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Best schools for special needs?

  1. #1

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    Best schools for special needs?

    I have two daughters - aged 3 and 1. I will need to apply for primary for my 3 year old next year to start in 2013 and in true HK fashion, I'm starting to think about it now. My 1 year old has special needs - she has a form of dwarfism which also affects her hand function and possibly mobility (it's hard to tell at this stage). I want to put them into the same school - so I want to know which schools are best for children with special needs? I need a school which is wheelchair accessible, and is willing to make some adaptions for my daughter who will possibly be half the height of her peers. If they can also offer services such as therapy at the school or an aide for my daughter if needed, that will be a bonus. I was planning to send them to ESF as my husband went there and so it should theoretically be easier for us to get in. We are closest to Quarry Bay, but I know that Bradbury has had other students with dwarfism already and so may be better equipped? But I'm not really sure...

    Anyone have any experiences with primary schools and special needs??


  2. #2

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    Really not sure about the wheelchair accessibility part of the issue. Seems like all the SEN documentation is focused on learning related issues.

    Also, cannot find much information at the various ESF school websites about wheelchair accessibility.

    You might want to reach out the the ESF Center. The best person to contact might be


    Head of Student Support is Jonathan Straker. His department deals with all aspects of admissions as well as issues such as zoning and the school calendar. Jonathan is supported by Julie Wong (Admissions Manager).
    Have you contacted Bradbury and asked them?

  3. #3

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    At QBS there is no wheelchair access / elevator right now. I've seen children from Bradbury in wheelchairs so it may be different there. Other than that, they both have (same level if not mistaken) Learning Support Center, so that wouldn't make a difference.


  4. #4

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    Thanks - I haven't contacted ESF yet, nor any other schools. I thought I would ask here first. Also, if we live in the Quarry Bay "catchment" area (I assume we do, we're in North Point), can we still apply for Bradbury if it is better for special needs? It will be my older daughter who does not have special needs starting school first - but I want them together in the school that will best cater for my 2nd daughter's special needs. And I don't want my older daughter to need to change schools in 3rd grade when my younger daughter starts.

    Does any one know about any non-ESF schools which are wheelchair accessible and good for special needs kids?


  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by nicolejoy
    Thanks - I haven't contacted ESF yet, nor any other schools. I thought I would ask here first. Also, if we live in the Quarry Bay "catchment" area (I assume we do, we're in North Point), can we still apply for Bradbury if it is better for special needs? It will be my older daughter who does not have special needs starting school first - but I want them together in the school that will best cater for my 2nd daughter's special needs. And I don't want my older daughter to need to change schools in 3rd grade when my younger daughter starts.

    Does any one know about any non-ESF schools which are wheelchair accessible and good for special needs kids?
    North Point is QBS, so you will automatically go into the QBS catchment. Bradbury offers same level of individual needs, so Bradbury is not better, however, they could (I don't know) have wheel chair access, so in that sense they could prioritize her there. Your sibling would automatically follow her, so no worries about different schools.

  6. #6

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    It might be worth noting that QBS is in the process of finalising some redevelopment of their campus which will include an elevator. The development work is due to start at the end of the school year, however I am not sure on the timeframe for the elevator access. I do know they hope to move the Year 1 classes to the ground floor for the start of the 2012/2013 school year.

    If you get no information from the ESF Center, perhaps you could call QBS and talk to them about what policies they might have in place for children in wheelchairs?


  7. #7

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    You might want to consider HKIS...they ate wheelchair accessible and have a great student services dept that goes all the way up to high school. The catch is though that the lower primary building is going to be renovated starting next school year, so your older daughter would have to travel to chai wan for school (not sure of exact address) and how long the renovation will take...I am assuming though that the facilities will only be more improved by the time your younger one starts at HKIS. Are you an American passport holder, if so that might help a bit.


  8. #8

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    We're Australian passport holders. I've thought of looking into AIS but it's a pretty long commute for primary, I think. I would probably consider it more for high school, if we're still around by then...


  9. #9
    TNT
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    I know Bradbury has an elevator and other children in wheelchairs attend, so there must be a reasonable degree of wheelchair access. It is however one of the hardest ESF schools to get into; i know many people who applied in Sept last year for this year and missed out on a spot as it covers so many expat areas, including Discovery Bay very strangely (i live in the Bradbury catchment). So if you are applying from QBS catchment that is likely to make it even harder especially as you are applying for your daughter without special needs first. I would definitely ring them - both the central admin and Bradbury/QBS direct- and explain the situation to see if you can get some sort of priority.

    I have also heard that Harbour School is great for special needs although I have no first hand knowledge and have not visited the school. The facilities are limited tho ie they use a public playground and also the fees are quite high, but think it is worth checking out. Would call them though as I did look at their website and it has minimal information. Also just be aware that many international schools (i don't know about Harbour School and obviously ESF is different) have waiting lists from birth so i'd be finding out about your options and getting your daughters names down asap. Good luck it is a challenging process in HK!


  10. #10

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    Nic, Bradbury is known for it's student-friendly practices including specials needs. H's mate is there and his mum says that it's the diversity in that school is amazing! You can't get in without being in the catchment area. So you'll have to move. Is it time for L-Bear to apply already!??? Time's flown!


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