How To Choose a Secondary School in Singapore – OWIS Singapore

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How To Choose a Secondary School in Singapore?

When choosing a secondary school in Singapore, parents are often clueless as their knowledge is limited to the PSLE cut-offs and rankings. But this is a decision that requires deliberation and consideration. Your child will be a teenager when entering Secondary School; thus, this class is key to how they shape up and make life choices. A secondary school is a final chance to course correct and choose subjects in line with their interests and aptitudes.

Some of the best schools in Singapore offer unique programs to unleash your child’s potential; thus, deciding to pick this school is crucial. But selecting the right school needn’t necessarily be an overly demanding process. Considering a few things is a pivotal decision and can be reasonably simple.

Don’t Go By the Score alone

Your child’s scores are vital in choosing the school as the posting process depends on the PSLE score per the selected schools’ vacancies and the school choices’ order. Students with better PSLE scores will be the first consideration for vacancies in their selected schools. While you may be leaning towards choosing the best school for which your child’s score qualifies, you must also realize that evaluating the school on dimensions beyond the score reflection is necessary. For example, if your child excels in an IB program or O-level system, you shouldn’t put them in a school offering an integrated program just because the cut-off makes the child eligible. A score is no reflection of where your child will excel. You also have to consider other practical considerations such as the fees and distance from the school.

The Expertise of the School

A secondary school’s specialization or forte should be a primary consideration during the selection process. Evaluate the academic bandwidth, offered elective programs, special needs provisions, talent development, and extracurricular activities. The school’s forte is the single factor determining the extensiveness of education (A Levels, O Levels, N Levels, and International Baccalaureate Diploma) and development pathways (sports, theatre, fine arts, etc.) available to the student. This consideration should be the prime influencer as it is key to determining their future post-secondary choices and career pathways. As parents, you must be mindful of the range of options and explore them. 

Proximity and Accessibility

The school’s location is a common factor that often doesn’t make it to the consideration set. While most parents discount this, it significantly impacts your child’s comfort and well-being. If your child travels long distances, they will spend most of their time commuting rather than applying it to constructive activities. It also leaves them with lesser time in the day to focus on things that interest them. Students will gradually be expected to travel independently via public transport to and from secondary school; thus, the school’s proximity to your home is critical.

School fees Structure

Every penny you save on school fees can be effectively redeployed into tuition programs or enriched education for your child. It will give them an advantage over the rest, as we all know how competitive the Singaporean education system is. At the same time, if you select one of the best schools in Singapore, you may be paying a slightly higher fee structure. However, the rigorous academic curriculum, one-to-one teacher attention, and facilities make up for the fees being levied by the school. If you send your kids to an international school in Singapore that has a smaller class size, new age facilities, and individual attention from the teachers, your child may not need those extra tuition classes.

Track Record of Past Students

Most parents are relieved by high standards of pedagogy. They evaluate the achievement of graduates from secondary schools and use that as a benchmark when deciding their secondary school selections. School-specific historical data on A-Levels, International Baccalaureate Diploma, and O Levels exam results may be difficult to break down. However, you can review the exam results of the most recent graduating class on their websites to compare the two schools. It will give a fair idea of the results one can expect from a particular school, reflecting the aptitude of students and faculty alike.

Ask your Kid Their Opinion 9G

As parents, no doubt, you want the best for your child, but that doesn’t mean you overlook that choosing a secondary school is your child’s important decision. Your child is older when going to secondary school and has more clarity about their academic and emotional development. Listen to their ideas and reasons for the school they deem best – have adult discussions – understand their rationale behind their choices, and explain yours. You may see a perspective that probably never crossed your mind. If they do not have any preferences or ideas, use it as an opportunity to probe more and find out why. They may be apprehensive about secondary school as they are unsure what to expect or may be scared to voice a contrary opinion.

There are Several Ways to Determine that the School is Right

The secondary school best suited for your kid will also offer the child numerous avenues of development beyond academics. These can be co-curricular activities, sports facilities, school culture, international language, or other dedicated opportunities. For example, you may want to evaluate the pros and cons of choosing a private school over a public one so that your child meets children from across the globe and develops an open and inclusive mindset. An international school would offer a different learning atmosphere for your child compared to a public school.

Some schools will have a reputation for being particularly strong in specific disciplines, sports, or cultural groups that your child might not know about, which could influence their thoughts.

To conclude, you must take your time, talk to your child, think about their strengths, weaknesses, interests, and skillset, and see how the secondary school you pick will offer your child a platform to build on those and help them grow holistically. Also, don’t forget to list the top five schools in case the first one does not come through. Know that this choice is one for the long-term, and choosing a secondary school that is a great fit for your child is the significant first step in an exciting new journey.

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