History and Vision, Mission & Values


The Independent Schools Foundation Academy opened with just 56 students in Grade 1 to 4 in August 2003 to cater to the increasing demand for a high-caliber Putonghua and English education in an inquiry-based environment.

In February 2008, the school commenced its Foundation Year program and our first class of Grade 12 students graduated in June 2012.

Our Vision

The Independent Schools Foundation Academy is a community of learners, independent in thought and action, deeply rooted in Chinese culture, global in understanding and experience, and excellent in all endeavors.

Our Mission

The ISF Academy:

  • Educates learners in a Chinese-English bilingual environment;
  • Anchors its values on the Eight Virtues + One;
  • Nurtures curiosity, critical thinking, and a lifelong love of learning; and
  • Builds life skills through experiential learning.

Our Core Values

The Eight Virtues + One (八德一智)

Grounded in Chinese culture and with a global perspective, The ISF Academy community lives and learns under core values that draw from the school’s Chinese heritage and which are updated to be relevant to today’s world. The Eight Virtues + One give members of the school community a strong foundation from which to think, decide, and act. It prepares ISF Academy students to meet future challenges as active and ethical members of society.

Zhi 智 (Wisdom)

智 (zhi) means making the right choices in life. Wise choices require more than high academic achievement or exemplary behavior. Wisdom stems from knowledge, experience, judgment, and a clear set of values to know what is right. The Eight Virtues guide us in our reflections and behavior to make the right choices in our interactions within and outside the school community. The Eight Virtues culminate in the achievement of 智.

Zhong 忠 (Loyalty and Commitment)

The character 忠 (zhong) embodies the concept of loyalty and commitment to others and to ourselves. Through 忠, we show our devotion to people around us and to our own being. We are loyal to The ISF Academy, each other, our families and our community. In the community, we strive to be exemplary citizens of Hong Kong and the world. Among our peers, we stand by each other, help each other, and overcome all difficulties together. On a personal level, we are committed to our own values and principles, and we devote ourselves in the pursuit of our ideals, dreams, and passions, always striving for excellence.

Xiao 孝 (Respect and Obligation)

孝 (xiao) recognizes that we have an obligation toward our parents in our role as children, we respect our teachers in our role as students, and we respect and cherish our histories and traditions that define who we are. calls for an attitude of respect for not only those around us, but also for ourselves. Through 孝, we are connected to our past and our traditions; we are the inheritors and guardians of our culture, bridging the gap between the old and the new, building on the strengths of the past to create the future.

Ren 仁 (Compassion and Kindness)

We show kindness and care to all through 仁 (ren). We care for the natural world by being kind to all creatures and protecting the environment. We are kind and compassionate to those who are less fortunate than we are. We choose forgiveness over revenge, generosity of word and action over meanness. The character for 仁 depicts two people together, showing that 仁 is expressed outwardly, towards others. By treating each other with kindness and empathy, we move beyond difference and indifference, to create common ground and become one with those around you.

Ai 愛 (Love and Passion)

愛 (ai), or love, is an expression of our passion in life. We give our best in all of our endeavors; nothing is ‘half-hearted’. We show a love of learning and intellectual curiosity that goes beyond the classroom. We immerse ourselves in our hobbies and interests and appreciate the achievements of others. 愛 means that we find happiness in our friendships, with our families, and our loved ones.

Li 禮 (Etiquette and Ceremony)

The spirit of 禮 (li) is found in the exemplary, cultured behavior of the true gentleman or lady. In 禮, we find the rules and precepts that constrain our actions, and mold our routines and interactions. 禮 also shapes our school discipline and ceremonies, providing signposts and rules to guide us through life. A person with 禮 treats others with courtesy and respect. We control our impulses and act after careful consideration. Our ceremonies and formal actions express 禮, showing our deep understanding and respect for our core values.

Yi 義 (Principles and Justice)

義 (yi) embodies the quality of being principled, committed to justice, and standing up for our beliefs. We believe in fairness, that right will prevail, and that we are all held accountable for our own actions. We show personal integrity in all that we do; we strive for higher standards that go beyond what is expedient, convenient, or arbitrary. We believe in justice in society and support it with our actions. We are trustworthy and always ready to help those around us.

He 和 (Harmony and Tolerance)

We live in moderation, tolerance, good humor, and joy through the virtue of 和 (he). We control our tempers and promote peace. We seek to include and embrace others, replacing confrontation with understanding. We are peacemakers, avoiding words and actions that might cause unnecessary misunderstanding or conflicts. We seek to live with nature. We recognize that to achieve harmony, we need to give generously and receive graciously. We promote international and cross-cultural understanding.

Ping 平 (Balance and Equality)

平 (ping) means balance and equality. We know that in all dimensions of life there is a time for work, a time for rest, and a time for play. Through 平 we learn to find the balance between external demands and internal desires. Equality in our community is both the right and the responsibility of each member. We share common aspirations and goals that consider all genders, ethnicities, faiths, beliefs, socio-economic backgrounds, and physical abilities to be equal. 平 is closely tied to the concept of 和 (he): when we place these two characters together, they form the word ‘peace’ (和平). The ISF Academy strives to be a place of balance and peace.

The IB Learner Profile

The ISF Academy is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. We aim to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.

inquirers communicators caring balanced
knowledgeable principled risk-takers (courageous) reflective
  thinkers open-minded  
The IB Learner Profile and the Eight Virtues + One

The IB Learner Profile consists of ten largely individual attributes, describing what each student should aspire to achieve and embody.

The ISF Academy’s own core values, the Eight Virtues + One, are strongly focused on building a community with a clear set of values and expectations. Loyalty, respect, compassion, love, harmony and balance are to be the hallmarks of a just society, in which courtesy and etiquette are universally practised, and wisdom is prized above all. These traditional values transcend the individual to reflect what we believe a better world to be.

These two sets of ideals, one individual, one collective, remind us that when educating students to make a contribution towards building a better world, we must consider them as individuals as well as members of a community. 

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