• Well-established campus with historical features
• Mix of traditional and modern buildings
• Large playing fields
• Accessible location
From the clocktower through to the white school uniform, there’s something reassuringly traditional about King George V school (KGV). More than 80 years’ old, this campus in Kowloon City still has the original driveway, clocktower and school hall. But walk through the main gates and you’ll also see a school that has moved with the times and grown to accommodate its large student body of 1,800 children. Alongside the 1930s buildings, there is a new science block, performing arts centre, and fairly recently added block of classrooms.
Read our review of ESF King George V school here.
Another striking – and unmissable feature of this centrally located campus is the large grass playing field next to the school where students play football, rugby and other team sports.
KGV says: “We are right in the middle of the city, and yet we have so much space for sports and the arts.”
Located next door, is its feeder school ESF Kowloon Junior, as well as the ESF Jockey Club Sarah Roe school. As you’d expect, KGV is a well-established part of the local community. Easily accessible from Ho Man Tin and Mong Kok East MTR stations, this secondary school makes a positive first impression, extends a very warm welcome to anyone who walks through the school gates, and has a charm that some of Hong Kong’s newer schools simply can’t match.
There are two gated entrances to the school, and all visitors are required to register with security.
• Well-equipped specialist facilities to meet needs of IGCSEs, IBDP and BTEC
• Large university-style campus with
• Plenty of outdoor space from a rooftop auditorium to a garden piazza
KGV is the English Schools Foundation’s (ESF) oldest school. Here’s a school that has the look and feel of a standalone secondary school – mature, neutral colour scheme and fairly quiet. The facilities support the more sophisticated curricula at IGCSE, IB and BTEC level, and specialist subjects including, music, D&T and the performing arts. KGV has also created a learning environment that has been designed around the needs of secondary students, from quiet study areas to collaborative spaces.
There are dedicated floors for each year group with naturally-lit classrooms and well-equipped rooms that range from science labs and workshops to music studios and theatre spaces. There are also various places available for students to work independently, either during lessons, before and after school or during breaks and lunchtimes.
Specialist facilities are located on dedicated floors so it’s easy to find your way around this campus, and the students have plenty of movement between lessons. There are large specialist rooms, including art rooms, food technology rooms and science labs. Other facilities include an outdoor swimming pool and canteen.
KGV says: “The IB programme forces us to be good at everything. We’re not an arts or a science school, we want to be the best school for every student.”
There’s a strong university campus feel here, thanks to the school’s cluster of old and new buildings, a science block and performing arts centre, and outdoor areas. There’s also a senior students’ common room, which is a dedicated place for the IB students where they are discouraged from working and using laptops. It’s large yet familiar, city central yet very green, and old but also new.
Unusual for schools in Hong Kong, KGV has a huge amount of outdoor space. As well as two outdoor sports courts, there’s a garden ‘piazza’ that’s used for community events and break times; there are also plans to open an outdoor café here. The school has a rooftop auditorium, grass playing fields, and the use of a cricket green opposite the school.
KGV says: “We partner with the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union to use the playing field. It’s a partnership where they use it after school hours and maintain it for us, and the students use it during school hours.”
One of the newest additions to the school is the performing arts centre, with music and drama rooms, individual practice rooms, black box theatre, and a rooftop auditorium where students have drama classes and stage small performances. During our visit we saw an engaging class about Victorian melodrama.
Another recent development is a large learning resource centre, with individual and group study areas, shelves lined with books, a reading room and breakout areas. Located next to a café, this centre was filled with students reading, working in groups, and simply enjoying a coffee.
KGV is a 1:1 laptop school and we saw students working on laptops in various lessons; we also met members of the large IT support team, which is essential for a school that has such a strong integrated technology programme.
KGV says: “Technology is an important tool for the future and the kids need to know how to use it and interact with it. But group work and face to face work is also an important tool. But we don’t define ourselves as a technology school. It’s a great tool to personalise how the student learn, it gives them 24 hours access to learning resources, anytime anywhere.”
Having been at this site since 1936, this ESF secondary school is rich in history. KGV is proud of its past, and there are more than 20 plaques around the school with facts about the school’s heritage. There are still signs of its British colonial roots, and features such as the low handles for patients in wheelchairs are a reminder of its time as a military hospital.
The main hall, which is used for assemblies, performances, community events, has been left untouched since the school opened; we were interested to hear that Bruce Lee held his first ever boxing match in this hall. There’s also a dedicated alumni room with the former principal’s desk, old photos, and the original uniform – the past is most definitely celebrated here.
KGV says: “Many things have remained the same, including the school song, the 83-year-old building, and the motto ‘honesty before glory’. The school has also transformed so much though, and it’s almost like a mini university now.”
The campus is ‘brought to life’ with corridors and walls that are decorated with colourful murals and student work. We also saw several notices about the school’s large number of extra-curricular activities, including archery, badminton and chess.
KGV says: “If we don’t have an activity already, then it can be student-led and a teacher will monitor it. So, everyone can do what they want to do.”
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