Singapore’s school system enjoys an excellent reputation. With many expats now paying their own education expenses and monthly school fees for local schools set at $500 for primary and $650 for secondary schools in 2013, local schools are an option worth exploring. Parents may apply directly to the school of choice for admission of children holding a Dependent’s Pass. If the school has a place and no Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents on its waiting list, students sit a placement test covering English and Mathematics and may be offered a place if they meet the requirements of the school.

There are also centralised admissions procedures for students wishing to enter the school in the following academic year, commencing in January. For Primary 1 there is an annual registration exercise held from June to September each year. International students register with their school of choice on the nominated day (this year it was 29 August) and a ballot is conducted if the number of children applying exceeds the available places. Children who miss a place in the ballot may apply to schools with remaining vacancies.

For admission to Primary 2-5 and Secondary 1-3 in the following academic year, there is a centralised Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS). This year, registration was open from July to September and the tests were conducted in October. Students sit a test on English and Mathematics and places are offered on the basis of available places, their Singapore address and test performance.

This year a number of my friends applied for their children to start Primary 1. Three out of four secured a place in their school of choice, some through a ballot. The third is currently applying to schools with remaining places and hoping to secure a place to start school in January.

For more information about admission to local schools, please see the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) International Student Admissions Overview.

Photo courtesy of UWCSEA