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By ITS Education Asia

Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong

Whether you’re still considering a move to Hong Kong and haven’t yet begun a school search or you’ve recently arrived and need to fully understand the school options here, this checklist contains everything you need to consider before starting the application process. 

Research and Compare schools on our School Search Database: ITS Education Asia - School Search Database

1. Consider schools in various locations

There’s a plethora of excellent schools in Hong Kong (we are truly spoilt for choice) and many curricula are offered from Australian, American, UK National Curriculum, IB, and more.

Remember the best school is to one that suits your child – you know your child better than anyone. Don’t just settle for school recommendations from your friends/colleagues – there are many hidden gems out there – go with your gut feeling and keep your child the centre of all decisions.

It’s also a good idea to look for a school before you decide where to live because it’s easier to find a home than to receive a school placement.

We have provided detailed information on international schools and the admissions processes in our Unique Asia Schools Guide.

Get your free copy here: https://www.itseducation.asia/school-guide/


Malvern College Hong Kong

2.Prepare your school wish list

Once you have reviewed and narrowed down the schools which are the right fit, you will need to create a more concrete picture of what is most important to you and your child.

We suggest a list of ‘school ingredients’ (for example: space availability, sports facilities, bus service, music lessons, extra-curricular programmes, exam results, curriculum, class size, fees and teacher retention).

Some international schools in Hong Kong are selective while others are inclusive. You need to know at every stage that your child will be valued for his or her own individuality, skills and abilities.

So, you have established your wish list – now it’s time to start booking school tours and making enquiries. It’s a good idea to compile a spreadsheet on the schools which you like the most. Of course nowadays, you can even register for virtual tours and zoom calls – this makes the process move faster because you can choose the schools you really want to visit when you are in Hong Kong for your “look-see”.


3.Check the admissions policies

Check on the application dates and admissions policies at your preferred schools. Some schools only accept applications over a specific period of time and applying after the deadline means your child’s name is placed on the ‘late application list’. For instance, English Schools Foundation (ESF) only accepts applications for Year 1, every year, from September 1 -30. If you apply after this date, there is a very low chance of your child being offered an interview. Other schools end their application periods between October and January/February. But in saying this, there are many which accept application year-round.

Stamford American School Hong Kong


4.Review your short list & consider the school fees

  • International school fees can be as high as HKD350,000 (USD 44,600) per year – but there are also schools across the city with annual tuition fees below HKD110,000 (USD 14,000)
  • International schools charge for application submission and assessments, as well as enrollment
  • International schools charge a capital levy and many have a debenture programme. A debenture fee can range from HKD60,000 (USD7,700) to HKD550,000 (USD70,000)

Kellett School (The British School in Hong Kong)

5.Visit schools

No matter how much information you read on social media, school websites, and guide books, there is no substitute for visiting a school and experiencing the environment for yourself.  Even on a virtual school tour, you get to witness the learners in their classes and experience the teaching approach.

Some main points to consider on a school visit are:

  • Do you feel welcome at the school?
  • Are students engaged and happy?
  • Is the school well-resourced and is the equipment up-to-date?
  • Are there good safety measures in place?
  • Are the staff friendly and knowledgeable about their school?
  • Will your child have an orientation visit or be given a buddy to help her settle in?
  • Does the school provide options for prospective parents to talk to current families?

After your school visit, it’s important to remember, you are choosing a school for the whole family. How the parent community integrates with each other and the school is especially important for expatriate families – this is going to be a big adjustment to a new place, culture, language and people.

Trust your instincts and invite your child to learn about the schools. Allow them to be part of the process.


6.Start Applying

Apply to schools that are the best choice for your child and your family and where your child will at least be given a chance of an interview. It’s a good idea to have a Plan A and a Plan B.

Other tips:

  • Don’t rush your applications
  • Never leave any space blank
  • Answer all parent statements
  • Send all supporting documents
  • Follow up closely with Admissions Managers

Obviously, there is no “one size fits all” approach to selecting a school. It's all about what works with your core values, educational goals, and lifestyle and what learning environment you want for your child.

It’s important to plan ahead and to be armed with as much valuable information as possible. Once you follow some careful steps, you’ll be able to make the most sensible decision about your child’s education.

School reviews, updates on education, school trends, can be found on these websites: https://www.itseducation.asia/inside-news-on-schools-hong-kong.php



Dulwich College Singapore

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