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LCQ17: Building special school in Islands District

     Following is a question by the Hon Kwok Ka-ki and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, in the Legislative Council today (April 9):


     In as early as 2004, the authorities proposed building a special school in Tung Chung.  In reply to a written question from a Member of this Council on May 4, 2011, the Education Bureau indicated that it had preliminarily selected a suitable site for building the school, and was actively studying the feasibility of the related land use and conducting technical studies with the departments concerned.  It has been learnt that quite a number of parents of students with special educational needs, as well as concern groups, have expressed dissatisfaction that so far the authorities have not yet announced the building project for the school.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the latest progress of the project to build a special school in Tung Chung, including the site selected and the construction schedule, as well as details of the relevant consultation exercise, including the dates and venues of consultative sessions, the attending officials and the public views received;

(2) of the number of various types of special schools across the territory and the number of places offered by them each year since 2004, with a breakdown by District Council district; and

(3) of the number of students currently living in the Islands District and attending special schools in other districts; whether the Government has any measure in place to help the parents of such students to ease their stress and burden of transport expenses arising from escorting children to and from schools; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(1) The Government has all along planned to build a special school in Tung Chung to cater for students with special educational needs in the district. A site in Area 27 of Tung Chung was initially earmarked for this purpose and preparations such as technical feasibility study and school design had commenced. In the course of the project, however, we met with strong opposition from some local residents over concerns about noise and traffic implications etc. Efforts had been made to explain the school building project to the relevant residents in an attempt to ease their worries. Failing to reach a consensus with the residents, we decided to identify an alternative site in the district for the planned special school. Details of the earlier consultation regarding Area 27 of Tung Chung are in Appendix I.

     To meet Tung Chung residents' urgent need of special education, the Planning Department has reserved a site for the Education Bureau (EDB) in Area 108 of Tung Chung for special school use following discussion between EDB and relevant government departments. Depending on its complexity, a school building project normally takes about six years or more from planning to completion, as it requires technical feasibility study, architectural design and vetting, as well as funding application.

     The Architectural Services Department has completed the technical feasibility study of Area 108 of Tung Chung. The report of the technical feasibility study was also vetted and endorsed by the Development Bureau in February 2014.  The EDB is planning to seek funding for commissioning the detailed design.  Prior to seeking funding approval from the Legislative Council for construction of the school, we will also conduct district consultation and liaise closely with the school sponsoring body and the stakeholders concerned to gauge their views. If everything goes smoothly, we expect the construction project of the school will commence in 2016 for completion in 2018.

(2) There are different types of special schools, including schools for children with mild intellectual disability, schools for children with moderate intellectual disability, schools for children with severe intellectual disability, schools for children with visual impairment, schools for children with hearing impairment, schools for children with physical disability, schools for social development and hospital school. Since students who need to be placed in special schools are relatively smaller in number than those in ordinary schools, the EDB will plan and provide special school places by region instead of setting up different types of special schools in each district. A breakdown of the number of special schools and special school places by District Council district from the 2004/05 to 2013/14 school years is set out at Appendix II.

(3) The EDB will arrange for students to attend suitable special schools in the region to which their places of residence belong. Under the existing school placement mechanism, students living on outlying islands will be arranged to study in special schools on Hong Kong Island. They will normally travel to Central by ferry, and will be picked up by school buses provided by their schools at the pier.  Students living in Tung Chung will be referred to special schools in Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi in the New Territories West region.  School bus service is provided by their schools. There are also parents who choose to take their children to and from school by themselves. If parents have financial difficulties in meeting their children's travelling expenses, they may apply for travel subsidy for their children under the Student Travel Subsidy Scheme administered by the Student Financial Assistance Agency. As for families eligible for the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance, the travelling expenses (including school bus fares) of their children studying in special schools will be fully subsidised by the Social Welfare Department. Some school sponsoring bodies also provide financial assistance for students in need. For students in need of boarding service, the EDB will arrange boarding placement for them.

     In the 2013/14 school year (as of January 2014), there are a total of 130 students living in Tung Chung and outlying islands (including Lantau Island, Cheung Chau, Lamma Island and Peng Chau), among whom 16 attend school in other regions. Ten of them are receiving boarding service at their schools.

Ends/Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Issued at HKT 13:35


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