December-born child

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    5

    December-born child

    I am currently working at a University in the USA and have
    recently been offered a position in Hong Kong. I look forward to taking up the new position in the summer of 2008. However, I am anxious about the education for my son. He was born in England in December 1997. My family moved from England to the USA in 2001. My son has been educated in the US system since 2001 and is in Grade 4 in the 2007/8 school year. He can not speak Cantonese and can not read or write Chinese characters.

    We would like to enroll him to an ESF school. When I contacted an ESF primary, I was told that we should apply for Year 7 (i.e. secondary) and ESF schools are very strict about age band. However, when I contacted an ESF secondary, the response was the following: "taking into account **** is only in grade 4 this year and is very young for Year 7, I would suggest you consider to put him into Year 6 instead. We will consider him for Year 7 in 2009-10."

    Does ESF enforce a strict age band? The primary school insists this is the case but the response from the secondary school suggests otherwise. The end result - no one wants to consider our application. Is there any way I could challenge their desions?

    I am new to this forum. Will greatly appreciate your help.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Hong Kong
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    Although it sounds a big difference Grade 4 to Year 7 it is only a year out. Grade 4 is the equivalent to ESF Year 5 so next year Grade 5 will be ESF Year 6.

    I suggest you talk to the head teacher of the primary school and not the admissions secretary. (The administration secretary will only give you the ESF policy and nothing else but the head teacher can use common sense too.) Ive had the same problem with my two children. They are both a year below their age group at their current school and I want this to continue when they join ESF.

    I got a teacher from my daughters current school to write and explain that she was only just coping in the year she was in and that it wouldnt be helpful for her to skip a year. I enclosed this letter with my application.

    Although my daughter is still on the waiting list she has already had an interview to assess which year waiting list she should be on. And Im happy to say shes been put in the one below her age group. They told me that shell have another interview closer to the time to assess if she needs any extra help.

    Good luck with everything.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    Hong Kong
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    I know of a couple of kids that are Nov/Dec born that are a year behind their age band. So they aren't strict, but they do need to interview the child and the school does have the final say.


  4. #4

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    Jan 2008
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    USA
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    Many thanks for your suggestions.


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    USA
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    Thanks to the advice from this forum, I now have some promising news - an ESF primary school is willing to consider my son's case for year 6. The next step is to submit an application ASAP. According to the ESF website, I need the following documents:
    1. completed ESF application form;
    2. two recent photographs of the student;
    3. copy of student's school reports for the past two years;
    4. copy of student's passport showing child's date of birth and
    current visa status for Hong Kong;
    5. copy of parents' passports showing current visa status for Hong Kong;
    6. copies of parents' and child's identity cards, if applicable.
    7. Proof of address, e.g: a personalised copy of lease, utilities
    bill, bank statement, etc.

    I can get the first 3 items very quickly. Item 6 is not applicable.
    However, the other items may take many months to process. How do other overseas applicants deal with these? I would be grateful if someone could share your experience.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Hong Kong
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    I have no personal experience to share as were living in Hong Kong and could provide an address. However I know that recently ESF have started accepting applications from overseas (a few years ago you had to be living in Hong Kong before you could apply). So Id ask the admissions secretary at the school you are interested in and find out what to do.

    Best wishes,
    Barb


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    USA
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    5

    Just an update - your advice will be appreciated.

    My son attended the interview at Kennedy School on August 15. The interview went well - too well that the Deputy Principal said my son should be in year 7. We said we don't want him to skip a year but they were not willing to reconsider and sent our application to West Island School. Of course, West Island is full and we are placed at the bottom (No. 18) of the waiting list.

    We just feel that we are unfairly treated - West Island did not want to consider our case when we contacted them 8 months ago, saying my son was too young and now Kennedy School has kicked us out, saying he is too old. It is so late that all other schools are full as well. My son was at one of the best schools in the USA but now he has no school to go to in HK.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Hong Kong
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    Oh no! Have you tried contacting South Island or Island School to see if they have space or can put him on the waiting list? A lot of kids are on multiple waiting lists and even though you're # 18 you can move up fairly quickly. Don't give up hope. Did you ask WI if they can give you the classwork and your son can do at home so he doesn't fall behind? I know some schools do this.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    USA
    Posts
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    Thank you, for the advice. An ESF central person has agreed to look into other ESF schools - keep our fingers crossed. WI does not give coursework to people on the waiting list, unfortunately. I am now also exploring non-ESF schools: the American International School (AIS) has vacancies for Grade 5 - is this school as good as ESF?