Many education systems have implemented systemic reforms covering numerous new initiatives in nine trends since the turn of new century. After decades of implementation, it would be significant to know what impacts these reforms have made on key aspects of the education systems and what lessons can be learnt from them for future policy analysis, formulation and implementation locally and internationally. This article aims to provide a preliminary exploration of these issues with Hong Kong’s systemic education reforms. In Parsons’ construct of structural functionalism (Parsons, 1966), it is argued that a social system should serve four systemic functions such as adaptation, goal achievement, integration and pattern maintenance to survive and flourish in an environment of change and uncertainties. To explore the above issues, this article investigates what impacts of the reform have been made on the four functions of education system including “Has education been more effective?” (goal achievement), “Has the teaching workforce been better brought into work?” (adaptation), “Have stakeholders been more satisfied and united?” (integration), and “Have education policies been more legitimate and acceptable?” (pattern maintenance). It is hoped that such a preliminary observation with multiple sources of empirical data can provide an illustrative case to explore the possible issues and concerns of systemic education reforms initiated in the last two decades in different parts of the world and draw local and international implications for further development of new initiatives in education for the future. Copyright © 2018 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.