Admissions of Children with Special Educational Needs

Admission and Review Process (ARP)

Through the ARP, a moderation panel is convened to receive, assess and make placement recommendations regarding applications for entry to Learning Support (LS) and Jockey Club Sarah Roe School (JCSRS). The panel is made up of special educational needs advisers, educational psychologists, a school principal and SEN specialists from the LS and JCSRS.

Waiting lists

ESF can only provide for a prescribed number of places in our LS and in JCSRS. 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 strict waiting list procedure, with limitations on the number of applicants for each year group. 

At any given time our special needs 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 thorough process of assessment using the ESF levels of adjustment. On rare occasions, an ESF placement may not be recommended.

Prioritising applications

Students applying for enrolment to ESF SEN provision are placed on a waiting list. Priority will be based on the following ranked criteria; students who require an English medium education and who (in order):

  1. Are the children of full-time teachers at ESF or ESF Educational Services Ltd;
  2. Are siblings of students already attending an ESF primary or secondary school, Private Independent School or Jockey Club Sarah Roe School;
  3. 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;
  4. 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];
  5. Are other applicants who can require an English-medium education.
  6. Note:-* 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.

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 Psychology report (current within 12 months);
  2. A current speech and language therapy report, if your child is undergoing speech therapy;
  3. A current occupational therapy report, if your child is undergoing occupational therapy;
  4. A current physiotherapy report, if your child is undergoing physiotherapy;
  5. Current school reports;
  6. A current IEP, if your child has one

Procedures 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. The moderation panel will then consider the outcomes of the visit and review of assessment reports, to make recommendations as to whether your application will be placed on the waiting list for a LS 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, one of the following will happen:

  • If paperwork associated with your application is current within 18 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.
  • If paperwork associated with your application falls outside the 18 month period, you will be requested to provide up-to-date reports, following which a second observation may 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 are unable to offer guidance regarding the waiting times for vacancies to become available.

Application procedures for children born in 2015

During September 2019, and in line with the timing of the ESF Year 1 Central Application, you are also required to complete an SEN application form online through the ESF Online Application System. For further details and the 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 waiting list. Online SEN applications received after 30 September will be added to the list according to date of receipt and will be considered as No.5 in terms of prioritising applications (refer to previous section on prioritising applications).

Some students may apply through both the mainstream admissions process and the SEN admissions process. If parents and/or school are unsure whether a child will require an SEN place or not, it is recommended that they submit both a mainstream and an SEN application.


Please address any SEN admission enquiries to the ESF SEN Administrator: Cindy Gazeau (


School Fee

For details about school fees, please click HERE.

Updated on: 19 August 2019