Melbourn Village College governor’s delight after OBE recognition for Mandarin project
PUBLISHED: 15:31 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:31 17 January 2018
A school governor instrumental in introducing Mandarin as part of the curriculum at Melbourn Village College has spoken of her delight receiving an OBE for services to education.
Katharine Carruthers was awarded the accolate in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List over the Christmas break and told the pupils at MVC of her achievement this week.
She said: “I am thrilled with the award. It is an official recognition of the work to develop Chinese teaching in schools in which I and my team have been involved over a number of years.
“I have had messages of congratulations and support from all over the world, which has brightened up the beginning of January considerably.”
Mrs Carruthers is the director of University College London’s Confucius Institute of Education and a driving force behind the teaching of Chinese in schools in England.
This includes Melbourn, which became the first school in Cambs to include Mandarin as part of the curriculum two years ago.
She said: “As a governor at MVC, I have been delighted to be able to help the school with the introduction of Mandarin. I am proud that the school’s Mandarin teacher, Frank Fan, was one of my PGCE students at the UCL Institute of Education, before taking up his role at MVC.
“Over the past 18 months, I have come in to see Mr Fan teach at MVC every term and have been very impressed by the progress and motivation of the students and the high expectations of the teacher.
“The introduction of Chinese in the school would not have been possible without the strong support of the head, the languages department, the chair of Governors and professor van de Ven and other governors.
Mrs Carruthers said there is an increasing need for English people to be able to speak the language as China’s world influence grows.
“When I first embarked on learning Chinese myself at the age of 18, I had no background in the Far East and no idea where the study of this language might take me.
“Interaction with China and Chinese people has been a constant source of interest and stimulation throughout my career – learning Chinese was the starting point of a lifelong adventure!
“It’s important that we’re able to speak Chinese, as well as Chinese people speaking English. It’s not yet taught in every school, so we still have a long way to go.”
Melbourn chair of governors Sue Williamson said: “This is a very well deserved honour – I cannot think of anyone who has done more to promote the teaching of Mandarin in schools and trained high-quality teachers.”