A WESTHOUGHTON school has welcomed teachers and pupils from China — and staff from the Far East may soon be teaching youngsters Mandarin.

The visit followed a trip to Nanjing Jinling Primary School in Nanjing City by staff and pupils from The Gates Primary School earlier this year.

The two schools are working to establish a long-lasting partnership and it is hoped teachers from China will eventually spend up to three months at The Gates teaching Mandarin.

Headteacher Kathryn Coiffait said: “It has been an honour and a joy to host our Chinese partners.

“The children have benefited significantly from their visit, learning about Chinese culture and sharing their learning.

“We are hoping one or two teachers from Jinling will be able to join us for three months and be part of our team, teaching Mandarin classes, Chinese arts and culture.

“As headteacher, I am hoping to visit in August next year, to take part in a summer school and further develop our partnership.

“It may also be possible for a delegation from The Gates, including some children, to visit Jinling again in future years.”

It followed a visit by three pupils and staff from The Gates — which is judged to be good with outstanding features — who spent 10 days in China, finding out more about Chinese culture and the education system as well as sightseeing in Shanghai.

The government has announced this year that teachers from China will work with teachers here — and English maths teachers will work in Chinese schools — to learn “their world-class teaching approaches”.

The Gates partnership is independent of the government scheme and is geared towards both sets of teachers and pupils learning from each other.