4 Tips for Choosing the Right Primary School For Your Child

4 Tips for Choosing the Right Primary School For Your Child 

Your child is finally graduating from their preschool and going to be attending a real school for the next 6 years of their lives. 


While primary school education is compulsory for all Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and international students are also welcomed to apply for mainstream primary schools in Singapore. 


It can be daunting and stressful when it comes to choosing the right school for your child knowing that the next 6 years of your child’s education can shape and grow them. 

But fret not, Tutopiya is here to help our first-time parents on choosing an appropriate school for your child. 


There are 4 elaborated key tips to helping you to choose the right primary school for your child. There is also a summarised infographic at the end of this blog. Let’s begin! 


4 Main Tips to choosing the right primary school for your child 

1. Distance from home 

Distance is one of the most important considerations when it comes to choosing the right school for your child since your child will be spending 6 years there. 


The typical school day of our primary school students starts at 7.30 AM, it would be practical to ensure minimum travel time for several reasons. 


Firstly, you should ensure that your child gets the recommended amount of sleeping time before starting their day. 


Secondly, it helps greatly for working parents as they may need to wake up early to send their children to school or take the school bus before preparing to leave for their work. 

  • It is important to consider the transportation options available for your child. Taking public transport or school bus can be costly and school buses pick up really early. It is important to look into these factors too when you are considering school bus transport for your child. 


Thirdly, parents should also consider that as your child gets older, they will be participating in Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs), attending enrichment and supplementary classes and etc, which may extend the number of hours they spend in school. 


Not to mention that you may want to incorporate other activities such as tuitions or outside classes for your child after school. Travelling time can be greatly saved if your child only takes 10 minutes to reach home! 


Priority Given To Singapore Citizens and PR

Another important point to note is that priority is given to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who live closer to the preferred school when balloting. 


If your chosen primary school has more registrants than vacancies, priority admission will be given based on your child’s citizenship (to be discussed later) and home-to-school distance. 

You can access this link to find out which primary schools are within the radius of your homes – https://beta.moe.gov.sg/primary/p1-registration/distance/


6 years is a long time for your child and you, so be sure to choose the right school that provides travelling convenience! 


2. Your Residency and Citizenship 

Your residency and citizenship to Singapore mainstream primary schools will be one of the criteria that MOE would look at when it comes to admitting you to the primary school you are balloting for. Priority will be given to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents. 

These are how the priority admission to a P1 place in a school will be given to children in this order: 

  1. Singapore Citizens (SC) living within 1km of the school.
  2. SC living between 1km and 2km of the school.
  3. SC living outside 2km of the school.
  4. Permanent Residents (PRs) living within 1km of the school.
  5. PRs living between 1km and 2km of the school.
  6. PR living outside 2km of the school.

(Source: Beta Ministry of Education. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://beta.moe.gov.sg/primary/p1-registration/understand-balloting/


3. School Affiliations for Secondary School 

With the upcoming changes to the PSLE Scoring system in 2021 (Read: PSLE Scoring System Changes), you may wonder about how it changes the affiliations for Secondary School. 


What does School Affiliation for Secondary Schools actually mean? 

School affiliation is common and normal in Singapore. One of the biggest advantages of entering a primary school that is affiliated with another secondary school lowers the entry requirements for these students. 

Secondary schools give affiliated primary schools students priority admission as they focus on fostering strong school spirits and traditions. 


One of the big questions asked frequently by parents is since the PSLE scoring system is changing, how does the affiliation to secondary school changes? 


How does Affiliation Priority work?

(Source: Source: Beta Ministry of Education. (n.d.).)


For affiliated schools, there will be two sets of cut-off points – one for affiliated students and the other, for non-affiliated students.


There will be no change in terms of how the affiliation priority works under the new scoring system. This means that the affiliated student from the primary school must be able to meet that minimum requirement and must also choose the affiliated secondary school as his or her first choice.

Whether or not an affiliated student gets admitted also depends on the number of vacancies and applications that year. 

(Source: Channel News Asia – What you need to know about secondary school entry scores under the new PSLE grading system)


4. Siblings Priority 

If your child has a younger sibling, note that if your child successfully gets into the primary school of choice, your second child will be given highest priority (Phase 1) should they also apply to the same primary school. 


Essentially, if you have 2 children, you can send your second child to the school with less hassle if you already have a child in the school.


What You Can Do Before Considering Your Schools

Research about the CCAs, Enrichment Activities etc that the school can offer

Different schools have different things to offer, such as CCA activities, the facilities as well as the values that they intend to instil into your child. Make sure to keep a lookout for the different types of activities the school can offer your child according to their interests. 


Visit the school during open days

Another good way to understand whether the school is right for your child is to get the first-hand experience. Visit the school so you can get a better understanding and insight into the school’s environment, culture, facilities as well as the staff and teachers there. 


Increasing the chances of enrolling your child into the school of your choice

Be sure to check out for volunteering opportunities at the school of your choice which can help improve your likelihood of securing a spot for your child. 


The Ministry of Education’s guidelines requires parents to put in at least 40 hours of service in their school of choice at least one year before their child is due to register for primary school. (Source: The Straits Times – Primary 1 registration)


Alternatively, being a grassroots community leader increases the chances of enrolling your child into the school. 


The type of school you are looking to enrol your child into 

There are all girls and all boys primary school available in Singapore too, are you intending to enrol your child into a single-gender school? If yes, do research on the culture and the potential pros and cons of sending your child into an all-female or male school. 


Some primary schools are also known to be more competitive than other schools due to their school’s reputation. Whereas there are some schools that are more diverse such that it has more expatriate students or PR students attending. 


There are many subtle yet important differences between the primary schools so it’s important to find the correct fit for your child. 

Summarised Infographic of the 4 main tips discussed

Is your child ready for their primary school learning journey? 

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