Finding the Best Primary Schools in Hong Kong


Getting into one of the top primary schools in Hong Kong is typically a highly competitive process that requires early planning. Private primary schools do not simply accept a child based on the parents' ability to afford the expensive annual fees. Some of the best primary schools in Hong Kong have gained their reputations as a result of student achievements, exam results, and the calibre of teachers they attract. They therefore want to ensure the children they admit can demonstrate strong potential and have the ability to cope within the school community.

Among the top primary schools in Hong Kong are long-established schools such as those of the English Schools Foundation (ESF) as well as, for instance, the Chinese International School (CIS), the Canadian International School (CDNIS), the German Swiss International School (GSIS), the Hong Kong International School (HKIS) and Kellett School. Some of these schools have been in operation for over 50 years. At the same time, some newer primary schools have gained popularity for their unique teaching community and innovative programmes. One aspect of Hong Kong primary school education which has developed significantly in recent years is a focus on outdoor learning: the unique Hong Kong environment offers great opportunities for field trips and camps.

Factors to consider for primary school admission in Hong Kong

As you short-list your preferred primary schools, look carefully at their selection criteria. Selective schools focus on academic performance and will test this at interview, even for P1! Extracurricular activities may also be considered by the admission staff. Participation in sports and arts indicates a well- rounded personality and demonstrates skills beyond academic achievement. At the same time, some other excellent international primary schools take a gentler approach to admission and focus more on how the child will fit into an English-language learning environment. For all international primary schools though, parents should ensure that their child's English is adequate for studying a variety of subjects where a broad vocabulary is required. Fees can vary hugely and many schools impose one-off charges such as debentures which may, or may not, be fully refundable and/or annual capital levies. Look too at extras such as the school bus, meal costs and uniform requirements. A top-of-the-range laptop Is required in some schools even in the primary years.

Strategies for successfully getting into primary schools in Hong Kong

The first step is to research suitable schools based on individual needs and your child's learning capabilities, language ability, and personality. The content and structure of interviews and assessments will vary according to school, curriculum and grade levels. The following tests and assessments are commonly used:

  • Pre-K-grade 2 (Year 3): in-person screening assessment and play-based/group interview
  • Grades 3 – 5 (Year 4 - Year 6): Measure of Academic Progress (MAP)
  • The Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT 4)
  • Written tests in English and Maths

Finally, if your child is not offered a place, do not be discouraged. If you work with experts in the field, your chances of success are much higher. The education consultants at ITS Education Asia have the professional experience to help your child gain admission to the right school.

Contact us at ITS School Search Services Hong Kong - School Placement Consultancy (

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