Secondary School Profiles 2022/2023 Explanatory Notes
We hope the following could help parents acquire a clearer picture of the schools and understand the various effects in education through diversified development. As such, parents should fully consider and evaluate all aspects of schools when choosing schools. All the information in the Profiles is provided and verified by schools in September of the current school year. In the electronic version of the Profiles, parents can make use of the hyperlinks to acquire more updated information. To facilitate the understanding of individual items contained in the Profiles, the brief interpretations are listed as follows:
- 1. Supervisor/ Chairman of the School Management Committee
Before an incorporated management committee (IMC) is established in respect of an aided school, the aided school shall be managed by its school management committee (SMC). When an IMC has been established, the school shall be managed by the IMC. The SMC / IMC of a school shall be responsible for ensuring that the school is managed satisfactorily, the education of the pupils is promoted in a proper manner and the Education Ordinance is complied with. The SMC shall also recommend for the approval of the Permanent Secretary for Education (PS(Ed)) a manager of the school to be the supervisor. Whereas, the IMC shall give notice in writing to the PS(Ed) of the assumption of office of the supervisor. The supervisor shall conduct, on behalf of the school, all correspondence between the school and the PS(Ed) or any public officers concerning the management of the school and to perform all functions as stipulated in the Education Ordinance. For government schools, an SMC will be formed with an officer at the directorate level being appointed as Chairman by the Education Bureau.
- 2. Incorporated Management Committee (IMC)
Under the Education Ordinance, all aided schools have to set up and be managed by an IMC. Schools under the Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) may opt to establish an IMC under the Education Ordinance. Members of the IMC include key stakeholders of the school, that is, representatives of the sponsoring body, the principal, independent community member(s) and elected parent, teacher and alumni managers. It is through participatory governance that the spirit of school-based management can be fully realised.
- 3. Principal
Apart from managing the daily operation of the school, including learning and teaching, student support as well as internal and external administrative affairs, the principal should steer continuous development and improvement of the school. Secondary school principals are generally degree holders with teacher training qualifications, and most have obtained higher qualifications. All along, principals have been enhancing their professional management and leadership skills through continuing professional development.
- 4. School Type, Fees & Management
At present, secondary schools are generally divided into various types: government, aided, DSS, caput and private schools. Government schools are managed by the Education Bureau (EDB) directly. Aided and caput schools are managed by their own IMCs or SMCs. However, their subventions are mostly provided by the government. DSS schools are also managed by their own IMCs or SMCs. They can charge school fees and receive government subsidy based on the number of eligible students in the school. DSS schools can provide a more diversified curriculum and draw up admission criteria that are consistent with their own traditions and educational objectives. Private schools are self-financed and managed by their management committees.
- 5. School Sponsoring Bodies
School sponsoring bodies set the mission and vision of their sponsored schools and play an important role in the schools' establishment and operation. For IMC schools, the functions of their sponsoring body are stipulated in the Education Ordinance.
- 6. Religion
Different school sponsoring bodies have different mission and vision, with those of the religious organisations more obvious. In general, religious studies are included in the formal curriculum of the schools sponsored by religious organisations, and religious rites and ceremonies are performed in the schools under their sponsorship.
- 7. Year of Commencement of Operation
Schools founded years ago have a longer history of development and a larger number of alumni compared with schools with shorter history. However, the latter may have relatively newer and more facilities. Therefore, all schools have their unique characteristics and cannot be judged simply on the basis of their length of history.
- 8. School Motto
School motto is developed during the foundation period in the light of the school's background, mission and vision. Chinese traditional instructions and teachings or religious dictums are always used as guiding principles of the school education.
- 9. Area Occupied by the School
The Area Occupied by the School is referred to as the site area of the school. At present, the reference site area of a standard 30-classroom secondary school is 6,950 square metres.
- 10. Class Structure
Students should normally be able to complete six years of secondary education in the same school. For exceptional cases where individual schools cannot provide sufficient S4 places for all their own S3 students, those S3 students who cannot obtain S4 places in their own school will participate in the Central Placement after completion of S3 in the same school and be allocated S4 places in subvented schools for pursuing senior secondary curriculum.
As for schools operating only one S1 class, they should apply to the EDB for a development option* to continue operation upon approval. If a school’s application for a development option is not approved, starting from the school year subsequent to the year when the requirement of operating two S1 classes cannot be met, it will operate the S1 class on the “per capita subvention mode”. Students in the relevant cohort will also be centrally placed to S4 in other subvented schools through the Central Placement for pursuing senior secondary curriculum.
[*For details of the development options that schools can apply for, please refer to Appendix 1 in the Education Bureau Circular No. 3/2013 on "New Measures for Facilitating Development of Secondary Schools".]
- 11. Information of Teaching Staff
The number of teachers in each government and aided secondary school is mainly determined by the number of approved classes. All along, the government also provides schools with additional teaching posts and disburses cash grants to schools for employing additional teachers to take forward various education initiatives. For caput secondary schools, their number of teachers is on par with that of aided secondary schools. DSS secondary schools should draw up school-based policies on various staff administrative matters which have to be endorsed by the SMC/IMC and properly documented.
- 12. School Facilities
The Government has improved the facilities of most government and aided schools through the School Improvement Programme. Apart from the standard facilities, individual schools may procure additional equipment at their own cost. As schools have their own focus of development, the equipment procured may vary. Some schools may provide aids to support students with special educational needs on their learning such as specially designed desks, Wireless Transmission Systems, personal computers and CCTV magnifiers, etc.
Some schools provide barrier-free access and facilities, such as ramp, accessible lift, accessible toilet, other assistive provisions (including braille and tactile floor plan, tactile guide path, accessible public information/service counter and visual fire alarm system) in their premises in order to meet the genuine needs of the students with special educational needs and to facilitate their learning under a favourable environment.
- 13. Subjects Offered & Medium of Instruction
The Education Bureau encourages schools to formulate their school curriculum with regard to their students' interests, aptitudes and abilities so as to provide students with diversified learning experiences. In general, junior secondary students have to study all the subjects offered by their schools. At the senior secondary level, students should take two or three (at most four) elective subjects in addition to the four core subjects (i.e. Chinese Language, English Language, Mathematics and Citizenship and Social Development 1 ). It should be noted that the senior secondary elective subjects offered by schools are not entirely the same.
Schools are no longer classified into schools using Chinese as the medium of instruction (MOI) and using English as the MOI upon the implementation of MOI fine-tuning at junior secondary levels starting from the 2010/11 school year. Under the fine-tuned framework, school-based MOI arrangements have become diversified including allocation of not more than 25% of the total lesson time (excluding the lesson time for English Language) for extended learning activities (ELA) conducted in English. To enhance transparency, schools should elaborate on the details or upload further information onto the school website for parents' reference.
[1 "Citizenship and Social Development" replaces Liberal Studies starting from Secondary 4 in the 2021/22 school year.]
- 14. Senior Secondary Curriculum
All students studying the local senior secondary curriculum are required to study four core subjects, namely Chinese Language, English Language, Mathematics and Citizenship and Social Development as well as two or three (at most four) elective subjects from various Key Learning Areas, Applied Learning courses and Other Languages. Schools should offer at least 10 elective subjects to allow students to have more opportunities to explore their own interests.
Senior secondary elective subjects include the following: Chinese Literature, Literature in English, Chinese History, Economics, Ethics and Religious Studies, Geography, History, Tourism and Hospitality Studies, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Science (Integrated Science or Combined Science) 2 , Business, Accounting and Financial Studies, Design and Applied Technology, Health Management and Social Care, Technology and Living , Information and Communication Technology, Music, Visual Arts and Physical Education.
Applied Learning (ApL) is a valued senior secondary elective subject which complements other senior secondary subjects to form a flexible subject combination that helps enrich students’ subject choices. The courses focus on practical learning elements linked to broad professional and vocational fields with dual emphasis on theory and practice. It develops students’ knowledge, generic skills, positive values and attitudes through providing simulated or authentic contexts, as well as deepens students’ understanding of vocational and professional education and training (VPET), preparing them for further studies and work in future. ApL covers six Areas of Studies, namely: Creative Studies; Media and Communication; Business, Management and Law; Services; Applied Science; and Engineering and Production. In addition, there are Applied Learning (Vocational English) (ApL(VocE)) and Applied Learning Chinese (for non-Chinese speaking students)(ApL(C)), the latter of which is provided exclusively for non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students meeting specified circumstances3. Each student can apply for and take a maximum of two ApL courses as elective subjects (NCS students meeting specified circumstances can also take one ApL(C) course).
In addition to the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) qualification, students who have successfully completed ApL courses that are registered in the Qualifications Register as certificate programmes at Qualifications Framework (QF) Level 3 will obtain a QF Level 3 certificate to be issued by the course providers. ApL(C) is pegged at QF Level 1 to Level 3, whereas ApL(VocE) is pegged at QF Level 2 to Level 3. Students taking ApL(C)/ApL(VocE) will obtain the respective QF certificate(s) issued by the course providers upon meeting the assessment and attendance requirements of different levels of the courses.
Schools may also offer the following six Other Languages as elective subjects: French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Spanish and Urdu.
Other Learning Experiences (OLE) is an integral part of the senior secondary (SS) curriculum which complements learning in the core and elective subjects. Schools should ensure that all SS students are provided with sufficient learning time on the five areas of OLE, including Values Education, Community Service, Career-related Experiences, Aesthetic Development and Physical Development, to nurture students’ whole-person development and positive values and attitudes.
For the latest information on the senior secondary curriculum of the schools, please visit the websites of the respective schools, whereas for the latest development of the New Academic Structure (NAS), please visit the NAS Web Bulletin ( www.edb.gov.hk/nas/en ).
[ 2 Combined Science and Integrated Science are phased out at Secondary 4 from 2021/22 school year.]
[ 3 Students who have learned Chinese Language for less than six years while receiving primary and secondary education; or students who have learned Chinese Language for six years or more in schools, have been taught an adapted and simpler Chinese Language curriculum not normally applicable to the majority of students in local schools.]
- 15. Parent-teacher Association
The Parent-teacher Association (PTA) is set up in the form of a voluntary organisation. It provides a formal channel for parents to participate in school activities and serves as a platform for teachers and parents to exchange their views and cooperate with each other. It is an important source of support for schools in educating students. At present, all government schools and most aided schools have included parent members or parent managers in their SMCs. For an IMC school, the recognised PTA is responsible for conducting parent manager election and may nominate such number of suitable persons for registration as parent managers of the school as may be provided for in the IMC constitution.
- 16. Student Union
The setting up of a student union symbolises the development of student activities. It also plays a crucial role in fostering student activities. Its aims are to nurture students' team spirit and train up their leadership.
- 17. Past Students' Association/Alumni Association
Alumni Association (AA) is set up to promote alumni fellowship and to enhance the bonding with their alma mater. In general, its functions are to maintain friendship among alumni, contribute to the alma mater and to establish the school ethos. At present, all government schools and most of the aided schools have included alumni member(s) or alumni manager(s) in their SMCs. For an IMC school, according to the Education Ordinance, the recognised AA may nominate such number of suitable persons for registration as alumni manager(s) of the school as may be provided for in the IMC constitution.
- 18. Life-wide Learning
Life-wide learning (LWL) has been one of the widely adopted strategies to enable students to gain a variety of learning experiences, including the five essential learning experiences, that are more difficult to acquire in ordinary classroom settings. LWL takes place in the learning and teaching of each Key Learning Area and cross-curricular studies. The experiential learning acquired through life-wide learning helps students achieve the aims of whole-person development and enables them to develop the lifelong learning capabilities that are needed in our ever-changing society.
- 19. Orientation / Summer Activities for S1 Intake
To facilitate students proceeding to S1 to accommodate to the new school environment and study life, many secondary schools will organise various activities or bridging programmes for these students in the summer vacation.
- 20. S1 Discretionary Places
Under the existing Secondary School Places Allocation (SSPA) System, while government, aided and caput secondary schools are allowed to reserve not more than 30%, DSS secondary schools may reserve more than 30% of their S1 places as discretionary places (DP) for admission of students. Schools accepting DP applications must make public the admission criteria and weightings prior to admission. The admission criteria set by the schools must be fair, just, open and educationally sound. Schools may arrange interviews, but no written test in any forms should be conducted. DP applications are accepted within the same period in January each year.
Currently, all government, aided and caput secondary schools participate in the SSPA System. While some DSS secondary schools participate in the SSPA System, some of them do not. As regards private schools, international schools and schools of the English Schools Foundation (ESF), they are not included in the SSPA System.
- 21. Life Planning Education
Schools should provide all students with quality life planning education and career guidance services which are aligned with their developmental needs at different stages of growth.
Students will be supported to make informed choices for further studies or employment in accordance with their interests, abilities and orientations, and assisted in managing and adapting to the transition from school to the workplace. The ultimate goal is to see all students, irrespective of their abilities, orientation and levels of studies being able to understand their own career and academic aspirations; develop positive attitudes towards work and learning; connect/integrate aspirations with whole-person development and life-long learning, and utilise the acquired knowledge, skills and attitudes whenever necessary.
In planning for the school-based life planning education and career guidance service, schools may make reference to the "The Guide on Life Planning Education and Career Guidance for Secondary Schools" (2nd Edition), "Information Note on the Framework of Implementation Strategies for Life Planning Education at Schools" (2nd Edition), and relevant circulars e.g. EDBC No. 6/2014 on "Career and Life Planning Grant" and EDBC No. 5/2019 on "Enhancement Measures for Turning Senior Secondary Curriculum Support Grant and Career and Life Planning Grant into Regular Teaching Posts" which have been uploaded onto the EDB Life Planning Information Website at https://lifeplanning.edb.gov.hk.
- 22. Development of the Four Key Tasks
Since 2001, the Curriculum Development Council (CDC) has recommended the implementation of the Four Key Tasks, namely “Moral and Civic Education”, “Reading to Learn”, “Project Learning”, and “Information Technology for Interactive Learning”, from primary one to secondary three to help students develop their generic skills and independent learning capabilities through incorporating cross-curricular learning within and across Key Learning Areas/subjects. Schools have been encouraged to implement the Four Key Tasks as separate learning and teaching strategies or by connecting together. In 2017, the CDC recommended the updating of Four Key Tasks of secondary education under the ongoing renewal of the school curriculum, namely “Moral and Civic Education: Towards Values Education”, “Reading to Learn: Towards Reading across the Curriculum”, “Project Learning: Towards Integrating and Applying Knowledge and Skills across Disciplines”, and “Information Technology for Interactive Learning: Towards Self-directed Learning”, to further develop students' self-directed learning capabilities.
- 23. Performance Assessment
The frequency of subject-based tests and examinations per year is set out in line with the school assessment policy for enhancing learning. Different modes of assessment are used to diagnose students' learning problems. Quality feedback can be given to inform students on how to improve their learning effectiveness. Assessment accommodations should be provided according to the needs of the students with special educational needs to allow them an equal opportunity to demonstrate their learning outcomes without creating an unfair advantage over other students.
- 24. Whole School Approach to Integrated Education
The aims of whole school approach are to develop an inclusive school culture, enhance the understanding and acceptance of students with special educational needs (SEN) by school personnel, students and parents, and provide appropriate support for the respective students. The Student Support Team, headed by the SEN Coordinator, assists the school head and deputy head to implement the Whole School Approach to integrated education, establish an inclusive education policy, flexibly and fully utilise additional resources and manpower (such as the SEN Support Teacher(s)) to support students with SEN, work out a plan to arrange teachers to attend relevant special education teacher training courses in a systematic manner, mobilise the school personnel, different professionals, parents and students to work collaboratively to support students with SEN. Based on the needs of students, the school tailors the curriculum and adopts different learning and teaching strategies to cater for students with diverse learning needs. For students with persistent and severe learning difficulties, the school provides them with intensive individualised support, including drawing up an “Individual Education Plan”. The school also employs a variety of assessment methods to demonstrate the learning outcome of students. To strengthen parents' understanding on the inclusive policy, deployment of resources and support measures, the school establishes a regular communication mechanism to strengthen communication and cooperation with parents, and involve them to jointly plan the support measures and review their effectiveness including providing parents of students with SEN with a “Summary of Support for Student” every year and inviting parents concerned to join the “Individual Education Plan meetings”. Besides, the school taps in appropriate assistive technology and provides opportunities for all students to participate in diversified learning activities to demonstrate and develop his/her potential to the fullest.
- 25. Education Support for Non-Chinese Speaking (NCS) Students
The Government is committed to encouraging and supporting the integration of non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students Note into the community, including facilitating their early adaptation to the local education system and mastery of the Chinese language. The Government ensures NCS students, like their Chinese-speaking peers, enjoy equal opportunities for admission to public sector schools and for learning Chinese. The Education Bureau (EDB) has, since the 2014/15 school year, implemented the "Chinese Language Curriculum Second Language Learning Framework" in primary and secondary schools to help NCS students learn Chinese. EDB has also substantially increased the additional funding to schools admitting NCS students to enhance the support for NCS students in learning Chinese and create an inclusive learning environment in schools. Starting from the 2020/21 school year, EDB has adjusted the additional funding models concerned and stepped up the monitoring and support. Parents of NCS students are encouraged to arrange for their children to study in schools with an immersed Chinese language environment as early as possible to facilitate their mastery of the Chinese language. For details, please refer to the EDB webpage: www.edb.gov.hk/ncs.
[Note: For the planning of educational support measures, students whose spoken language at home is not Chinese are broadly categorised as NCS students.]
- 26. School's Major Concerns
This refers to the school's major concerns in the school development plan of the current development cycle.
For the allocation of school places in Part B "Restricted School Choices" of Central Allocation under the SSPA System, the whole territory is divided into 18 secondary school nets in line with the administrative districts. According to the existing policy, in principle, the secondary school net to which a student belongs is determined by the physical location of the primary school the student attends. Each school net not only comprises participating secondary schools physically located in the district, but also a number of secondary schools in other districts providing school places for the net. The number of secondary schools and school places provided from other districts may vary from year to year according to the demand and supply situation.
S: Secondary Schools in Own District refer to secondary schools physically located in this district.
O: Secondary Schools in Other Districts refer to secondary schools physically located in other districts but providing school places for Part B "Restricted School Choices" of Central Allocation in this school net under the SSPA System.
Secondary Schools in Other Districts included in the electronic version of the Profiles were those published in the Secondary School List of last SSPA cycle. As for the current SSPA cycle, whether these schools will still be included as Secondary Schools in Other Districts for Part B "Restricted School Choices" of Central Allocation in this school net for the SSPA System and the number of school places they will provide for this school net have yet to be finalised. Parents of students seeking admission to S1 in September 2023 should refer to the information in the Secondary School List published by the Education Bureau in April 2023, and by then the Secondary Schools in Other Districts included in the electronic version of the Profiles will also be updated concurrently.