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  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 11:05am

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. 

NewsHong Kong

Parents hit again as ESF raises fees by up to 5.9pc

Increases needed to fund pay rises and improve services, says chief executive Du Quesnay

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 5:39pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 March, 2013, 8:59am


  • Yes: 41%
  • No: 59%
21 Mar 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 62

The English Schools Foundation will raise its fees by up to 5.9 per cent as negotiations drag on over the size of the subsidy it receives from the government.

In a letter to parents yesterday, the ESF's chief executive, Heather Du Quesnay, said the increase was necessary to cover a 3.5 per cent pay rise for staff and the cost of improving services. Some parents complained that the fee rises were unaffordable.

Du Quesnay said the ESF Board of Governors had decided on an average rise of 4.5 per cent. Annual fees for primary pupils will go up by 5.9 per cent from HK$66,100 to HK$70,000. In secondary schools, pupils from Form 7 to Form 11 will face a 3.47 per cent rise, from HK$98,000 to HK$101,400. In Forms 12 and 13, fees will rise by 4.22 per cent, from HK$102,000 to HK$106,300.

The ESF also plans to raise the fees of its two independent private schools, Discovery College and Renaissance College, by an average of 9.5 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively.

Fees for primary schools rose about 13.8 per cent from HK$58,100 in 2008/09 to HK$66,100 in 2012/13, and by 9.8 per cent and 14.3 per cent for Form 7-11 and Form 12-13 pupils.

The latest rises need the approval of the Education Bureau.

A spokeswoman for the ESF said the calculation of the increases had incorporated the ESF's annual subvention of HK$283 million from the government in the year 2013-14. The Education Bureau says it has been liaising with the foundation on the subvention review.

The authorities proposed in 2011 that the English-language school system consider turning private in the long run, amid concerns about whether public money is being effectively spent.

Du Quesnay, who retires in August, said in the letter that the subvention had been frozen at the same level for many years. She said salaries for all teaching and support staff had to be raised to keep pay competitive and to safeguard morale. She also said there were areas where improvement was needed, chiefly for children with special needs.

"The board has agreed to fund additional spending of HK$1.7 million to open or extend Learning Support Classes at Island School and Sha Tin College."

The letter said the board was conscious of the pressure the increases would place on families.


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Jayb, you say stupid X10 for people who go to ESF schools instead of local. But you yourself went to an international university rather than a Hong Kong one? I thought HK universities are amongst the best in the world?
I think it is fine for people to choose their own education choices (or parents for their kids) without all this name calling and shouting that HK local schools are the best and idiots choose elsewhere. Be more tolerant of peoples choices.
I think ESF is still better than other international schools. They have top notch teachers and due to the heavy demand and the entrance tests most of the kids are willing to work hard and are generally well behaved. I think you will find expensive international schools have allot more behavioral and drug issues as they base solely on ability to pay thus allot of kids with too much money and are spoilt at home and expect the world to revolve around them. ESF kids are generally very friendly and well behaved by comparison.
i like your view. at the end of the day, it is about choice, and not about ranking and the BS about which is better.
if anyone thinks esf is too costly, move on. the fact of the matter is that they have a long waiting list, so they dont really worry about losing demand when they raise their fees.
the real reason for the long waiting list is that hk govt, despite all their riches, exhibit a lack of will to invest in our kids edu.
there is no need to look at international surveys and rankings, etc. In terms of english language and putonghua proficiency, just go talk to a high school student from a local hk govt school, and u will find that they are seriously deficient. in fact, when we listen to a local school teacher/principal speak in english, we always cringe bec they cant seem to string a sentence in english properly. I want to prepare my kids for a future which will require good skills in english and putonghua. I dont want them to be only proficient in cantonese, which is a useless language outside HK.
HK$107K p.a. (US$14K) is small money. back in the 70s, schools like KGV, Island School were exclusively for expats. today hong kong parents don't trust conventional hong kong schools insisting to send their kids to ESF schools. this is stupid x10. kids from hong kong schools consistently ranked world's top 5. beating out kids from US, Australia, Europe in math/science. i myself came thru' "3rd tier" hong kong school, went on to public US/Canadian universities and succeeded in multiple careers. education is NOT Mercedes, BMW, Gucci
newswhatnew. with all due respect. money (as in funding) is NOT the solution. US spends the highest $ per capita student, yet our kids are ranked 27th in the world, meaning despite all the $ spent, our "scholastic achievement" is at 3rd world level.
IRDHK. with ALL DUE RESPECT. apparently you FAILED to read my earlier msg CAREFULLY. i said i went to 3rd tier school. back in the 70s, HKU, CUHK even Baptist College, only admit top tier "A" students. i was a B average student and my option ran out... in hong kong... i wish i went to HKU but then life is not about looking back... kapish? -:)
now we know why u were a B student. your postings reflect your lack of depth and understanding of the issues.
It costs comparable to international school fees now with this increase! International schools have a lot more value in its curriculum. Unless this increase really beefs up the curriculum, it's hard to not reconsider the international school track now.

Also Local families are competing with English only speaking families for a place at ESF schools; the latter having little or no chance in entering local cantonese schools. This is the problem. ESF schools were created for children who do not have that choice. Hopefully raising the fees would deter locals from taking advantage of the system.
Maybe if the Hong Kong government ploughed some funding into its 'wonderful' education system, parents might have confidence in it and put their kids through it. At the moment it is underfunded and twenty years behind the rest of the 'developed' world.
This seems fair. I'd think



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