ITS launches BTEC HND in Business

Hong Kong Education, ITS Tutorial School, Latest News Comments Off on ITS launches BTEC HND in Business

by Danny Harrington, M.A.(Oxford), Founder, ITS Education

by Danny Harrington, Founder & Director, ITS Education Asia

One of the things we have always tried to do at ITS is to open opportunities by providing alternative educational pathways. From day one, one of our main aims has been to allow students to access traditional qualifications in non-traditional ways and to bring new, 21st Century learning options to all, breaking down the barriers to opportunity that rigid mainstream schools often impose.

In 2016, we are taking the next step towards this goal by introducing a fully online BTEC HND in Business. The BTEC has been around since 1984 and has become a very well established ‘alternative’ route in England and Wales. It covers a number of levels which roughly translate to student ages 14 through 22 years old and the equivalent academic benchmarks they may expect to achieve in the UK system at each. Thus a BTEC Level 3 is roughly the same as A-levels and a Level 6 is roughly a bachelor degree. BTECs can be used both to enter and progress through employment or as a way back to an academic outcome – many universities accept BTEC levels 4 and 5 as entry to years 2 and 3 of a bachelor programme respectively.

The BTEC is different because: it is assessed by ongoing project and assignment work and classroom performance, not examinations; there is generally more flexibility in the time taken to complete; the subject range is more ‘vocational’, although that term is becoming a little dated; and it provides a single system which can cover all the key levels of assessment we demand from formal education.

The BTEC HND in Business is a two year course leading to the Higher National Diploma [HND] qualification which is a Level 5 or equivalent to the second year of a degree. Hundreds of courses are then accessible either in the UK or at partner institutions globally to do a final top up year to complete a Bachelor qualification. Graduates of the HND can therefore either enter a job or a degree programme.

We have chosen the Business qualification as it provides a platform for a range of other degrees, including popular Business degrees of course, and is very useful in its own right for young people wanting to enter or progress in the modern business world. It is particularly useful for modern entrepreneurs to get a foundation in business before they take those first risks. It is also ideal for students outside the UK who wish to gain a UK qualification but cannot afford the high cost of studying there. These students also do not have any travel costs, accommodation worries or visa issues.

We achieved BTEC centre accreditation in early 2016 and the first intake will start in September 2016. The course is also a world first, being entirely online using a combination of live classes, guided learning and self study. This contributes further to the flexibility the course has to offer and keeps the cost down. The tuition fees for the first intake are approximately USD15,000 for the entire two years – about half the price of attending a traditional university.

For more information please visit our BTEC page.




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How To Survive School Admissions in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Education, Latest News Comments Off on How To Survive School Admissions in Hong Kong

By Anne Murphy
Director, ITS Educational Services Ltd

The school admission process in Hong Kong is one that involves lots of worry and uncertainty. Parents are particularly stressed after Chinese New Year till early spring as offers and rejection letters come through the door. Parents in Hong Kong start their search for the right school as soon as their little one has a birth certificate. Many months are spent filling out applications as they try to determine which schools best fit their educational values and their child’s learning style and personality. And once the interviews are over, there is nothing any parent can do, but wait….and wait….and wait.

As school offers are usually made between February and April – many parents face the dilemma of having to pay deposits for school offers in February because their first choice school has not come through yet. As a result, the entire process can end up being very expensive between application fees, assessment fees and hefty deposits.
Despite all the stress and worry about making the “right” decision for your child¬, most children will be accepted to the school where they will be happy and successful. However, as an education consultant who has gone through the process with hundreds of parents for the past eight years; I know what I have to explain, may not make the school search process any easier. However, I do hope what I have outlined below will answer some of the questions that many of you may have during this time of year.

My child passed her interview at two schools, but has been put on the waitlist? What should I do?
Although most schools offer places to children with priority first, your child actually has a great chance of acceptance for spaces that become available before the new academic year starts or even mid-year. You will also have the opportunity to re-apply for the following academic year; this is good because your child will be offered an interview due to being waitlisted for the previous year. While the disappointment of your child being placed on a waitlist and not going all the way is hard to take, it is helpful to think of this as an opportunity to learn more about what school is the perfect fit for your child and this is also a time to get your child more prepared for the interview the following year. An interim placement at another school is also a sound solution, attending a ‘big school’ with an age-appropriate and academic curriculum will improve his or her chances of acceptance at schools where he or she may not have gotten in this year.

My child was accepted to a bilingual school (Mandarin & English) but not at the one I truly want? Should I accept the offer?
You know your child better than anyone else does. Think about how your child learns best. Is it in a structured environment or a more progressive one? Would your child be happy at this school? Even if the Mandarin program is not as good as your first choice bilingual school, would you be able to increase the intensiveness of the learning process at home or after-school? All these things are important as you make your choice. Aside from all of this, make sure the school is a comfortable place for you as well as for your child. Visit the school again before you pay the deposit or decide that it is definitely not an option. If possible, reach out to other parents who have children attending the school. This school may very well bridge the gap for your child to eventually gaining a place at your first choice school.

How should I deal with the disappointing news of my child not being offered any places?
Firstly, make sure your child does not perceive any of your negative feelings as this may reduce his or her confidence the next time an interview comes around. Keep the disappointment and frustration between parents and discuss very little about the situation with your child. The way you deal with this will set a long lasting example for your child and will cause them any anxiety or stress for future school interviews. Make a new plan and consider other schools; ones which not have been a consideration before. The school that is the right fit for your child is the school that will ultimately choose your child.

I missed out on some important deadlines this year; how should I prepare so this won’t happen again?
Finding out that you have missed out on application deadlines can be quite frightening. You feel bad because you were unable to provide your child with a chance of being offered a school place. Make sure to put a structured plan in place for the next academic year. Contact all your preferred schools and make sure have a calendar alert in your diary for when the application opens. Do it on the first day, so you don’t have the urge to procrastinate. Have copies of all the documentation you need for the application in order and in separate folders for each school. When you do file the application, follow-up with the admissions department to ensure the application is in order before the deadline.




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ESF Subvention Update

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The Loss of the ESF Subvention

Anne Murphy
Director, ITS Educational Services Ltd

The discussions and negotiations have finally come to an end between the ESF Board and the Government. The decision is not a favorable one for ESF. The Government has not agreed to the long term retention of the subvention.
So, how will the loss of the subvention affect all existing and future ESF students? The recurrent subvention, frozen at the current level, will remain in place for three school years from 2013-2016. The subvention will be phased out year by year, over 13 years, so the last year group to qualify will be students who graduate in 2028-29. As a result, there is an expectation that annual tuition fees will rise by 23% in 2016.

To maintain the maintenance of the schools and facilities, further funding will have to be found from somewhere when the subvention completely ceases. So, as well as increasing tuition fees what else is expected. The ESF Board may even introduce a Corporate Nomination Right similar to that of Discovery College but at a much higher cost of HK$5,000,000 which will depreciate over 20 years.
The ESF Board did manage to secure the continuation of Government funding for ESF’s special needs provision and the re-building of Island School. Government subvention for Jockey Club Sarah Roe School (JCSRS) and for the Learning Support Centres (LSCs) (a total of HK$28.3 million per year) will be maintained at the existing level, pending a wider Government review of support for students with special educational needs.

Also, subject to approval by the Finance Committee of LegCo, a capital grant will be made available to assist in funding the re-building of Island School. The capital grant will be equal to 100% of the cost of constructing a standard design public sector school educating the same number of students. At today’s prices this would be HK$270 million. After the re-development of Island School, ESF, like all international schools in Hong Kong, will not be entitled to any financial support except for an interest-free loan for construction of a school on an allocated green-field site. ESF will fund the balance of the costs of re-building Island School estimated at HK$1.3 billion. The school will be re-built on its current site and the Education Bureau has agreed to search for sites to which students can be temporarily transferred during construction.

Further to the news about the subvention, ESF recently declared changes to their admission policies. Priority for an admissions interview/assessment will be based on the following ranked criteria; students who are able to benefit from an English medium education and who (in order);
1.Are the children of full-time staff at ESF or ESF Educational Services Ltd
2.Are siblings of students already attending an ESF primary or secondary school or Jockey Club Sarah Roe School
3.Are Nomination Rights holders
4.Are the children of former students who have attended an ESF school for minimum of 3 years or are former ESF students returning from a period overseas
5.Are other applicants who can benefit from an English –medium education.

Also, apart from interviewing prospective students, parents will also be interviewed and will be expected to write a statement to declare why ESF education is their preferred choice for their child. Isn’t it all just getting too much? If you need to know more about the new admissions procedures, or how the loss of the subvention will affect you, drop us an email at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.





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