STUDENTS from the age of 11 at Stourbridge’s Old Swinford Hospital school will be able to learn Mandarin as part of a new venture aimed at giving children greater skills in a globally competitive market.

The school has been accepted on the Mandarin Excellence Programme, a new intensive language programme funded by the Department of Education, which will see Mandarin taught to selected pupils - as well as French and German - in year seven next year.

Headmaster Paul Kilbride said “This is an exciting opportunity for our pupils as it will enable them to acquire vital language skills at an early age, which will help when seeking careers in a globally competitive market.

"It is also a beginning of an important journey for us, as it will take several years to embed the language.

"Pupils have been attending after school Mandarin lessons since 2015 and we are delighted to have been accepted on the programme.”