The complete guide to Hong Kong K1/P1/S1 school applications

Complete guide to school admission in hong kong

We pack all the information you need in one place to make navigating the local school system in Hong Kong easy. We describe the admissions processes, reference relevant application form links and share all relevant dates [1] to ensure you don’t miss out on enrolling your child!

 

Kindergartens

All kindergartens in Hong Kong are privately run and are categorised as non-profit-making if sponsored by a voluntary agency or private independent kindergartens if run by private enterprise. Kindergartens typically split classes into nursery (for 3-4 year olds), lower kindergarten (for 4-5 year olds) and upper kindergarten (for 5-6 year olds). They are regulated by the Education Bureau (EDB) which advises on curriculum, sets minimum teacher qualifications, minimum teacher-pupil ratios (1:15) etc.

Kindergartens have a choice of whether to join the Education Scheme which is administered by the EDB. If kindergartens do not join the Education Scheme under the EDB, parents should apply to the kindergarten directly, follow the outlined admissions process and pay the relevant fees. Find a complete list of kindergartens here and set the flag of joining KG Education Scheme to yes to see those kindergartens that follow the Education Scheme admission process discussed further below.

Kindergarten school admission

 

Admissions process

In order to enrol your child in Education Scheme kindergartens,

  1. Parents must visit the website or otherwise approach the kindergarten of their choice and follow the school-specific application process. Kindergartens are required to post their application forms and process on their websites before 15 September 2022 for the school year 2023-2024. It is important to note that participating kindergartens have bandwidth to set their own admissions procedure and criteria so please refer to our complete guide on compiling school portfolios for applications and preparation for school interviews.
  2. Parents must also submit an application for a Registration Certificate for Kindergarten Admission to the EDB in September-November 2022 (for the school year 2023-2024) provided they are eligible (children born on or before 31 December 2020, child must have the right of abode in HK). The EDB takes around 6-8 weeks to process applications and then issues the Registration Certificate by post to parents.

Parents will be informed of application results before 16 December 2022. If the application is successful, parents should register with the kindergarten during the Centralised Registration Dates (5-7 January 2023) by submitting the Registration Certificate and paying the relevant fee. Unsuccessful applicants will need to wait for vacancy information released by the EDB in early February 2023.

 

Financial assistance

The government provides free kindergarten education if the school opts to join the Kindergarten Education Scheme which is administered by the EDB. Families with children attending non-profit-making kindergartens that follow the local EDB curriculum or that attend full day child centres registered with the Social Welfare Department, may be eligible for fee remission schemes or grants for school expenses.

Find further details here.

Other support and subsidy information is available here.

Find the Registration Certification arrangements outlined here.

Find the Registration Certificate Application form here.

 

Primary schools

All children in Hong Kong who have reached the age of 5 years 8 months or older by 1 September 2023, have the right of abode in HK and are not currently attending primary school can apply through the Primary One admissions scheme for either government or aided schools. Under this scheme, Hong Kong is divided into 30 school nets with a complete list of the 591 primary schools available here.

Note that Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) primary schools, private primary schools and English Schools Foundation are not included in the Primary One admissions scheme and parents must apply directly to those schools for admission. The critical difference from these other school application processes is that under the Primary One scheme, a primary school is not allowed to use an applicant’s ability as admission criteria.

Primary school admission guide

 

Admissions process

The process under the Primary One scheme is as follows:

  • Step 1: parents should obtain an application form between 2-30 September 2022. Find the Primary One Application form here 
     
  • Step 2: parents should decide whether to apply under the Discretionary Places Admission (DP) process (which is strongly recommended as you have two shots to get into your preferred school and there is no district limitation under the DP stage) or under the Central Allocation (CA) process.
    • the Discretionary Places Admission (DP) process allows parents to apply for just one government or aided primary school if (a) applicants have a sibling studying or parent working at the school or (b) under the Points System where it is helpful if the applicant is first born, the parents share the religious affiliation or are members of the sponsoring body operating the primary school.
    • the Central Allocation (CA) process involves the EDB centrally allocating places based on school net, parent’s preferences and a random number generator. When completing the application form, you can include the same preferred school from the DP process in the CA process.
       
  • Step 3: complete and submit the application form either
    • directly to the preferred school under the DP process between 26-30 September 2022. Discretionary place results are shared by schools by 21 November 2022. If the application is successful, parents should register with the school on 23-24 November 2022. If the application is unsuccessful, the child will automatically be included in the CA allotment process.
    • posted to the EDB’s address under the CA process between 26 September 2022 - 3 February 2023. Parents will be informed in writing to go to a central allocation centre to make choices of schools on 4-5 February 2023 and then CA results will be posted or SMS’d to parents on 7-8 June 2023.

 

Financial assistance

The government provides free primary education through public sector schools, however additional financial assistance may also be available through the Student Finance Office for textbooks, travel and internet access costs.

Find further details here.

Other support and subsidy information is available here.

 

Secondary schools

For children with the right of abode in Hong Kong and wishing to apply to a secondary school participating in the Secondary School Places Allocation (SSPA) system, the following application process applies. Government, aided schools and some Direct Subsidy Scheme schools participate in the SSPA system administered by the EDB. The SSPA system is similar in many respects to the Primary One scheme in that it is split into two stages – a Discretionary Places Admissions (DP) stage and a Central Allocation (CA) stage, however there are some important differences.

Unlike the Primary One scheme, applications will be evaluated based on admissions criteria and weightings set by the participating schools, and some schools do require interviews in order to better understand the applicant’s aptitude and potential fit.

Find a complete list of SSPA participating secondary schools here. Non participating schools need to be approached directly for admission and this can be done concurrently with applying under the SSPA system.

Secondary school admission guide

 

Admissions process

The process under the SSPA system is as follows:

  • Step 1: parents should decide whether to apply under the Discretionary Places Admission (DP) process (which again is strongly recommended as you have more chances of being allocated your preferred school and there is no district limitation under the DP stage) or under the Central Allocation (CA) process.
     
  • Step 2: if applying under DP stage, parents should obtain two DP application forms in early December either from their primary school or from the School Places Allocation Section of the EDB (tel: 2832 7740 and 2832 7700) between the 6 December – 17 January 2023. These should be completed with the top and second preferred choice of school and remember there is no district limitation in the DP stage. These forms should be submitted directly to the relevant school for processing in conjunction with supporting documentation. Supporting documentation might include prior report cards, awards or prizes, and community service records.

    Bizibuz provides assistance for parents wanting to strengthen their child’s application

    • attendance records of supplementary activities your child has undertaken (navigate to My courses area under your parent login and you will find an Attendance Record dropdown on the top right hand corner of the screen)
    • a primary KnowYourChildTM assessment tool which benchmarks your child across a range of subjects including English, Chinese, Maths, Science, Technology, Humanities, Visual Arts and Music, and generates a very detailed report outlining your child’s strengths and weaknesses relative to other children in Hong Kong
       

    If the application is successful, parents will be notified by the secondary school under the Successful Lists for Discretionary Places on 4 May 2023. Parents don’t need to respond to the notification. However, if parents have successfully applied to a non-participating SSPA school and wish to retain their DP allocation, they should retrieve the signed Parent's Undertaking and the original copy of the Primary 6 Student Record Form from the school they wish to reject on or before 12 May 2023.
     

  • Step 3: all parents should complete a Choice of School Forms under the CA stage from early to late May 2023. If the applicant was successful at DP stage, the parent still needs to sign the Choice Forms after filling in contact information and crossing out the school choice area. The CA stage is divided into two parts:
    • Part A “unrestricted school choices” for parents to choose a maximum of 3 schools from any district and
    • Part B “restricted school choices” for parents to choose a maximum of 30 schools from the applicant’s school net.
       

    The CA process involves the EDB centrally allocating places based on the applicant’s allocation band (which is determined by Primary Five (P5) standardized internal school assessment results), parent’s school preferences and a random number generator, with attempts to satisfy Part A preferences first before Part B placement.

Parents will be informed of allocation results either by post or SMS by 26 July 2023 and should register with the relevant school on 28-29 July 2023.

 

Financial assistance

As mentioned above for primary schools, the government provides free secondary education through public sector schools, however additional financial assistance may also be available through the Student Finance Office for textbooks, travel and internet access costs.

Find further details here.

Other support and subsidy information is available here.


1. School application dates for the admission process of secondary schools are estimates based on the 2021-2022 school year as 2022-2023 dates were not available at the time of publication, however these will be updated at the start of September as soon as the dates are confirmed by the EDB