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so we're moving to Hong Kong in the middle of the school year... not quite sure where to start?

(13 Posts)
hongkongbound Thu 23-Jun-16 09:43:42

Just did a search and found some fairly recent HK threads, which is encouraging and v helpful. Lovely to know I'm not the only one moving out there at fairly short notice. I would love some advice on schools from those in the know though.

Brief summary. Me, DH and two DDs (aged 8 and 6 but almost 9 and 7 when we moved) are almost 100% certain to be moving to HK in January for DH's work. Lots up in the air (once everything is confirmed I'm going to try to negotiate to do my job remotely but we shall see) and a huge amount to sort out e.g. accommodation, what happens to our house over here etc

But my main concern is schools: I did some research on this a few months back when the idea was originally raised but then it was put on hold for ages and we are now due to be arriving at the start of term 2, having obviously missed all application deadlines and whatnot.

I wanted to start by getting some recommendations and then I was planning to call them up, explain the situation and ask if there's any hope of us getting a place in January. Does that sound like a reasonable plan?! If all else fails, I guess I will have to settle for some combination of tutoring and home education and then start applying for September 17?!

Any advice very welcome indeed.

They are currently at a regular UK state primary school. They've been learning french with our au pair over the past year so I'd also be interested in French-English bilingual schools though I've no idea if they'd accept them at their current level...

We do a lot of music too, so I'm keen to hook up with a children's orchestra/string group over there. I'll start researching that via the suzuki networks but again, any inside info much appreciated.

guihailin Thu 23-Jun-16 14:13:34

There is an INCREDIBLE bilingual French-English primary school which has Mandarin too from 9, amazing computing, mental arithmatic, arty. It's the Lycee Francais international de Hong Kong. There should be a documentary to follow these children to see where they head. It is the French national curriculum plus plus. It is not IB. This is not the International part of the school, which is IB and is not bilingual.

This sounds like what you're after. However do your children have a French passport ? I think all the children in this stream have a French passport (a few Swiss).

Woodland schools may be best for you otherwise, or Harrow.

tothefareast80 Thu 23-Jun-16 14:23:11

Finding a school place, mid-year for children of the age of yours will not be easy. You should probably consider engaging a schools consultant who can give you sensible, reasonable and realistic options to save you spending loads of time and money on applications (every school charges just to to apply). You can take a look at a couple of FB groups Hong Kong Moms and Hong Kong Schools - both full of very helpful people. Find schools before you find a house to make sure your kids don't have a horrid commute.

Best of luck with your move. We've been here five plus years and love it, mostly.

KeyserSophie Thu 23-Jun-16 14:31:40

You don't need to be a French passport holder for the French stream of the Lycée but if you're not fluent, I think it would be somewhat hard, academically and socially- it is very French and they assess for language -I think fluency or close to it is expected. Most non-French kids opt for the International stream.

Your children will be too old for Woodlands- that only goes to P1- it's a preschool with an overflow class.

If you want British curriculum there are 3 choices: Kellett, Harrow and Nord Anglia. Nord Anglia is your best bet for mid-year entry as its a relatively new school and is not full in the higher years. That said, it is extremely well regarded- people were a bit suspicious about it to start with but all I hear now are good things. However, worth contacting the other two because places do come up, and parents are often reluctant to move children mid-year, so even if there's a waiting list, you may get lucky.

The other option is ESF schools (IB). They give priority to newcomers. The schools are catchment based so it may be a case of moving where there are places, but they are good schools- class sizes slightly larger, but no larger than UK state primaries..


Yakari Thu 23-Jun-16 15:03:35

The bilingual stream at the Lycee is very French. If the kids aren't fluent I really doubt they'd get in.

The international stream at the Lycee do four to five hours of French a week and a little mandarin. This is probably a better option. Your eldest probably has one more year at their main primary campus (Jardines) before moving to Chai Wan so a good option is living Southside or Stanley (along with many other families from the school for this reason!)

Having said that there is a new campus being built and a lot of changes (international stream are changing their headmaster). Still a brilliant school so sure it will settle down but do be aware of some changes taking place

However the one thing to know about HK is there are hundreds of afterschool activities including languages - so in reality I wouldn't force the choice of school based on French. Look at different options some mentioned above then if necessary get the kids into French clubs/tutors

hongkongbound Thu 23-Jun-16 19:39:41

Working this afternoon and evening hence radio silence but thanks v much for taking the time to answer. The Lycee would be amazing - was thinking it would have to be international stream. I've contacted their admissions dept but would be v surprised if there's any hope of my DC getting places. Will write more later/tomorrow. Thanks again

Farandole Thu 23-Jun-16 21:37:34

Hi OP, I've PMd you but for others on this thread, Lycee francais has a waiting list of over 300+ children per school year for the British curriculum stream and no places available. They would not even take our registration money as they said they would definitely not have places for us. That was in 2015 for an August 2016 start date. At least they were candid about it! Saved us a few hundred quid. But yes it has a great reputation.

Farandole Thu 23-Jun-16 21:42:09

One more thing, Harrow offers French and Mandarin as 2nd languages, with the option to do both. This appealed to us as I'm French Canadian (and British - dual citizenship🙂) and kids understand the basics but now need to take it to the next level.

Avebury Thu 23-Jun-16 22:47:52

Don't want to hijack a thread but very interested myself in opinions on Harrow both Junior and Senior school

hongkongbound Thu 23-Jun-16 23:27:38

Thanks Farandole - that's good to know. I will def look into the chances of getting into Harrow school. 300+ on the waiting list is nuts!!

KeyserSophie Fri 24-Jun-16 00:39:50

Some of the waiting lists are not as bad as they look at first sight for the upper years (i.e. not lowest entry year), because, for example, if a child was waitlisted for reception, didn't get in and accepted a place elsewhere, they probably stayed on the waiting list for the preferred school as there's no downside to doing that. However, 300+ is nuts.

Kellett also teaches French from Y3 (children can choose between French and Mandarin). The issue is that French is needed by certain schools for the 13+ whilst others give an exemption to international students. However, in either case it's taught as a MFL- not immersion.

Yakari Fri 24-Jun-16 01:33:22

smile when we were looking a few years ago Kellet offered me slot 624 on their list and would happily have taken my money!
Waiting lists in HK are a source of amusement and frustration in equal measure.
Your 8/9 year old is more likely to get a slot as less people higher up the lists will move their kids once established at a school. So personally I'd start there.
You may have to consider them being at different schools to start. Not such a challenge as it sounds given school buses and pretty common when people arrive especially in January Then you push for sibling priority and hope its sorted by the following September. Again sounds stressful but you'll find many others in the same boat and most schools are use to new starters for a whole range of reasons so very good at helping kids settle.

hongkongbound Fri 24-Jun-16 01:43:42

That's really helpful - thanks, both

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