education....very late in the game

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7

    education....very late in the game

    So, just got told by my DH that we are moving from Dubai to HK - out of the blue so haven't even started looking at schools. I am indifferent between American, British, or international education but we are USA passport holders and kids only speak English if these things matter. I know everything probably changes over the summer, but what are the chances of getting two 6 year olds and one 8 year old into schooling (American 1st and 3rd grades, or British yrs 2 and 4) by August? Is there a difference between ESF wait lists and private schools for this age group?

    Just feel like I need to give my DH's company a heads up that we may not be able to waltz right over (assuming that this is the case..)

    Suggestions welcome. Thanks


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    4

    I don't know about the other schools, but having had experience getting a six-year-old into ESF I can say it wasn't easy.

    My husband transferred last October and it has taken us 8 months to secure a place for our daughter.

    We put her name down on the nearest ESF school waiting list (Clear Water Bay)as soon as he had sorted an apartment. Although we asked a few times what the wait list was for a place in Year 1, we were only told 'very long'. In short there wasn't a hope of getting a place there. Between July and December you have to apply to your local ESF school (requiring a Hong Kong address before you can apply). From what I was told, all ESF schools will have a waiting list.

    From January to June ESF operate a Corporate Surety scheme, which is applied for through your husband's company. If you enter the scheme in January it costs a lot of money (or costs the company if you have that in your relocation deal). but this gets you at the front of the queue for a place at any ESF school. The cost reduces for every month - so if you leave it until June it costs very little to go on the list.

    You don't get to choose the school, it is simply done on where the place comes available when you are at the top of the waiting list. So you could end up with a school trip that takes 45mins or an hour +. Or even worse, children at different schools.

    After being told that we were 10th on the Surety scheme list in May, we were finally offered a place in mid June for year 2 starting in August, and are now packing up things in the UK to join hubby in HK in 3 weeks

    I'm sure there are schools outside of ESF that will be easier to get into, but at a significant cost of course.

    Last edited by kimwy66; 18-07-2010 at 06:29 AM.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7

    Thank you for the information. It is what it is I suppose - such a shame that it might mean waiting for this move due to schools. The waiting is the hardest part - I'd rather just go on and get it over with.

    Also, what happens when you go to an ESF school but then end up moving home after your children are admitted?

    Anyone have any advice on the non-ESF schools?


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    41

    schools

    Hi
    Not sure if your husband's company has any corporate debentures or would buy one for the children? It was the deal breaker for us, as we decided we wouldnt come to HK unless we could get children into schooling and we had heard some stoires about how tough it was. My husbands company then said they would buy a corporate debenture and we got in to an international school.

    Being American, you would have priority at HKIS, so contact them. Other international schools are the canadian international school and others which follow the english curriculum - French international, german swiss,esf.

    There is some turn over from now until Septemeber at schools. Often last minute too. Most of the international schools will allow you to put your name down without a HK residential address unlike ESF. I used my husband's company address and that was fine.

    Ring the ESF system and see where they think you will have the best chance in securing a place as that may determine where you chose to live. I still have a friend who's son is on a wait list at Bradbury ESF a year after putting his name down, so it can be a long wait. I know others that have gained places at Quarry Bay and the Peak school after just a few weeks.

    Good luck.


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    4

    Definitely on the corporate debentures, get it in your contract. We were left with the ESF system because my husband's company maintained getting a place there would be 'no problem', and when it became obvious that it was a problem wouldn't pay for a debenture to an international school because we hadn't got it in the secondment contract.