A language school has ushered in the Chinese New Year of the Dog with nearly 500 students, teachers, parents and families.

Nihao Mandarin Language School held a lively and energetic Lion Dance, which was also attended by the Mayor of Sutton, at Wallington High School for Girls on February 3.

It was the 11th year the school celebrated Chinese New Year with its students and organisers said the hall was 'packed to the brim with everyone dressed in sea of red and auspicious colour'.

Head teacher Xiuli Fu-Phasey said: “Since coming to the UK in 1998 I have witnessed that with the rapid development of China and increasing trade ties between UK and China, our school has expanded because more people are interested to learn Mandarin as a useful foreign language, and the interesting Chinese culture that has spanned thousands of years of civilizations.

"The Spring Festival, Ch?n Jié, also known as Chinese New Year, is one of the most important Chinese festivals as it is celebrated by at least one fifth of the world’s population. A fraction of our students come from all over the world too, including countries like Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Europe, not just British and Mandarin native speakers. We all celebrate together.”

The Chinese Lunar New Year of the Earth Dog starts on February 16 and ends officially on March 2. People born in the zodiac Dog year are said to be loyal, honest and patient.