ESF News (January)

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1 Feb 2013
arrowSubvention updates
arrowGonna Rise Up Singing
arrowESF University Fair 2013
arrowDragon Mathematics Competition
arrowKGV Gala Dinner 
arrowESF Geography Quiz
arrowComing soon --- ESF on TVB Pearl
arrowESF Accounts and Annual Report 2011-12
arrowSchool Security Update
arrowProgrammes from ESF Educational Services Ltd. - ESF Language
arrowESF Sports
arrowESF Post 16 Services
arrowESF Therapy Centre news 

Subvention updates

You may have picked up press reports recently about the progress of the subvention review. ESF Chairman Carlson Tong has reiterated that the government has guaranteed that recurrent subvention will be protected for current students for at least the next 13 years. New parents coming in after the subvention is phased out may face an increase of 20-25% of fees in order to maintain the high quality of education that ESF has been offering. Discussions are also under way about the funding of Special Educational Needs provision in the future and about the re-building of Island School. The Subvention Steering Group is disappointed by the government’s position but feels that it is important to arrive at an agreement with the government as soon as possible.

Gonna Rise Up Singing


“We’re all born to sing!”

So says Mrs Jacqueline Gourlay Grant, music teacher at Kennedy School.

To prove that adage, 800 students aged from 8 to 11 from all ESF primary schools will be performing in the ESF Primary Choral Concert, “Gonna Rise Up Singing”, at Queen Elizabeth Stadium on Wednesday 6 March.

It will be the fifth ESF Primary Choral Concert since the first one was held in 2006. From small beginnings, it has grown to become one of the highlights of the ESF calendar, explained Jacqueline, who is the event’s music co-ordinator.


'When I joined ESF many years ago, all the music teachers would come together for an annual Performing Arts Day. Then I suggested a day for the choirs, and more than 200 children spent a day learning and performing songs. When Paul Hay came to Kennedy School, he came to the Singing Day and loved it, so we decided to do a public concert with all the primary schools. Now we’re doing it bi-annually, because it’s too big to organise annually.'


For this year’s concert, all the music teachers have worked together to choose a programme of twelve songs in various genres, ranging from classical to world music, gospel and contemporary musical-theatre pieces. Students have been memorising and rehearsing songs in English, Latin and Putonghua. And as if that’s not hard enough, they’ve also had to learn some complicated choreography and even some sign language.

“It’ll be a lot of fun!”

Year 6 students Lottie Ridley and Merilyn Wong from Kennedy School love being in the choir. Lottie said: “I really like singing, and I like people watching me perform,” while Merilyn, a new member of the choir, said: “I’ll be with so many other kids, and I’m going to listen to them sing with me. It’ll be a lot of fun.” Lottie’s favourite song this year is “Planet Rock”, with its energetic choreography, and Merilyn especially likes “If I Only Had A Brain”, from the musical “The Wizard of Oz”.

Managing everything behind the scenes is Mr Paul Hay, the Principal of Kennedy School, who is the Producer of the concert (and a keen singer himself). “My role is to motivate the music teachers and the school Principals,” he said. “I make sure that all the logistical stuffs is managed to allow the teachers to concentrate on the music. And I’ll be the MC on the night.”

The project offers huge benefits for everyone involved, he reported. “The ESF Primary Choral Concert is probably one of the biggest events the students are ever likely to participate in, here in Hong Kong. Every time we present it, the students love it, the music teachers get a lot of kudos from it, and the parents are delighted to see their children up on stage.”

Jacqueline added: “Singing energises you, oxygenates your brain, strengthens your diaphragm, and improves your teamwork skills, concentration and confidence. It’s fantastic fun for the singers, and for the audience too.”

Fantastic fun – that’s exactly what the choristers and more than 2,000 teachers, parents, family members, friends and guests can expect at ESF’s “Gonna Rise Up Singing” concert on 6 March.

Tickets will be available from 6 February at all URBTIX outlets, on Internet ( and by telephone.

Ticketing enquiries: 2734 9009 | Programme enquiries: 3762 2645



ESF University Fair 2013

Nearly 1,000 Year 12 students from seven ESF schools arrived expectantly at Island School on 23 January to meet representatives from universities worldwide, including the continents of North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia.  All four United Kingdom countries were there in numbers, offering a diversity of courses for students undertaking the IB Diploma and Applied Learning Pathway alike. The USA and Canada were represented by more than 40 institutions: particularly well represented this year were the liberal arts colleges who pride themselves on a rounded but highly academic education and progression to universities and business schools for master’s degrees. 

The diversity of what is on offer to ESF students is always being extended. This year, Japanese universities are offering more English medium courses and an increasingly diverse range of courses can be found from Swiss institutions.

Nearly all Hong Kong higher education institutions were present. In 2012, nearly a quarter of the students graduating from ESF schools chose to remain in Hong Kong and many students at the fair were weighing up their options to study in their home city or travel abroad.  ‘Understanding the environment and culture of a university is almost as important as the course itself, because it is three or more years of your young adult life’, noted Roger Wilkinson, Head of Careers and College Counselling at Island School.  The ESF University Fair was organised by Island School’s Careers and Higher Education Department.


Dragon Mathematics Competition

The Dragon Mathematics Competition was held at Renaissance College on 23 January. This was the first time an ESF school played host to this interschool contest. Over 250 Year 8 and 9 students from both local and international schools took part.

The Dragon Mathematics Competition gave an opportunity for students from different schools to work together in a mathematical environment. It encourages students to work well within a team. Each team had to find its unique way of breaking down a complex problem and solving its part of the task in order to help reach the ultimate solution. It was a competition against time.

“It would be good to see Hong Kong hosting more diversified mathematical events to nurture young minds,” said Shobha Sanker, secondary Mathematics teacher at Renaissance College. “We were very impressed by the performance of ESF students in the competition.”


ESF schools performed well in the contest, as a total of three titles were won in two divisions, including a championship in the Year 8 division, and two runners-up in the Year 9 division. The full list of winners is as follows:

Year 8 division:
1st: South Island School
2nd: Independent Schools Foundation Academy Academy
3rd: Canadian International School of Hong Kong

Year 9 division:
1st: Hong Kong International School
2nd: Renaissance College
3rd: West Island School

1st: Hong Kong International School
2nd: Renaissance College and South Island School (tied)


KGV Gala Dinner

The 3rd KGV Gala Dinner will be held at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile, Tsim Sha Tsui. This annual event provides an opportunity to celebrate the excellence and history of King George V School while raising funds for projects that will ensure it remains a world-class institution for many years to come. The Gala will be attended by KGV families, friends, parents, teachers and alumni. The Honorable Justice Kemal Bokhary (KGV alumnus of 1967) will be recognised as the third annual Principal’s Outstanding Alumni Award Recipient during the event. To learn more or to attend, please visit the school website or

ESF Geography Quiz

The second Geography World Wise Quiz for Year 9 students will be held on 21 February at Sha Tin College.  All Year 9 students and teachers from the ESF community will get together for this Final Interschool Competition. A representative from the Hong Kong Geographical Association will be the guest speaker.  More details are available here.

Coming soon --- ESF on TVB Pearl

The Pearl Report coming in March will discuss issues about Hong Kong’s international schools. ESF Chairman Carlson Tong, ESF parents and students will be interviewed in the programme. It will be available on after broadcast. Please don’t miss it!

ESF Accounts and Annual Report 2011-12
Online versions of the ESF Annual Report 2011-12 (with audited consolidated financial statements) are available on the ESF website: This year, the English and Chinese versions of the Annual Report are printed separately. Parents can pick them up from any ESF school in late February. Please write to indicating your mailing address if you wish to receive them by mail.
School Security Update

Following the tragic events of recent weeks in the US and China, awareness of the safety of your children and our students has been brought into stark relief. Each of our campuses has in place, or is developing a set of lock down and security procedures. These are designed to maximise the safety of students and staff in the event of unauthorised intruders on campus and to control aspects of access in and out of our schools. More information will be provided by your schools in the near future.

Programmes from ESF Educational Services Ltd. - ESF Language

With Programme 2 in full swing, ESF Language is gearing up for Programme 3 and the diverse offerings of our Spring Language Camp.  Programme 3 starts 16 February with Spring Camp running over the Easter Holiday, 2, 3, and 5 April.  Offerings for Spring Camp range from debate to drama, interview skills to film and phonics.  For more information on Programme 3 and Spring Camp, visit our website at

ESF Sports

ESF Term 2 Sports continues to take enrolments.  With eight sports on offer, you are sure to find a programme that will interest and excite your child. 

This season, ESF Sports introduces its Mini-Basketball programme using age-appropriate equipment – smaller balls and lower hoop heights – to help young players build skills and confidence in the game. Mini-Basketball incorporates Speed, Agility and Quickness (SAQ) training, in conjunction with practice of technical skills and game play to deliver a well-rounded course for players and new-comers to the sport.  For more information, please contact Head Coach, Paul Lawrence –  To enroll in Term 2 Sports, please visit our website at

ESF Post 16 Services

SAT Preparation Courses
ESL’s Post 16 programme is now offering SAT Preparation Courses with preferential rates for ESF Students. Post 16 delivers on-campus classes with The Edge Learning Center and off-campus courses with NTK, The Princeton Review, Kaplan and CANA to help students prepare for the SAT. Help your child secure the scores they need for admission into American Universities.  For more information visit

Tips for IB Diploma Students
ESL would like to introduce our weekly Post 16 Facebook feature, written by Anjali Hazari, as a fantastic new resource for IB Diploma students.

To get access to tips and advice in preparation for IB finals, all students need to do is 'Like' us on Facebook and they will receive the weekly tips in their Facebook feed.

For more information on Post 16 services, please visit our website at or contact

ESF Therapy Centre news

To complement ESF schools’ on-going work to develop social and emotional skills and student wellbeing, the ESF Therapy Centre is pleased to announce that it will be running a ten-week FRIENDS intervention programme in Term 3.

Developed in Australia and used in schools worldwide, the FRIENDS intervention is the only anxiety prevention programme acknowledged by the World Health Organisation.  The FRIENDS programmes, which aim to build social and emotional skills and develop children’s resilience, include three courses aimed at different age groups – FUN FRIENDS (ages 4 to 7 years), FRIENDS FOR LIFE (ages 8 to 12 years) and MY FRIENDS YOUTH (ages 12 to 16 years) .

Having successfully trained a number of staff within ESF schools to run FRIENDS programmes, ESF Therapy Centre’s Educational Psychologists are pleased to offer this additional opportunity for students to benefit from FRIENDS.

 For more information and details of the parent information session taking place at the ESF Therapy Centre on Tuesday 5 March 2013 from 7 – 8:30pm, please contact the ESF Therapy Centre by email to or by phone to Loretta Servian at 3572-8513.



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The next ESF News will be published in mid-March 2013



ESF News is a monthly newsletter published by ESF Communications Department.
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