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Victoria: Why is it so popular? [UPDATED]

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

Victoria Educational Organisation is a highly reputable local group of kindergartens, founded in 1965, with an affiliated private independent school: Victoria Shanghai Academy.

It is perceived in the market as a good option if parents are not sure between a local and an international school and that VEO children have the option of either.

We literally meet dozens of Victoria families every year hoping to enter a top international school. Some are successful. Yet, it has to be said, that VEO is not the most obvious choice if seeking an English medium international school later on.

In our opinion, VEO is not a hybrid - it is a local school - teaching mainly in the local language (Cantonese) - to mostly local families. As preparation for a DSS or other local schools, requiring fluent Cantonese and good literacy skills, as well as 'decent' English and Mandarin, VEO makes a lot of sense.

As a feeder into English medium schools, it doesn't appear to make any sense for most families. And the data and evidence tells us so..

The Data

VEO have nine locations. The Causeway Bay (VEO CB) campus is separately owned since the other 8 were recently sold off. When we first wrote this article in 2020, we stated that "However, for now, all 9 feed into Victoria Shanghai Academy in that applications to VSA P1 are ONLY - and somewhat inexplicably - accepted from VEO and VEO CB students and debenture holders."

As of 2022/23, Victoria Shanghai Academy will - as predicted - accepted P1 applications from ALL K2 children, regardless of which kindergarten they are attending. This was, in our opinion, inevitable - and very sensible - and good news to other kindergartens in that their students will be eligible to enter VSA.

Here is the data on school placements of VEO students, freely available and shown with our comments.

Doughnut chart showing VEO Primary Placements 2017-2020
VEO Primary Placements 2017-2020 Source:

So, on the face of it, it seems almost 20% of graduates from VEO go to what they describe as International Schools. There is a lot of confusion within the VEO group what does and does not constitute an international school. Regardless, this 18% is separate from the 22% that go to VSA.

For VEO CB, the published data is:

Private/International School

Spanish Primary School 2


Canadian International School 1

Christian Alliance International School 1 

German Swiss International School 1

HKCA Po Leung Kuk School 3

The ISF Academy 3

The International Montessori School 1

Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong 1

Victoria Shanghai Academy 54

We're not sure what period these figures cover. In fact, the website states 2018/19, yet that cannot be the case since Wycombe Abbey (not an international school) only opened in 2019/20. VEO define Wycombe Abbey as Private Primary School.

For VEO:

Not all the international schools listed by VEO are, in fact, international school ie Stamford American School, Renaissance College and ISF, where a whopping 92 children went.

We need to also understand that children will leave VEO after PN and K1 in many cases. Most likely, a child entering GSIS or CDNIS leaves after PN. A child entering ESF leaves after PN or K2. And this will become even more necessary in future years.

We can conclude that, although the data is a bit mixed up, very few children go to international school.

The Evidence

Let's look at those that do. A reasonable number went to ESF and HKIS. As previously mentioned, a child will leave to go to ESF in K1 or Y1 (K3) and leave to go to HKIS in K2 (Reception). Yet, in our experience, these children hold international passports and have at least one native English speaking parent. They may also be siblings or debenture holders. If that is your family profile, attending VEO or VEO CB will do no harm. Yet, if your goal is an English medium international school, why attend a trilingual (or bilingual) PN/KG? Any early gain in Chinese will not necessarily stick.

The vast majority of VEO families are Cantonese. Both parents speak Cantonese; grandparents speak Cantonese and school is mostly in Cantonese. Yet, VSA and ALL international schools do not teach in Cantonese. Very few schools allow children to interview in Cantonese. So, again, we challenge the value of a Cantonese-heavy kindergarten program?

The main value of attending VEO has been, until now, as a feeder into VSA. Now that the requirement to attend VEO in order to apply to VSA has been removed, we are left asking ourselves again, 'Why is Victoria so popular'?


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