It’s time to think laterally with institutions in up-and-coming areas
Looking for an international school? Panicking over the seeming lack of places at the best institutions? Fear not, as the market diversifies, the choices are expanding from traditional enclaves to new hotspots across the city.
In the past, the presence of Chinese International School or say the French International School made Happy Valley, North Point Mid-Levels, or Jardine’s Lookout must-live residential areas. Likewise, Hong Kong International School created demand in Stanley and Tai Tam, while the plethora of schools in Kowloon Tong made the area compelling to live in. Times, however, are changing rapidly.
Australian International School in Kowloon Tong
Traditional players not the only choice
Even if you can afford to put your kids through the traditional powerhouses, the waiting lists are nearly impossible to crack, and associated housing markets in the area are heavily saturated or over priced. With a lack of campus space in the city, educational institutions have spread their reach further afield. In the New Territories, housing and educational markets have matured with striking options.
Li Po Chun United World College (a sixth form college) and Sha Tin College were originally outliers in the sense that they offered international class education in the New Territories. Nowadays, a host of new schools are changing the perceptions that world-standard education for primary and secondary school children does not exist outside Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
The notion was foolhardy to begin with, and became nonsensical following the opening of Harrow International School in Tuen Mun in 2012. Elsewhere, a similar trend is taking place. In Tseung Kwan O, for example, the French International School and Shrewsbury School both aim to open campuses in August 2018 (the French International School will be primary only in the international section).
Let's go Tai Po
Emerging from the New Territories is a very attractive market in Tai Po. According to its official news, ESOL Education will be opening the American School Hong Kong (ASHK) in the 2016-17 school year for Kindergarten through Grade 6, based on the US Common Core. ASHK will eventually be a full-scale K-12 school, with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program (DP) in Grades 11 and 12, and US High School Diploma and Advanced Placement options.
Making its debut in Tai Po for the 2018 school year, the official website of Malvern College Hong Kong also reveals that the school will initially provide 380 primary places, rising to a capacity of 960 places. The school will run an International Baccalaureate curriculum for girls and boys aged 6 to 12.
Tai Po gives you beautiful views, far from metropolitan Hong Kong.
Living the life
Some may think twice about living outside the comfort zone of the city, but luxury options do exist in Tai Po, not to mention a cleaner and more spacious living environment than in town, and more attractive house prices. Ma On Shan, Pat Sin Leng, Plover Cove and Tai Mo Shan Country Parks are nearby, while Tolo Harbour is famed for its scenic walking and biking routes. Business magnate Li Ka Shing recently opened the 500,000 sq.ft Tsz Shan Monastery in the vicinity, featuring a prominent 76m tall Guan Yin statue. Tai Po is also famed for its markets, local food, and nature reserves.
In terms of investment, the Hong Kong Science Park is close, home to start-ups, technology and science-driven organisations. Hong Kong’s leading English newspaper The South China Morning Post has its headquarters in Tai Po as well. Alongside convenient road and rail access to the city, the area has proven appealing as both a business and residential destination.
So, don’t panic if the conventional educational market turns up precious little for your family, just think laterally.