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Harbour School - feedback?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    7

    Harbour School - feedback?

    We are moving to HK soon and our relo consultant is pushing us to Harbour school. Any feedback?


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Pokfulam Hong Kong
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    73

    I am wondering if your relo agent is pushing you towards that school because it may have vacancies?

    From your research, what schools do you think would best fit your children & their personalities?


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    7

    That is exactly my thought dimsum mum. It has openings so "lets push the ignorant people who know nothing about schools there and say it is great so I can get them off my back". But, to be fair thought I would ask for feedback. Maybe it is a great school - anyone?

    The school is very hard to figure out by their website. On the one hand it has small class sizes (yeah!) but then it mentions how every child is special - they are open to shadow teachers and have super-advanced programs for geniuses. (my kids need neither) They mention their units of inquiry but don't mention that they are following IB (or Brit or American). Uh - confusing - could be great or could be a total disaster. Right now, I am thinking that it is more of a disaster but thought I would ask for help from someone who actually knows before jumping to that conclusion.

    Last edited by snazzy; 02-08-2010 at 11:43 PM.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    U.S.A.
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    39

    I looked into Habour School's website and had the same thought. I couldn't figure out much about their school either. I don't hear people talk about this school much. Snazzy, pls. let us know what you decide to do.


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    7

    I haven't visited the school yet, but through word of mouth I have heard it is a school for children with special needs although they do have a section for normal kids. We are probably not going to apply.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Hong Kong
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    432

    Have met someone who has her son there. He's not special needs and they are very happy with the school. Class sizes are small. They have moved to a new location in Kennedy Town. Definitely worth a visit.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    7

    Update after the visit. It is a very small schools (90 children) with minimal facilities (something about them not having international status with the HK government so they have to pay exorbitant rent - they expect their location to change once they get this status so their facilities should improve).

    The lady I spoke to was great - I could tell she cared about the school and put her money where her mouth is (as her kids go there). She spoke of the very small class sizes and the ability to pull kids out that have special requirements. She mentioned that these special requirements are on the above the grade side as well as those that need help keeping up. I asked about kids with serious mental/physical issues and she said no (there is a sister school that takes the other children) but some kids need extra tutoring in reading (perhaps dyslexic) or math or for kids that need extra challenges - they do the Johns Hopkins Math program. I asked her what math program they follow and it was the same as the math program they followed in the US (and a good private school). So I have confidence in their curriculum. They test the children twice a year to make sure the kids are on par or above - I forget which tests, but one was British and one was American.

    I'd say their philosophy is great - customized education for kids, small class sizes, etc. But their facility was below par. They use the public playground down the road, they use the public library down the road (they have a minimal library in house), they use the public sports center down the road. The classrooms were fine - it is just all the extra stuff that isn't as good. And, the price tag is quite steep. I think it might be a phenomenal school once they get a real facility though.

    Our decision is that we aren't going to send our kids there because we secured a place in a more mainstream school.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Pokfulam Hong Kong
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    73

    This is a really thoughtful review. Thank you for taking the time to write this.


  9. #9
    HSI
    HSI is offline

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    Mar 2007
    Location
    Hong Kong Island
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    3

    My son went to the school for 1 year and he had a great time! Personally, I wouldn't complain about the school except for the costly tuition. But they have a reason for this as they truly devote the attention on the needs of each individual student. My son has attention problem and it is indeed very hard to find the right level of special needs support in HK (even among other international schools!). There are many reasons for parents sending their children to The Harbour School, and generally speaking, it could be either children who require special needs support, or an "interim" school while waiting for another international school.
    If you will enrol your kids because of the first reason, then you definitely choose the right school. The school is small, the infrastructure may not be fancy as other international schools - BUT their efforts and qualification to cater your child's special needs are the best in HK.
    If you will enrol your kids because of the second reason, well, obviously this simple reason can explain everything why your child go there.
    Regardless, I like the school a lot and thinks my son has benefited significantly during his one year there. Good luck!


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1

    Looks like the original poster has already made a decision re: schools but in case there are others interested in The Harbour School, I thought I'd post a response anyway.

    We placed our 4 1/2 year old in the Kindergarten class when we arrived in May and she's continuing there this Fall. She is not a "special education needs" child. Overall I can only comment on her month-long experience thus far but here are my thoughts:

    Likes:
    - Great teacher to student ratio in classroom and smaller class sizes so the teachers really get to know the students individually, including their strengths and where they may need extra attention.
    - Teachers seem well qualified and not a lot of turnover (although the school is only 2 or 3 years old I believe)
    - Curriculum seems strong, but then again, she's only in Kindergarten
    - Integration in some classrooms of different grade levels (e.g. kindergarten and first grade) for group lessons so that younger children can learn from older children and older children learn how to interact with younger children

    Dislikes:
    - Tuition and other fees are steep, on par with the more expensive schools in HK
    - Facilities lack an outdoor play space so the children have to use the public area of the building

    I don't think we'll pull our child out to move her to a more mainstream school, we don't see the need as she enjoys it and the school goes up to 7th grade. We did look at some of the other schools in HK but still felt The Harbour School was the best option for us.


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