The Kowloon-based international school, which enrols around 400 students from Nursery through to Year 9, has been hard hit by recent events – the social unrest in Hong Kong and the Covid-19 pandemic. The school, which opened in 2017, says that despite a rise in student admissions over the past four years, it experienced a substantial loss in 2020 due to unpaid tuition fees and student dropouts.
Due to its financial crisis, the school has suspended classes from June 7 to the end of term on July 3, giving it time to restructure so that it can reopen fully for the start of the 2021-22 academic year on 24 August.
Commenting on the class suspension, Mount Kelly told WhichSchoolAdvisor.com:
"Over the years, student enrolment of Mount Kelly School Hong Kong has been good, with full capacity and even waiting lists up until the social unrest and the pandemic, when the school saw many dropouts.
"For these reasons, Mount Kelly Education Group commissioned lawyers and accountants to form a new financial team in late May 2021, to review and to better understand the situation. The new financial team has also started to restructure the school operation.
"Upon completion of the accounts review, our investors will inject funds through lawyers into the school. Also, a new operation team will come in to oversee and enhance the future operation of the school, in an effort to ensure Mount Kelly’s missions and curriculum will be continued."
The school says that its teachers are "very supportive of the school’s restructuring work". Parents are being informed of the school's current situation and future plans by face-to-face and Zoom meetings this week; the school said it has "received positive responses from parents".
However, the sudden suspension of classes delivers yet another blow to families at the school who have experienced a turbulent 18 months, all while paying annual school fees ranging from HKD 154,990 to 195,000. Along with all other local and international schools in Hong Kong, Mount Kelly has been closed on and off since November 2019.
First, classes were suspended for up to one week in November 2019 due to protests across Hong Kong. Then, all campuses were closed from the end of January 2020 due to Covid-19 and all classes switched to distance learning; they reopened from late May 2020 with strict social distancing measures in place, and were then closed again for the start of the new academic year in September 2020. Hong Kong’s local and international schools then closed their campuses again in January 2021 to help manage the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
Mount Kelly offered this reassurance to parents:
"All school fees that have been paid for the month of June 2021 will be carried forward to the next academic year. Parents who have already submitted their intentions to leave will be refunded in due course."
Mount Kelly was the first standalone British prep school in Hong Kong to both offer the National Curriculum for England and prepare students for the Common Entrance set of exams that are accepted by top UK independent secondary schools such as Eton and Charterhouse. It is a sister school to one of the UK's leading independent private schools in the West Country, Mount Kelly UK, which has a 140-year-old history.
While classes are suspended, Mount Kelly is switching to an online learning programme.
"There will be an assembly via Zoom for each key stage, as the teachers will want to say goodbye to the children until the next academic year.
"We will ensure that the children have projects to complete throughout those weeks and the online learning platforms will continue to be available for the children to use. Teachers will upload activities for the students to complete on the various Google platforms."