Hertfordshire school teachers visit China to understand education system

    Published: 15 December 2015

    Part of the Chinese Bridge for UK Schools programme run by the British Council.

    Two teachers from Hertfordshire schools visited China this term to gain an insight into the education system in the Asian country.

    Gareth Trew, Deputy Head of Languages at Nobel School in Stevenage and Mike Harpham, Headteacher at Onslow St Audrey’s in Hatfield, were joined by Herts for Learning MFL adviser Jackie Rayment during the trip.

    The trip was arranged by the British Council and formed part of an ongoing programme, Chinese Bridge for UK Schools.

    As part of the trip, Jackie and Gareth visited schools in the country’s capital, Beijing, before moving to the north-east city of Dalian. Mike visited Shengzhou in East China.

    They all had the chance to compare the education system in the UK and in China. China, like the UK, has its own national curriculum, exams and teaching accountability. However, teachers spend a lot less of their time teaching. Around 30% of teachers’ time is contact time, while 25% is spent observing other lessons.

    Speaking about the trip, Jackie said, “This was an amazing experience for me, both professionally and personally. The Chinese school I visited enables their students to thrive in a supportive, highly cohesive learning community.

    Their teachers’ hospitality and my experience of their curriculum provided a highly positive and memorable experience and rich opportunities for high-quality global learning within Hertfordshire schools as a result. We will now be building curriculum links between China and Hertfordshire schools, staff and students.”

    Just before the trip, the Chinese leader Xi Jinping was in the United Kingdom on a state visit. This has been referred to as a “golden age” in UK–China’s relations.

    For more information about the programme and how to get involved visit:

    By Ryan Fisher