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5 Standout Hong Kong International Schools Part 2

  • By
  • Asif Ghafoor
  • April 28, 2015

Second post in our ‘5 Standout Hong Kong International Schools’ series! We realize there are many quality Hong Kong international schools, and we want to provide a brief overview of select schools to those who are looking to move to Hong Kong.

Chinese International School

CIS Students. Source: CIS

Located in Braemar Hill, Chinese International School (CIS) is a co-ed private school, known in particular for its balanced curriculum that teaches not only English but also Mandarin Chinese. CIS is open to students from Reception through Year 13, culminating in the IB Diploma program. Across almost all metrics and by reputation, without a doubt, CIS stands as one of the best among Hong Kong international schools.

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CIS’ emphasis on placing all students into their English and Mandarin Chinese program means that their graduates have well-developed language skills, especially relative to other Hong Kong international schools. The School’s mission, in particular, notes that they are committed to “the achievement of academic excellence and is characterised and enriched by its dual-language program”. Our understanding is that this commitment has translated well into creating a vibrant, thriving and bilingual learning environment.

The CIS campus boasts wonderful facilities, such as a drama studio, an auditorium, gyms, a swimming pool, and more. These facilities allow their students to strive and achieve more, beyond  regular academics. However, CIS has recently announced plans to redevelop their campus by enhancing the current facilities.

King George V School (KGV)

KGV is one of the earliest Hong Kong international schools established, having been founded in 1894. The co-ed school is part of the English Schools Foundation (ESF), providing secondary school education leading to the IB Diploma, and currently has over 1,700 students enrolled. Among Hong Kong international schools, KGV is well known for its rigorous academics and particularly for their strong athletics and sports.

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KGV’s philosophy can be separated into the following 3 core values:-

  • Developing “fine traditions of high achievement and creativity”
  • Develop an “engaging, enjoyable and sustainable learning environment”
  • And to “celebrate diversity in an inclusive and supportive international community”

The school’s colourful history is also firmly entrenched within the daily life of the students. For example students are placed randomly, unless they have legacy ties via family members, into one of four houses, which are named after important figures that have been a part of KGV’s history.

Aside from academics, the School places great emphasis on developing leadership qualities and responsibility through various mechanics such as instituting House Captains, Head Boys and Head Girls, and the implementation of a Student Council, elected directly by the student body.

Another feature to highlight regarding KGV is its wonderful campus – any visitors will surely remember the open expanse that is the school field. Other facilities such as tennis courts, a swimming pool, and dedicated science and performance arts buildings all facilitate KGV students in fulfilling their potential.

German Swiss International School (GSIS)

GSIS Campus. Source: Wikipedia

GSIS, founded in 1969, is a reputable and well-established Hong Kong international school offering two education programs to students from Kindergarten to Secondary. For parents concerned about secondary school education, the GSIS English Stream has recently implemented the IB Diploma program, and the first IB diploma exams are expected to be in 2015. In addition to the above, GSIS also offers a Business College program.

GSIS is currently undergoing a complete Campus Redevelopment Plan in order to bolster, upgrade and bring their facilities in line with today’s demands. The redevelopment has added an indoor swimming pool, a senior library, a drama studio and other needed facilities to the campus on the Peak, which serves the bulk of its student body. However, there are still several stages of redevelopment that have been planned and yet to be implemented.

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GSIS has been able to maintain a stellar academic reputation and the School is known be one of the most competitive Hong Kong international schools. Despite splitting their student body into two separate streams, students from both streams also take classes in the other language.

Sha Tin College

Sha Tin College Swimming Gala in 2011. Source: Wikipedia

Founded in 1982, Sha Tin College is an ESF School that provides secondary school education, with most students matriculating through the IB Diploma program. In contrast to most Hong Kong international schools, Sha Tin College is based in Fo Tan, providing a more convenient option for students living in New Territories and parts of Kowloon.

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At Sha Tin College, students and staff are divided into four different Houses, led by student leaders. House rivalries are lively, and they engage in various activities events and competitions during the school year. In addition to House Heads, there are many other student leader positions for the student body, such as the student council.

Sha Tin College’s campus facilities include several playgrounds, an indoor swimming pool, a drama studio, workshops, sports hall and more. For parents and students living around Sha Tin, Tai Wai and Ma On Shan looking for Hong Kong international schools, Sha Tin College could be right for you.

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South Island School

South Island School Campus. Source: Wikipedia

South Island School is another school run by the ESF offering secondary school education at their campus in Aberdeen, near Deep Water Bay. Like many other Hong Kong international schools such as KGV and Sha Tin College, South Island School organizes its students into Houses.

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South Island School identifies that following values as central to their education program, summarized below:

  • Nurturing the student, society and planet and taking personal responsibility for a sustainable future
  • Engaging others with respect and honest
  • Developing self-awareness, resilience and courage
  • Exploring the world with an open mind and compassionate perspectives
  • Making a difference by being creative, resourceful and reflective

South Island School also boasts good facilities to accommodate their students, such as an indoor swimming pool, sports hall, fitness training room and others. Aside from engaging students through regular courses and activities, South Island School’s film and media studies course has developed to the point where a “commissioned service” was created for students interesting making films, as covered by a recent South China Morning Post article.

If you’re moving to Hong Kong, Spacious can help you with your house hunting.

Our first post in this series is right here!


We’ve received a lot of feedback from readers regarding our first post, and we want to clarify a few things:

Our first post was not a ranking of Hong Kong international schools. The intention was to create a series highlighting schooling options for those moving to Hong Kong. The 5 Hong Kong international schools in our first post were listed in no particular order, and we apologize for not making it clearer.

We have not been paid by anyone to write these blog posts.

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