We’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions, below, which you may find useful. Feel free to take a look before emailing us, as you might find that your question has already been answered.
If you do have a question that is not answered, then please complete the form on the right to ask a question about studying or working at ICHK.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will ICHK offer our child?
At the heart of ICHK is a fundamental commitment: to provide our students with the very best education we can offer, day in, day out, year on year.
Ours is a school that is student-centred and community-minded. We make children feel welcome, cared for and thoroughly at home.
Our innovative curricula offer students a stimulating and challenging learning journey, and our focus is relentlessly future-orientated. We know that change in the world is constant and accelerating. We know that students need a new and wider set of skills if they are to meet the challenges that await: that, in an information and ideas based economy, it is attitudes and mindsets, no less than qualifications, that will underpin ongoing performance and success. And so we have created – and continually evolve – a school experience that best prepares young people for that future.
How are you different from other schools?
ICHK configures students’ experience of school around the notion of an ‘epistemic apprenticeship’, which underscores the ways in which school provides guidance and role modelling for every aspect of students’ performance – including the academic, social, emotional and values-driven dimensions of students’ lives.
We are committed to our association with systems like the IB, but we are passionate about promoting a wider view of learning, which explicitly and deliberately searches for better ways to help young people learn and attain their ambitions and aspirations.
We are extremely personal, friendly, individual and inclusive, allowing our students to thrive in a positive and stimulating environment.
What educational programmes do you offer?
We have developed a unique and stimulating curriculum. In Years 7-9 learning is centred on emerging best practices, using insights and innovations from around the world, captured in a combination of courses that either reflect existing national curriculums or that we have designed ourselves, from the ground up. In Years 10-11 students follow IGCSEs and then the IB Diploma Programme (DP) in Years 12-13. The Mastery Transcript is offered as an additional qualification.
But more than this, we work closely with students to identify their passions and provide them with personalised learning opportunities. Our innovative Free Learning and Enrichment & Flow programmes allow students opportunities to deepen their work in subjects or in areas of interest which are not covered by the mainstream school curriculum. The Free Learning programme introduces our younger students to self-direction and allows them to take more control of their learning, through a varied map of challenges and experiences. Enrichment & Flow is an adjunct to the IGCSE programme and offers students the chance to consolidate, extend or innovate the curriculum they follow.
How would you describe the ethos of the school?
ICHK is a personal, friendly, individual and inclusive community school. This is enabled by strong relationships between all stakeholders – parents, staff and students. Our environment is based on safety and trust, growth, mutual understanding and shared respect.
A strong community spirit is central to our philosophy, and we are guided by research that indicates that small communities do a better job of recognising and catering for the needs of their members.
Across our school we value each other as unique individuals, deserving of a place in which to grow, flourish and thrive.
What is unique about your curriculum?
Students follow IGCSEs, and the IBDP, and ICHK is the first school in Hong Kong to graduate students with a Mastery Transcript.
Our curriculum aims to develop creative, collaborative and independent learning skills. We believe that the secondary school experience should deliver both character and academic achievement in the same child. Our philosophy is grounded in the conviction that young people should be supported in developing their all-round characters, including but not confined to the academic dimension, so that they experience themselves as strong, confident, impassioned learners.
We have designed a number of pioneering projects, which are well-founded in educational research. We are proud that these have been recognised by the research wing of Cambridge University, Cambridge Strategies, which included us in its recent list of the 100 most innovative schools worldwide.
Our curriculum initiatives include Human Technologies, outdoor based activities, Free Learning, Flexible Learning and Deep Learning. These have all been developed to enrich our students’ experience of school and their understanding of themselves as people and learners. The curriculum dimension is supported by our unique 5+1 pastoral model, which fosters a culture of growth, hard work, acceptance and collaboration.
How long has your school been in operation?
ICHK was set up in 2009.
What is the IB Learner Profile?
The IB Learner Profile is a set of ideals to define the type of learner we aim to develop. As IB learners we strive to be knowledgeable, risk takers, inquirers, thinkers, communicators, principled, open minded, open-minded, balanced, and reflective.
What learning support do you offer?
ICHK is a school where all students feel cared for and can flourish in a nurturing environment. Our key aim is to provide a secure, caring environment for students, where they can develop as learners and happy individuals. Students with pronounced learning needs may be admitted if their needs can be supported by our Learning Support staff. Our experienced team ensure that students are supported and nurtured in a responsive environment, so that they receive the best possible school experience. At our primary school we have part time Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy on site, which is paid for by parents.
What is your policy on inclusion?
At ICHK we believe that every child has the right to an education.
We value the unique contributions that all students bring to the classroom, and we invest heavily in promoting the conditions that lead to a nurturing and supportive community.
Our student body is diverse and includes those with many unique gifts and talents, but also those with challenges. We grow as a community by valuing difference and facing the challenges of supporting everyone to achieve their potential.
We work as expansively as possible within practical limits to provide a rich and stimulating experience for all our students. At both our campuses, children with learning needs can be admitted if their needs can be supported by our staff and the physical infrastructure of the campus, to enable them to access the curriculum. Our experienced Learning Support teams have the training and resources to respond and support the needs of all our students.
Our focus is on ensuring that we know our students well and our goal is to ensure that every child feels safe and has a sense of belonging.
How do you support children through the teenage years?
Our unique 5+1 pastoral model is based on the work of five thinkers in education and beyond, and underpins everything we do at ICHK.
Comprehensive research into what factors lie behind school attainment in the secondary years has prompted this model for fostering and nurturing success in our students. It provides us with guidance how to encourage a growth mindset and how to support students into the “learning zone” through an imaginative, innovative curriculum, experienced in an environment of safety and trust. To find out more click here.
How has secondary school moved on since my day?
Not as much as you might hope! However, we are on a mission to change that. The traditional school setting, with teachers imparting scarce and precious knowledge to passive students, has been overtaken by time and technology. Most schools now at least pay lip service to more active and inquiry based learning. At ICHK, our approach to pedagogy is informed by six essential qualities. It is authentic, inquiry and problem based, informed by formative and summative assessment, differentiated, collaborative and conceptual. And it is delivered through a variety of methods, some centered on the classroom, laboratory or studio, but others, such as Deep Learning taking advantage of local and regional resources.
What languages do you offer?
At ICHK we offer strong Chinese, Spanish and Japanese curricula, and our programme is enriched through exchange visits, language immersion trips and language events.
We consistently celebrate outstanding examination results, alongside success in prestigious competitions.
What sports do you offer?
Sport is an important element of our curriculum and we run a comprehensive programme. We aim to have as many students as possible representing the school for sport, as we believe it plays a vital role in their development. The challenges students face on the sports field encourage them to dig deep into reserves of spirit and energy, and this mindset transfers to the rest of their lives.
Different sporting options are rotated during the year, to ensure students take part in a wide variety of activities. Football, touch rugby, handball, badminton, field hockey, climbing, table tennis, rounders, netball, cricket, ball hockey, volleyball, basketball, orienteering, ultimate Frisbee and kabbadi are all included, along with our unique College Rules.
Do you run a Drama programme?
ICHK is renowned for its amazing drama productions, and has won many prestigious awards. Students celebrate great success in the performing arts, and our award winning drama team consistently works its magic to leave audiences spellbound. As we are a small school, all students are given the opportunity to become involved in productions, not just a select few. Our talented teachers also run sessions at the primary school, helping to support and co-ordinate performance opportunities for younger students.
Do you offer a Music programme?
Yes, a music programme is part of of an Arts Carousel which is run for students in Years 7-9, which supplements weekly music clinics and innovative Human Technologies and Deep Learning programmes.
What ICT learning do you offer?
Our ground breaking Free Learning programme represents the use of technology to revolutionise classroom practice. Students chart their own learning through a varied map of challenges and experiences. The programme promotes creativity, individuality, team work, freedom and taking responsibility. To find out more click here.
How often will my child learn outdoors?
The unique location of our school provides us with so many opportunities, and outdoor learning is integrated into all teaching. Students are able to conduct fieldwork and science experiments in their surroundings, and our programme of study trips includes nearby mangrove farms.
In our uniquely natural environment, students play sport and enjoy after school activities from dozens of choices. They are able to make full use of the nearby coastline and country parks for hiking, sailing, kayaking, cross country running and cycling.
Do you run an extra curricula activities programme?
We offer a wide range of activities, all designed to broaden and enrich our educational offering.
Options include horse riding, Model United Nations, football, creative writing, school band, swimming, gym, touch rugby, basketball, volleyball, chess and many more.
Our activities fit under the broad headings of Creativity, Action and Service (CAS), and each term we run a wide selection of weekly activities during break times and after school.
Our unique location means that we are able to make full use of the nearby coastline and country parks for activities including hiking and cycling.
Our programme, with its emphasis on exercise and outdoor learning is central to our approaches, as our philosophy is grounded in the conviction that young people should be supported in developing their all-round characters if they are to produce themselves as confident, self-directed, ambitious, and fearless learners.
For a comprehensive list click here.
What is your policy on information and digital technology?
Our aim in applying digital technologies to learning is to balance their growing power against their propensity to disrupt, distract and disconnect. We recognise that students need to become fluent in utilising and harnessing these powerful tools, whilst also learning to overcome distraction and manage multiple deluges of data and notifications. At the same time we recognise that no level of digital technology will ever replace the range and depth of learning that can occur when students are situated in a flexible, innovative and sociable school.
Our secondary laptop program, in which each student is the guardian of a laptop owned by their family, is seen as a way to supplement and extend learning, rather than as a central pillar of what we do. These machines are used in a variety of classes, but are balanced by our foci on social, situated and outdoor learning.
In terms of behaviour, we generally focus less on hard and fast rules to govern the use of technology, working instead to apply a set of broad guidelines, through which students learn to make sound decisions. Poor decisions are corrected through the use of adult-adult conversations, and, occasionally, more formal consequences.
As with each generation, there are gaps between how we would like technology to be used, and how our young choose to use them. The trick, we believe, is to be aware of these gaps, and to move slowly towards a healthy, safe and positive middle ground.
Where are your teachers from?
Our teachers are recruited from around the world and bring a wealth of experience to our school. They are passionate about education, caring and totally committed to the interests of our students and the school.
ICHK is a community, in which all teachers think of themselves as leaders of learning.
They work in partnership to create the best environment for engagement and growth, and create both the time and opportunities for students to experience a diverse range of activities and ideas.
How are students assessed and how often do you report to parents?
We use the ICHK Approaches to Learning, on which we report specifically twice a year. This give students feedback about their attitude to challenge, resilience and motivation, attitude to feedback and advice, organization, initiative and decision-making, ability to work independently and with others, self-regulation and contribution to class. In addition to this, our bespoke virtual learning environment Gibbon provides parents with direct access to their children’s learning as it develops. Teachers provide more than 60 pieces of written feedback throughout the year, via the Gibbon Markbook, using our Reporting, Assessment and Feedback guidelines.
What are your class sizes?
Our classes are around 20 students. We believe that small classes allow our teachers to design and deliver their lessons to meet the needs of individual students. With a low student to teacher ratio, learners receive the individual attention and guidance they need; there is a high degree of interaction between teacher and student, and also between students, which is key to our learning philosophy.
What are your exam results?
ICHK students achieve very strong IBDP and IGCSE results – in line with the highest achieving schools in Hong Kong and beyond.
Since our very first cohort, our IB Diploma Programme students have scored above world averages and have progressed to prestigious universities around the world.
But exam results do not tell the whole story. To really appreciate our students’ success, we need to consider what is termed ‘value added’ in education. This refers to whether a school helps its students gain higher results than their previous test scores have predicted. At ICHK, many students significantly exceed expectations generated by CAT and ICAS assessments earlier in their school careers.
As a non-selective school, which offers unconditional places to all the students graduating from our three primary partners, we work with children with a wide variety of academic profiles. Our students typically sit 8 or 9 GCSEs, though some, with pronounced learning differences, take fewer. ICHK takes equal pleasure in all their success stories, whether that is As across the board for the academically adept or a hard-won D for a student who struggles with classwork and whose strengths lie elsewhere.
It is this “value added” that we are most proud of as a school – students who, by embracing a growth mindset, routinely go far beyond what might be expected of them.
What percentage of students progress to university?
To date, all students have secured their first choice university destinations. These are destinations that emerge from detailed, reflective conversations between students and our tertiary advisors.
What is the ideal university for my child?
Every student is different and there is no ideal university. We work very closely with our students (and their parents) to discuss and unlock their passions, and we offer individualised support on their further education pathways. It is one of our key aims to identify the best possible courses to suit those passions.
How do you deal with bullying?
At ICHK bullying simply has no place.
We are one of those rare schools where students of all ages socialize together during break times – so that games of basketball, football and our own unique ICHK College Rules, invariably feature boys and girls of all ages. Similarly, in the canteen, students cheerfully mix between year groups, taking each other seriously simply as individuals and not as belonging to this or that class or grade.
There are good reasons for this happy state of affairs. We invest heavily in promoting the conditions that lead to purposeful, mutually supportive, community cohesion. Our student body is diverse and includes individuals with many unique gifts and talents, but also those with challenges.
Our House system is built on a foundation of friendly competition, so that the many activities in which the students go head-to-head are an opportunity both to celebrate their own successes but also to commend and applaud the successes of others. Our reputation for fair play and sportsmanship is well established in inter-school competitions, in which we regularly punch above our weight.
More than anything, we value each other as unique individuals, deserving of a place in which to grow, flourish and thrive.
How is the school governed?
ICHK was established as a not-for-profit school and incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. Under this legal structure the school is held by the members of the school from time to time. An Annual General Meeting of the school is held every year where all members can attend and vote.
The principal governing body is the Board of Governors. Members of the board serve on a voluntary basis and are not paid. In general, governors are parents of students who attend the school. There are also representatives of the partner schools on the Board of Governors .
The Board appoints the Head of School who is responsible for the operation of the school and day to day management.
Members of the board are elected at the Annual General Meeting. Members of the board may also be co-opted between AGMs and then stand for election at the next AGM. The governors meet between 4 to 6 times a year to oversee the operation of the school. The board has also established a number of committees, including Finance Committees that oversee the financial affairs of the schools.
The Board of Governors is refreshed each year through a mechanism whereby approximately one third of its members must stand for re-election.
What is the funding structure of the school?
As a non-profit-school, the school is required to budget to operate on a break even basis.
The school has over the years accumulated reserves to ensure the operation can continue at least to the end of a school year in the event fee income reduces significantly.
The school generates funds for operations and development through tuition fees, debentures and donations.
Tuition fees are used for fixed expenses, most significantly teachers’ salaries. Tuition fees are approved by the Hong Kong Education Bureau and cannot be changed during a school year (other than under the school’s hardship policy).
A non-refundable capital debenture is required for each student. These funds are used for capital development including the maintenance of and upgrading of school facilities to meet health and safety requirements, the standards expected by members of our school community, and the standards required by the bodies who certify the schools.
Donations are made to the schools from time to time to fund specific projects or as a general contribution to school funds. If you are interested in making a donation, please contact the Head of School.
Do you have a hardship policy?
The school has a policy for families facing genuine financial hardship to apply for waivers, reductions or postponement of school fees. Families who wish to discuss this option should contact the Head of School in the first instance.
Do I need to pay a debenture?
A non-refundable debenture is required for each new student joining our school. For further information click here.
What are the school fees?
Our school fees are lower than many other international schools in Hong Kong, and are used to enable us to attract high quality teachers. For further information click here.
Do you offer school tours?
Yes, we welcome interested parents anytime, and will always do our best to accommodate you at your convenience. Please contact email@example.com to arrange a visit to our secondary school. We look forward to welcoming you.
How do I apply for a place?
To apply for a place, please complete our online application form.
Is there a school uniform?
We have schoolwear that is designed to support learning and offer comfort. Students choose among a selection of items bearing the ICHK logo, depending on the day of learning they have ahead. Given that many students choose to begin their morning, alongside their teachers, with elective fitness sessions, many staff and students opt for the school sports kit, which is lightweight, simple and ideal for Hong Kong.
Do you run a bus service?
Our school bus provider runs 18 routes to and from school. For details and times for all routes, please check the ICHK 2023-24 Bus List. If you need further information, please email Suki Ngai at firstname.lastname@example.org