Tips: Choosing a Primary School for Your Child
A few years before your child turns seven, you would likely be already planning which primary school to send him or her to. While some may see it as the beginning of a whole new series of stress, proper considerations and planning may alleviate your worries. We've put together some factors you can consider when choosing a primary school for your little one.
1. Proximity of your home to school
Something to think about is: "Is the school near my home?" A shorter distance from the school to your home means shorter travelling time, lower transport costs, giving your child more time and energy to do what he or she enjoys. It will also mean less stress for you, as shorter commute lessens the stress of you being stuck in traffic on the way to work. Close proximity to the school of your choice also gives you a slight advantage when enrolling. Lastly, when your child gets old enough to go to school alone, you may feel more at ease knowing that he or she doesn't have to travel so far alone. Find out more about the schools near your home here.
2. Affiliated schools
Some primary schools have associations with certain secondary schools, which gives them priority for admission. In other words, their students can continue education at the associated secondary school, as long as they meet the school's minimum Primary School Leaving Exams results, and indicate it as their first choice. This consideration is good for parents who are planning ahead. However, do note that priority to affiliated secondary schools does not guarantee admission, and is subject to the availability of vacancies. Here's a recent news article with a list of secondary schools and their affiliated primary schools.
3. Double vs single session
While the government aims to switch all schools to single-session schools (i.e classes start in the morning and end by early afternoon), some schools are still practising double-session schedules. Morning session classes are for odd-numbered grades (i.e. Primary 1, 3 and 5) and start from early in the day till early afternoon, while afternoon-session classes are for students at even-numbered grades (Primary 2, 4 and 6). For them, classes start after lunch, and end in the evening. This will be an important factor of consideration, depending on the child's caregivers' schedules. To date, eight primary schools in Singapore are operating on a double-session basis.
4. Single-sex vs co-ed school
Some parents have preferences about sending their children to single-sex or mixed schools. While this is largely a personal preference, here's one factor to take into consideration. If you have both male and female children, you may find a mixed-school more advantageous. Logistics-wise, it's easier for you to send your children to school and fetch them home. Also, your children may feel more at ease, knowing that his or her sibling is close. This is especially so on the first day of school (which can be quite daunting) for your younger child!
5. Your Child's Interests
Every school has its own areas of specialisation for co-curricular activities (CCAs), whether its sports, performing arts, culture, etc. If a school offers opportunities for your child to excel in something outside academia areas that he or she has an interest in, that's something to pay attention to. This will help your child develop beyond the classroom and have something to look forward to at school. You can start by looking for schools with excellence awards in areas that your child is interested in. Do note that some CCAs will incur extra expenditure (albeit subsidised) for training, costumes, equipment, instruments, trips etc. However, you can offset some of those costs with savings plans like Gro Steady Saver, easily available online, where you can choose to receive 5% of sum assured from the end of your second policy year onwards. This income will also come in handy in nurturing your child in other aspects, such as developing interests in the arts, or training to be a star player in volleyball! It is also good to protect your child against any accident-incurred injuries they may sustain during these activities. PA Insurance covers medical expenses for injuries due to accidents – This will provide you with an extra peace of mind as you’re assured that your child’s well-being is protected during the pursuit of their interests.
6. Parent Volunteer Scheme
This scheme gives Primary 1 registration priority to parents who volunteer in the school of their choice, one year before their child is due to register for primary school. According to the Ministry of Education's guidelines, parents have to put in at least 40 hours of service, but schools are free to set the number of hours required. Shortlisted parents have to go for interviews, and volunteer for roles such as traffic wardens, librarians, coaches etc. Also, it's not easy to get to be a parent volunteer. In a Channel News Asia article earlier this year, a parent shared her experience of being one in over 200 parents who signed up as volunteers for the year. According to her, only 10 to 12 applicants were selected. She did get to volunteer though, but the 200 hours of volunteer work did not secure a place for her child (she managed to enrol her child after going through an appeal process). That's not to say that there won't be success stories – it's up to you if you want to try!
As parents, we all want to give our children the best chance possible for success in life. But it's not just their education we need to plan for - their future needs are important too. To learn more about how you can better save for your child's future needs, check out Financial Planning for Savvy Parents.
This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as financial advice. The precise terms, conditions and exclusions of any Income products mentioned are specified in their respective policy contracts. For customised advice to suit your specific needs, consult an Income insurance advisor.
This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.