Admissions Overview: Primary & Secondary

We have nine primary schools, five secondary schools and three all-through schools. One of the all-through schools caters for students with special educational needs (SEN).

Students start Year 1 in an ESF primary school in the year they turn five, and will start Year 7 in an ESF secondary school in the year they turn 11.

ESF is an all-through system. All primary students are guaranteed a place as they transition to secondary.

Starting from 2022/23, ESF kindergarten children joining K1 from August 2020, who can benefit from a mainstream, English medium curriculum, will be guaranteed a Year 1 place at an ESF school.

Read more below:

Year of Birth to Year Level Placement

Students are placed in year groups according to their date of birth (1 January – 31 December). Students usually start Year 1 during the calendar year in which they turn five. Students are not admitted early.

Year 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23
1 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
2 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
3 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
4 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
5 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
6 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
7 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
8 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
9 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
10 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
11 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
12 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
13 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005

School Zoning

School zoning applies to our nine primary and five secondary schools. Parents choosing these schools can apply to their designated school of zone according to their Hong Kong residential address. The online application will also provide parents with a fourth option – to select an out-of-zone school. This option may be considered should there be availability at the alternative school.

There is no geographical zoning for Discovery College (DC) and Renaissance College (RCHK).

Parents of students applying from overseas for ESF primary or secondary schools should 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.

Immediate Student Places

From time to time immediate or expected student places may become available in various year groups. Parents can submit online applications anytime throughout the year if they are interested in joining the ESF family. Parents can refer to this website for information:

Admission Criteria and Priority

ESF schools are non-selective. The only criteria for admission is that students must demonstrate sufficient English language skills so that they can benefit from our English-medium learning environment.

Applicants will be placed on a waiting list and will be invited to an interview/assessment when vacancies become available. They will be required to complete age-appropriate assessments to determine their ability to engage with an English medium curriculum.

Foreign passport holders will receive priority over local passport holders. Priority for an interview/assessment will be based on the following ranked criteria:

  1. Corporate Nomination Rights Nominees;
  2. The children of full-time teaching staff at ESF or ESF Educational Services Ltd*;
  3. The children of full-time support staff at ESF or ESF Educational Services Ltd*;
  4. The siblings of students already attending an ESF school;
  5. Individual Nomination Rights Nominees;
  6. Current students requesting internal transfer;
  7. The children of former students who have attended an ESF school for a minimum of three years or are former ESF students returning from a period overseas or siblings of former students who have attended for a minimum of three years and graduated from an ESF school in Year 13;
  8. Children attending an ESF International Kindergarten**;
  9. Children nominees from universities with collaboration agreements with ESF; and
  10. Other applicants who can benefit from an English-medium education.


* Staff are given priority according to employment terms for ESF or ESF Educational Services Ltd.

** Priority for Year 1 consideration is subject to having attended K1 by the start of the third term and have completed the whole K2 year. Students recently arrived from overseas are exempt from this requirement.


THROUGH TRAIN from K1 to Year 13

Starting from 2022/23, ESF kindergarten children joining K1 from August 2020, who can benefit from a mainstream, English medium curriculum, will be guaranteed a Year 1 place at an ESF school.


How to gain interview priority?

Our Nomination Rights Schemes provide a fast track entry route for students to gain an opportunity for admissions interview/assessment.

Click here to learn more:


About EDB requirements

In line with the Hong Kong Education Bureau requirements, ESF shall admit students to school in accordance with the prevailing admission policy, including the overarching requirements to admit non-local students (those having foreign passports, excluding HKSAR and BNO) to no less than 70% of the overall student population of all schools operated by ESF.

Students with Special Educational Needs

Students with special educational needs (SEN) will be provided with the professional support in our Learning Support Provision (LS) or our special school, ESF Jockey Club Sarah Roe School.

Parents should apply via the SEN admissions procedures which includes the Admissions and Review Process (ARP) to determine school placement and suitable provision. Click here to learn more.

Year 6 students transferring to secondary school

ESF is an all-through system. All primary students are guaranteed a place as they transition to secondary without the need for assessment.

Please click here for information and key dates (for Year 7 entry in August 2021).

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. If a child, whose travel document/passport bears the endorsement “Visitor” over the immigration stamp and would like to attend a school in Hong Kong, clearance must be obtained from the Director of Immigration. Parents of non-local children are advised to seek the approval of the Director of Immigration ( for entry to Hong Kong of the child in question, for the purpose of study.

Join our Information Seminars and School Tours

Joining our parent seminars and school tours is the best way to understand more about our schools –our philosophy, curriculum, and how we help students to be the best that they can be!

Our staff will be present to answer all your questions in person. Click here for coming seminars.


Click here to read the Application Procedures

Click here to go to the ESF Online Application System

Admissions Enquiries

Questions? Feel free to see the list of frequently asked questions here.

Or, contact us at:


Updated on: 31 August 2019