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Local Knowledge please!

  1. #1
    Konny is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Causeway Bay

    Question Local Knowledge please!

    Hi all,

    I have started working in HK almost a month ago. I am a single mum to a 4.5year old boy who I plan to let him join me in HK the soonest possible.

    1)My son should be attending Kindergarten this year (K2) and his first language is English. Do the schools accept children in the middle of the year? Anyone with similar experience? Are there any good schools that would accept?
    2) Seems that I have missed admission deadlines for primary next year too! What do I do?
    3) From what I understood having a live in maid is the only option for working mums, right?


  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung
    1) it isn't a matter of which school you want, but which schools will still have space.
    2) same as above. but you make no mention of budget/curriculum/ area etc. you need to think about all of these when you contact the schools. ESF starts P1 the year the kids turn 5, many other international schools, and all local schools, start P1 the year the kids turn 6. so, you still have time if you go for one of these.
    3) yes. pretty much.

  3. #3
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Pokfulam, Hong Kong
    Schools do accept mid year. Put in your applications in ASAP.
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  4. #4
    genkimom is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Hong Kong
    Many schools do accept applications mid year. There is hope! But so much depends on your location. In many areas of the New Territories, the school situation is very tricky because there are so few schools that will accept English speaking kids, and the ones that do are usually filled with a long waiting list. It is much easier to get your child enrolled in school if you live in Kowloon, HKI, or in other ex-pat enclaves.

    AS for P1, you still have several choices. But the longer you wait, the fewer options you will have. Get Moving!
    1. Although many HKers put their kids in P1 at age 5, it is not compulsory until they are 6. So you could put your child in K2 this year, K3 next year, and deal with P1 admissions next fall. However, many kindy schools do not accept kids who are already 4.5, as this is considered "too old" to start learning their way of doing things at their school. At least, that's what I was told over and over by every Kindy I tried to put my 4.5 year old in.
    2. you could homeschool until your child gets into the school of your choice. We homeschooled for 1.5 years until we could get him into P1. As a single mother, this would necessitate hiring private tutors, an extra expense. Technically this is not legal in HK, but many families go this route for at least a year or so until they can get their kids into school.
    3. Many lesser known (but still very good quality) international schools are not filled to capacity, and do accept children right up until the start of school. I bet the Korean International school and the Norwegian international school would still be able to accommodate, and I know Hong Lok Yuen International School often can accommodate expat kids that come in the middle of the term.
    4. You still have time to register your child for the Education Bureau's local system Central Allocation system. The deadline for applications is the beginning of January, so you had better get your butt in gear and go to the EDB in Wan Chai ASAP, as in tomorrow! Even if you ultimately don't want your child going to a local school, at least he could study there for a term or two until you can get him into the school of your choice. It's nice to have a Plan B in case the other schools don't come through for you. it is a much cheaper option than private schools and private tutors, and if you plan on staying in Hk for a long period of time, it's good for him to study Chinese.

    As for your question on Maids....we resisted having a maid for two years, but eventually caved because everything is set up in HK with the assumption you have a maid to do things for you and there really aren't other child care alternatives. My husband was a stay at home dad for two years and homeschool teacher, but there would be no way in hell I could have survived in HK without a maid as a single mom. It will be the best investment you will make in HK, I promise.

    PM me if you have other questions. I've been down this road and I might have more information for you if I know more about your particular situation, where you live, etc.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung
    "homeschooling" is not legal for kids over the age of 6 (when they would start P1 in a local school), for anything under that age, it is perfectly legal.

    when we looked at Norwegian school for my now, P2 son, they had no space for P1...but that may have changed.

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