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  • 1 Post By EliseT
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What if we are on a waiting list

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    What if we are on a waiting list

    Hello,

    This is my first message on GeoExpat. We may be moving to HK from London around Aug/Sept. Currently, my 4.5 year old daughter goes to Nursery and will be eligible for Reception from Sept 2010.

    I believe the ESF schools have long waiting lists. What are my options, if my daughter is put on a waiting list? What other school options do I have? Or is she then guaranteed a place at one of the ESF schools even if its not in the area we plan to stay.

    Are there Nursery schools that she could attend until she gets a place in an ESF School? Are these much more expensive?

    I would greatly appreciate some information and guidance on the school situation.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Central
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    Hi, sorry no one has answered you yet. You are unable to put your name down for a particular ESF school until you have a signed lease within that school's residential zone. Introduce yourself to the school's admissions officer where you wish your child to attend. But also arrive knowing which area of HK you will target for residence. Best scenario, come out 2 months before to do your search for a residence. Time the signing of the lease/moving in as soon as you can so you can then have your ESF application activated in that particular school. Woodlands Aberdeen seems to have regularly occurring vacancies. Many of my expat clients with children under the age of 4 have had more success in finding places, albeit not their first choice but good to mark time in until their first or second choices come up.
    I'm an ex-international school teacher often called in to homeschool children who can't get into international schools upon arrival in HK.

    snd7273 likes this.

  3. #3

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    there is NOTHING to say that you cannot take full advantage of living in hk and the opportunity your daughter has to become well-versed in the local language.

    my son, and in september my daughter, goes to a local kindergarten. he LOVES it! please see previous posts regarding it. (sai kung lok yuk kindergarten).

    the fees are a fraction of what ESF charges. if your child has english as a native language and uses it at home, there is no worry that the english skills will diminish, plus she will have the added bonus of learning chinese!


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Hello Elise,

    Thank you for your message.

    In the event that we do sign a lease, and get my daughter on a waiting list, what are my options for my daughter until she gets a place at the ESF school?

    We were hoping to send her to the Peak School and live in the Midlevels area.

    DO you have any suggestions for interim schools in addition to Woodland. She currently goes to a lovely school and at the age of 4.5years can write and read 3-4 letter words. I dont want her to fall back.

    You seem to know quite a lot about schools etc in HK and I would greatly appreciate some help.


    I did go to the Woodlands website and they seem to be quite good and have branches all over HK. Are there waiting lists for this as well or is it quite easy to get in?

    Thank you in advance.


  5. #5

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    Dec 2002
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    A P1 place at an ESF school maybe harder to get. Have you looked into the Corporate Surety Scheme?

    Admissions | English Schools Foundation

    Tutor Time is also a good kindergarten and have several locations. Both Tutor Time and Woodlands will be easier to get into and you can enroll while you're waiting for a P1 place top open up.


  6. #6

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    >> there is NOTHING to say that you cannot take full advantage of living in hk
    >> and the opportunity your daughter has to become well-versed in the local
    >> language.

    And how do newly arrived parents in HK who have never spoken or read chinese in their lives deal with Chinese circulars, notes from schools and more importantly deal with other parents who might feel shy to mix with them?

    There are cultural barriers even in the EMI local schools... forget the local language schools if you don't read / write chinese.

    iflylow likes this.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    73

    carang, I know you are well meaning, but for those of us whose children haven't learned Chinese formally, going to a PRIMARY school without the basics you learn from a kindergarten is very tough on them. Your kids have started from kindergarten, so they are not going to have any problem progressing further in a local school.

    My sister is a local and her daughter has gone to a local school all her life - she opted for that, which is fine for her. She herself told me there's NO WAY my daughter would be able to enter a primary school in HK because she won't be able to catch up, eventhough she can more or less converse in Cantonese.

    You know full well how competitive students and studying in Asia in general are - I don't see why I'd want to put my daughter in any unnecessary stress.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    I have a friend who is mixed and their kids joined a local kinder which practices 50:50 (English in the morning and Putonghua/Cantonese in the afternoons) sessions.

    In K1, it was all fine. Especially the Chinese languages. But now in K2, it is just getting crazy! They jumped from 4 stroke letters to 20 stroke letters in a span on one term! It will just get tougher and tougher and the HK system is harsh! It simply waits for no child who can't catch up. Needless to say, the kids will be moved to the international school system!

    I taught a kid in a local primary school who had been raised in London while his parents did their PHD there. Within the year in the primary, the poor kids' English went down the tube and he couldn't cope with the Chinese. His parents are both Cantonese speakers who speak fluent English - educated in HK!

    It's all fun and games when they are in kinder. But when they're in primary school and the "ranking" and "labelling" starts, that's when it'll get complicated for the kids. They'll not master either languages. It's one thing to speak it but another to read and write it.

    I'd say... unless you're willing to hire a private tutor for your kids or have at least one parent (who is a local) at home who can monitor the situation, forget the local school system.

    In Carang's case, her husband is local and they have Cantonese speaking family here. So it could be a factor to consider in her childs' ability.


  9. #9

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    first off:
    i have NEVER suggested just throwing a kid into primary school without any kindie in chinese.

    secondly:
    many local (even the chinese-language ones) that have western kids send notices home in ENGLISH, if requested. now, i realise that this is not true in all cases, however, if you search for it, you may be pleasantly surprised.

    thirdly:
    in no way do i think a local school is perfect or perfectly suited to all people... i DO think it is unnecessary to completely disregard them. if you look around AT KINDERGARTENS (that is what the OP is asking about after all!) you may find something local that will cater to your needs, have a space available AND not cost an arm and a leg to send your child!

    lastly:
    for primary school, i HAVE MANY reservations about sending my kids to a local school... however, as we just can't swing the school fees for any of the "western" schools.... $6k/month, plus uniforms, bus, other expenses...local is it... now, if we find that our kids are having a difficult time coping, then we will look at other options.

    PS> yes, my husband speaks chinese...but that only plays a small factor in our decision. yes, we have his family here, but we do not live with them nor do my kids see them every day... sometimes we go weeks without seeing grandparents.
    PPS> as for K2 jumping from 4 strokes to 20... my son is curently in K2 and they are not doing 20 stroke characters... maybe 5 strokes...but not more. they are NOT even writing full words yet (in english), but still working on single letters/numbers.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Hi snd7273, if your daughter turns 5 between 1 Jan and 31 Dec in 2010 she will be enrolled as a Yr 1 child in the ESF system. The lower grades are the most difficult to gain a place in. I know of some students who have not yet gained a place in Yr 3 or 4 for 5 months now - they are Category 1 children. The Year 1 and 2 students do not really have a hope of getting at the beginning of this coming academic year. The alternatives for them have been Woodlands for their 4.5year old and Australian International school for their 7.6 year old. A couple of others have found places in Delia School of Canada in TaiKooShing. As I said, marking time until ESF becomes available. If you are looking at Midlevels then Glenealy is the ESF school for that area - Conduit Rd, Robinson Rd, May Rd, etc. Check on the ESF website. And contact the Peak and Glenealy Schools for clarification - sometimes the zones change a smidge. These two schools are the smallest in ESF - and therefore have the smallest residential zones. I have students who have acquired good basic skills at Tutortime and ESF kindergartens and entry was not as much an issue as into primary in international and ESF schools.