PUPILS from a Worcester school have competed in a national Mandarin speaking competition final.

Six students from Christopher Whitehead Language College put their linguistic skills to the test in the final round of the British Council’s Mandarin Speaking Competition.

Year 8 pupil Bevan Calleia-Ferreira was awarded third place after giving a two-minute speech in Mandarin, translating unseen passages and answering some additional unexpected questions in the language.

Headteacher Neil Morris said many of the students in Bevan's category were older than him. He added: “He deserves huge congratulations for this accolade and demonstrated enormous tenacity and resilience to perform at such a high level.”

The students from the school in Bromwich Road, Worcester, competed in both the Individual Language Ability and Group Performance section.

The group finalist’s performance was a five-minute drama in Mandarin on the topic of ‘being homesick in China.’

Now in its 16th year the Mandarin Speaking Competition is organised by the British Council and aims to foster interest in Chinese language and culture.

Sam DeAbreu, who leads the programme, said: “Mandarin is increasing in popularity and uptake at our school and the students gained a huge increase in confidence when using their Mandarin to prepare for the speaking final. The competition has provided them with the opportunity to put their language skills to use outside of a classroom setting and they are being inspired to continue studying languages to a higher level.”

Student Kayla Witherall said: “I wasn’t sure that this competition was for me as I get nervous about speaking. "However, I’ve really enjoyed it and would love to participate again next year as it’s really helped me to improve.”

More than a hundred schools took part in the first round in December and pupils from 43 UK secondary schools took part in the final round at the Victory Services Club in London on February 5.

Christopher Whitehead is part of the Mandarin Excellence Programme, a flagship government language programme that this year will see 5,000 pupils from 76 schools across England on track to fluency in Mandarin Chinese.

The programme is funded by the Department for Education and delivered by the UCL Institute of Education and the British Council.

Pupils spend an average of eight hours a week studying Mandarin to help them reach a high level of language ability.