Parents And Students Guide In Choosing A Secondary School in Singapore

3 min

singapore education

Choosing A Secondary School In Singapore: 5 Key Factors To Consider. How to Find and Choose the Secondary School in Singapore. Career guidance and choice for secondary school students.

Choosing a secondary is something of an illusion. In much of the country, there aren’t a huge number within a convenient distance of our homes, and when the various religious schools for whom your child is an inadmissible heretic are stripped out, there may be only one candidate left anyway.

When it comes to choosing a secondary school in Singapore, many of us are clueless beyond rankings and PSLE cut-off points. Our children are teenagers by the time they enter secondary school. Time spent in secondary school is thus going to play a huge part in shaping their personality and character, and in influencing their life choices.

The first step in getting to what you are expecting is listing down all you need from a secondary school in Singapore.

The list can contain some of the questions listed below.

  • Does the school have a boarding school?
  • How much does tuition cost?
  • Does the school have a library facility?
  • Does the school have experience and well-trained teachers?
  • What is the security situation in the school?
  • What is the academic qualification in the school like?
  • The Location of the school from where you are living

Many secondary schools have unique programmes that aim to maximise the potential of the child. It might be worth discussing with your child and considering these 5 important factors too, before the Secondary One (S1) Posting Exercise.

Home-school distance

Distance between school and home might seem like the least important factor of the lot. But recent studies by the Duke-NUS Medical School reveal that 80 % of Singapore teenagers from top schools DON’T get enough sleep. This might partly be due to the hours spent commuting to and from school.

Apparently, most Singapore teens surveyed said that they had less than 6 hours of sleep a night, a far cry from the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep.

Special Needs

Allied Educators (Learning and Behavioural Support) [AEDs(LBS)] are mainstream primary or secondary school teachers with a Certificate level training in Special Needs (SEN).

These teachers support students with SEN, such as students with dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They do so by working closely with the school, the parents and the student to ensure that enough support is provided to meet the learning and behavioural needs of students with SEN.

To date, 92 secondary schools have been resourced with one AED(LBS) each to support students with mild special educational needs.

Word of mouth

The parental grapevine is remarkably useful. School-gate opinion is often not only accurate, but reacts far faster than any Ofsted hit-squad. If you can’t find any parents with a bad word to say about a school, it’s probably doing OK, whereas if asking about a school results in parents making the sign of the cross and spitting over their shoulder to avert the evil eye, then you might want to think twice before signing up your offspring. It is not infallible, but parents are generally pretty sensitive to how a school is treating their child. Ask around your fellow primary school parents for those with older children in the schools you have your eye on.

Visit the school

There is no substitute for getting your boots on the ground. But the trick is to get past the head’s slick corporate presentation to uncover what the school is really like. Most schools now run an open evening, and some allow parents to visit during the normal school day. Make time to go. When you do, don’t worry about the head’s speech, as it will be full of exactly the same marketing speak as the prospectus. If you’re really unlucky, there’ll be a school steel band. Once the formals are over, get out into the corridors as soon as you can.

Speak to the students. Many schools will use students as guides on open evenings. Talk to them about their experience. Students tend to be honest about such things – occasionally brutally so. If the school doesn’t let you near its students, that’s not a good sign.

Visit the classrooms. I don’t want to go overboard here, as I am hopeless at producing the kind of world-class wall displays my colleagues seem to pin up weekly. But you can quickly tell whether a classroom is being proudly looked after, or utterly neglected. Watch out for the tarting up of just a small selection of rooms for the open evening. Find a darkened room and poke your head in to get a view of what the rooms normally look like. Pretend you were looking for the toilet if anyone spots you.

CCAs offered

CCAs are an extremely important part of your child’s school life. Through CCAs, students discover their interests and talents, and develop values and skills that will prepare them for a rapidly changing world.

CCA also promotes friendships among students from diverse backgrounds as they learn, play and grow together.

Every secondary school student takes part in one CCA taken from the following options:

  •    Clubs and Societies
  •     Physical Sports
  •     Uniformed Groups
  •     Visual and Performing Arts Group

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