[Sponsored article] Established in 1967 with the mission to provide an English-language education to primary and secondary school students unable to access the local system, the English Schools Foundation (ESF) continues to play a distinctive and vital role in shaping Hong Kong’s international culture. ESF came into being towards the end of a decade in which Hong Kong had experience exponential social and economic change. During the 1960s, Hong Kong’s economy experienced an average growth of around 10% each year. Evidence of construction could be seen everywhere as residential buildings, reservoirs, tunnels and highways were being built at a breath-taking pace. Against this frenetic backdrop, rapid growth in the population exerted enormous pressure on Hong Kong’s healthcare, housing and education systems. The situation was compounded as the city’s English-speaking community began to rapidly expand, as the Government and businesses were recruiting more expatriate staff than ever before. It was during this time of great growth that ESF first came into fruition with its first two schools: the newly built Island School and Beacon Hill School. Prior to the establishment of ESF, education for non-Chinese speaking children was administered by the British Colonial Government through grant-aided schools. The precursor of ESF dates back to 1902 when the Kowloon British School, which would later be known as King George V or KGV, opened for the first time. In 1911, Peak School opened in a former fire station, while Quarry Bay School came about between the first and second world wars. It was after World War II that Kennedy Road and Glenealy Schools both opened, completing the consortium of Government schools for students who required education through the medium of English. However, a "White Paper" produced by the Government in 1965 articulated the need for more independently managed English-medium schools in Hong Kong, whilst also receiving adequate government aid. The proposal was not without its challenges, however. Many insisted that the aid provide should be the same or less than that of Chinese schools, while others insisted that English schools should follow the state education system in the UK, which would inevitably cost more. But while this topic was being hotly debated, Island School and Beacon Hill School were establishing reputations as first-class schools, eventually gaining confidence from parents. Hong Kong’s growing need for English-language schools continued throughout the 1970s. At the same time, a government administrative review determined the government grant-aided schools were no longer sustainable. So, the government supported and financed the decision to merge these schools with the ESF, and by the end of the decade they were, along with KGV, all part of the ESF family. Bringing so many institutions together under the ESF umbrella was not without its challenges. "There were many discussions as to how the two systems would merge," recalls Anne Marden, an ESF executive committee member during the Foundation's early days. The Marden family, the driving force behind the Far East Wheelock-Marden conglomerate, were closely connected to ESF from the outset. They played a significant role in the amendment of the ESF Ordinance in 2008, which led to the Foundation replacing an executive committee and 130-member Foundation with a 26-member board of governors. Despites these initial hurdles, ESF would eventually go on to become the largest provider of international education in Hong Kong, with a total of 22 schools and approximately 17,500 students comprised of over 60 nationalities. Its legacy has now spanned for over half a century, and the Foundation has no intention of slowing down.