Happy Chinese New Year! Bohunt Begins Year of the Dog Celebrations


Students and staff at Bohunt School in Liphook celebrated Chinese New Year in style this week.

The Year of the Dog was heralded with celebrations including Chinese poem writing and Mandarin speaking competitions, fundraising and a stunning Chinese New Year performance of traditional dance.

About twenty percent of the world’s population celebrates Chinese New Year, which officially began on Thursday 15 February and continues for two weeks. Calligraphy, panda painting, paper cutting and Kongfu were woven into the timetable for Bohunt students in Year 7 to take part in throughout the week. Students in Year 7 and Year 8 sold Year of the Dog cupcakes and fortune cookies during their lunchtime as the fundraising for their house charities.

Bohunt School – named as the Times Educational Supplement’s School of the Year in 2014 and rated Outstanding by Ofsted, is one of the top performing state schools in the UK and part of Bohunt Education Trust (BET). BET has a strong track record of delivering educational excellence, and has a long-standing Mandarin programme, including offering immersion teaching, where students learn a third of the curriculum in the language.

In true Chinese collaborative style, Bohunt was honoured to welcome five representatives from the Confucius Institute at Southampton University – a public institution affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education, providing Chinese teaching resources and services worldwide. The Confucius Institute in Southampton kindly provided dancers for traditional Chinese and Lion dancing performance, which was seen by all Mandarin learners in years 7-10 and staff on Tuesday.

Guan Clarkson, Head of Mandarin at Bohunt, said:

“As a Mandarin teacher, I think language can never teach alone, it is always taught with the culture. To students, Chinese is more different and they are less familiar with it than European languages. Geographically speaking, China is also more difficult to access than other European countries. Therefore, providing the students some authentic Chinese culture and tradition is necessary and useful for Mandarin teaching: it will help the students to learn better and encourage them to learn more.”

Carl Pickford, Year 8, said:
“The whole show was brilliant, I loved it. Especially the Chinese Kongfu and Peacock dancing were my two favourite performances.”

Neil Strowger, Headteacher of Bohunt School and CEO of Bohunt Education Trust, said:

“Recognising the importance of and being committed to learning through other cultures is in Bohunt’s DNA. We are passionate about encouraging students to consider what it means to be part of an international community. Celebrating Chinese New Year is just one way to do that.

Collaboration underpins everything we do at Bohunt and we are pleased to be known as leading the way in state school Mandarin and Chinese cultural teaching.”

BET is set to become the first English state school run academy trust to support a school in China. As the Trust grows in the UK, it hopes to further its Chinese collaborations in order to provide unparalleled opportunities for UK and Chinese staff and students.