Welcome to 2023!

Jan 6, 2023

As the joyful sounds of new year revelry around the globe fade, we have already taken the first tentative steps on our journey through 2023. Like every other new year in recent experience, this year finds us still masked, monitored, and mindful of our health. Unlike recent years, however, we seem to be facing largely unanticipated circumstances, as the COVID ‘end game’ gathers momentum. The accelerating pace of change towards a post-pandemic world promises more surprises, but also offers the tantalizing prospect of a restoration of some aspects of pre-pandemic life for all of us.


A flurry of correspondence to Hong Kong schools from the Education Bureau in the past week regarding the relaxation of some operational restrictions imposed on schools during the pandemic certainly signals solid progress towards the long-awaited full resumption of learning programs for all schools and all students, many of whom have endured years of shortened school days and truncated activities in those curricular areas deemed to pose a high risk to the health of students. While these changes will have the biggest impact in local schools, they are still welcome portents of more positive days ahead.

This year also marks an important milestone for the ISF community. Two decades ago, a small group of highly committed individuals joined forces to realize their shared vision of a new type of school in Hong Kong, one that was independent, globally orientated, but emphatically Chinese in its outlook and values. At the dawn of 2003, with the final plans to launch the new school already underway, the timing of this venture was perhaps questionable. In what can only be seen as a case of remarkable historical symmetry with the present time, the world of 2003 found itself similarly challenged by the first SARS pandemic. However, drawing on both foresight and perseverance, our founders decided to proceed with their plans for the new school, despite the formidable headwinds created by SARS at the time. I think the ISF of 2023 owes an enormous debt of gratitude to those pioneers who launched a new school at such a difficult time in the history.

Over the coming months, we plan to conduct a series of celebratory events at ISF to mark this milestone in our history. Given the challenging circumstances of its birth and the many difficulties overcome throughout its 20-year history, it is entirely appropriate for all members of the ISF community, from our youngest preschoolers through to our veteran governors, to join hands and hearts to rejoice in the extraordinary achievements of our school and its students, born in adversity and hard-won over 20 years.


This year – 2023 – will certainly be one to remember at ISF!


Dr. Malcolm Pritchard

Head of School