Hong Kong’s school scene has flourished in recent years. This growth is making secondary school selection overwhelming for many parents. Over the last decade, 16 vacant premises (called ‘greenfield sites’) have been allocated as international school campuses. The Hong Kong Special Administrative region now hosts a total of 55.
For the first time in a generation, families arriving in Hong Kong have a broad range of high-quality options. Perhaps more significantly, they now also have choice.
According to BEN KEELING, Principal at Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong, this is good news for both parents and schools. This choice presents an opportunity to seek a true alignment in values and vision – and this alignment has been shown to have enormously significant impact.
Ben notes that parents and families can be seen as the ‘co-constructors of the learning experience’. These are the words of former interim Chief Executive of the National College for School Leadership, Ms Maggie Farrar, who goes on to point out that ‘the development of a relational trust [between a school and its community] is a prerequisite of better partnerships leading to better outcomes.’
School selection: a personal process
When it comes to education, Ben assures parents that a shared set of values between families and schools leads to improved results. This means the selection of a school is naturally a deeply personal process. Today, the availability of a wide range of academic pathways in Hong Kong offers a unique opportunity – something that’s especially relevant for parents looking at high schools.
“Parents in Hong Kong are no longer captive to a system working beyond capacity,” say Ben. “Now, they are able to intelligently tailor the educational pathway of their child, even as interests and strengths change and evolve.”
Shrewsbury focuses exclusively on the early childhood and primary school experience. Ben notes, “Our learning spaces and the relationships we foster have been shaped by what we know about early childhood development – the needs and interests of a child at five differ enormously from those observed at the age of 15. From within our campus, children receive a broad, balanced and aspirational range of opportunity.”
But what happens to Shrewsbury students after primary? “They are offered personal guidance and direct support at their point of departure,” says Ben. “This is most commonly to enter secondary here in Hong Kong or the British independent system back in the UK.”
Secondary school selection
Understandably, this particular benefit has proven especially popular with incoming expatriates. These expats are often based in the region for an undetermined length of time. Shrewsbury’s secondary school selection programme helps parents navigate the diverse choice of schools and identify the right choice for their child.
Secondary school selection at Shrewsbury is undertaken over the course of three years. “Selection draws upon our ever-developing knowledge of each individual child,” Ben shares. “Guided by a detailed action plan, each student’s high school exploration, selection and application are tracked closely. This ensures they are placed into a school that allows them to thrive.” This is peace of mind for parents who may be worried about securing a place at the right high school.
Speaking about Shrewsbury’s recent experience placing students into high schools, Ben says, “For our 2018/19 graduates, the process has proven to be enormously successful. It has led to a diverse a range of outcomes, as you might expect from such a personalised service.” For students who graduate from Shrewsbury, these onward journeys are supported by a wealth of partnerships and a detailed school database.
There’s more good news when it comes to secondary school selection. With such a broad range of options now available, high schools have become increasingly assured on the unique benefits they offer to students. Ben notes, “This growing confidence has brought about a greater willingness to engage and collaborate.”
Parents interested in learning more about Shrewsbury’s secondary school selection service can reach out to the school team directly on firstname.lastname@example.org. Shrewsbury offers regular tours of the school every Tuesday at 10am.
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