KGV Geography Course Leader, Mike Graham, recently returned to College life following an exciting trip to China. Mike joined a team of seven teachers from the North West with the aim of learning more about the Chinese education system, along with establishing links between KGV’s respective schools and similar Chinese institutions. The trip itself was organised and part funded by the Confucius Institute at UCLan – an organisation responsible for raising the cultural profile of China in the UK.

As part of the trip, Mike visited several schools in Beijing, Fuzhou (a rapidly expanding city in SE China) and Hong Kong, where he had the opportunity to observe ‘typical’ lessons and daytime activities. Mike noticed some stark differences in teaching practices whilst in China, in particular the large class sizes (generally between 50-60 in a group) and classroom layout, with all students seated in single desk rows facing the board.  

He also noted the exceptional work rate of Chinese students, with the school day generally beginning at 7.30am and many students continuing with classes until 6pm in the evening. Students are then required to complete between 3-4 hours of homework every evening to consolidate their studies. Mike’s KGV Geography students must be shaking in their boots!

As a result of the trip, Mike had the privilege of establishing a link between KGV and a High School in Fuzhou, stylishly named ‘High School 11’. The institution of 3000 students, aged between 11-19, is set in the heart of the bustling metropolis of Fuzhou.  

Mike said, ‘The plan is to use our link to share ideas about teaching practices between our respective institutions and potentially set up an exchange in the future.’

Whilst in Beijing, Mike was able to make links with the Beijing University of Foreign Studies, who welcome students from all over the world to study Chinese in the nation’s capital. So when is the next trip on the cards?

‘I’m considering a trip for students to Beijing in the future to visit this institution and partake in some cultural site seeing around the area. I had the opportunity to see the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square first hand – and they are well worth a visit!’

If you have any questions about the trip, are interested in a future trip with KGV to China or just want to know more about studying Chinese email Mike Graham at

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