Through-train school lives up to its name

October 28, 2016 17:34
Patrick Lam, headmaster of the primary section, says A-School is one of a few schools in Hong Kong with a truly flexible school-based curriculum. Photo: HKEJ

Few schools can match the flexibility of A-School, the first primary and secondary through-train school in Hong Kong.

A-School already enjoys greater freedom in writing its curriculum under the direct subsidy scheme.

The curriculum enables a broad and balanced blueprint for whole-person development starting from primary one until high school, said Patrick Lam, headmaster of the primary section.

“Unlike many other schools that focus only on eight key learning areas, as a through-train school, we anticipate the future challenges that would be faced by our students during their secondary education as well as in the fast-paced world," Lam said.

"That’s how we came up with our own ‘school-based’ curriculum.”

A-School stands for Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) Affiliated School Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary School.

As the name implies, the school is affiliated with HKBU. 

On top of typical school subjects, A-School offers a spectrum of other learning experiences (OLE), integrated science and liberal arts curriculum.

Starting this academic year, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) has been added across primary one to six.

Five OLE lessons are conducted each week, covering a wide range of subjects such as English, Chinese, mathematics, aesthetics and sports.

OLE classes also supplement regular subjects.

For instance, during coding and robotics workshops, students can try out theories learned from STEM lessons into practice.

There are five classes of 30 pupils in each grade which are considerably large.

In order to cater to individual needs and learning differences, small-class teaching is in place.

Throughout junior primary, five classes are split into seven groups according to their abilities in English, Chinese and mathematics.

And the school timetables of the primary and secondary sections are identical for the first four periods, Lam said.

The policy enables some senior primary students of exceptional abilities in mathematics to attend the secondary section for junior math classes, for example.

Speaking of the school's admission interview and requirements, Lam gave away some tips for parents.

“We are not into reading one’s portfolio as it is obviously compiled by the parents,” Lam said.

What the school would like to see is the actual responses of students during the interview.

Confident children with good attitude and manner during group discussions are the kind of prospective students they are looking for.

Their ability to solve problems is appreciated and will be tested in situational questions during the first-round interview.

There are three must-have qualities A-School looks for in students -- reading habit, curiosity and a positive attitude to life.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 27

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Students deliver their presentation at the end of a problem-based learning project. At right, students attend a STEM class. Photos: HKEJ
A-School offers overseas excursions every year. Photo: HKEJ
A-School stands for Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary School. Photo: HKEJ

Writer of the Hong Kong Economic Journal