A British boarding school in Tuen Mun has denied allegations by the education bureau that it is already recruiting students although it has no official permit to operate yet.
During a groundbreaking ceremony of Mount Kelly International School in So Kwun Wat on Saturday, Martin Wong, a board director, said there was a “miscommunication” between the school and the Education Bureau, Headline Daily reports.
The school, which will be Hong Kong’s first British preparatory school for boys and girls aged between 5 and 13, only accepts inquiries and conducts interviews at this stage, Wong said.
He said recruitment will not begin until April next year and the target for the school’s opening in September remains unchanged.
Wong said the school plans to contact the bureau this week to discuss the registration issue after it has prepared all the required documents.
On Friday Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim warned the school and parents that it cannot call itself an “international school” because it has not completed its registration process yet.
While Ng confirmed the bureau had received a request for the temporary withdrawal of the school’s application for registration, he said there is “no such thing as a temporary withdrawal under the Education Ordinance”, news website hk01.com reported.
The school has reportedly said that it plans to admit 420 students in the first phase when it opens next September.
Despite this being the case, dozens of parents went to the school paid a non-refundable fee of HK$1,500 and HK$1.92 million for an “individual nomination certificate” charged by the school in the hope of gaining admission for their children, media reports said.
After hearing the reports, the bureau sent two letters warning the school that it has not been officially registered, Ng said.
He called on parents applying their children for admission to the school to be careful and not to make any move until the school has completed the requirements for its establishment.
Legislator Ip Kin-yuen, who represents the education functional constituency, said he has urged the bureau to continue monitoring the school.
Citing media reports, he said the preparatory school is at risk of not being able to open as scheduled because the land it occupies still has to undergo rezoning before a schoolhouse can be built.
– Contact us at [email protected]