SCEN Update - April 2021

19 April 2021


Welcome back to the final term of the tumultuous academic year of 2020 – 21. For many it will be the first period of continuous face to face learning in some time. There will be significant challenges, but at least it will be an opportunity to meet directly with colleagues, friends, and students and move beyond the virtual world we have all been locked into for too long.
Over the past year there have been many reports of amazing work going on in schools, as well as universities and colleges. There are many examples of superb learning and teaching of languages, including Mandarin. We are aware too, of teachers taking full advantage of learning and development opportunities online and leading many of these themselves.
This has been a busy period for SCEN, with growing engagement with colleagues in the world of Mandarin learning and teaching, and the first direct discussions with young people in schools, central to SCEN activity, which became impossible in the first year of lockdown.
We look forward now to a busy summer term.

(4 March 2021)

Over 80 participants took part in the webinar organised along with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
This was led by speakers with direct experience of teaching Mandarin, of teacher education in Mandarin, and with a knowledge of Scotland’s business connections with China. Discussion was lively, thought provoking, and sometimes controversial. The event firmly put the focus on Mandarin and the challenges which lie ahead in taking forward that agenda in Scotland in the post pandemic period.


SCEN Trustees have agreed plans for a new SCEN website, with a new provider. We will be launching this in August 2021. In the meantime, we are preparing refreshed content for the new site, and aim to make it as user friendly and accessible as possible to all interested in the work of SCEN, and in Mandarin learning and teaching in Scotland. With this in mind, we hosted an online discussion on 23 March involving a number of young people who are currently studying Mandarin, or who studied it recently to an advanced level. Many helpful and constructive comments were made, especially around those parts of the new website in which younger members of SCEN will have a particular future involvement and interest. After a year when communications have presented so many challenges for all of us, it is great to talk directly to school students, the future of Mandarin learning in Scotland. A further discussion will take place in early May and we hope that more young people will take part.
If there are young people in your school who are interested in contributing ideas and thoughts towards the new SCEN website’s design and content, please contact Rosemary Mitchell at We hope that the young people now taking part in this will form a nucleus of a future Youth network, taking part in a conversation and supporting the organisation of future events, local and national, online, and eventually face to face.

Colin Mitchell (Square)CROSS PARTY GROUP ON CHINA (12 March 2021)

At the last meeting of the Cross Party Group on China before the election, Colin Mitchell of SCEN gave a presentation on the work of schools in teaching Mandarin during the lockdown period. He also spoke of SCEN ambitions to work with schools across Scotland post lockdown and organise events focused around young people.



SCEN is working with the China Futures Society at the University of Edinburgh, led by two undergraduate students of Mandarin, Jonathan Park and Max Browning. Jonathan and Max are developing information and materials designed to encourage young people in schools to consider Mandarin as an option while in school. Whether or not young people may consider Mandarin as part of a future degree, the students from China Futures will have much useful information, support and advice for schools students. An initial video is nearly ready for distribution.
Watch this space!


Wednesday 19 May 16.30 to 17.30 (online)
This important event will be led by Ann Robertson who has been involved in SCEN from the beginning and who now supports 1 + 2 language development in schools across three local authorities. The event is aimed primarily at teachers, both primary and secondary, who are interested in finding out more about the options for introducing Mandarin as an L3 in schools.
To sign up or for further information please contact Megan Hammell, SCEN Online Communications and Administrative Officer, at


SCEN Trustees: Thursday 29 April (Online)

The Trustees will meet online and consider SCEN strategy post-pandemic and through session 2021-22.

Chinese Teaching Club: Friday 14 May At 14.00 (Online)

The May meeting will afford an opportunity for teachers of Chinese to reflect on experiences during the pandemic, to discuss curricular materials and their own professional learning, as well as discuss ways in which SCEN and the Club can be increasingly proactive in promoting Mandarin learning in challenging times.
If you are a teacher of Mandarin not already signed up to the CTC, and would like to take part in the meeting on 14 May please contact us at

SCEN Advisory Council: Friday 21 May (Online)

The SCEN Advisory Council will meet online to discuss SCEN's progress, upcoming events, and more.

For further information on SCEN activity please do not hesitate to contact us at