People often struggle with the decision between an English School Foundation (ESF) and an international school for primary.
|English School Foundation (ESF)||International/Private School|
|Fully accredited to offer IB curriculum||Free to run any curriculum or a mix of curriculum|
|Less competitive||More competitive (special for those popular schools)|
|Partially government funded; partially funded by fees.||Mostly funded by fees|
|Apply to only ONE ESF school based on home address (Catchment area system)||No geographical restrictions|
|Class size large at 30||Smaller class size (between 11 and 28), higher teacher-student ratio.|
English School Foundation (ESF) is undoubtfully providing high quality education while charging lower fee than international schools because of the government funding. But the trade-off is the larger class size. On the other hand, international schools feature small class with a much lower teacher-student ratio.
ESF schools do select students to some extent but the process is not too rigourous, which Partially because of the catchment area system. With certain geographical restrictions, the competition can be reduced quite a lot. On the other hand, the catchment area system also means that parents don’t have flexibility to choose the school they prefer.
Although an international school might cost you more money than ESF, it is undeniably a promising ESF alternative for your children if you value the aspects like the enriched curriculum, flexibility of choosing school, international environment, etc.
In fact, there are plenty of top international schools in Hong Kong and Wycombe Abbey is the outstanding one. Today we’re here to introduce you the top international school from UK, Wycombe Abbey,
Wycombe Abbey was founded more than 100 years ago and it has now become the leading independent boarding school in the UK, ranked number one for academic results at A level in 2018.
Approximately one third of Wycombe Abbey’s graduates receive offers of places at Oxford and Cambridge each year, with others going on to Russell Group universities in the UK and top universities in the USA such as Columbia, Harvard, MIT, Princeton and Stanford.
|School Name||Location||A-Level |
|1||Wycombe Abbey School||High Wycombe||85.7|
|6||Queen Ethelburga’s College||York||82.5|
|7||St Paul’s School||London||81.4|
|9||The Faculty of Queen Ethelburga’s||York||80.2|
Wycombe Abbey (Co-ed) School has now opened in Hong Kong to offer a quintessentially British Independent education for primary aged children. The school provides a proven holistic education which is complimented by an exceptional Chinese language curriculum. This dynamic combination prepares our pupils to excel in the finest secondary schools around the world.
Now let’s learn about Wycombe Abbey School in more details and why it’s a better option than ESF (English School Foundation) schools.
In contrast to ESF (English School Foundation) schools, Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong is offering pupils an enriched, British based education, complimented by an outstanding Chinese program.
Wycombe Abbey is also offering high-quality, British style education. Our curriculum is drawn from the British National Curriculum in all subjects except Chinese language, based on the well-established heritage and academic excellence of Wycombe Abbey School in England.
The National Curriculum of England and Wales, Key Stages 1&2 is internationally recognised as an outstanding primary age curriculum since all attitudes, dispositions and habits formed at this stage will have a profound effect on children’s future approach to learning. Both ESF (English School Foundation) schools and Wycombe Abbey take it very seriously indeed.
This curriculum provides a solid foundation on which older pupils enter the British GCSE and A-Level programme. It is the case that the British National Curriculum is very detailed in its target outcomes for core subjects such as English, Mathematics, General Science and content subjects such as History and Geography. If you’re aiming for higher level education in UK, the GCSE and A-Level programme are absolute necessity, which is something ESF (English School Foundation) schools might not be able to provide.
For the second-tier subjects such as Religious Education and Ethics, Music, Drama, Physical education STEM, (STEAM), ICT and PSHE, the National Curriculum has less to say in terms of definitive outcomes.
As the Founding Headmaster, Howard Tuckett’s first job in constructing the curriculum for Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong, was to source vibrant and engaging curricula that provided more detail in these other subjects. We researched curricula from other great educational nations such as Republic of Ireland and Scandinavia. From this international research we were able to provide a fully detailed Primary curriculum for our pupils.
Once we had constructed our curriculum, we then compared it against the Hong Kong EDB (Education Bureau) Primary Curriculum, which is another valid and rigorous national curriculum. Where necessary and applicable we adjusted our curriculum to make it culturally relevant to children who live in Hong Kong.
While Chinese element is an important part of subjects in ESF (English School Foundation) schools, Wycombe Abbey seems to embrace the Chinese culture as well, seeking to combine the best of East and West.
We offer a rigorous Chinese language program, accompanied by strong Chinese cultural immersion. Our curriculum reflects the cultural, linguistic, geographical and historical significance of Hong Kong, China and the wider region. We aim to ensure that our pupils have a firm grounding in the Chinese language and culture, while developing total fluency in English and accessing a curriculum which is built around the core components of the internationally renowned National Curriculum for England.
At Wycombe Abbey School, Chinese is taught as a discrete subject. There are 7 lessons per week. The amount of time is offered the same as maths and English, showing that Wycombe Abbey value the importance of the Chinese lesson as much as ESF (English School Foundation) schools do.
Chinese is taught in Mandarin. Students learn the simplified characters and pinyin systematically. Traditional characters are accepted. When those who learned traditional characters previously make a mistake in writing, teachers will provide both simplified and traditional formats when correcting them.
The Chinese curriculum is differentiated to cater for both native speakers and non-native speakers. The native speaker curriculum is adopted from the national curriculum in mainland China while the non-native speaker curriculum is based on Supplementary Guide to the Chinese Language Curriculum for Non-Chinese Speaking Students from The Curriculum Development Council HK and IB PYP Language Scope and Sequence.
All the teaching materials are carefully selected by the Chinese department. The home reading resources are from mainland China Singapore and Hong Kong. Teachers invite those students who need more support for extra Chinese lessons after school during ECA time.
Undoubtfully, both Wycombe Abbey and ESF (English School Foundation) acknowledge the importance of cultural education. A Wycombe Abbey Hong Kong, both native and non-native speaker groups are required to learn ancient Chinese poems. They are expected to be able to understand the poets’ inspiration including the historical/social background, and then translate the poems into modern Chinse or English. In the meantime, the ancient prose is taught to broaden students’ knowledge as well as to raise the language ability to a new level.
We also learn about culture through celebrating important festivals, learning about traditions and traditional food and so on.
To carry out the Chinese lesson as well as ESF (English School Foundation) schools, we encourage students to use the Chinese language in the school wide productions such as Christmas production. Students can celebrate their Chinese learning at weekly assemblies.
What’s better than ESF (English School Foundation) schools is our enriched curriculum, enabling our children to entry the best secondary schools in Hong Kong and around the world.
Without doubt, the broad subjects setting is an important fact to become the top international schools in Hong Kong. At Wycombe Abbey we also emphasize our commitment to a broad education including 14 Primary Subjects and learning outside of conventional classroom settings – Drama, Music, Art, Science, Physical Education, iSTEAM and a wide range of carefully selected extracurricular enrichment activities to widen our pupils’ curiosity and interests.
At Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong we are committed to teaching the ‘Whole Child’. This concept is sometimes also known as ‘Holistic Education’, a concept has been adopted by many other top primary schools, including ESF (English School Foundation), in Hong Kong. In simple terms these phrases relate to our commitment to preparing children fully; academically, mentally, socially, physically and in terms of their internal ‘Wellbeing’ and resilience.
Our curriculum subjects and our extra-curricular activities are simply the tools we use to support our primary aged children to grow and develop in so many ways.
We need to remember that the primary aged years are a stage of life at which children will make massive development boosts in all areas. During these years it is our responsibility to provide our pupils a framework against which these many aspects of their development be maximized.
Primary schools, like ESF (English School Foundation), exist to prepare children for secondary school and beyond. At Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong, by offering the breadth of daily subjects and experiences that we do, that are taught in such varied and stimulating ways, we are aiming to prepare our pupils in the very best way we can for their onward careers.
We hold to a schedule of aspirational attributes for each of our pupils. Everything we teach and offer for our pupils is done with the aim to assist our pupils to achieve each of these attributes as they work their way through the Key Stages of our school.
People believe that joining top ESF (English School Foundation) schools might be easier for kids to achieve the academic excellence. In fact, the proven teaching methods of Wycome Abbey also enable each individual child to achieve their academic potential via an immersive learning environment that educates the whole child.
Our teaching methods, experience and heritage enable us to offer an education for each individual pupil that balances academic rigor with an integrated focus on mental and physical well-being. Providing our pupils with an immersive academic environment encouraging critical thinking through project-based applications, we work on the belief that well-balanced and confident pupils prove to be the most successful.
As part of our holistic educational philosophy at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong, we are committed to the concept that learning a fact or a skill is just the beginning of a pupil’s education process. We assess the success of our learning against stated ‘outcomes’. These outcomes are the interactive skills that a pupil can demonstrate to evidence that they have fully internalized a fact, a skill, or a concept. A lot of our outcomes are based on socially collaborative creativity and problem solving.
More staid and traditional education models simply require pupils to learn and retain facts. We challenge our pupils to explore and utilize each item of new learning and to debate, apply and problem-solve with it.
In order to fully exercise all the varied skills that our curriculum requires, our students will by necessity have a very varied and busy day. We ensure that each child’s learning schedule fully immerses them in a vibrant programme of pupil centred learning, whereby our pupils evidence the learned outcomes in the skills they can apply to collaborative problem-solving activities in all subjects and activities.