South Island School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
South Island School
South Island School Badge.png
South Island School's logo
50 Nam Fung Road
Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Type Private, comprehensive, international, secondary, co-educational.
Established 1977
Principal Mr. Graham Silverthorne
Enrollment approx. 1,400[1]
Colour(s) Green and white
Mascot Stingrays
Year 7 - 13

South Island School (Chinese: 南島中學) is a private and co-educational international school founded by the English Schools Foundation of Hong Kong, and is located at 50 Nam Fung Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong, with about 1,400 students enrolled and 107 teachers. Students come from diverse backgrounds, with over 38 nationalities represented. The school offers the IGCSE syllabus, IB Diploma Programme and the BTEC qualification. The school is highly regarded in areas such as debating, rugby, basketball, and is known for producing some of the highest grade averages for the exams that SIS students sit. It is regarded as one of the top secondary schools within Hong Kong in terms of academics and athletics.

The school's key philosophy is for its students to make a difference, a concept promoted throughout numerous scholastic events and in its curriculum. The school environment promotes freedom of thought, expression and action. The school is accredited by The Council of International Schools (CIS) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).


In 1977, South Island School was founded as a nucleus of additional classes to accommodate students within the ages of 11 and 18 from Island School, a fellow English Schools Foundation School. The school moved to its current location at 50 Nam Fung Road in 1983. The first version of the school consisted of the Ching Ling Soong Block and an outdoor swimming pool.[2]

As the school grew in size, more facilities were required. The next big change to the school came with the construction of the Stephen Hawking Building (named after physicist Stephen Hawking), and the swimming pool became an indoor one with the Sports Block being built on top of it, allowing all-year round swimming lessons.[3]

By 2003, the increase in student population warranted the construction of a new school block. Construction began on a new eight-storey building that would accompany the C-block and the S-block. By 2004, the new block was completed, and was named the Da Vinci (after Italian polymath, Leonardo da Vinci) Block.

In school year of 2007 - 2008, the IB Centre was opened, a section of the school designated for International Baccalaureate students in Years 12 and 13. This was renamed the Diploma Center in the school year of 2009-2010.

In November 2010, the new John Wray Atrium, named after previous principal, John Wray, opened for all students.

The library in the C-block was renovated in the summer holidays of 2012 and re-opened in late September the same year, and was renamed as the "Learning Resource Center". In winter of 2012, construction began on additional floors on the sports block entitled "The Space". Construction was completed in the 2013-14 school year. There is also an astroturf on top of "The Space" which was completed about the same time.[4]

The School Hall has already completed its new renovation, being first opened to pupils and staff alike on the school's 2014 Diwali Night celebration.


South Island School is part of the English Schools Foundation of 20 Schools in Hong Kong that operates within the ESF government ordinance.

The school is accountable to the Board of Governors (Executive Committee) of English Schools Foundation and its local governing body: School Council. The council meets around six times per year. It has two sub-committees, namely Finance & Personnel (FP) and Learning and Professional Development (LPD) both chaired by community representatives. Among other matters, the FP sub-committee reviews the school's annual budget, and recommends acceptance to the full council. It also reviews personnel matters and consider health & safety issues. The LPD sub-committee's work is more aimed at, inter alia, curriculum development, teaching methods and examination performance.[5]


Students in Years 10 and 11 usually complete a GCSE or IGCSE qualification, whereas students in Years 7 through 9 complete a course which outlines the fundamentals of GCSE (Key Stage 3). However a new BTEC course was also added for Year 10 and 11 students in late 2012. The school has been known for producing some of the highest grade averages for the exams students in SIS sit.

In 2011, 52.57% of all IGCSE grades scored were A or A*s .[6] In 2014, 59% of all IGCSE grades scored were A or A*s, with a total of 24 students scoring 7 A* or better and 4 students scoring 10 A* or better.

The class of 2008 was the last cohort to sit the A Level exams. The Year 13 class of 2009 were the first cohort to enter the International Baccalaureate Diploma. In 2012, 3 students scored the maximum 45 points on the IB Diploma (out of 109 worldwide), and another 5 students scored 44 points. 32% of the graduating body scored 40+. The mean score was 36.3 out of 45, in comparison to the world average of 30.1.[7] In 2015, 3 students scored the maximum 45 points on the IB Diploma (out of 160 world-wide), while one other scored 44, and a further 8 scored 43. As of 2015, South Island School continues to exceed international averages by substantial margins. In 2015, 98.7% of students achieved the full IB Diploma, in comparison to 79.3% world-wide. The mean score for IB Diploma students at South Island School in 2015 was 35.5 in comparison to the world average of 30.1. Furthermore, 88% of students at South Island School achieved >30 IB points in the IB Diploma, compared to 53% world-wide. [8]

A recently introduced alternative offered by the school for the IB program is the BTEC National Certificate which is growing in popularity in the United Kingdom; courses offered by the school include: BTEC Business course, BTEC Art and Design (Fashion and Clothing), BTEC Media and the BTEC Sport (Development, Coaching and Fitness) courses. There are also AL/GCSE subjects available within the school's International Diploma in which students can combine AL/GCE courses in Global Perspectives, Drama, Art and Literature with IB subjects.


Students come from diverse backgrounds, with over 38 nationalities represented. The school is non-selective on the basis of academic ability and reserves 24 places in the Learning Support Unit for students with high levels of additional learning need.

The school has a well established prefect system in which the Year 12 and Year 13 students are assigned key positions of responsibility to help with the day-to-day operations of the school. Serving as chief representatives of the student body is the Head Prefect team, led by the Head Boy and Head Girl. The Head Prefect Team is selected through a rigorous process that includes written applications, student voting, teacher staff voting, student council panel interview, and a final interview with the Principal, Vice Principal, and a School Council member.


Students at South Island School were originally allocated into one of seven houses, named after notable people in history and competed against each other in activities such as football, basketball, swimming, music competitions, etc.

The 7 original houses were named after notable people in history, these were:

  • Hillary (blue)
  • Tolstoy (red)
  • Aylward(yellow)
  • Schweitzer (green)
  • Jefferson (purple)
  • Marden (orange)
  • Nobel (light blue)

These 7 houses later were renamed to six houses and were named after the word 'House' in six different languages.

These houses, along with their respective colours and the language where their name originates from, are:

The house colors were allocated after each head of house pulled slips of paper from a hat with a colour written on them. In each year, a house consists of two tutor groups of about 18 students, headed by a tutor of one tutor group, who oversees the students' well-being and performance in school. There is a small 10-minute period at the beginning of each weekday (except for Tuesdays, where the period is half an hour long, and Fridays, where there is also another half an hour period before school ends) where all students meet with their tutors. The houses are then grouped into three separate "Learning Families", named Bamboo (consisting of students in Years 9-13 in the Kuca, Maison and Namas houses), Banyan (consisting of students in Years 9-13 in the Bahay, Casa and Shtepi houses), and Bauhinia (all students in Years 7-8). Each house is headed by a Director of Learning Family.


Extra curricular activities at the school include debating, MUN, squash, netball, basketball, football, swimming, chess, tennis, singing, rugby, field hockey, cricket and more. Every student is obliged to take part in inter-house athletics and inter-house swimming. As well as inter-house competitions, South Island School competes in various inter-school competitions such as basketball and football. There are also musical activities culminating in a range of performances throughout the year.[9]

The school stresses the importance of extracurricular activity, and each student doing the IB diploma must do a certain number of "CAS Hours", as mandated by the curriculum. Students are encouraged to partake in activities that encourages creativity, that pushes oneself physically and provides some service to the community.

The school also organises events such as Nightfest, International Evening, the Innovation Fashion Show, Diwali Night, etc. Such events are wholly managed by the student body.

Higher Education Destinations[edit]

2014’s Higher Education destinations show that 50% of South Island School students matriculate to the United Kingdom, 20% to Hong Kong, 15% to United States, 7% to Canada, 5% to Australia, and the remainder to countries such as Korea, Japan, etc. Many South Island School students gain acceptances to highly selective universities, with graduates embarking upon their studies at Harvard University, Stanford University, Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania), University of Cambridge, University of Chicago, Yale University, Columbia University, University of Oxford, LSE, and Cornell University.

In 2014, fields such as Business (23), Law (13) and Psychology (13) have held strong. In the past few years, growth has appeared in the numbers pursuing Architecture or Building Surveying (8) and Accounting (5); while in the medical field, Osteopathy, Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Veterinary Science and Medical Sciences added to those pursuing Medicine bring numbers well into double figures. With growth of those pursuing creative options in the BTEC Diploma, half of those pursuing Art/Design/Film/Media at tertiary level are Advanced Diploma students including two heading to the USA. [10]

Campus and Facilities[edit]

The South Island campus is in the green south side of Hong Kong Island against the backdrop of Mount Nicholson, facing the South China Sea. It is in a semi-rural location, which means it is away from the city, yet accessible from Causeway Bay in less than ten minutes through the Aberdeen Tunnel. The school has excellent facilities and a modern environment for learning. All classrooms are fitted out to a high standard, with the latest interactive and digital facilities served by high speed broadband, and a modern wireless network. Students have their own locker and personal form room. For Years 12-13, there is a dedicated study facility and common room space. [11]

Specialist facilities include:

The Space (adaptive learning space)

The John Wray Atrium (Contains a cafeteria)

25m Indoor Swimming Pool

Sports Hall


Artificial Astro Turf

2 Outdoor Courts

Covered Multi-Sports Area


2 Drama Studios

12 Science Laboratories

6 Design Technology Workshops

3 Large Art Rooms

3 Media Studies Rooms

2 Music Rooms (Contains 7 smaller music rooms)



Learning Resource Centre (Library)

Senior Study Centre

Faith Community Church[edit]

On Sundays, the school hall is used by Faith Community Church to hold its services at 10:30 AM.

In popular culture[edit]

Scenes from the movie Connected[12] 保持通話 [3] (Asian version of Cellular) and "Vulgaria" 低俗喜剧 were shot at South Island School.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°15′14″N 114°10′59″E / 22.2539°N 114.1831°E / 22.2539; 114.1831