Admissions: Special Educational Needs

Admission and Review Process (ARP)

Through the ARP, a moderation panel is convened to receive, evaluate and make placement recommendations regarding applications for entry to learning support centres and the Jockey Club Sarah Roe School. The panel is made up of Special Education Needs Advisers, Educational Psychologists and SEN specialists from the learning support centres and the Jockey Club Sarah Roe School.

Waiting lists

ESF can only provide for a limited number of places in our learning support centres and in Jockey Club Sarah Roe School. Given the limited provision for non-Chinese speaking children with special needs in Hong Kong, there is always a very long list of applicants wanting places in one of these provisions. We therefore operate a tight waiting list procedure, with limitations on the number of applicants for each year group. Applications can be accepted from 1st January of the calendar year in which a child turns 4 years old.

At any given time our special needs provision places are full, and we operate a waiting list to ensure parity of access to vacancies, when they occur. Acceptance onto the waiting list is through a rigorous process of assessment using the ESF Levels of Adjustment.

Prioritising applications

Because of the numbers of applicants requiring places in an ESF special provision, we prioritise applications for processing. We use the following main criteria to prioritise applications:

• the degree to which the child has a special educational need congruent with our provision within the learning support centres or Jockey Club Sarah Roe School (determined through our application of the ESF matrix assessment process);
• the degree to which the child requires an education in English;
• whether the child has a sibling in an ESF school;
• date of receipt of application and date of ARP Panel agreement to application; and,
• whether the child has a parent who is a teacher in ESF.

These are common criteria used across ESF for prioritising applications for admission.

Expression of interest

The first step in the application procedure is for you to complete and return the Expression of Interest form.  Forms are then ordered according to zone*, year group, admission priority and date of application.  Your contact details will be recorded and at the point a place on the waiting list becomes available we will contact you and ask you to submit a full application to the ARP, along with payment of an application fee.

For children born in 2009 and after, we have introduced a revised system for determining the order of positioning on the Year One Expression of Interest list (see below).

Parents who have submitted an Expression of Interest form will receive application progress bulletins via email.

* School zones

For learning support centres, ESF operates a simple zoning system, which is different from the system that operates for ESF primary and secondary schools.  Applicants living in Kowloon and the New Territories are zoned for schools on Kowloon-side.  Applicants living on Hong Kong island and the Outlying Islands are zoned for schools on Hong Kong island.  Applications are pooled for each of the two zones.

Please note, whenever possible, ESF will try to place children in their neighbourhood school and/or siblings in the same school; however, it is often not possible to do so.

Application requirements

When we invite you to submit a full application, in order for it to be properly considered by the moderation panel, ESF requires the following essential assessment documentation and evidence:

1. A current Educational Psychologist's report (current within 12 months)
2. A current speech and language therapist’s report, where the child is undergoing speech therapy
3. A current occupational therapist report, where the child is undergoing occupational therapy
4. A current physiotherapy report, where the child is undergoing physiotherapy.
5. Current school reports
6. A current IEP, where the child's school has set this up

Procedure following application

Upon acceptance of an application, the ESF SEN Administrator will arrange for the moderation panel to carry out an observation of your child in his/her current setting, using the ESF Levels of Adjustment Framework, as described in the ESF SEN Policy. The moderation panel will then consider the outcomes of the visit and scrutiny of assessment reports, and make recommendations as to whether your application will be placed on the waiting list for a Learning Support Centre place or Jockey Club Sarah Roe School, according to level of priority.

Submission of an Educational Psychologist’s report is an essential requirement before the observation process can take place.  Once requested, a time window of two months is allowed for submission of the report.  In the event the deadline for submission is not met, the application will be withdrawn.

When a placement becomes available, pending waiting list and year group availability, the following will happen:

either, if paperwork associated with your application is current within 12 months, the ESF SEN Administrator will contact you by telephone followed by written confirmation of the school provision being offered and the start date.   The school will be informed at the same time and will contact you to set up an initial visit;

or, if paperwork associated with your application falls outside the 12 month period, you will be requested to provide up-to-date reports, following which a second observation will be undertaken and the information fed back to the moderation panel in order to confirm the continuing appropriateness of the placement recommendation.  If confirmed, the ESF SEN Administrator will contact you by telephone followed by written confirmation of the school provision being offered and the start date. The school will be informed at the same time and will contact you to set up an initial visit. We need to inform you that there could be a period of between 12 and 36 months of waiting on the list until an appropriate vacancy occurs for your child.  

Application procedure for children born in 2009 and after  

An Expression of Interest form can be submitted from 1st January of the calendar year in which a child turns 4 years old. During September of that year and in line with the timing of the ESF Year One Central Application, you are required to complete an SEN application form online through the ESF Online Application System.  For further details and an application form click here.

All SEN applications received during the September period will be given a computer generated random number.  The random number along with any admission priorities will determine the final ordering of the Expression of Interest list.  SEN applications received after 30th September will be added to the list according to date of receipt.

Enquiries

Please address any SEN admission enquiries to the ESF SEN Administrator: Cindy Gazeau (cindy.gazeau@esfcentre.edu.hk)

An Expression of Interest form can be downloaded in Word document form here.
•    Download expression of interest form

•    Link to Year 1 (2010 birth) SEN online application details

•    ESF Levels of Adjustment Framework