A dream to bring a taste of the Orient back to Blackpool has finally become a reality.
Pupils from Anchorsholme Academy celebrated the opening of the primary’s school’s new Confucius Classroom, a designated room to teach Mandarin, with a special ceremony.
Headteacher Graeme Dow and teacher Amy Hylton’s educational trip to China five years ago sparked the idea to offer Mandarin to the school’s pupils.
Mr Dow said he hopes the East Pines Drive school will now become a hub for teaching Mandarin for Blackpool and other parts of Lancashire.
He said: “It all started with an educational visit to China five years ago.
“We were moved by the work being done over there and we thought we could develop the teaching of Mandarin here.
“We started the Dragons in Europe programme to teach Mandarin in school and then with the support of Lancaster University we applied to become a Confucius Classroom – and we were successful.
“These classrooms are supported financially by the Chinese government – they provide the resources and teaching staff.
“Our obligation is to develop understanding of the culture and language.”
Mandarin is taught at the school for all ages – from reception through to Year 6.
Mr Dow added: “The younger pupils just soak it up.
“They sang two songs in Mandarin during the official opening of the classroom, it was lovely.
“The ultimate aim is we become a hub for schools for Mandarin teaching.
“For our pupils to understand the language and culture of China, it could benefit them in the future.”
The school also works in partnership with Waterloo Primary Academy and Hawes Side Academy, supporting them with a member of staff to teach Mandarin.
The opening of the designated classroom was attended by representatives from South China University of Technology, staff from Lancaster University, the Chinese Consul General, based in Manchester, and The Mayor of Blackpool Coun Val Haynes.