This scheme is expected to see hundreds of thousands of families relocate from Hong Kong to the UK over the next 5 years. The precise numbers who are likely to settle in Sutton are unknown, however, estimates from local groups supporting families estimate this to be over 1000, the majority of which will arrive in the first year of the scheme, and we have seen over 170 families with school-aged children arrive from Hong Kong since September. What we do know from local surveys is that education is top of the list of concerns, ahead of things like employment and housing, and this has been reflected in the number of telephone and email enquiries the School Admissions Team have been receiving.
The team have made links with administrators of a local Facebook group designed for families who have arrived, or who are planning to arrive in Sutton and have been meeting regularly to discuss latest numbers of arrivals, school vacancies and thematic concerns of families around education.
Earlier in May, Peter Gasparelli and Ann Potter represented the team in a video Q&A session hosted by the group administrators, which was also aired on Facebook Live to around 100 viewers. This 90 minute session covered questions ranging from process, timing of applications, vacancies and concerns about school capacity, EAL support, SEND and SEND Support, educating out of year group, registering for selective school tests, school travel and more. From this session, FAQs are being developed to share with the group and through our website and social media channels.
This session, and the ongoing meetings with the group administrators, are really positive examples of community engagement, to reassure families moving to the area and making them feel welcomed and supported. An example of feedback from a family supported through the process is below:
‘We would like to express our deepest appreciation for your interventions in assisting our daughter to get a place in school. Relocating from one country to another and settling in a new country is a daunting challenge, especially with regard to finding a school for a child, and the child being placed in the appropriate grade/year, as countries have different syllabuses amongst other things. The willingness to help, thoughtfulness, quick responses and guidance during this very difficult period of the COVID-19 pandemic is very helpful in our on-going settlement in Sutton’
To contact our Admissions team, please call 020 8770 5000 and select the option for Admissions