22 Aug 2017

FAQs from Parents About Decant

Will there be opportunities for parents and students to visit the sites?

Currently some showcase areas are being prepared on the Sha Tin Wai site (site A, for Years 7, 8, 12 & 13)

We anticipate that these will be available to view from early September and we will begin arranging student and parent visits from mid-September.

What are the transport arrangements?

We have spent a significant amount of time working with students, ESF and the Kwun Chung Bus company to develop the proposed bus routes. These are now on our website. We are still finalising the costs and departure times and we expect the full details to be available in mid-September. The booking system for the school buses will be open from the beginning of October 2017.

How will you maintain teaching standards in the transition?

ESF have been, and continue to be very supportive of the staff at Island School. We are currently delivering a decant timetable, so there will be no changes to lessons or teaching staff when we move to the new campuses. ESF have provided additional resources to ensure that the quality of our curriculum is maintain throughout the process.

What renovation is taking place?

The budget for the renovation is extensive – $150 million. We are grateful to ESF for their support to the school in ensuring that facilities are of an excellent standard, indeed we feel that the spaces we are moving to will be far better than those on Borrett Road.

A full refurbishment is taking place on both sites. The Sha Tin campuses will include some of the design work planned for the new Borrett Road campus. Breakout spaces, new furniture and multi-dimensional teaching spaces are all being introduced at the Sha Tin campuses. We will also have new facilities such as enhanced cardio suites, multi-purpose rooms and creative hubs at both campuses.

The IT infrastructure is also brand new throughout, giving students a better experience.

What provisions are taking place to ensure the level of outdoor space is maintained?

Outdoor space directly on site is a challenge for us. However both sites do have sporting facilities close by. These include astro turf pitches (Tsang Tai playground, Hin Tin playground) and hard basketball courts (Sha Tin Sports Ground, Chui Tin soccer pitch) within walking distance – we have already submitted applications to book these facilities and we are awaiting confirmation. The proximity of the schools to the main highway allows us to be back on Hong Kong Island in around 20 minutes and so some facilities (Sun Yat Sen sports ground) do still remain a better option for our use.

 What have been the effects of the move on staffing?

Very little, if any. At the end of the 2016/17 academic year Island School had a very low turnover of staff. Of the 8 full time teachers that left, 2 have retired and 1 has moved into consultancy work. A staff turnover of 8 teachers is very low for a typical school.

ESF are also very supportive of our excellent support staff at school considering how their needs can be met.

 How will you maintain Island School spirit and interaction between students?

This has been, and will continue to be at the forefront of our thinking throughout the decant time. We have promoted 6 Heads of House for the transition in order to help maintain the House spirit and ensure that pastoral care remains at a superb level.

We have also introduced 1 period of curriculum time each week, when students from different campuses can come together.  This time will allow us to run various competitions that help to build House spirit.

 Why does the school have to move at Christmas?

The conditions at Borrett Road has become more troublesome over the past two years. During the summer term we lost 2 days following heavy rain when other ESF schools remained open, one of these was during our Year 11 exam period resulting in stress to our students. We are obviously aware of the disruption of the move and we have, and will continue to work with students in order to help minimise this.

The decision making process between the Education Bureau, ESF and Sha Tin District Council was prolonged and during these discussions it was clear that we needed to use the new campuses from Christmas.

 What effect will the move have on sports teams and the extracurricular program?

We have carefully looked at the facilities used by teams to identify when and where new facilities are needed and where necessary we have already bid to book them and are awaiting confirmation from the Leisure, Culture and Service Department. For some activities it will be better to remain at the current location, so buses will obviously be arranged as necessary. The activities will continue as normal and buses after sports events will make a stop at a central Kowloon point before stopping at Admiralty and Pier 3.

 Do the Sha Tin campuses share facilities with other schools?

Both sites are connected to another secondary school, however, there are NO facilities that are shared.What are the canteen arrangements?

The contract for our current site is due to finish at Christmas and we are about to begin the new tender for the two new campuses. We have already had conversations with Chartwells (our current catering provider) and they are confident they can deliver a similar service.

Both sites are also surrounded by Dai Pai Dongs and we will consult with the students, PTA and council into which students should have access.

 How will you maintain your current community links whilst also integrating with the new one?

The forming of new community relations is an exciting opportunity for us and our integration with the Sha Tin community has formed a large positive part of the collaboration with the district council. Having said that our current community projects are important and we are well aware that we will move back to Borrett Road in just over three years.

We are looking into working with the local community in particular on gardening projects and English classes within the Elements programme.

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