Island School Redevelopment



Island School opened in 1967 on Borrett Road, Mid Levels, making it one of ESF’s oldest schools. The school building, which is now more than 44 years old, has served the Island School community well but the time has come to replace the building. This gives ESF the opportunity to build a purpose-built campus designed to provide a flexible learning environment that will serve us well now and into the future.

In 2011, an assessment of the building showed that major redevelopment was needed. After considering many options and thorough consultation with parents, staff and students, a decision was taken to redevelop the school site on Borrett Road. Since then, ESF has secured funding and drawn up detailed plans to demolish the current building and develop a purpose-built campus.

While the Borrett Road site is being redeveloped, Island School will move to two temporary school sites in Shatin Wai and Tai Wai (subject to final confirmation from the Education Bureau). Both sites have a similar size and layout and it is anticipated that these sites will be our new home for three to four academic years. The process of moving sites is known within ESF as ‘decant’.

Island School Redevelopment Newsletter

A newsletter will be issued starting from March 2016 to provide a regular update. All parents of Island School and some ESF primary schools and all ESF staff will receive this newsletter.

Click on the link below to see newsletter:

June 2016

May 2016

March 2016

Click HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below please find some FAQs to give you a clear picture of the redevelopment project.

1. What is the plan for the new Island School?

The concept design of the new Island School building will adopt a standard fit to support the world-class education offered by Island school. Built over eight floors, the new school will include innovative learning spaces, a performing arts centre, an indoor swimming pool, a sports hall, basketball courts, modern laboratories, sky gardens, a central café and creative studios. As well as a range of other facilities there will be a designated parking for school buses under the school buildings to facilitate pick-up and drop-off and thus relieve pressure from Borrett Road itself.

2. When will the redevelopment start?

It is expected that the redevelopment process will start in August 2017, with the necessary government decisions and processes completed. The architects estimate that the development work will take three to four years to complete.

3. Is there a timetable of the decanting process?

The expected timeline is outlined below. However, it is subject to change depending on a number of factors that may be out of our control.

Month / Year What will happen Age reference
Summer 2017 Moving out from the Island School building on Borrett Road Students born in 1999 will be the last cohort graduating from the current Island School building on Borrett Road
August 2017 School starts at the decant sites Students born in 2006 starting Year 7 at the Island School decant site
Summer 2021 Moving back to the new Island School building on Borrett Road Students born in 2003 will be the last cohort graduating from Island School at the decant site
August 2021 School starts at the new Island School building on Borrett Road Students born in 2010 starting Year 7 at new Island School building on Borrett Road
4. How will the school operate over two sites?

It is anticipated that we will be occupying these two sites for three to four academic years. Years 7, 8, 12 and 13 will be together on one site and Years 9,10 and 11 will be on the other one.

Students’ wellbeing and the quality of education are the key factors on which all decisions have been made. Students and staff will be based at one site and will not normally travel between the two sites during the course of the day or over a week.

To create a strong supportive school environment, there will be a house team for each house on both sites. This will ensure that all students have access to a member of the House staff team and that guidance and support will always be on hand at both sites.

Subject teachers will be based on one site to be available for all students. They may move to the other site after two years when, for example, they have completed teaching an examination set.

When necessary, for example due to timetabling or skills set requirements, teachers will transfer from one site to the other. This will be reviewed annually.

The provision of additional specialist support will be available on both sites, e.g. there will be a nurse on each site and counselling services.

5. Are the decant sites as good as the Island School campus?

Both school sites will be refurbished to ensure that the learning environment enables Island School to continue to provide high quality education.

Currently the Shatin Wai site is empty and major refurbishments will start as soon as the site is allocated to ESF. New classrooms, laboratories, kitchens, sports facilities – every area of the school, has been designed and planned so the site meets the standard of excellenceESF demands.

The Tai Wai site is a fully functioning school now until March 2016 when all staff and students will be leaving. Once the site is allocated to ESF refurbishment works will start. Staff have been consulted about school requirements for the new site such as fixtures, fittings and resources, when are being prepared now.

The building on each site has the capacity for 1,000 students which provides generous space for the 600 Island School students who will be occupying each building.

6. What are the expected traveling time to the decant sites?


  • Central to Tai Wai: 30 minutes
  • Central to Shatin Wai: 38 minutes
  • Both sites are within a few minutes’ walk from the MTR stations


  • From Central: around 25 minutes depending on the traffic
7. How will students from the Island School catchment get to school?

The transport survey, conducted in January 2016, revealed that 41.4% of students would consider travelling to school via the MTR or public buses. Further consultation will be held to determine the number of buses required to take students from home to the MTR stations or from home to school.

8. Will there be any changes in catchment zones because of the decant?

Zones are regularly reviewed as a matter of course in order to manage existing and expected demographics. However, it is not planned to change zones for reasons specifically related to the decant. Current zoning arrangements may be referenced on the ESF website HERE and parents can confirm details by contacting the ESF admissions hotline at +852 3762 2411 or email

9. Can I apply for a transfer to another ESF secondary school?

If a family relocates within Hong Kong to another ESF school’s zone, it becomes possible to make a transfer request as long as any timing limitations have been met. Transfers are dependent on availability of places. Parents should contact the ESF admissions hotline at +852 3762 2411 or email if they have any questions related to catchment zones or transfer.

10. How will the decant and redevelopment be funded?

The redevelopment of Island School will be partially funded by the Government, subject to approval by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council. The capital grant will be equal to 100% of the cost of constructing a standard design public sector school educating the same number of students.

This is part of the agreement between ESF and the Education Bureau made in June 2013, where the recurrent subvention to ESF will be phased-out over a period of 13 years starting from August 2016.

According to the agreement, the redevelopment of Island School will be the last ESF capital project to receive any financial support from the Government.

Hence, to support the remaining funding needs to redevelop Island School and other future capital projects at ESF schools, ESF has launched the Nomination Rights (NR) Schemes in September 2012 and then the Non-refundable Capital Levy (NCL) in June 2014.

There are two kinds of NR Schemes: Corporate and Individual. Please refer to HERE for details of the NR schemes, and HERE for details of the NCL.

The proceeds raised under the NR Schemes and the NCL will be exclusively reserved for the funding of ESF’s school capital projects. It is part of a wider strategy to improve ESF’s sustainability in capital terms, in order to ensure that all our schools are in good condition and can be replaced when necessary.

Other than the above, the ESF community is keen to identify and develop strategies to support any funding needs through growing a philanthropic culture of fundraising and gift-giving.

NB: This information may be subject to change as there may be factors that are out of our control.