With the start of the Chinese Year of the Snake, the place of Mandarin teaching in the UK has come into focus.
The new primary curriculum, which is due to be introduced in 2014, will require children to learn at least one of seven languages from the age of 7.
Mandarin is included in the list, but a survey from the British Council warns of a focus on European languages in many schools and a lack of Mandarin teachers in the country.
In a poll commissioned by the British Council and the HSBC banking corporation, only 3 per cent of primary and 9 per cent of secondary teachers said their schools offer Mandarin Chinese lessons. Two per cent said their schools have stopped teaching Mandarin and only 1 per cent are planning to start.
But the British Council has published a report with Think Global showing that UK employers value international skills highly and want schools to do more to give children an international outlook that will help trade with China in the future.
See also pages 14-15
GCSE entries in Mandarin 20102012
2010 - 3,650
2012 - 2,541
GCSE entries in 2012
Welsh as a second language: 9,743
93% of businesses think it is important for schools to help young people develop the ability to think globally.
80% think schools should be doing more; only 2% think they should be doing less.