English Schools Foundation
The English Schools Foundation (ESF) operates five secondary schools, nine primary schools and a school for students with special educational needs across Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. It is the largest international educational foundation in Asia.
ESF settles the score on pathways for students
In the letter ("Comparing ESF's scores with other schools' is misleading", November 29), Anjali A. Hazari suggests that a large proportion of English Schools Foundation students are not admitted to International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes because the schools use selection criteria to direct students to alternative courses.
This gives a misleading impression of the way ESF schools advise students about post-16 programmes.
The ESF community holds strongly to our values and our commitment to ensure the best outcomes for all our students. We are not an academically selective system and our philosophy requires that we provide an appropriate curriculum for each student.
The main pathways offered to students at post-16 level are the IB Diploma Pathway and the Applied Learning Pathway, though highly personalised pathways are also provided for a small number of students with high levels of special needs.
The vast majority of ESF students choose to study the IB Diploma Pathway.
Only 7 per cent (65 students) out of last year's graduating Year 13 cohort of 899 students chose the Applied Learning Pathway. This pathway has Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications at its core and has been developed over the past five years to meet the needs of students who enjoy and do best at more practical styles of learning.
Some of our highest achievers studying for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) choose this pathway over the IB Diploma in order to specialise in a particular area of interest, in preparation for university and beyond.
Yes, we do use a computerised test to establish a baseline from which to measure the progress made by each student on the course they choose.
Scores on this, other assessments and GCSE grades tell us a lot about our students' abilities and potential for the future. Students are counselled on an individual basis to follow the pathway most appropriate for them.
This involves encouraging students to consider their personal interests, preferred learning styles and career aspirations before making their decisions.
Our fundamental aim is to enable students to make an informed choice on their course so that they will enjoy learning and be successful in moving on to the next stage of their lives.
That is what true education is about, and I am sure that Ms Hazari's school and others like it try to do exactly the same.
Heather Du Quesnay, CEO, English Schools Foundation