Parents who forked out HK$1.92 million to land a final-round interview for their children at a prestigious British private school have been offered a full refund after a rezoning issue forced delays at the institution’s planned campus.
Last week, Mount Kelly School, the Hong Kong branch of the British boarding school, announced on its Facebook page that the opening of its Tuen Mun campus had been pushed back a year to September 2018. Instead, the school aimed to open three new sites in Kowloon City and Tsim Sha Tsui.
Peter Kenny, a recently employed director at Mount Kelly School, yesterday said the school was still trying to have part of the original Tuen Mun site rezoned to build an education facility.
“There are two parcels of land [at the Tuen Mun campus], one is designated to build an education facility on, the other one has to be rezoned to build [education facilities] – in order to offer the swimming pool, boarding facility and classrooms,” he said.
It follows months of campaigning from the school, insisting the Tuen Mun site would be completed by September this year.
Kenny, a founding principal of the English Schools Foundation’s Renaissance College, said a government agency put him in contact with Mount Kelly after the school became a “victim of some very poor advice”.
The site of the proposed Mount Kelly School at So Kwun Wat Road, Tuen Mun. Photo: Edmond So
The director said the school would refund parents who had already shelled out HK$1.92 million for an individual nomination certificate, which secures a final interview for applicants.
He also explained that the school had decided to introduce an annual non-refundable capital levy of HK$50,000 as an alternative for those who did not wish to, or could not pay for the refundable nomination certificate.
Kenny said the three new sites would be permanent and assured parents they would open as planned in September.
He said there were existing buildings on all three sites, which required only refitting or renovation, and two were former educational facilities.
He said provisional leases had been signed for the three sites and the school was awaiting approvals from the Town Planning Board, Buildings Department and Fire Services Department, which he anticipated would be ready by late February. It would then apply for school registration with the Education Bureau.
Model of Mount Kelly displayed to prospective applicants in November. Photo: Nora Tam
“We want to be sure and are being very disciplined in only [announcing details of the location and making offers] after every government authority has signed off,” he said.
The Tsim Sha Tsui campus would be dedicated to kindergarten levels, while one of the Kowloon City sites would cater to years 1 to 6 and the other to playgroup and admissions, Kenny said. The Tuen Mun site, upon completion, would cater to years 1 to 8.
Kenny, however, stopped short of disclosing the exact locations of the three new campuses.
Education lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said parents of prospective students deserved to know the exact details of the school’s new location and advised parents to be careful when deciding to apply to enter the school. Parents have to pay an administrative fee of HK$1,500 to apply to the school.
Mount Kelly School made headlines in recent months after the Education Bureau issued it with several warnings for making potentially misleading declarations. The school withdrew its school registration application in late July and has not yet submitted a new one.