A world-class education in a unique world city

7 ImageThere are many questions that people thinking about relocating to another part of the world ask themselves. For those with families, chief amongst those questions is ‘what are the schools like?’  

Getting the right school for their son or daughter is often the most critical part of any decision to move. Thankfully, Hong Kong is home to some of the best schools in the world.

The largest international education provider in the city is the English Schools Foundation (ESF). For over 50 years, ESF has been at the heart of Hong Kong life, providing world leading teaching and learning to thousands of students in their 22 schools.

Starting from as early as six months, ESF students can transition seamlessly from playgroup to kindergarten and then from primary onto secondary. They also offer award winning after school sports and language programmes. Everything that your family requires, under 22 roofs.



ESF School Map

NationalitiesHong Kong is a world city – with people from all around the globe flocking here to set up a business and throw down roots. This diversity is reflected in ESF schools. Students at all levels of their education get to meet people from different countries, learn first-hand about different cultures and experience life in a fast paced, outwardly looking city in one of the most exciting parts of the world.

Students from around the world can transition into the ESF school system easily, thanks to the fact that they have adopted the International Baccalaureate (IB) at every level – from kindergarten to secondary.

The IB has been designed specifically to meet the needs of learners from any cultural background. It is a system based on encouraging students to solve problems, analyse complex issues and to work with their peers. The final qualification, the IB Diploma, is accepted by universities across the world.

A System on a Mission

Adam Hughes
Adam Hughes, ESF Director of Education

CW 2013-114At ESF, we are on a mission: to unlock potential and to help every student to be the best that they can be. The results that we achieve across our schools are amongst the best in the world, but we don’t just measure our success solely on academic results.

Our amazing teachers understand that their job is, yes, to prepare students from exams and to help them get qualifications – but they also know that it is so much more than that. Our teachers want to help their students become great people, the leaders of the future.

The world around us is changing at a pace that few of us can really comprehend. For those of us in education, that means that we cannot think about what we need to do in the future in order to be ready for a changing world. That change is happening round about us.

Automation, the ubiquity of high speed connectivity and technologies like AI our new reality – and at ESF we understand that it is our job to prepare our students to be ready to grasp the amazing opportunities that exist thanks to these innovations.

Walk into any of our classrooms and you will see students working together to problem-find, not problem solve. You will see them grappling with complex issues and coming up with solutions. And you will see them flipping effortlessly between working independently and collaboratively with others – in their own classroom, in another ESF school or with another group of students on the other side of the world.

Our teachers teach students where to look, but they don’t tell them what to see. That is the future of education – and it is happening in our schools right now.


World Class Results

Global league tables of education systems will regularly include ESF in their upper reaches. The results that students receive are amongst the best in the world.

Belinda Greer CEO

“We understand that academic results are hard currency. It is by getting good grades that students can go on to the best universities and, ultimately, onto their chosen career path”, says Belinda Greer – CEO of ESF. “So, while we work hard to help students develop all of their skills, we never lose sight of just important it is to ensure academic research stays at the top of our priority list.”

And the results speak for themselves. ESF sits well above the global average for all of the major qualifications. And while those who get the very top marks often grab the headlines, it is the sheer volume of success at all levels that really sets ESF apart from any other education system:


International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Results


ESF 2018

World 2017

Students awarded the Diploma (24 points or more)

943 (98.5%)


Students awarded Bilingual Diploma



Mean score of students 


29.78 (in 2018)

Students achieving 30 points or more



Students achieving 35 points or more



Students achieving 40 points or more



Students achieving 45 points (maximum)



Mean grade per subject




Where ESF students go for higher education

2014-18 Destination



Top five university destinations for ESF graduates in 2014-18

Top 5 HK Destination

Some of the popular university destinations for ESF graduates (2014-18)

UK     US

Every Single Family

Charles CaldwellESF scours the world for the very best teachers. Last year well over 4,000 people applied for a teacher position, but only less than 100 of those applications were successful. Making the grade at ESF is a sign that you are a teacher at the very top of your class.

The man who oversees that rigorous recruitment process is Director of Human Resources, Charles Caldwell: “When we recruit, we are looking for exceptional teachers. We have a very clear understanding of what type of person can help us deliver on our mission to help every student be the best that they can be.”

RCP_0550_1We want teachers who are great at what they do, yes, but we are looking for something extra. Our teachers understand their students. They get to really know them as a person. By doing this, they can make sure that they use the right strategies, the right teaching methods to get the best out of their learning.

But our teachers go further than just working with their students. We also work hard to engage parents, to involve them in their child’s learning – so that the education the student gets in the classroom can continue when they get home. We form a partnership with every single family.


Come and join the ESF family

RCP_0694_1ESF schools welcome any child who can benefit from an English-language curriculum.

For parents wishing their children to enter K1, Years 1 and 7, Central Application is open from 1st to 30th September of the year before they want their children to enter the school.

If you are planning to enter other year groups, application can be made at any time during the year. Please refer to the ESF website for immediate vacancies.

All applications are submitted online on the ESF website:

You can find out more visiting our website or by following us on social media.  

Meet our alumni

Christina Chau -3Christine Chau

Christine graduated from ESF King George V School. Having scored the maximum 45 points in the IB Diploma examination in 2017, she attributed her success to her teachers.

“I think the main reason I got a 45 was because of my teachers and because of how helpful and resourceful they were,” she shared. “I have the most supportive friends, family and teachers who have all helped me pass through the stressful times and I cannot thank them enough for that.”

Christine is now in the University of Hong Kong studying Law.

Leo Kim

Leo Kim -1Leo from ESF South Island School was another IB top scorer in 2017. He is now studying information science at Cornell University in the United States.

He said it was ESF that defines who he is today. “The characteristics and personalities, strengths and weaknesses I developed from an ESF environment allowed me to become the person I am today,” he shared.

He said it is important to link your hobbies with your academics. “If you just keep working hard and never give up your passion, I think you can always find a link between something you love and something you’re good at,” he said.

Many of our alumni have become prominent figures in the community because of the significant contribution they have made to the society.


Christine Loh            

Christine Loh2Christine, the former Under Secretary for the Environment in the HKSAR Government, graduated from ESF Island School. She recalled how ESF has shaped her into who she is today:

“What I enjoyed about Island School, in my days, was that it was very multicultural.

“I think when I was here, what I realised was the fact that I wasn’t very good at school. But there were lots of other activities. I really blossomed in sports and in organising activities at the school. For me, it was a great moment to realise that it wasn’t all about academics. A lot of other things were also very important in my school life.”

Christine is now chief development strategist and adjunct professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s Institute of the Environment and Division of Environment and Sustainability.

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