Guide on Life at school of Expat Children:
As Hong Kong’s education system is based on the British system, most schools including international schools require their pupils to wear uniforms. These uniforms are generally supplied by the school itself from stores which are usually operated by the PTA. There are different uniforms for primary and secondary sections as well as different uniforms for the winter and summer seasons in Hong Kong. Separate uniforms are expected to be worn for physical education and as well as other sports activities.
School children in Hong Kong tend to carry their school books in backpacks and schools are equipped with lockers to hold these backpacks. Schools like the Kellett school encourage their students to buy school issued backpacks. Aside from school bags many children also are required have a separate bag for transporting library books.
Most parents in Hong Kong send a packed lunch with their children to school. Many international schools are also equipped with canteens and cafeterias for those students who wish to buy their lunch at school.
The school schedule at various Hong Kong schools differs from school to school though generally the timetable at each school provides for a morning recess, lunch hour and an afternoon recess as well. Both the morning and afternoon recess extend over approximately 15 minutes. Some schools even allow children playtime before assembly and the start of the school day.
Most schools in Hong Kong offer a school bus service. This service is usually provided by an outside contractor who is hired by the PTA, though some elementary and primary schools do have their own school buses as well. Often schools appoint a child minder to chaperon the children who ride the bus. If children don’t travel by school bus they either use private or public transport to travel to school and back.
All schools in Hong Kong expect their pupils to regularly attend school and they use various different methods to record attendance. If, for some reason, students are unable to attend school because of illness or they need to take some time off, the parents are expected to inform the school, usually the class teacher. Parents usually inform the school of their children’s absence at school via email to the class teacher.
Most schools in Hong Kong strive to achieve a healthy student teacher interaction. Teachers in both ESF and international schools are approachable and accessible to students and parents. The schools also hold regular ‘open days’ during which parents are invited to come and meet the teachers who teach their children at the school. These ‘open days’ give the parents a chance to learn about the progress and performance of their children at school. Many schools are also equipped with a counselor, usually a social worker, who is present at the school to provide counseling services if required.
Parents are required by schools in Hong Kong to provide any information regarding allergies or any other medical needs of their child on the school administered Medical Card. All schools in Hong Kong are equipped with a well qualified school nurse and a medical room. Parents are also required to update the school about any new medical conditions or requirements that may arise. Medical forms have to be updated annually. This information also needs to be supplied every time the child is due to go on a field trip away from school.
The school nurse is usually available at the medical clinic of the school. Students can go to the medical clinic to see the nurse if they feel unwell. However the nurse is not allowed to administer any medications to the students. In case the school nurse is expected to administer any prescription medication to a student then the parents of the student are required to send the said medicines in a sealed bag to the school nurse along with the doctor’s dosage instructions and a letter of consent from the parents of the child.
The school nurse is expected to take care of any first aid needs of the students. All schools in Hong Kong are required by the HK Bureau of Manpower and Education to have basic first aid kits in high risk areas of the school. Bleed bags are also provided in every class room. In the case of an emergency, the school nurse will usually accompany the student if hospitalization is required.