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Thursday, July 7, 2016, 22:56

HK to open its first preparatory school


Students in Hong Kong may find it easier to get into independent schools in the United Kingdom as the city will have its first preparatory school – starting from next year. The new school will prepare children for the Common Entrance Examinations – a test system which is applied in Britain.

The Mount Kelly International School (MKIS) is the first sister school opened by Mount Kelly, a respected British boarding school that enjoys a history of over 140 years. It is scheduled to open in September 2017 and accepts students aged from 5 to 13.

With tuition ranging from HK$155,000 to HK$185,000, the school will provide a curriculum which strictly follows that offered in Mount Kelly in the UK, but with a slight variation to better fit the local culture. According to MKIS’ Education Director Martin Clark, Mandarin is compulsory and traditional options like French and Latin will be offered as elective courses.

Assistance to the Common Entrance Examinations will also be offered. This is to help students to get into independent schools in the UK after they finish Year 8 at MKIS.

MKIS General Manager Paul Measor said Hong Kong currently has only two education centers which offer assistance with Common Entrance Examinations assistance.

The new school’s application and education plans were submitted to the Hong Kong Education Bureau (EDB) in June for review.

Measor said the school was still discussing with the EDB issues like the percentage of local students and foreign students being enrolled.

Board Director of MKIS Rick Johnson said the school will not give priority to British passport holders.

He noted that the schools would rather place priority to talented students and families which share the same positive education values with the school.

No nomination schemes for student admission were revealed. But Measor said MKIS is set to release its nomination rights certificate in the middle of July with the price around HK$1.92 million. He did not reveal the total amount of certificates which would be available.

Located in Gold Coast area at So Kwun Wat in Tuen Mun, the school has a small part of its land rented from the local government, explained Measor, who did not reveal the exact size of this land or what the rent was. Besides the land, the school has not received any government grants and subsidies.

The school development is divided into three phrases. The first, which will be completed by September 2017, will facilitate students aged 5 to 8 years old with a core teaching block and sports facilities. The final phrase which will come in by the year 2019 will provide boarding options for students.

Hong Kong has 50 international schools, providing around 41,000 places every year. The Education Bureau warned in 2013 that the 2016-17 school year would see a shortfall of 4,200 places at international primary schools.

Willa Wu contributed to the reporting.

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