with the opening of a second Confucius Classroom hub – a launch event at Mid Yell Junior High School attended by the Republic’s UK ambassador.

Liu Xiaoming and his wife, Hu Pinghua, attended a special assembly this morning.

Since 2016, Shetland schools have had access to Chinese language and culture when Sandwick Junior High School was granted Confucius Classroom hub status.

But the Yell event aims to ensure links with China grow stronger still.

Shetland Islands Council says over a thousand pupils have since experienced lessons from Confucius Classroom teachers, including learning about Chinese culture, traditions and Mandarin language.

Mr Xiaoming was greeted in Mandarin at the doors of the school by S2 pupils Calum Graham and Georgia Muir.

The launch event was also attended by pupils from across Yell – some of them in authentic Chinese dress – who entertained the Chinese delegation with music and dance.

Music instructor Peter Wood also played a specially composed tune for the Shetland Confucius Classrooms.

Head teacher Mark Lawson said links with China were already helping young people broaden their horizons.

One of those young people is Jack Irvine, who is heading to the Republic in September after gaining a scholarship.

Head teacher Mark Lawson stands with a newly unveiled plaque to mark the launch of the Confucius Classroom Hub. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Mr Lawson said: “I went on a head teachers’ trip to China in 2014. Since then it’s been a strong ambition that we would develop better links and ties with the Chinese and the

Confucius schools across Scotland, and give our children a chance to experience and get to know the world.

“We had a group of young people go out to China in 2016 when they were in S4, and one of them, Jack Irvine, is going in September on a scholarship programme.

“It’s a great honour to the school to have the ambassador coming up here. He seems very excited to come up and see the islands and meet our young people.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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