Guide to international schools in Hong Kong

01st July 2019
Guide to international schools in Hong Kong

When planning a move to Hong Kong with children, one of the key things to consider is their continuing education. Even if you do not currently have school-age children but will do in the future, it’s worth being aware of the different international schooling options in Hong Kong.

In this guide, we have selected some of the best options for British expatriates relocating to Hong Kong.

There are many more international schools in Hong Kong other than those listed here, and we have focused on just five of those that have the option to follow the English schooling system to enable consistency and continuity in your children’s education.

Some operate a catchment system, so this may be a factor when choosing a residential location if there is a specific school you wish to apply for. For a detailed breakdown of more schools in the region, there is a listing on the Good Schools Guide.

English Schools Foundation

The largest network of English-language schools in Hong Kong is the English Schools Foundation. This collection of schools offers the chance to study the English curriculum, with both International Baccalaureate and GCSE options available.

This is a good option for those moving to Hong Kong with older children who may have already started on a set examination pathway. For those moving with a young family, it’s reassuring to know that from August 2020, those joining in the first year of any English Schools Foundation kindergarten will be guaranteed places at primary and secondary school. The foundation aims to nurture future global citizens, offering the chance to learn a selection of languages, as well as a comprehensive choice of extracurricular activities to complement their education.

There are five kindergartens, nine primary schools, five secondary schools and three all-through schools. Schools are in ‘zones’ or catchment areas and parents are able to apply to the designated catchment school depending on their residential address. It is possible to select an out-of-zone school, which is considered if there is availability. For those applying from overseas before relocation, you should apply for the school in your zone of expected residence.

Discovery Bay International School

This school is based in Discovery Bay on Lantau Island, a 25-minute ferry ride from Central Hong Kong. The Discovery Bay community is close-knit and a popular residential area for British expatriates moving with their family.

This community-centred approach is mirrored in the Discovery Bay International School, which follows the English National Curriculum and schooling system. Children can enter the school at Nursery level, through Reception to Year 6 in the Primary school.

The Secondary school runs from Year 7 to Year 13 and takes students through GCSE and A/AS Level exams. The adherence to the English curriculum will mean that children moving from a UK-based school or another international school with the same focus will benefit from consistency in their education.

However, if your child is already studying for the International Baccalaureate at their current school, there are other international schools that may suit their needs better. While the school follows the English curriculum, it does so within an international context, to prepare students for a global future.

Discovery College

If you’re looking to give your children a more internationally grounded education, then Discovery College could be what you are looking for. The staff represents more than 20 nationalities, and the student population comes from almost 45 nationalities. As such, there is a wide range of languages spoken at the school.

While teaching is in English, which is of benefit to British expatriate children, there is a strong emphasis on learning Putonghua (also known as Standard Chinese the official national language of China) as a second language. While it is a part of the English Schools Foundation (see above) it has no catchment area so prospective students from all over Hong Kong are welcome to apply.

The school stands apart from the rest of the English Schools Foundation network as a Private Independent School. It follows the International Baccalaureate and encourages its pupils to develop an understanding of international matters and how to be a global citizen. It covers an all-through education from Year 1 to Year 13.

Malvern College Hong Kong

Malvern College UK is a co-educational school that has a reputation as one of the leading independent schools in the UK. It has offered the International Baccalaureate programme to its pupils since 1992, as an alternative to A levels, to the extent that around half its students now study International Baccalaureate in Sixth Form. Its high reputation has been translated to its Hong Kong sister school, which is located on a greenfield site next to the Hong Kong Science Park.

This new school only opened in August 2018, but it will aim to provide 1,000 places for Primary and Secondary age children. The school’s aim, as with its UK counterpart, is to encourage its students to become independent thinkers with confidence and compassion to become responsible global citizens.

The application process includes a meet and greet, as the college believes that it’s important to ensure that its values align with prospective pupils and their families. It is aiming to build a vibrant and diverse community, and it uses various assessments to ascertain suitability for the school.

Mount Kelly School Hong Kong

This is another school that has its roots in the UK; Mount Kelly is one of the top elite schools in the UK, based in Tavistock, Devon on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park. It aims to provide a rich environment that prepares students for the modern, global world, while also staying connected with the natural environment.

The Mount Kelly School Hong Kong continues this heritage, with British Qualified Teachers, excellent pastoral care and follows the English National Curriculum. The British preparatory school is located in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, and offers small class sizes for a more personalised learning approach. As a true prep school, pupils are able to specialise in a number of areas for a bespoke and high-standard education.

If you’re planning a move to Hong Kong with children, be sure to view our range of international moving services to aid you with your packing, shipping and unpacking – giving you one less thing to worry about. Get in touch today to find out more about moving to Hong Kong and to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced surveyors.

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