Private schools

British and international schools

Private schools

Despite the fact that Hong Kong has an excellent local education system, the majority of international students attend private schools. Partly due to the difficulty of learning Cantonese (which is used in local schools) this has led to the development of a respected private school system parallel to the Hong Kong public schools.

British Schools in Hong Kong

The English Schools Foundation (ESF ) is one of the oldest school systems in Hong Kong. It dates back to the early years of the colonial occupation, when British schoolchildren attended British-style schools modelled after those they would have attended at home in England. These schools were organized around the neighbourhoods in which the children lived, a system which remains largely unchanged today.

These schools require yearly tuition payments, and most charge entry fees. ESF schools also require an application process, which requires a great deal of paperwork and in some instances letters of recommendation. If you decide to enrol your child in an ESF school, you should begin the application process well before you leave for Hong Kong. This includes assembling any necessary documentation, such as academic transcripts and health examinations.

There are roughly 20 ESF schools in Hong Kong. The majority of them use the standard United Kingdom curriculum, with several exceptions opting for the International Baccalaureate curriculum instead. The ESF schools do receive some funding from the government, which helps to defray their cost.

International schools in Hong Kong

A popular alternative to the ESF schools are other international schools. There are more than fifty international schools in the Hong Kong area, and they teach in a variety of curricula corresponding to the nationality they serve. International schools are generally more expensive than the ESF schools – some cost upward of HK$100,000 per year to attend. They are, however, an excellent option if you would like your child to be educated in the style of your home country, notably with regards to language.

Language skill is a major factor in international school admission, with most schools requiring a language test in addition to more traditional entry requirements. For obvious reasons, students with foreign passports are favoured in the international schools admissions process.

Private pre-School and kindergarten in Hong Kong

Most ESF and International schools operate pre-school and kindergarten programs in addition to their primary and secondary schools. These are an excellent option if you plan on having your child enter either of these school systems. There are, however, other options with a more local flavour, including programs run by the Hong Kong Pre-School Parents Association  (HKPPA) and Woodlands Schools . When deciding on your child´s pre-school or kindergarten education, it is advisable to consider where in Hong Kong – or the world – he will attend school in the future.

Further reading

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