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Nord Anglian international schools - anyone?

(24 Posts)
atonofwashing Thu 05-Mar-15 11:54:36

We are currently looking at international schools in Hong Kong for DS. He will be 9 in July.
NAIS have schools the world over.
Does anyone have experience of them, either in HK or other countries?
Do you like them? What are the strengths and weaknesses?
Are they academic hot houses? Do you like the pastoral care? Has your child enjoyed studying there? Made good friends?
The websites look great, but would love to hear from anyone with kids in one of their schools.
We are in uk at the moment, but hope to go out on a school hunt soon.
Thanks for your help,

butterfliesinmytummy Thu 05-Mar-15 21:16:15

We are at the british international school of houston in Texas. It was taken over by Nord Anglia just after we arrived in 2013. It's a good school, there has been some turnover of staff including the headmaster in the past year and they are doubling the size of the school, building a huge new campus with state of the art facilities and intend for the school to be an IB centre of excellence inthe USA.

Our dealings with them through these changes have been very positive and transparent. Above all, our kids love the school and are doing very well. Feel free to ask anything else.

partialderivative Fri 06-Mar-15 05:15:59

As a teacher, I am always rather wary of schools that are run for profit.

Having said that, I am sure there are plenty of international schools that have excellent records of academic achievement and pastoral care. And the NA group does seem to be very successful.

(Not my most helpful of messages. )

atonofwashing Fri 06-Mar-15 11:30:07

Butter and partial, that's helpful.
Our son will be coming into a new school from a local uk state primary.
My only real concern is that he won't be on par with his privately educated peers... Are nais keen on hot housing? I am all for achieving academic excellence, but it's not everything, I like an all round experience. Do you think nails offer that?
He's a July born child, and very young/ innocent. I suggested deferring him to give him a chance to grow up emotionally and catch up academically, if necessary. They didnt think deferring a good idea.

That said, any experience in a private school environment will push him forward, even if he's not a star performer. Anything should be better than his current school where, at present, it's becoming cool not to do well. Sad, really. Maybe I've just answered my own question, but any thoughts welcome.

butterfliesinmytummy Fri 06-Mar-15 14:49:50

If it's an international school, they will be very used to welcoming children of all abilities, especially from UK state schools. Very few people move to HK from private schools and turnover will be pretty high so kids will spend a few years there - there will likely be several kids new in his class at the same time.

One of the things I like about NA schools is that they are a network. My dd1 is 10 (yr 5) and was in the book club last term - it was a global initiative so kids all over the world were discussing the same book on moodle. They do similar for charity work, international school trips higher up the school, talent competitions, debating clubs etc. It gives them a pretty wide experience.

In terms of hothousing, I can't see it where we are. My dd does spelling and maths once a week and a piece of homework at the weekend for IB - normally a presentation or piece of writing / art to support topic work. We never get homework during half term or holidays.

Do you get to visit the school before you make a commitment? Are there other options? Can you join fb groups for expats (HK expats etc) in HK and ask there? You might get some closer comparisons to your situation or find someone with kids the same age at the HK NA school.

atonofwashing Fri 06-Mar-15 20:06:36

Butter, thanks.
I quite like the sound of nais.
We ought to be able to make a trip over soon. That won't be a problem.
We have a school placement company researching on our behalf, so yes looking at other options.
The locality of HK nais is reasonably close to where we fancy living,
I haven't joined fb groups, for the simple reason that we used to live in HK, have friends there, it's a small place and well, quite frankly word would get round, and if the whole move is cancelled, we could look a bit silly having got so involved when it all comes to nothing. I have asked friends there, on the sly.
I like to err on the side of caution. I'm a bit like that. Don't want to get my hopes up etc, etc.... Deep down I am excited, but cautiously so.
It all boils down to dh's company paying schools fees. No pay, no go.
Many thanks for your comments. Good to hear.

mmgirish Sat 07-Mar-15 16:25:27

I don't have personal experience of their school network but I have had a few colleagues that have worked for Nord Anglia (different schools) and have vowed never to work for them again.

atonofwashing Sat 07-Mar-15 20:16:03

MmGirlish, thanks for your comment.
May I ask why your colleagues disliked nordanglia so much?

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sat 07-Mar-15 21:42:48

Hi, DC1 is at the British School of Washington, run by Nord Anglia. I've been in and out of the school for years as they ran a group for babies/toddlers once a week back in the day that we used to go to. IME, the staff have all been lovely and DC has settled in really quickly. Other families have found the same, inc further up the school. There seem to be lots of out of school activities and trips and various classes for parents - eg phonics, learning to write etc. The school here is great as despite local schools closing all the time when it snows, they have only shut the last couple of days when snow was very bad. Fee structures are clearly displayed online, which I like, and class teachers respond quickly to emails from parents, are always happy to chat (actively encourage it in fact). We are very happy. Feel free to PM me if you need anything else.

mmgirish Sun 08-Mar-15 12:52:07

Hey I will ask when I see them at work this week. My impression was that because they are a profit making business that the bottom line mattered quite a lot. Will ask for more clarification for you though.

atonofwashing Sun 08-Mar-15 18:04:32

Wibbly, thank you.
We will probably hear this week if we go or not, so depending on decision, I may come back to you.
MmGirlish, thanks!

DrankSangriaInThePark Wed 11-Mar-15 14:42:39

Is this the same Nord Anglia that started out as a TEFL organisation?

If so, I don't think they were particularly esteemed in that sector. Obviously intl schools are different, but still...

butterfliesinmytummy Wed 11-Mar-15 22:28:32

Not sure, they have 35 schools and 25000 students worldwide, difficult to avoid if you're an expat!

AggressiveBunting Thu 12-Mar-15 05:11:18

I noticed that the the HK Nord Anglia school is now advertised as not-for-profit so probably need to clarify that if it matters to you.

NAIS isnt academically selective- definitely not a hothouse. Also, HK kids tend to be quite "young" for their age vs UK kids so he'll probably be fine socially.

I have a few friends with kids there and they seem happy enough.

atonofwashing Thu 12-Mar-15 13:44:31

Thank you, ladies.
NAIS seems to fit the bill. On paper/ website, anyway.
We'd prefer to remain within the uk system, as have done a bit of research into PYP/IB, and pyp doesn't get many thumbs up. However, best to get there and see for ourselves.

Having lived in HK before, even with out a ds, I find it hard to imagine that anything is not-for-profit.

Dh currently mid negotiation re schooling. I feel as though I am waiting for the birth of a baby. All of a doodah about it. Just want to know if it's a yay or a nay.

Thanks again.

horsehasbolted Thu 19-Mar-15 14:24:59

How about Kellet or Harrow they are both British systems?
I think any staff turnover will happen after the first 2 years after contracts finish so maybe still OK for your DS as he will be ready to move to secondary at 11.

Missymoomum Fri 20-Mar-15 01:55:59

I live in Asia and my children go to a Nord Anglia school and I know some of the teachers who are now at NAIS. The school my children go to is great and the teaching quality is excellent. The school thrives on the fact that the school community is one big family and it has regular family events at the weekend etc, it has a lovely 'feel' when you walk in which is what drew us to the school when we first arrived. They don't hot house in any way which I like but they do challenge the children. Nord Anglia are also investing annually in the school with regular facility upgrades etc so the 'for profit' status isn't really an issue for day to day school life. If we moved to another area, I wouldn't hesitate at going to another NA school and had looked at NAIS when we thought we may move to HK.

atonofwashing Fri 27-Mar-15 21:46:30

Horse and missy, thanks for your input.
NAIS is our favourite at present.
Still at the negotiation stage with dh'S employers. This is a very slow burning move... Fingers are still crossed!

Angelbird Wed 02-Nov-16 02:42:23

Hello atonofwashing,
I am moving with my family soon to HK, and i am now in the same situation like you in 2015. I got proposal from NAIS, and everything looks great on their website. I would love to get your comment if you choose NAIS at the end.
Thank you so much indeed!

Cockblocktopus Wed 02-Nov-16 04:52:10

I used to work at one about a decade ago in china whilst it was in the process of going from The British School to Nord Anglia.

My experience was that they were very good at being the kind of school you wanted to send your DC to. Children came from all over the world and from many different levels of education. They were helped and helped to move up to the level of the other children.

There were some absolutely awful teachers who were generally moved on within a few years to other schools in Asia so some schools were bloody hit and miss

KeyserSophie Fri 04-Nov-16 02:15:40

My kids arent there, but I do live in HK. Nord Anglia has a good reputation. Some people remain suspicious of it as it is one of few "for profit" schools in HK, but I dont think that really translates to differences in teaching style or ethos. The campus is very "urban" but most of the new schools are because they need to max out the land available (Kellett Kowloon Bay has its pitches on the roof, for example).

citychick Mon 07-Nov-16 13:52:58

Hello! Atonofwashing here...I had to change account and username due to PC messing around.

We didn't choose NA in the end. We made it to HK and are at the Korean international school . DS now in his second year there.

They have ditched the IB and have moved back to the UK curriculum which is great. DS is happy. Teachers are great and there is a good mix of kids from all over the world. It's a tiny school. He has 11 kids in the class. The secondary section is even smaller but the new headmaster wants to expand.

angelbird are you in HK? What school did you chose, if you have chosen.
A friend of mine was quite happy with NA. We chose KIS for many reasons, but wanted to stay on the island.


MangosteenSoda Mon 07-Nov-16 22:20:09

Angelbird I have a few friends with children at Nord Anglia and they are all happy with it.

The only school I regularly hear negative things about is HK Academy. I think this Is partly to do with the PYP programme. On the other hand, I also know lots of satisfied parents. I'd broadly say that US families seem happier with HKA than European or Aus/NZ families.

KeyserSophie Tue 08-Nov-16 05:17:16

I think the PYP works better for some children than others. Children tend to be "behind" doing PYP vs UK curriculum (because formal literacy starts later- Yr 1 vs. reception) and whilst it obviously evens out, that can make some UK parents panic especially if they're planning to go back and have prep school,11+/ common entrance concerns.

People seemed happier with HKA when it was on the island, despite the lovely new campus. i dont know whether the fact that it draws from a very broad geographic area has impacted the "feel" of the school. I did a tour when they were in kennedy town and I was v impressed, but ultimately I opted for a UK curriculum school as I thought it suited my DC better.

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