Choosing the best Singapore school for your child
23 April 2013
Finding the right school is a priority for many families when moving to Singapore. If possible, place your child or children on a waiting list before you arrive. Many schools have recently extended their campuses to cater to growing needs.
Most children of expats attend an international school that follows the same curriculum as their home country – or one that offers the International Baccalaureate. Other students attend local public schools, which are considerably cheaper.
Whichever you choose, you will need the following documents for your child’s admission: birth certificate, passport, dependant’s pass, immunisation certificates and previous report cards.
All of the international schools in Singapore are fee-paying schools, and registration fees are also required. Some employers pay all or part of the tuition fee. This is taxable. Selecting the right school for your child is often an instinctive decision. Visiting the schools and chatting with other families about their experiences can be invaluable.
If you are likely to be in Singapore for only a couple of years, the most convenient option is probably a school that follows the same curriculum as your home country. If you are long-term expats, you may prefer to select a school that offers the IB. Many of them have students from dozens of nationalities and provide a multi-cultural environment.
English is the language of instruction for most of the international schools here, and programmes such as ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) are offered to non-native English speakers.
Some expats in Singapore send their children to a government or government-aided local school. School fees are currently just $3 a month for primary pupils and $5 a month for secondary pupils. The Singapore government has recently made it easier for foreign students to attend local schools, and foreign students with a DP (Dependant’s Pass) do not need to apply for a Student’s Pass. Admission is subject to vacancies.
Students at the secondary level are placed in the Special, Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) course, according to how they perform in the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examinations). The different curricular emphases are designed to match their learning abilities and interests. In secondary school, students take the Cambridge General Certificate of Education “Ordinary” (GCE “O”) level examinations.
The areas of literacy, numeracy and bilingualism are emphasised, along with physical and moral education, and creative and independent thinking. Each child is required to learn English. Information Technology is widely used as a teaching and learning resource in order to develop skills in communication and encourage independent learning.
Government schools aim to instil a strong sense of responsibility towards family, community and country, and encourage students to form strong bonds among themselves.
Note that local and international schools operate on different timetables.
In Singapore, special education (SPED) schools offer specialised teaching for children with intellectual, sensory, physical or multiple disabilities, including autism. SPED schools are operated by voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), with the support of the Ministry of Education and the National Council of Social Service. Go to the following webpage for a full listing: www.moe.gov.sg/education/special-education/schoollist
Special education is also available at privately run schools such as the Genesis School for Special Education, Kits4Kids Special School, Divinity Especial Needs Intervention Centre, and international schools such as Dover Court Preparatory School.
Enjoy this? Get stuck into more Schools
Pre-Schools in Singapore: EtonHouse launches an inspired creative learning environment in Upper Bukit TimahThe unique new school offers specialist spaces to enhance its diverse learning programmes - with open days on March 6-7
The German European School can incorporate home languages into everyday lessons - including German, Danish, Dutch and more
PE in Singapore: The Australian International School becomes the first to offer an advanced Athlete Development ProgrammeAIS believes that students are at their most confident and motivated when they excel at sports
Teaching your child a new language can empower their future - discover more at CIS's seminar about multilingualism and success
Dylan Palladino, 14, raised thousands for Caring for Cambodia by taking on this huge physical challenge
Education in Singapore: Explore Nexus International School's personalising learning programme at their upcoming Open DayAttend Nexus International School’s Open Day on October 25th to discover what makes this school incredibly special
All you need to know about education in Singapore, with tips and recommendations from parents across 19 schools
IIS started with just five students in 2009, but the international school recently won an SME 500 award
Supporting local schools in Bali: Stamford teachers help train early-education staff in the northwest village of Desa BanFour teachers from Singapore made an amazing trip to northeast Bali to train local staff
All you need to know about early education in Singapore, with tips and advice from parents across 29 preschools and kindergartens