Told to phase out Primary One because of under-enrolment, Hoi Ming School in Yuen Long applies to cover all costs Another school has applied to the Education and Manpower Bureau for permission to take in first-year pupils on a self-financing basis. The bureau said it received the application from Hoi Ming School in Yuen Long yesterday. The school was among 31 told to phase out its Primary One classes in September because enrolments were below the threshold of 23 students. Hoi Ming is the third school to attempt to keep running by agreeing to cover all Primary One costs. On Monday, its neighbouring Wai Kwan Primary School sent the bureau a similar request. It said teachers agreed to take voluntary pay cuts to help raise the necessary funds to run the Primary One class. The two Yuen Long schools are seen as following the example of Po Kok Primary School, which won a reprieve from closure in an out-of-court deal with the government last week. The Happy Valley school was allowed to run Primary One this year provided it met all costs. The government will pick up the bill next year if the Happy Valley school is able to meet the threshold of 23 first-year pupils. A spokesman for the bureau said it would seriously consider the two new applications. 'The schools have to understand it is a big undertaking. They would have to self-finance their classes for many more years if their enrolment rates continue to fall below the threshold next year,' he said. Meanwhile, a High Court judge yesterday blocked moves by the Education and Manpower Bureau to stop the first wave of judicial review applications against its controversial decision to close under-enrolled schools. Madam Justice Carlye Chu Fun-ling upheld her own May 4 decision to allow a student's parent, Lam Yuet-mei, to take her case to court. Mrs Lam had applied for a judicial review of the decision not to provide funding for the Kin Tak Public School at Chiu Keng village in Sheung Shui. She is the mother of a student attending Kin Tak. The school has only 35 pupils and was told earlier in the year to shut this August. The bureau fought the application for a review, arguing that it sought to examine decisions affecting Primary One classes made not only in December last year, but also in December 2002. The bureau said the decision made in December 2002 was too old to be subject to a review and that the application should be thrown out. But Madame Justice Chu disagreed. 'I am persuaded that there are good reasons for extending the time to enable the challenge to the first decision to be made,' she said. The judicial review will take place next month. Fong Hon-kwong, the Kin Tak school principal who staged a hunger strike in January, welcomed the judge's decision. He said the school only wanted to keep running for three more years, until all its pupils graduated. 'Bringing the school to an abrupt end would seriously disrupt the learning of our pupils,' he said. The principal added that his students all lived in Chiu Keng village and the financial burden on their parents would be too great if they had to attend an urban school.