Hong Kong International Schools and their sister school counterparts


Amidst the unrest in Hong Kong, residents are seeking options to leave the territory to other destinations in Southeast Asia including Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and more. Many international schools have sister schools in these countries and some schools have priorities for students transferring between their sister schools, although this is no guarantee of a place and subject to visa restrictions in that country. Jessica Yuen, the founder and CEO of Specialist Education Advisory (SEA), which advises parents on Hong Kong international schools, Australian boarding schools, and universities, breaks down the network of sister schools in Southeast Asia.

  1. American School Hong KongAmerican School Hong Kong, which operates from kindergarten to Grade 12 level, is a not-for-profit college preparatory school operated by ESOL. ESOL operates schools in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Cyprus, Dubai, and Egypt, following the American curriculum. There is no priority to any of their schools in the Middle East at this point.
  2. Harrow International School Hong KongHarrow International School Hong Kong is the first day-boarding school in Hong Kong, which offers the UK National Curriculum, IGCSE and A-Levels. Harrow has sister schools in the U.K., Beijing, Shanghai, and Bangkok. There is no guarantee that a student can enter Harrow School in the U.K., but they are able to get a form of priority to enter the sister schools in China or Thailand.
  3. Malvern College Hong KongMalvern College Hong Kong offers the International Baccalaureate for primary and middle years and is a candidate for the IB Diploma. They have sister schools in Chengdu and Qingdao in China, as well as Egypt. They share the same ethos as Malvern College U.K. There are limited places available for students choosing to go to the U.K. to study.
  4. Mount Kelly School Hong KongMount Kelly School Hong Kong is a kindergarten to Year 8 school. They are closely aligned with Mount Kelly School U.K and there is a feeder system in place for students wanting to study in the U.K. beyond Year 8.
  5. Nord Anglia International School Hong KongNord Anglia International School Hong Kong is a K1 to Year 13 school in Hong Kong that offers the UK National Curriculum, IGCSE and is a candidate for the IB Diploma. They have a presence in China, with locations in Beijing, Chengdu, Foshan, Guangzhou, Nantong, Shanghai, and more. There is also a presence in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Uzbekistan. Students applying from Nord Anglia Schools are given priority as long as they have studied at a Nord Anglia school for a minimum of three months and must meet admissions requirements.
  6. Shrewsbury School Hong KongShrewsbury School Hong Kong is a kindergarten and primary school in Hong Kong with strong ties to Shrewsbury U.K. and Shrewsbury Bangkok. It provides an opportunity for Shrewsbury graduates from the U.K. to travel to Southeast Asia for their gap year and internships. Shrewsbury School Hong Kong works closely with Shrewsbury Bangkok and students do have a priority to either school subject to passing the assessment.
  7. United World College (UWC)United World College (UWC) is open to students aged 16 to 19 years old and teaches the IB Diploma. UWC is selective and has campuses in Africa, China, Europe, Japan, Singapore, and the Americas. Usually, UWC does not encourage moving between Grade 11 and Grade 12 and it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure they meet that countries’ residency status and dependent visa.
  8. Wycombe AbbeyWycombe Abbey opened in September 2019. The school currently caters for five years old to 11 years old and has its own bespoke curriculum. Wycombe Abbey has sister schools in China, including Changzhou and Hangzhou. Students have priority to enter any of their schools subject to passing the assessment.
  9. Yew Chung International School Hong Kong (YCIS)Yew Chung International School Hong Kong (YCIS) offer Early Childhood Education, Primary and Secondary Education. YCIS is a bilingual school offering English and Mandarin Education, students have the options to complete the IGCSE and the IB Diploma. YCIS has sister schools in China: Beijing, Chongqing, Qingdao, Shanghai, as well as Silicon Valley. Each school is independently registered and operated, but students can transition between schools bypassing the regular application process and fee as long as they meet the criteria for the eligibility requirements of the local government.

In summation, most sister schools have a priority system in place. Due to the close relationships between the headmasters of these schools, usually transition between these schools can be quite seamless.

Jessica Yuen is the Founder and CEO of Specialist Education Advisory (SEA), which advises parents on Hong Kong International Schools, Australian Boarding Schools and Universities.

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