School for Children FAQs | 常见问题解答

Teacher and students presenting


Do you teach Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese in your language courses? 我们教授中文普通话,简体字。

The language taught is Mandarin Chinese, in simplified characters. 

My child does not have a Mandarin speaking environment at home? Can we join in? 我们接受所有语言背景的孩子.

YES, we accept all language backgrounds!

One stream of Mandarin tuition is for Chinese-heritage children who can understand (by listening and speaking) because they have Mandarin speaking environment at home. These can include those who has Cantonese or other Chinese dialects' speaking environment.

One stream of Mandarin tuition is for English-speaking children who have no Mandarin speaking environment at home.

Therefore, our Mandarin offered is for: 

Which skills do you teach? What is the course structure? 我们教授语言和语文,听说读写四项技能,外加考试辅导班。

Mandarin courses are structured for children to acquire all language skills. Certain sets of textbooks are followed, aiming to achieve GCSE Chinese and GCE (A Level) Chinese.

Therefore, courses are structured all the way through, from beginners to advanced levels, plus special exam preparatory courses for GCSE and A Level Chinese.

Can my child join in at any time? 如果您家孩子学过中文,欢迎插入到现有班级里。

If your child has learned Chinese before, enrolment can take place at any time. Your child's Mandarin level will be assessed and she/he can join an existing class. 

Please note: Children are grouped mainly according to their knowledge of Chinese, so there will be some age differences within one class.

如果孩子学过中文,需要插入到现有班级。请家长点击 下载《中文》课本,自己测试一下孩子的中文水平,再查找所开设的班级让孩子加入。 目前中文学校提供从中文第1册 到 第12 册的所有课本的学习。

My child has not learned Chinese before? When is the best time to join in? 每年九月学校招收新生,接受没有学过中文的孩子们。

Absolute beginners will be offered from the middle of September every year. Minimum 8 enrolments are required to open a class. 

These two-hours-per-week courses take place on Saturdays, at Bartolome House, School of Law, University of Sheffield, Winter Street, Sheffield S3 7ND, at the following times. Please check our Mandarin Timetables. 

  • 09:00 – 11:00
  • 11:15 – 13:15
  • 13:45 – 15:45


  1.1. Foundation Class 接受3.5-4.5岁的孩子-  是中文幼儿班。
  1.2. Reception 中文学前班学习《幼儿汉语》1-4册,接受4岁- 5岁华裔儿童。
  1.3. Zhongwen《中文一》接受6岁以上华裔儿童,开始学习《中文》系列教材,一共12册。
  1.4. Beginners1 opens to English-speakers, 接受还不能够听说中文的孩子们。

What is the course fee, and how do I pay? 学费通过大学网站,一学年一交。

Fees are collected for a school year via the University Online Store, search for "star school". Normally we open 38 weekends a year. 

The fee rate is £3.50/h/child and fees are paid for a year.

If you paid in September, you can get 3 weeks' fees free, plus 10% discount for the rest 35wks.

Fees Regulations at the Star School- download, pdf - 512 KB.  

How do I register and enrol for a course? 通过大学网站注册、缴费。然后请加入班级群。

Please register and enrol for the courses at the University Online Store - search for "star school". The link is open during the summer time each year.

Subsequently, please make sure to join a corresponding WeChat Class Group. 

How do I get textbooks? 《幼儿汉语》和《中文》课本免费,其他课本请购置。

Please check our Mandarin Timetables and check with you child's class teacher, which textbook is used, and how to get them.

For Youer Hanyu and Zhongwen books- the books used by Chinese-heritage speakers, you can get them free of charge, as part of your course, at the Confucius Institute. 

For following three books- the books used by English-speakers, you can purchase them via the University Online Store, and collect them at the Confucius Institute. 

  •  Chinese Paradise, Vol 1-3
  •  Kuaile Hanyu, Vol 1-3
  •  My First Chinese Reader, Vol 1-4
  • HSK Standard Coursebook and workbook, Vol 1-3 

Please note: as a student, you can only purchase the textbook that is taught in your class.

For other textbooks, such as GCSE Chinese 9-1, Jinbu, some HSK Standard Textbooks, please you can get them on the market by yourself. 

For each student at the Star School, you can get a blank exercise book, free of charge, at the Confucius Institute.

Can I get a refund for the course fee? 学费缴纳条例。

In principle, the fee paid will not be returned. If courses are cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances the course fee will be taken off subsequent courses.

Click to See Fees Regulations at the Star School.

Is there a Certificate of Participation for the course? 班级老师组织学年庆祝活动,可能颁发学习证书。

Normally in July the Class Teacher will hold an end-of-year test or celebration, where a Certificate of Participation may be presented at the same time.

My child is 3 years old, can they join in? 我们接受底到3岁半的小孩子。

We accept children as young as 3.5 years old. This is to say, we accept children who have already been accepted by an Infant or primary school.

Foundation classes are recommended for younger children before they embark on a systematic study of Mandarin Chinese.

My child is a Cantonese speaker and wants to learn Mandarin. Which level to join in? 建议中文继承语课程。

Cantonese speakers frequently join our classes. We can advise on a suitable course based on the student’s level of spoken Mandarin, ability to read characters and whether there is a Mandarin speaking environment at home.

If the student cannot read characters and has difficulty to understand spoken Mandarin, they may need to enrol on the beginners course for English-speaking children.

For students whose parents speak a little Mandarin, we suggest the beginners course for Chinese-heritage children. In this instance the student will require some help from their parents, including daily Mandarin speaking practice at home.

If your child cannot read characters, but can understand some spoken Mandarin, then the beginners course for Chinese-heritage children would be appropriate.

If they can read characters, either in the form of traditional characters or simplified characters, we suggest they study with Chinese-heritage children.

In summary, if there is any possibility that a child could follow the course for heritage-speakers, we would do our best to help them settle in.

Is the course linked with any official accreditation? 中文课程的官方认证- GCSE, A-Level, HSK

All courses are aimed to prepare students for GCSE Mandarin and A Level Chinese exams, which are qualifications recognised at the UK Schools, as part of school education.

In addition, the children’s courses are also linked to YCT and HSK examinations, although the test is not a compulsory part of the course. YCT has four levels, while HSK has six levels, each assuming a certain range of language abilities. The children at the Star School are welcome to take YCT/HSK tests held at the CI. 

What is HSK? HSK is a standard evaluation of Chinese language ability and as such can provide a reference point for employers and education institutions. HSK is also one of the requirements for Confucius Institute scholarships.

Where can I get additional teaching and learning resources? 孔院图书中心里,除了教学课本之外,均可借阅。

The Confucius Institute office houses a Chinese Language and Culture Resource Centre, which has a comprehensive collection of over 6000 textbooks, literature volumes, dictionaries, audio-visual materials, language learning software and periodicals.

These resources can be borrowed, and the centre also provides SCI students with study space for revision and language exchange.

Visit the Chinese Culture and Language Resource Centre page.

I would like to study Mandarin at the same time as my child, do you have courses for parents? 孔院成人部也提供中文课程。

Our courses for English-speakers are held on Saturdays during school term times. Mandarin for Parents can be available at the same time as the children’s classes, if we have enough enrolments, minimum of 8 people.

Alternatively, the CI also provides Mandarin Chinese at weekday evenings. Please you can register at our School for Adults. 

Please contact Dr. Xinqun Hu, Tel: 44 114 222 8447 / +44 (0)7593502130; Email   WeChat: Hu-qianyu1

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