A word about schools in Hong Kong. I am about to apply to three more schools (we are already wait-listed for two schools).
So here's the run-down.
*School 1 - seems to be the "in" school for our area. Loads of people apply and very few get in. When parents talk about the fact their kids go there, it is almost like talking about an exclusive club. Most of the kids who get in to this are from the feeder school. Almost the entire feeder school class was accepted last year. Catch is the child has to go to the feeder school for two terms before they can make the interview priority list. (we moved here too late to consider going there) The school has an IB programme and was originally designed to provide western families with a school for children who did not speak the local language. Well, I guess too many Westerners decided to move to the area, because there are way too many applications and way too few spaces. Between you and me, the School seems a bit run down, and overcrowded for a school that has so much attitude. I met a woman who has two girls there and they have had to be tutored in Math from early on because they aren't being given enough instruction at school. There is minimal homework. And I've heard tutors don't like tutoring kids from there because they lack focus and are all over the place.
*School 2 - seems to be "runner up" school. Takes the overflow from the first school but concerns from parents is that it is too Chinese and Western kids are ostracized. Not cool. Facilities are new and not run-down (as school number 1). Called to make an appointment in June to see the school, they told me to get back in touch in September because they don't offer tours during the Summer. Called last week (thinking I am ahead of the game) and they told me all tours are booked until October. And I have to apply in September. Not cool, not cool. So I have to apply without seeing the school? NOT COOL.
* School 3 - bilingual school. Actually top of my list these days. Combines Chinese and Western curriculum. Teaches in both Mandarin and English. Actually talks about kids getting into top universities around the world (haven't seen much about this anywhere else). Seems to have very strong academic, sport, art, language and music program. Small class size. 10:1 student/teacher ratio (compare to school 1 and 2 with 25 kids per class). Only problem - it's about 30 min away with no traffic and it starts at quite an early age = not much room each year for new students. I'm guessing there is a lot of homework from very early on.
* School 4 - Japanese school. Good facilities, education, class size is small. No telling if she will get in.
* School 5 - Applied. Last I checked, Mads (who should have the best chance of getting in) was between 170-180 on the wait list for a school that hasn't even been built yet!
*School 6 - Another bilingual school. Tempted to apply but I just don't know if we even stand a chance of getting in. And seriously, how many schools must one apply for?