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Hong Kong schools - FIS, HKIS or Kellet

(8 Posts)
Iliketodance35 Sat 02-Apr-16 20:05:53

Would love people's thoughts and opinions on these schools, mostly we what type of child and family they suit, their facilities, quality of teachers, sports... Well any information really!!

Thanks for any help!

Laptopwieldingharpy Sun 03-Apr-16 04:28:35

Very different curriculae & demographics!
What grades? Coming from which type of school? Returning to what type of school?

KeyserSophie Sun 03-Apr-16 08:19:38

Kellett: Caveat: my kids go there. I really like it and feel the pastoral care in prep is second to none. It's not selective and one of the more academically inclusive schools (no interviews for reception entry). I feel the expectations around behaviour and personal independence are really positive and my DS has come on extremely well in literacy in his first year from a standing start. Predominantly British families but some other nationalities- notably Australian (mainly children with 1 UK parent, 1 Aussie parent). A few local families. Teaches British curriculum. Main criticisms of it are that the mandarin program is not strong (they are open about this- taught as a MFL, not immersion), and it's not as academic as some of the other schools (but it's also not selective and has a low % of local families, which largely explains that).It has 2 campuses- at prep you can choose between Pok Fu Lam on the island, or the prep section of the Kowloon Bay campus which also houses the senior school. If you have kids in senior, probably makes sense to put primary level children in KLB as well. However, if all your children are primary age and you plan to live on HK island, then I'd recommend PFL. Campus is not as shiny and nice, but island kids tend to go to PFL, so unless you want to travel to the New Territories for playdates all the time, I'd stay local. Until recently it was the only British Curriculum school in HK. Now there are also Harrow and Nord Anglia. However, Kellett still a very popular choice.

FIS - Is predominantly French (unsurprisingly). No uniform. Has a local stream (French language) and and International stream (English). International stream has good mix of nationalities but is academically selective (some controversy about requiring 3 year olds to write their name to get in). French stream isn't and if you're a French passport holder they basically have to let you in. Nice campus in central location. I don't know how much the French and international streams "mix".

HKIS - Despite it's name, it is essentially "The American International School". Christian (Lutheran??) ethos. Predominantly Americans and ABCs (priority to US passport holders). Non-uniform. Good academically (strong culture of achievement- it's not uncool to be clever), although I don't think it's selective. Very strong in sport and extra curriculars. Reasonable mandarin program. The culture is very American (a fact, not a criticism). I'm not sure I would actively choose it if I had no ties to the US at all. Check what's happening with the campuses as I think they were refurbing, which involved a decant to a temporary campus.


Laptopwieldingharpy Sun 03-Apr-16 11:39:59

FIS also has a quite selective and robust bilingual stream (french/english). They mix a bit more with french stream kids. The international stream kids dont mix much with french stream kids unless they have a french parent. Very different faculty and adminustration in the International stream ( which is good!)
They do IGCSEs with very good results then mostly on to the IB diploma and academics are quite rigorous. Great university placements.

HKIS has a very wide range of nationalities, lots of US pan- asian families as well as various european and others.
It is indeed a very american school with lots of positive thinking, strong extra curriculars, community & charity involvment compulsory in older grades in line with the christian ethos but by no means a "religious" school.
Religion is taught as humanities and very welcoming with other creeds and non religious families alike.
Yes the kids are expected to do well and take advanced placement courses in high school but there is also much time spent on personal development and community involvement through "houses" " dyads", morning meetings etc....
The counsellors also do a fab job shepherding newcommers through lunch dates and a buddy system with older kids.
We have no ties whatsoever with the US ( muslim and agnostic 😆) but love the strong academics and pastoral care.
Mandarin: various streams ( native, near native & additional language). The teachers are very supportive of non Asian kids willing to give it a push and move up! That cant be said of many schools, not sure it matters for you.
Primary is currently split between taitam ( up to grade 2) and repulse bay ( grades 3-5).

Iliketodance35 Mon 04-Apr-16 10:05:24

Wow, thank you so much for this information, it really is so helpful and gives a great insight to the schools. Re which type of school, we are currently in the UK, one child in Reception, so when we move will be year 1 or equivalent and one child in nursery who will enter Reception in August / September. However my husband is Kiwi and I'm Irish, so I don't think we'll actually come back to the UK after Hong Kong (whenever it is that we will leave!)... but we have no idea where we'll go after, could be Ireland, NZ or even the US. From your descriptions above, I love the sound of Kellet and HKIS, but think we want to live in Repulse Bay (have friends there and just back from a quick visit to HK and thought it seemed really nice) so therefore thinking HKIS would be better because of proximity. I understand most kids get buses in HK, but I would love for mine not to be on the bus for too long before and after school. It makes me nervous thinking about them getting on a bus every day as it is!!! Their current school and nursery are a 3 minute walk from our house!

Thanks for any other info re schools, accommodation and HK in general!! I am a total novice, the visit that we just returned from was our first time there, and with 3 kids in tow trying to get to see it and with jet lag, it was pretty busy and didn't get to see as much as we would have liked!

KeyserSophie Tue 05-Apr-16 00:23:01

Do you have debentures for these schools? If you don't have one for Kellett I imagine it will be very difficult to get a place, especially for your reception child.
However, a lot of Kellett PFL families live in Repulse Bay and Stanley (it's a very "Southside" school). If your company is giving you a debenture for Kellett check if it's campus specific as may be KLB only (they issued a new debenture when they built the new campus a few years ago).

If you have no debentures and no priority on other grounds (nationality, for example- as your DH is from NZ I think you'd get priority at the Australian school)- have you ruled that out?) it may be worth speaking to a schools consultant about your options.


Laptopwieldingharpy Tue 05-Apr-16 00:55:02

All 3 primary schools are very happy environments with an experienced faculty and well established curriculum.
I transfered both kids from british IB schools to HKIS in grade 2& 3 and they were comfortably ahead.
In our experience, British schools do early/key stage one litteracy and numeracy best. The pace at hkis is very friendly and there is no formal streaming untill upper primary although they do standard testing regularly ( ERB - which is also the test they administer for entry after grade 3). The pace does pick up around grade 4-5 but still not a huge amount of homework.
Typically in grade R1-R2-G1 its only daily reading and the occasional project to research. In G2 they also a daily 10mn math practice.

Not sure about Kellet, but in our previous schools there was a bit more homework. Free writing, spelling, flash cards with high frequency words and spelling patterns etc....

At FIS they have a fair amount of homework and are quite strict with things like hand writting ( quick to refer to OTs etc..... The idea is that teachers have no time or patience for anything else but formal teaching). If you are not at all familiar with a french environment, i would not recommend unless a strong IB program is on your wish list.

Can i just add, don't wait. Apply now. You may very well already be too late for an August intake.
If that is the case, contact woodlands pre-Schools without delay to secure a place. They do run a fairly good program for nursery-reception-year one to bridge the gap till you get a place. Lots of kids at the schools mentioned come from a woodlands pre-school.
For your yougest, that would also give you time to consider common applications for Y1 this september ( you have a 30 day window to apply) at ESF bradbury. It is a good option. The underlying curric is UK key stages + IB taught by very experienced teachers. A very happy school, with lots of mixed European/Oz/asian families.

Farandole Tue 26-Apr-16 01:01:34

Just to add, waiting lists at Kelletts are very long. We applied in September 2015 for a Y1 place in August 2016 and haven't got a place. I have a friend who has been offered a place in Y4 after 18 months on waiting list but with compulsory corporate debenture (500k).

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