Graham Watson MEP

Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar

A local champion with an international reputation

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Broadening Horizons

In 2007, Graham Watson started the "Broadening Horizons" scheme, which provides a Taiwanese teaching assistant to schools keen to introduce Mandarin but previously held back by budgetary constraints. In return for providing accommodation, food and covering basic administration costs, the schools get an assistant for between 8 and 12 hours per week to work with pupils of all ages, feeder primary schools, and where demand is such, the wider community too.

Chinese is the world's number one language, with roughly 1.3 billion speakers worldwide, and in November 2010 the UK and China agreed to increase the value of bilateral trade by 2015 to $100 billion per annum. Broadening Horizons, therefore, not only gives pupils of participating schools a valuable opportunity to study this increasingly-important global language, but is also aimed at improving cross-cultural understanding for both pupils and teachers. Language skills can equip our young people with an edge in the global job market.

Graham, who is also a trained interpreter speaking Italian, German and French is himself now learning Mandarin comments:

"The Broadening Horizons scheme I established in conjunction with the Taiwanese Authorities provides schools with Chinese language teaching assistants is proving to be a great success. It has already expanded dramatically from its introduction, and the feedback I am getting from the schools and is that it is a scheme which is proving very popular with students and schools alike."

The Sir Bernard Lovell School in Oldland Common, Bristol has now taken over the day to day running of the scheme, which is in it's 5th year. Pupils from the Sir Bernard Lovell School last year took part in an exchange scheme with

Following the great success of the scheme in 2008 the Sir Bernard Lovell School in Oldland Common, Bristol have taken on the UK co-ordination of the Broadening Horizons scheme, using their unique insight as an enthusiastic school participating in the scheme from day one, to help further develop and expand the scheme, which is now in its 5th year. Students from the Sir Bernard Lovell School last year took part in an exchange scheme with students from Taipei. This proved to be so successful they are running it for a second year in 2013.

students from Taipei. This proved to be so successful they are running it for a second year in 2013.

Pictured : Graham Watson with students just before an exchange trip to Taiwan.