Policy and Procedures for Admission to ESF Primary and Secondary Schools

1. Preface

The ESF Ordinance, CAP 1117 states that the object of the foundation is to offer ‘a modern liberal education through the medium of the English language to boys and girls who are able to benefit from such an education.’

Most of our students come from families who are already resident in Hong Kong and who, irrespective of their passport, use English as their usual means of communication.  Many of our parents have spent time overseas and all have a commitment to educating their children within a liberal learning culture, with an international curriculum leading to global higher education opportunities (ESF Strategic Plan 2012-2015).

Schools offer an all-ability education and must be satisfied that students entering are able to engage with an English-medium curriculum, and that parents will support students to achieve success within the context of the educational programmes and opportunities offered.  A percentage of places is reserved for students with special educational needs who qualify through the ESF moderation process.

In line with the Education Bureau requirements, at least 70% of the total students enrolled will qualify as ‘non-local’, defined as being holders of an overseas passport.

Applications for entry are made through the Online Admission System (OAS) accessed via the ESF website. For Year 1 and Year 7, application is made during a strictly limited period, 1 to 30 September of the year before they enter school.  A few late applications are received each year.

Students can only apply to the school of zone according to their Hong Kong residential address. Students from overseas can only apply to the school of zone for their expected area of residence in Hong Kong. Applicants from Hong Kong and applicants from overseas have equal status. Zones are adjusted from time to time in the light of changing numbers.

Only one online application may be submitted per student. (Life cycle of application – 1 academic year)


2. Priority for Admission

Students applying for enrolment to an ESF school are placed on a waiting list.  Priority for an admissions interview/assessment will be based on the following ranked criteria; students who are able to benefit from an English medium education and who (in order):

    1. Are Corporate Nomination Rights Nominees;
    2. Are the children of full-time staff at ESF or ESF Educational Services Ltd;
    3. Are siblings of students already attending an ESF primary or secondary school or Jockey Club Sarah Roe School;
    4. Are Individual Nomination Rights Nominees;
    5. Are the children of former students who have attended an ESF school for a minimum of 3 years or are former ESF students returning from a period overseas;
    6. Are children attending an ESF International Kindergarten* [Note: contingent upon the child studying in the kindergarten continuously until the end of term 3 prior to entry into primary school];
    7. Are children nominees from universities with collaboration agreement with ESF; and
    8. Are other applicants who can benefit from an English-medium education.


* Priority for interview is subject to having attended kindergarten for a minimum of two terms prior to the applicable January Year 1 interview period. Students recently arrived from overseas are exempt from the two terms requirement. Students graduating from K2 in the first year of operation of the new Tung Chung kindergarten are also exempt.


3. Admission Procedures

The ESF system places children in Year Group according to their date of birth (1 January – 31 December).  Children usually start Year 1 during the calendar year in which they turn 5.  Children are never admitted early.  Occasionally children whose birthday falls late in the year and who are considered to be not ready for school may be advised to delay admission to the following year.  Please note that the entry Year Group entered by parents on the application form may be adjusted to ensure the child’s date of birth matches the school’s age requirements.

Year of Birth to Year Level Placement:

Year 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19
1 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
2 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
3 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
4 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
5 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
6 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
7 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
8 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
9 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
10 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
11 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
12 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
13 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
  1. Applicants must submit the application package in full.
  2. All Year 1 and Year 7 applications received within the Central Application Period (01 September – 30 September) are PROCESSED IN RANDOM ORDER and are assigned a computer generated sequential number.  From this list, students are then ordered according to the priority criteria.
  3. Any Year 1 and Year 7 applications received after the Central Application Period will be placed at the end of their respective priority waiting list in date order of receipt.
  4. Applications for all other year levels are considered under application date order and added to the waiting list according to the priority criteria.
  5. Applicants will be invited for interview and assessment at the school of zone as vacancies become available; an interview with parents is included in the process.
  6. Following a successful admissions interview and assessment, a place may be offered.
  7. Acceptance of the offer must be confirmed by payment of a deposit and a Refundable Capital Levy within the time frame specified on the offer letter, generally a period of between 7 and 14 days.  For Year 7 applicants, the date for payment is in December and for Year 1 applicants, the date for payment is in February
  8. Re-application is required when:
  • An offer for an interview and assessment has been declined
  • An offer of a place has been declined
  • A student has not met the entry requirements at interview and assessment
  • The 1 academic year validity period of the application has expired

9. If an offer of a place is not made after interview and assessment, even though the student meets the entry requirements for the school, as at the time places are not available, the child will be returned to the age-appropriate waiting list according to his/her priority status and, in the case of Central Admission applicants, the random number he/she was assigned.  In the event a place becomes available within six months of the initial successful assessment, no further assessment will be required.

4. Applications for Admission

A hard copy of the completed online application form, along with supporting documents, must be sent directly to the school of zone according to your current residential address or, in the case of applications made during the Central Application Period for Year 1 and Year 7, supporting documents must be sent by registered post to ESF Admissions at ESF Centre, 25/F, 1063, King’s Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong.  Supporting documents include copies of:

      • Completed ‘Online Application’ form or the application slip/acknowledgement email
      • Application fee online payment result
      • Student’s Birth Certificate
      • Student’s Passport (including their visa status) and Hong Kong ID Card if issued
      • Student’s current and last year’s school reports
      • A reference letter from student’s current school (for applications to Year 3 and above)
      • Examination certificates/results (for Year 12 applications)
      • Parents’ Hong Kong ID Cards and  Passports
      • Details of parent attendance at ESF primary/secondary school(s) (if applicable)
      • 2 student’s passport quality photographs showing his/her frontal face with clear facial features, measuring 4cm (width) x 5cm (height)
      • Two proof of HK address documents – a copy of a stamped tenancy agreement or a current government demand for rates bill plus an original utility bill or bank statement.

An application with insufficient supporting documents or non-payment of fee will not be processed.


5. Application to ESF and ESF Private Independent Schools (PIS)

Dual applications are permitted to both systems.  For statistical purposes, parents are asked to indicate schools applied to by ticking the box/es on the individual application forms.  Applications to Discovery College and Renaissance College are through a separate application processes, detailed on each of the college’s websites.


6. Interview and Assessment for Admission

Applicants must demonstrate through interview and assessment that they are capable of engaging with an English medium curriculum. Applicants learning and social skills, together with their ability to cooperate with adults and other children, will be taken into consideration.

At interview, students’ potential for language learning will be explored as well as their ability to engage and succeed within the curriculum being offered at the school.

For secondary and older primary students, applicants’ academic background, previous school reports and supporting documents will also be taken into account.  Applicants must be able to demonstrate appropriate social skills, behavioural responsibility and the principles of good citizenship.

A parent statement and an interview with parents contribute to the school’s decision making process.


7. Fees

See School Fees


8. Immigration Status

An offer of a place cannot be made to a child who is not a resident of Hong Kong unless the child is permitted by the Director of Immigration to reside in Hong Kong. Unless clearance is obtained from the Director of Immigration, no child will be admitted to any school in Hong Kong whose travel document/passport bears the endorsement “Visitor” over the immigration stamp. Parents of non-local children are advised to seek the approval of the Director of Immigration (www.immd.gov.hk) as soon as possible for entry to Hong Kong of the child in question, for the purpose of study.


9. Admissions Enquiries

Enquiries may be sent to admissions@esfcentre.edu.hk or call 3762 2411


10. Policy Review

ESF’s admissions policy is subject to regular review.

It is the responsibility of individual applicants to check the ESF website for any updates to the policy.

11. Enquiries

Enquiries about this policy should be directed to the ESF Admissions Manager at julie.wong@esfcentre.edu.hk

Updated on: 23 June 2014