This paper informs Members of how land is allocated for school development.

Reservation of school sites

2. The Education Department (ED) and the Planning Department (Plan D) interact closely in the process of reserving school sites. Having regard to the forecast growth and movement of population provided by the Census and Statistics Department and the Housing Department, the provisions of the Hong Kong Planning Standard and Guidelines (HKPSG), and prevailing education policies (such as whole-day primary schooling), ED projects the demand and supply of school places annually and requests Plan D to identify and reserve suitable school sites accordingly. Plan D, in preparing town plans and designing comprehensive development projects, will reserve sites on the basis of the size and needs for community services in accordance with HKPSG. In assessing the requirement of school provision, ED will be consulted on the needs for educational facilities and the latest forecast demand and supply of school places in the relevant districts/ areas.

3. Currently, school sites are reserved subject to certain broad parameters contained in HKPSG, including the following -

(a) Primary school

  • Site reservation for primary schools is based on the demand of school places on a district basis. This is to obviate the need for pupils to travel a long distance to attend schools.

  • A standard design primary school has 30 classrooms with the standard site area of 6200m2.

  • In view of the general shortage of land in Hong Kong, sites with smaller size or irregular shape are also considered for school development. In this regard, Architectural Services Department (Arch SD) has developed standard design for smaller primary schools with 24 classrooms (standard site area of 4700 m2) and 18 classrooms (standard site area of 3950 m2) respectively in order to optimise the use of smaller sites. Arch SD will adopt non-standard design for sites with irregular shape.

(b) Secondary school

  • Site reservation for secondary schools is based on demand of school places on a territory-wide basis. However, adjustment will be made for districts with persistent shortfall or surplus.

  • A standard secondary school will have 30 classrooms with the standard site area of 6950m2.

Annex I sets out the details relating to the reservation of primary and secondary school sites.

4. After a site has been identified and reserved by Plan D for school development, the relevant works department [Note 1] will carry out a Preliminary Project Feasibility Study (PPFS) of the school project. If the project is considered feasible, the relevant District Board would be consulted and funding support would be sought from the Public Works Subcommittee and the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council.

5. Normally it will take four years for planning and constructing a school. If the site requires land resumption or extensive site formation work, then additional time will be required for completing the school project.

Latest Position

6. According to our current School Building Programme, 68 primary schools and 38 secondary schools will be completed for operation before the 2002/03 school year. Details are attached at Annex II. All the relevant sites have been reserved.

7. Subject to regular review of a number of constraints (e.g. population changes), Government is working towards a tentative target of enabling virtually all primary school students to receive whole-day primary schooling by the commencement of the 2007/08 school year. Based on the latest population forecast, some 47 primary schools (in addition to the 68 mentioned in paragraph 6 above) will be required for this purpose. Most of the sites have been identified. ED is working closely with Plan D to identify sites in urban built-up areas where there is a shortfall.

8. Given the scarce land resources in Hong Kong, we have been introducing measures to make optimal use of sites. For example, the latest design for secondary and primary schools will provide a much larger gross floor area than that of the previous design while the footprint area is actually slightly reduced for primary school and only slightly increased in the case of secondary school (see Annex III). In the longer term, we are exploring other measures to maximise the use of land resources, including the following -

  1. we are currently reviewing the statutory height limit of 24m [Note 2] for school building which is imposed on fire safety grounds. In fact, the height of primary and secondary schools adopting the latest standard design has already exceeded the 24m height restriction. These schools are designed in accordance with the advice of FSD with some of the non-teaching facilities, such as staff rooms, situated at a height of more than 24m above the ground level. FSD has recently advised that the 24 m height limit for locating teaching facilities can be further relaxed subject to incorporating certain additional fire safety requirements e.g. providing refuge floors, reinforcing high-risk special rooms with fire resisting construction and enhanced fire services installations and equipment, etc. In the light of this latest advice, we are now considering how best to make use of the relaxation to maximize the use of school sites whilst providing a quality environment for teaching and learning; and

  2. we are also exploring the possibility of constructing "school estates" in comprehensive development areas where a number of secondary schools may cluster together to share common sports/ recreational and other facilities. These schools will serve not only the needs of the designed population of the comprehensive development areas, but also those of neighbouring areas.

9. Separately, Government is taking steps to assess the impact of the Court of Final Appeal's (CFA's) judgement delivered on 29 January 1999 on the Certificate of Entitlement Scheme on the provision of various services. Census and Statistics Department is conducting a household survey from March to May 1999 to estimate the number of persons who are or will be eligible for the right of abode following the CFA's judgement. The survey results, expected to be available by end July 1999, will provide a reliable basis for Government to make a comprehensive assessment of the impact on the demand for, amongst others, the provision of education services and additional school sites.

Annex I

I. Guidelines for site reservation

A. Primary Schools

  1. Sites are reserved based on the demand of school places on a whole-day basis.

  2. Reservation of sites is made on a district basis. The whole territory is divided into 18 districts, which are identical to the administrative districts of the 18 District Boards. A sufficient number of sites are reserved to meet the demand within each district. An additional reserve equivalent to 10% of the required primary school sites should be set aside in each new development area to allow for flexible planning. If specific demographic projections e.g. a particular district may have a younger population, have been prepared for these areas, the 10% additional reservation can be applied with flexibility.

  3. As a general principle, sites are reserved for 30-classroom primary schools to achieve higher site utilisation. However, where it is impossible to reserve enough 30-classroom school sites to meet the district demand, smaller sites suitable for 24- or 18-classroom primary schools would be reserved.

  4. Comprehensively planned and designed housing projects, public or private, should in principle be self-supporting in the provision of primary school places i.e. sites provided should be able to cater for the developments' own design population. The merit of such provision is to minimise the travelling time required of students residing in the estates.

  5. Other factors such as population characteristics, site area and environmental and traffic requirements should also be considered in planning the provision of primary schools in a district. For instance in the Islands District where inter-island travelling should be minimised as far as possible, additional school sites should be reserved as required by Director of Education.

B. Secondary schools

  1. Secondary school sites are also reserved on a district basis such that a sufficient number of sites are available to meet the district demand. The overall provision of secondary schools, however, is assessed on a territorial basis to ensure the overall provision would not exceed the territorial requirement.

  2. Notwithstanding (a) above, reservation of new school sites should be made with due regard to the regional needs to reduce the imbalance of secondary school provision between the urban areas and the New Territories.

II. Site requirement for primary and secondary schools

A. Size and configuration

The HKPSG specifies the minimum site area required for standard design primary and secondary schools as follows:

-Primary schools
a. 30-classroom school: 6,200m2 with approximate dimensions of 65m (minimum) x 95m.

b. 24-classroom school: 4,700m2 with approximate dimensions of 55m (minimum) x 85m.

c. 18-classroom school: 3,950m2 with approximate dimensions of 55m (minimum) x 72m.
-Secondary schools
30-classroom school: 6,950m2 with approximate dimensions of 65m (minimum) x 107m.

To accommodate these standard designs, sites reserved should not only meet the minimum sizes but also be suitably configured to accommodate the school buildings and the necessary supporting facilities such as ball courts, bus and car lay-bys and car parking spaces.

B. Location

  1. As a general principle, schools should not be located close to sources of air pollution or potentially hazardous installations.

  2. Schools should be sited away from areas affected by significant noise.

  3. All schools should be provided with emergency vehicular access to the satisfaction of the Director of Fire Services. They should be safe from the danger of falling objects from neighbouring buildings.

  4. As far as circumstances permit, schools should be located in proximity to public open space and compatible institutions/ community facilities such as public libraries, community centres, indoor recreation centres etc.

  5. To avoid local traffic congestion, schools should be evenly distributed as far as practicable and should preferably not be grouped more than two or three together.

Primary School Building Plan

School year
Central & Western000 00
Wan Chai000 00
Yau Tsim Mong110 02
Shum Shui Po100 12
Kowloon City004 04
Wong Tai Sin013 04
Kwun Tong023 27
Tsuen Wan100 12
Kwai Tsing013 37
Tuen Mun002 02
Yuen Long444 517
Shatin000 00
Tai Po100 01
North111 03
Sai Kung202 15
Islands120 03

Secondary School Building Plan

School year
Central & Western00 000
Wan Chai000 00
Eastern320 05
Southern001 01
Yau Tsim Mong020 02
Shum Shui Po000 00
Kowloon City000 00
Wong Tai Sin000 00
Kwun Tong010 01
Tsuen Wan000 00
Kwai Tsing010 01
Tuen Mun200 02
Yuen Long22217
Shatin12 104
Tai Po10001
North110 13
Sai Kung310 37
Islands111 14

Annex III

Primary School
Area of Footprint1,623 m21,577 m2- 2.8%
Gross Floor Area6,530 m210,244 m2+ 56.9%

Secondary School
Area of Footprint1,675 m21,762 m2+ 5.2%
Gross Floor Area8,150 m211,903 m2+46.0%

[Note 1] Generally speaking, if the school site is located within a public housing development and can be constructed to coincide with the overall housing development contract, HD would take up the school construction to tie in with the intake of residents of the housing development. If the site is located outside the public housing development or within the public housing development but cannot be constructed to coincide with the overall housing contract, Arch SD would normally undertake the school construction.

[Note 2] Section 7 of the Education Regulation (Cap279) provides that no part of any school premises shall be situated at a height of more than 24m above the ground level. However, Director of Education with the advice of Director of Fire Services, may authorise that any part of such premises be situated at such height greater than 24m.