As many as 13 per cent of the second batch of pupils taking the new secondary school diploma course at an elite school have left for overseas studies because some lacked confidence in the new curriculum, the school's headmaster said. Heep Yunn School principal Lee Chun-hung said 26 Form Five pupils had this year left the school to study overseas, leaving 167 pupils sitting for the Diploma of Secondary Education - introduced last year as part of the city's far-reaching education reforms. In the first batch of diploma takers, only three pupils left for overseas studies. Other elite schools said there was no obvious trend in their schools of diploma students leaving to study abroad. But Lee said he expected the trend at Heep Yunn School, in Ma Tau Wai, Kowloon, to continue, noting that the number of pupils taking international examinations at the school was also increasing. More than 100 pupils took the International General Certificate of Secondary School and the General Certificate of Education last year, more than double that the year before. "Some are not confident of taking the diploma, and plan to come back to Hong Kong and enter university through means other than the [Joint University Programmes Admissions System] JUPAS," said Lee. "Not so many in the first batch went abroad, perhaps because they had less information." But Nancy Chan Woo Mei-hou, principal of King's College in Western, drew a different picture. She said in her school, more than 10 Form Five pupils from the first batch who studied under the diploma curriculum went abroad, but fewer did so from among this year's Form Six pupils. Lee said 90 per cent of Heep Yunn School's pupils who sat the first diploma exams had entered undergraduate programmes, with most admitted to local universities through JUPAS. Many went to the University of Hong Kong, with the pupil who got the school's best diploma result doing a law degree at the university. Lee said the school would have to work harder on Chinese, as more than 10 per cent of its pupils failed to attain the lowest grade to enter local universities. The school - which has just become a direct-subsidy school, meaning it receives government funds but acts largely as a private school - admitted one pupil from the mainland last year. Lee expects more mainland pupils to approach the school amid a trend for mainland parents to seek places for their children in direct subsidy schools. The pupils face are subject to the same admissions criteria as local ones.