School selection is one of the most important decisions a parent will make. The team at Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong know all too well the influence that education has on personal, social and cultural interactions, and a child’s academic aspirations. These factors stood at the heart of decisions made during the foundation period of the school at Tseung Kwan O, which marks its fifth anniversary this academic year. The first time Expat Living visited Shrewsbury for a media tour, it was still a building site. Clad in our high-res jackets and hard hats, we were shown around the space by founding (and current) principal BEN KEELING. And we all had the same question: “Why only a primary school?” in Hong Kong.
“We did have the option of opening as a through-train school in 2018,” says Ben, reminiscing about the Shrewsbury launch. “But we felt strongly that the shared-site model that is common to many schools in Hong Kong leaves the opportunities and experiences available to the youngest students vulnerable. We were simply unwilling to compromise on our commitment to outstanding education – our work is too important.”
As a result of that decision, Shrewsbury is today the only premium level provider of primary education for children aged between three and 11 years in Hong Kong and the region. Located in a purpose-built mountainside campus 30 minutes from Central, it shares the same commitment to cultivating confident, articulate and independent learners as its namesake institution, one of the outstanding independent schools in the UK.
Why Primary Matters
“You only get one childhood,” says Ben, “and we know that our early experiences have a deep and irreversible influence over our adult perception of the world. We work consciously to support the development of a broad, complex and diverse network of connection, for example, in the knowledge that it has been proven to increase engagement, attainment and aspiration over the course of a lifetime.”
“Parents share a set of natural biases that often drive us to focus upon the experiences we want our children to enjoy as adults,” he continues. “This leaves us at risk of compromising their experiences in the present. We are a Primary School, and the vast majority of benefits our students enjoy stem from this critical distinction: they are the sole occupants of our beautiful campus in Hong Kong and the most significant consideration of school leaders and governors.”
Secondary School Selection
The only remaining question is: what happens when a child turns 12?
The process of secondary school selection at Shrewsbury is led by a designated member of staff – it’s an individualised three-year programme that ensures families are well looked after. The response from parents to the services available around the transition to secondary has been very positive. “Shrewsbury students are guided and supported personally,” says Ms Gao, parent of a Y6 student. “Our daughter shares a rich and varied range of positive relationships and will treasure her primary years forever.”
“The skills and attributes exhibited by Shrewsbury students are highly sought after,” adds Ben. “Graduates hold places at all of the leading schools in the region – they leave confident, informed and engaged, ready to thrive in the world beyond. Their experience here has a life-defining influence.”
Along with the benefits that accrue from the school’s approach to teaching and learning come the practical pluses of some impressive campus facilities. Here, we take a look at three of the key spaces where Shrewsbury students can be active and creative.
# Aquatics Centre
Shrewsbury has an indoor heated pool complex, with a 25-metre, six-lane swimming pool and a shallower pool for beginners.
“Swimming develops stamina, flexibility and muscle strength using the water as resistance. It also helps build concentration and persistence. Students at Shrewsbury swim every week from the age of three. Children who swim tend to be stronger, more coordinated physically and mentally. They also learn to overcome fear and celebrate their achievements. ”
– Kent, Aquatics Manager of Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong
The Music department at Shrewsbury comprises two teaching rooms, six practice rooms, a state-of-the-art Recital Hall, and an Auditorium that can host up to 500 guests. The Auditorium is my favourite space in the school – it’s amazing! I really enjoy performing on stage in front of my family and friends.
– Ben, Y4 student
# Gymnastics Centre
Shrewsbury has a dedicated gymnastics learning and training space that’s equipped to Olympic standards. My four-year-old regularly enjoys the use of the Gymnastics Centre. It truly is an outstanding space, and probably the largest single-purpose gymnastics facility in Hong Kong. Not only has his core strength improved but his determination and communication skills have skyrocketed!
– Rebecca, EY2 parent
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2022 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.