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School System in HK. Looking to move to HK but confused... help please

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    lemonjellynz is offline Registered User
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    School System in HK. Looking to move to HK but confused... help please

    Hi there

    We are potentially moving to HK early next year with 2 kids. One child will be 5 in Dec this year. Can anyone tell me if that means he will be due to start P1 in 2012in January when we arrive or in September? Many thanks

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    carang is offline Registered User
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    it will all depend on which system you choose. esf start p1 when the kids are 5, as do some international schools. local schools and other international schools don't start p1 until they are 6.

    the ONLY school that starts in January is the australian int'l. all other schools start in september.
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    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    It depends on the school type (and cut off date) which class your child will be in. My twins will be 5 end of next month and they started P1 at ESF in August. ESF goes by birth year (2006 started P1 this August) while other schools have a 1 September or 1 October cut off. It completely depends which school your interested in, but more importantly which school actually has space for your child. If you're looking at international schools, I suggest you start applying ASAP and to multiple schools as places, especially for this age group are very difficult to find.
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    lemonjellynz is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for info. The plan is to live in Kowloon Tong, close enough to husbands work. I know there are many International Schools nearby but very concerned about getting in and waitlists. We are visiting Nov but I guess its too late then for any applications.. is there any chance of getting into a school mid term? My son was born Dec 2006, so next year when we arrive he should be already in P1 entering P2 in September? Is the Austalian International School extremley hard to get into.. ? I have heard that kindergartens are now teaching kids who should be in P1 as there is such a lack of places in schools? thanks again

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    aussie mum is offline Registered User
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    I would advise calling Dominique in admissions at the Australian international school and speak to her directly. Unfortunately the 2006 birth year has been a nightmare for many people trying to get a school place.
    My son was born in 2006 and is waitlisted to start his first year of school in jan 2012. He has around 20 children ahead if him. Most of whom have older siblings at the school and therefore priority. We applied quite some time ago. They are no longer accepting applications for the first years of primary school from non-australian/NZ as they are so busy!

    On the positive side a number of preschools have started offering primary school classes to fill the gap.

    My son started P1 at Woodlands Harbourside preschool in Aberdeen last month (September as it's UK school system). We could not be happier. He feels like he is at "big school" as he's in a uniform and takes the bus. He is loving going each day, is learning LOADS and is a changed little boy since starting. He is in a class full of children in the exact position.

    He can stay at this school for up to two years while we wait for a more permanent place somewhere else to come up.

    This type of arrangement might suit you if you are willing to wait or if you are only intending on being in HK for a two year assignment.

    The problem we found with school applications is that most international schools start at age 4 as they offer an additional half day kindergarten type Reception year (this follows uk system). When applying for a 5 year old to these schools there are limited places as the children all started a year earlier and classes are already full.

    The ESF system and the Australian International School were the two schools that followed an approach most similar to australia. However both of these are crazily oversubscribed at the moment.

    Call ESF as well and see if you can apply via the Corporate Surety Scheme. This would give you priority over children already living here and on the waitlist (which I find frustrating as puts you ahead of my son but such is life!)

    * I know zilch about local schools so haven't commented on options there.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

  6. #6
    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    November will be too late to apply, especially if you're seeking January entry. ESF CSS (http://www.esf.edu.hk/admission) only starts in January so it will be too early now, but you can (and should) always call to put your name down. The problem with all those new P1 programs at preschool is, that all these children still need a P2 spot at some point. Yes, some will leave HKG, but a lot of them will need spots, and most schools will only have a very limited number of spots from one year level to another, so it doesn't become easier. So therefore, I always advice to look into "less popular" schools as well (the international ones on the island are very very popular plus the entire ESF and AISHK) that don't just offer a P1 year but where your child could stay in case the wait is longer than just that P1 year. I have no idea about wait lists at schools like AIS, JIS, HLYIS, NIS which are all in the New Territories. Then there is Delia School of Canada, Korean International, CAIS (not sure where they are), Harbour School, etc. These schools seem (slightly at least) less popular than ESF, HKIS, FIS, GSIS, CNDIS, HKA, etc.

    You will need to act ASAP and get your child's name down at a variety of schools. And yes, your child will be the youngest in his class in ESF. By the time you arrive, the Y1s are halfway through already and due to enter Y2 in August. Holding back is sometimes a possibility but Y1 places are hugely over-subscribed (last year close to 3,000 spots for slightly over 1,000 spots).

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    Portia is offline Registered User
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    There will be a new international primary school called Island Christian Academy opening in Mid Levels in Sept 2012 which will help a bit with primary places. The school is part of the same group as Small World Christian Kindergarten and NIS.
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  8. #8
    aussie mum is offline Registered User
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    Woodlands harbourside offers P1 and P2. I think some of the others do as well.

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