ESF K1, Year 1 and Year 7 Central Applications in Sept: FAQs: Updated for 2020/2021

English Schools Foundation, as the largest provider of English Language Education in Hong Kong, operating 16 primary, secondary and all through schools plus 5 kindergartens and one special school.  If you are considering an ESF  school, the best time to apply is when your child is approaching K1, Year 1 or Year 7.

For 2020/21, that means 1-30 Sept 2019:

K1: Children born 1 Jan – 31 Dec 2017

Year 1: Children born 1 Jan – 31 Dec 2015

Year 7: Children born 1 Jan – 31 Dec 2009

New ‘one form’ application system

For central and general applications (ie ALL applications), parents can no longer apply to multiple ESF schools. The ‘one form’ application system is for all ESF schools, including the private schools:  Discovery College and Renaissance College.

This makes the process more simple and transparent. It also makes it cheaper in that only one application fee is due.

Parents may choose up to three selected schools: the ESF school of zone, DC and/or RCHK. If a parent chooses the ESF school of zone, an additional option is an ESF out of zone school.

If an interview is granted, it may be at any of your selected ESF schools – the one most likely to accept your child. Your child will receive a maximum of ONE offer from ONE ESF school.

School zoning applies for ESF primary and secondary schools based on residential address at the time of application. DC and RCHK remain zone free.

1. We may move – which school should we apply to?

You should choose the school for which you are able to provide proof of address. If you do move at some point during the application process, you should inform the school and they will transfer your application where possible. The same applies if you move once an offer is made, but no guarantee that a transfer will be successful within any given timeframe.

2. Our child is currently attending an ESF kindergarten. Do we need to apply to primary?

Yes, you need to apply to Y1 1-30 September. Currently, children graduating from ESF kindergartens will enjoy priority PLUS an interview-free process when applying for Year 1 at an ESF school.

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.

3. Help! I can’t load the online application form.

Use the latest versions of IE, Firefox or Chrome. Safari is unstable.

4. I didn’t submit my application until the very end of the application period in September and I’m worried I’m way down the list.

Don’t worry – the date of submission is not taken into account, as long as you submit 1 – 30 Sept. All K1/Year 1/7 applications received within the Central Application Period are processed. From this list, applicants are then ordered according to the priority criteria. Your chances are not affected.

5. I was told you can apply for a school even its not in your catchment area. Is this true?

Yes. Both Private Independent ESF schools – Renaissance College and Discovery College – have NO requirement for you to live nearby so you may apply with any address. 

You may also apply to an out-of-zone school as your 3rd or 4th choice as long as you have applied to your school of zone as a higher choice. 

Three examples to illustrate this:

1st choice: Kennedy School (school of zone)

2nd choice: Renaissance College

3rd choice: Discovery College

4th choice: Peak School (out of zone)

1st choice: Kennedy School (school of zone)

2nd choice:

3rd choice:

4th choice: Peak School (out of zone)

1st choice: Renaissance College

2nd choice: Quarry Bay School (school of zone)

3rd choice: Bradbury School (out of zone)

4th choice:

If your child is accepted into the ESF out of zone school, parents are responsible for arranging transport to the school if no school bus service is available.

If you have an Individual Nomination Right, you may apply to a school outside your zone.

6. My child is in an ESF kindergarten. Do I need to submit the kindergarten reports?

No. But, make sure you submit all other supporting documents on time.

7. My child is in an ESF kindergarten. Is s/he guaranteed a Year 1 place?

Currently, children graduating from ESF kindergartens will enjoy priority PLUS an interview-free process when applying for Year 1 at an ESF school.

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.

8. I forgot to apply last year. Can I apply this year?

Yes, although you’ll be making a general application, not a central application. You may do this anytime; the earlier, the better – no need to wait until September.

9. My child is born at the end of November and I prefer her to be older in the year, rather than younger. Is it ok if I apply next year?

No. You must apply 1-30 Sept 2019  and take it from there. It’s possible for a child born at the very end of the year to be assessed and not offered a place if the school feels s/he isn’t ready. In this case, the child may be considered for a Year 1/7 place the following year, but this is only possible for parents who apply at the right time, according to their child’s date of birth IF ESF drives this decision. For secondary, there’s more flexibility where it’s usual for a child to continue on in the next grade.

10. My child is born 1 January 2016 and s/he’s very advanced and I don’t want him/her to be the oldest in the year as s/he’ll be bored. Is it ok if I apply this year?

No. Your application will be rejected and you may or may not have your application fee refunded. Children are NEVER invited to start early.

11. Are all applicants interviewed? 

No. Unfortunately, some applicants will not be invited for interview.

You will receive one of 3 types of letter (and email):

  1. Invitation for assessment for a guaranteed place. As long as your child meets the minimum entry requirements, s/he will immediately be offered a place,

  2. Invitation for assessment for a reserve list place. As long as your child meets the minimum entry requirements, s/he will be placed on the waitlist (sometimes referred to as the ‘successful waitlist). Approximately, an additional 10-30 children will be in this situation, depending on the school. Historically, most of these children receive offers by the start of term.

  3. No invitation for interview. If this is the case, there’s no point in pleading your case with the school and/or ESF centre; just sit tight and hope for the best – there’s always a chance of a late interview.

12. With the new ‘one form system’, do I need to select three options? 

No, you may select one to four options.

13. If my child is assessed and doesn’t pass, can we apply again? 

Yes. You can submit a General Application six months after the last assessment.

14. When will we know if our child has been offered a Y1 place? 

KEY DATES

(For children born in 2015 and for entry in August 2020)1 -30 September 2019Central application period for parents to submit application: www.esf.edu.hk/application-formAcknowledgement email containing applicant’s reference number will be sent upon submission.3 September 2019Nomination Rights applications open: www.esf.edu.hk/esf-nomination-rights8 October 2019Deadline for receipt of supporting documents21 October 2019Acknowledgement email sent to parents to advise admission processNovember 2019 – January 2020First round interviews conducted at primary schoolsMarch to August 2020Further interviews conducted by primary schools as necessary.

All official instructions and the actual online application form here: http://www.esf.edu.hk/admissions/#

#EnglishSchoolsFoundation #PIS #RCHK #DC #CentralApplications #Year1 #GeneralApplications #ESF

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