Finding the right school

How to find a school in Hong Kong - information on school admissions policies, enrolment procedures, waiting lists and educational approaches in schools in Hong Kong...

Enrolling at a private or international school

Attendance at a private, fee-paying school requires that an application be made directly to the school.

Many of the schools have websites giving details of their policies and credentials; application policies vary between schools. Private international school is a favoured option for families with English-speaking children staying in Hong Kong short-term. It is important to bear in mind that many of the international schools have long waiting lists. The purchase of debentures (corporate or personal) is often suggested to secure a place at these schools.

Alternatively, the English Schools Foundation operates a number of schools at all levels and places are allocated by catchment area. Approach them directly for application procedures:

Enrolling at a government-run school

The application procedure for government-run or government-funded schools depends on the age of the child.

At primary level any child aged over five years and eight months is entitled to apply via the central admission system, known as Primary One Admission. Parents fill in an application form and indicate their choice of schools in order of preference. The EMB then makes the allocation of places. There is strong competition for the best schools.

At secondary level there is also a centralised admission system - the Secondary School Places Allocation system, introduced in 2000. Students are allocated a school place based on their grades in three examinations (the second term in Primary Five, the first and second terms of Primary Six). This then puts each child into a band which in turn determines what school a child will be offered a place at.

For entry during Primary or Secondary education or part way through an academic year contact the Education Bureau for advice.

Enrolment requirements

Anyone wishing to enrol their child in a government or government-funded school will be asked to complete an application form.

Bring a report from the most recent place of study giving details of the child's achievements and any academic certificates obtained to date. Some schools require a medical examination or medical questionnaire before admission.

  • For the current recommended immunisation programme for children from the Family Health Service website: Click here

After-school arrangements

Not all primary schools offer full-day education for their pupils. There is a limited amount of after-school childcare available in Hong Kong. Domestic helpers are particularly common among the expatriate community and often double up as childminders.

The Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children provides and manages some centres for after-school care for primary age children in some districts of Hong Kong.