STUDENTS and staff at Liphook’s Bohunt School celebrated Chinese New Year in style.

The Year of the Dog was heralded with celebrations including Chinese poem writing and Mandarin speaking competitions, fundraising and a stunning performance of traditional dance (right).

About 20 per cent of the world’s population celebrated Chinese New Year, which officially began on February 15 and continues for two weeks until today (Thursday).

Calligraphy, panda painting, paper-cutting and kung fu were woven into the timetable for Bohunt students to take part in throughout the week.

Students sold Year of the Dog cupcakes and fortune cookies during their lunch break to raise funds for their house charities.

In true Chinese collaborative style, Bohunt was honoured to welcome five representatives from the Confucius Institute at Southampton University – a public institution affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education, providing Chinese teaching resources and services worldwide.

The Institute provided dancers for traditional Chinese and Lion dancing performance, which was seen by all Mandarin learners at the school.

Bohunt has a long-standing Mandarin programme, including offering immersion teaching, where students learn a third of the curriculum in the language.

Bohunt’s head of Mandarin Guan Clarkson said: “As a Mandarin teacher, I think language can never teach alone, it is always taught with the culture.

“To students, Chinese is more different and they are less familiar with it than with European languages. Geographically speaking, China is also more difficult to access than European countries.

“Therefore, providing the students with some authentic Chinese culture and tradition is necessary and useful for Mandarin teaching as it will encourage them to learn better and more.”

Headteacher Neil Strowger, who is also chief executive of Bohunt Educational Trust (BET), told The Herald: “Recognising the importance of and being committed to learning through other cultures is in Bohunt’s DNA.

“We are passionate about encouraging students to consider what it means to be part of an international community.

“Celebrating Chinese New Year is just one way to do that.

“Collaboration underpins everything we do at Bohunt and we are pleased to be known as leading the way in state school Mandarin and Chinese cultural teaching.”

BET is set to become the first English state school-run academy trust to support a school in China.

As the trust grows in the UK, it hopes to further its Chinese collaborations in order to provide unparalleled opportunities for UK and Chinese staff and students.