British international school told to vacate premises in Jordan

Top News | Maisy Mok 15 Sep 2021

Debt-ridden Mount Kelly School Hong Kong's prenursery to kindergarten sections have been ordered by its landlord to vacate their Jordan premises in 10 days.

The landlord was granted by the High Court last month with powers to retrieve four shops rented to the school on the ground and first floors of The Austine Place on Kwun Chung Street.

The notice of judgment was stuck on the doors of Mount Kelly on Monday. It stated that Sanney Ltd has obtained a judgment against Mount Kelly International - currently known as PM Education Operation - for recovery of possession of shops 1, 2, 3 and 5 of The Austine Place.

Mount Kelly International is ordered to "vacate" the premises by Thursday or apply to the court for relief. Its babies and toddlers' section is located at Shop 3, while its preschool and nursery school at Shop 5.

It has another school at Austin Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui for its offices as well as its primary and secondary school sections. They were not mentioned by the court.

"We will be continuing," Paul Ellmes, headmaster of Mount Kelly School Hong Kong, told a parent.

He said a new company managing the British international school has signed new contracts for their prep and senior school buildings.

Without revealing the names, Mount Kelly said yesterday that the former company managing its schools has been closed and a new firm is working to ensure the continuation of teaching and learning.

"The company now managing Mount Kelly will continue to offer the excellence associated with us in the premises we currently occupy," a spokesman said.

According to sources, the school has suspended babies and toddlers classes "for a while" but around seven children are attending the kindergarten section in the new school year that started three weeks ago.

The school wrote on Facebook: "We have places for children aged 2 to 6 years to start in September 2021, and we are booking for children aged 6 to 24 months to begin in January 2022."

A father of a K3 student said the notice to vacate did not come as a surprise. He said: "From the way things look, I don't think Mount Kelly will be able to stand on its feet. There's too much damage to its image."

Since school started late last month, his daughter was able to attend in-person classes. Some teachers have suggested parents find other schools earlier this year.

He described a "culture of secrecy" in the school filled with rumors and staff departures.

Mount Kelly has been mired in controversies. One is the family feud between co-founder Edward Wong Pak-yin and brother Martin Wong Chung, the school's former salary director and financial controller.

At a meeting between PM Education Operation and creditors on September 1, a document showed the company has a more than HK$300 million deficit with only around HK$7,000 in cash left. Since June this year, more than 60 former staff have filed claims for back wages.

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