Good news for pupils as Ap Lei Chau school set to remain open, for now
Some of the 150 students at a kindergarten in Ap Lei Chau will be able to continue their studies after management reaches deal with landlord
Parents and pupils at a kindergarten set to shut down in Ap Lei Chau have been offered a glimmer of hope after the school managed to strike a deal with its landlord to remain open for one more year.
In a letter to parents, the Good Health Anglo-Chinese Kindergarten (Ap Lei Chau) and Good Health International Pre-school (Ap Lei Chau) in South Horizons said it had reached consensus with Hutchison Estate Agents on Monday to extend the lease by a year to July 2018.
The school, which has around 150 pupils, explained that current K2 students could go on to K3 and nursery students set to join the school next school year could study for a year before transferring to other kindergartens.
But the current nursery and K1 students will have to find another kindergarten to continue their studies.
The news may be bittersweet however, as despite being offered places for next year, parents will now have to fork out 25 to 35 per cent more for tuition fees.
Currently, the school is considered a more affordable option in South Horizons, offering half-day classes at HK$45,738 a year, compared with between HK$71,920 and HK$104,000 for Victoria (South Horizons) International Kindergarten, Rightmind Kindergarten and The International Montessori School – three other schools within the development.
The school declined to respond, while Hutchison had not responded by the time of writing.
Earlier in the month, the school told parents to make plans for their children after a month of futile talks with the landlord, and their contract ending on July 31.
Simon Lee, a parent of a K2 pupil, said he was glad that the school could continue its operation and would have his child stay on despite the increase in school fees.
“The school has a good reputation in terms of its quality and teachers,” he said.
Lee added he would rather pay the fee hike rather than settling for a second choice school for his child.
Lawmaker Hui Chi-fung said that according to his understanding, most of the parents of K1 and nursery students have found new kindergartens for their children, but most of them lamented the new schools being not as close to their homes or not having as good a reputation as Good Health.
Separately, an Education Bureau spokesman has said the bureau received 143 applications to increase fees from kindergartens that are not participating in the Free Quality Kindergarten Education Scheme.
He also said that as of March 22, about 660 of the 746 kindergartens participating in the scheme had submitted their proposed fees for the 2017/18 school year.
The spokesman said the bureau anticipates that more than 80 per cent of the kindergartens providing half day courses will provide free services in the 2017/18 school year, while about 50 per cent of those offering full day courses will have school fees of HK$1,000 or less a month.
At least three of about 20 kindergartens that were singled out by the bureau for “relatively high” initial estimated fees told the Post they had reduced fees. This came despite two of them saying they were making a loss in the last few years, due to high rent and more expenditure on salaries for teachers.