Annual tuition fees at English Schools Foundation (ESF) schools will rise by an average of 4.5% for the 2019-20 academic year – but Year 4 will be the hardest hit with an annual increase of 23%.
Year 4 fees at primary schools including Kowloon Junior, Beacon Hill and Sha Tin Junior will increase by HKD 21,900 from HKD 93,900 to HKD 115,800. The proposed fees are pending approval by the government’s Education Bureau.
This above-average increase is due to the loss of ESF's annual HKD 283 million subsidy from the government, which started being phased out three years ago and will last for a period of 13 years. While the government subvention will continue for all students in Years 5 to 13 in 2019-20, a new fee structure applies to all students in Years 1-4.
While this is a hefty increase from the 2018-19 fees for Year 4, it’s important to note parents with children currently in Year 3 will only be paying an extra HKD 4,600 per year when their child moves up to Year 3. Year 3 parents currently pay HKD 111,200, higher than other year groups as Years 1-3 lost their government subsidy last year.
The ESF runs five kindergartens, nine primary schools, five secondary schools, two Private Independent Schools and a school for children with SEN. All ESF schools have the same fee structure, and they have always had a reputation for being considerably cheaper than most international schools in Hong Kong.
Fees at ESF's kindergartens vary slightly, and the increase ranges from 5.3% to 7.5%; Hillside offers the cheapest fees at HKD 77,000 while Tung Chung is the most expensive at HKD 86,000; Tung Chung also plans to launch a full day class from August 2019 which will cost HKD 146,800 per year.
Tuition fees in Years 1-3 at ESF’s primary schools will rise from HKD 111,200 to HKD 115,800 per year, and Years 5 to 6 will go up from HKD 93,900 to 98,500. This will affect families at Kowloon Junior, Beacon Hill, Sha Tin Junior, Bradbury, Peak School, Glenealy School, Clearwater Bay, Quarry Bay and Kennedy schools.
At secondary schools including Sha Tin College, South Island School, King George V, West Island School, and Island School, the fees for Years 7 to 11 will increase from HKD 128,400 to HKD 133,800; families of students studying the IBDP in Years 12 and 13 will pay an extra HKD 5,700 as fees rise to HKD 140,700.
Fees for the special school, Jockey Club Sarah Roe School, face the same increase as primary and secondary schools.
Parents at Renaissance College (RCHK) and Discovery College, both Private Independent Schools run by the ESF, also face an increase of around 5% and 5.8% respectively, Fees for 2019-20 now range from HKD 124,000-167,900 at RCHK and HKD 129,700-175,400 at Discovery College.
ESF’s CEO Belinda Greer told parents:
"Over the course of the last four years we have seen an increasing level of investment in our schools and our facilities and significant investment in recruiting world-class teaching staff. We have done this while being able to, in real terms, reduce the cost of running the organisation."