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Can an expat child attend a local govt/aided primary school?

  1. #1
    nltempany is offline Registered User
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    Question Can an expat child attend a local govt/aided primary school?

    Hello,

    I am moving to Tai Kok Tsui from Australia with 4 children. My eldest is 7 and I am trying to find a place for her in P2 2012-13. I have spent hours researching local schools versus international versus ESF schools and I have concluded that unless you have a million dollar debenture or a magic wand (to reduce waiting lists) then you have only one choice- a local school.

    I have been looking at this website,
    http://www.chsc.hk/section1_6_2.php?lang_id=1
    And I am impressed with the choice and variety of schools in the Mong Kok/Olympic areas.

    My questions are:

    1. Can an expat legally attend a local Govt/ aided school (we will be staying in hk for several years under my husbands working visa)?

    2. Has anyone had experience with an English-only speaker attending a Chinese/English school? Our P2 child is extremely social, confident and we have no doubt that she would immerse herself in the language and culture. In fact we think she would thrive in the challenge. Plus there are all sorts of phone Aps that can double as translators. But is this realistic?

    3. Are you aware of any schools in the Mong Kok/ Tai Kok Tsui areas where expat children (English native speakers) attend local Govt/aided, Chinese/English schools? (We are Christian and would definitely consider a Catholic or Protestant school).

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    charade is offline Registered User
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    1. Yes, as long as the parents have HKIDs they should be eligeable.
    2. There are parents on this forum who have experience with this and it worked out well. I'm still at the kindy age with my kid so only researching the topic. But I did interview parents for a newspaper article who had their kids in local schools. My sense is that it's a bit of effort for the parents. You won't understand the school circulars, homework etc. and if the school doesn't offer after-school homework help, you'll need to get a tutor.
    3. There is a category of school called DSS - they are partially government funded and many of them are English medium. My sense is that they are very competitive to get into but you could give it a shot.

  3. #3
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    1) If you are here legally (eg: work visa) you are eligible for schooling as well as all the other benefits (ie: govt hospitals)
    2) I put 3 kids thru Chinese medium schools. If your child does not have any learning difficulties then it is perfectly realistic. It is not easy and I would highly recommend hiring a tutor to help them along with their homework and lots of dumb questions they will have (which you wont be able to help with). Cheap tutors can be had from local high schools and universities.
    3) I dont know much about your area, so I'll let someone else field that one.

    Note: you have 2 choices (not just 1). Choice 1 is a govt school and choice 2 is a private schools that follow HK curriculum. Some of these are English and some are Chinese with student populations that are mostly local. A full list of all schools are here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...s_in_Hong_Kong
    Private schools cost more than govt schools but they are normally a lot less than international schools.

  4. #4
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    we are putting our kids through local schools. my daughter is currently in K2 and my son is in P1.

    at the school my son attends, we had a choice of english stream or chinese stream, even though it is a completely local school ($0 fees). we chose the chinese stream. we figured that it would be easier to switch from chinese to english if the chinese was too difficult but near impossible to change the other way if we found he was coping all right in the english stream.

    we haven't employed any tutors as my husband can speak/read chinese. but we have put our son into after school homework help.

  5. #5
    nltempany is offline Registered User
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    Thank you so much for your replies. I am so glad to hear that we can access local schools. I have chinese speaking family members so I am sure I can get circulars and notes translated. I am also certain that we would be able to employ a local tutor to help with homework. That makes me feel a whole lot better about moving from Australia. Now I just need to find the right school. We are thinking of; Canton Road, Yaumati Catholic Primary School, Diocesan Girls Junior School, CCC Heep Woh PS, PLK Camoes Tan Siu Lin PS, Tai Ko Tsui Catholic PS, Sharon Lutheran School.
    There are so many to choose from I hope some one can steer me in the right direction.

  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    how you "choose" a school varies... i'm not sure how it works for people relocating...

    for our son, we could "choose" 1 school and apply for P1 directly to that school (he was accepted). if he hadn't been accepted, then he would have had to go into the gov't allocation....the gov't does a random draw for schools. they try to get everyone into their top 2 choices... but it doesn't always work out that way.

    my suggestion is to write to he edb and ask them how to go about getting into the local system in the area where you hope to live.

    ps> DGS is EXTREMELY difficult to get into. it's one of THE top schools in hk.

  7. #7
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by carang View Post
    DGS is EXTREMELY difficult to get into. it's one of THE top schools in hk.
    You are certainly right about that, but there is a glimmer of hope.

    If you come in later into the process as OP is doing trying to get into P2, there are more chances and possibilities.

    I know this because of 2 schools that we recently looked into. StStephens and StPauls - both very highly sought after schools and both are still accepting students into Form2/Secondary2 as they have vacancies.

  8. #8
    flo
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    I suggest you look into Island Christian Academy, a primary school which is an extension of Small World Christian Kindergarten. You don't need a debenture. Annual school fees are HK$85,000 (over 10 months) + $7,000 levy. They are opening their doors in August, taking Year 1 to Year 3. Class size is (maximum) 22 kids in each Year 1 class (will have 2 classes), 25 kids in Year 2 and Year 3 ( 2 classes and 1 class respectively). I know they still have space. They are located at Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island, so coming from Tai Kok Tsui, depending on the type of transportation you take, may take up to 40 minutes a stretch. If you drive, it's a different story.

    DD is attending their first year 1 class with 14 kids only this year, hosted at the kindergarten campus of Small World. So she will start year 2 at their new campus next year. The team of Small World and ICA is loving and caring. I think you will find the same comments repeated throughout the forum.

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