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Teenage kids : Canadian International School vs Dover Court

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newsingmum
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Teenage kids : Canadian International School vs Dover Court

Postby newsingmum » Sun, 09 Mar 2014 12:44 am

Hi, we are a Belgian family planning to move to Singapore (from Indonesia) this summer 2014, for 2 years. We have 2 sons, the oldest one is turning 15 in October, the youngest will be 12 next week. We are looking for a school and I'm getting puzzled (the luxury of too much choice I guess). We visited Tanglin Trust, Nexus, OFS, Dover Court, Chatsworth and lately also Canadian International School (Lakeside Campus). We have a slight preference for the British system because the kids are in such a school right now (the oldest one will take his O-level tests in April/May). Tanglin Trust was our first choice but the kids did not succeed the English entrance test (they started to learn English 2 years ago), seems they don't have an English Learning Support program ? Tanglin Trust can choose to accept only the best. We decided not to put our kids on their wait list (and to redo the tests and have to change school in these 2 years). We removed Nexus (seemed too chaotic), OFS (they will move after next year so this may become bothering the coming 2 years), and Chatsworth (maybe too old-fashioned, really old), from our list, but I guess some reasons are a bit subjective. Dover Court seemed very pleasing when we visited the school, and the kids are offered a place there. CIS lakeside campus seemed quite attractive to us as well (they also provide french courses in their curriculum), and the kids have been offered a place here as well (after English and maths test for the eldest). So we have to make a decision ! I started to look at forums to get an idea of how other expats experienced these schools and my summary would be :
CIS : some are very enthusiastic but it seems some people are taking their kids out of CIS for bullying which is ignored by the staff, academically a bit less it seems (the maths entrance test was indeed a piece of cake for my eldest son). For sure good facilities for all age categories. Kids will need to switch to IB though (meaning the eldest son, who is actually a very bright student, will be with class-mates aged 1y less).
Dover Court : IGCSE system, very warm atmosphere, smaller sized classes, individualized approach (both for less and better gifted, correct ?), academically very good, but it turns out most older students will move to the larger schools (such as Tanglin Trust, UWC etc) as they move on.
I would love to hear some (other, recent) opinions to help us make this decision, although I'm quite aware it's always a personal choice.
Thanks !

The Ref
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Dover Court is a wonderful school, BUT ...

Postby The Ref » Sun, 09 Mar 2014 11:37 am

My kids went to Dover Court and we thought it was a wonderful school. However Year 8 most kids leave the school so the class sizes are very small and there are such few kids to socialise with. We pulled our children out and sent them to UWC because of the limited number of children.

I don't know much about CIS but I know a few families who go there and they seem to be reasonably happy with the school.

newsingmum
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Re: Dover Court is a wonderful school, BUT ...

Postby newsingmum » Sun, 09 Mar 2014 1:39 pm

The Ref wrote:My kids went to Dover Court and we thought it was a wonderful school. However Year 8 most kids leave the school so the class sizes are very small and there are such few kids to socialise with. We pulled our children out and sent them to UWC because of the limited number of children.

I don't know much about CIS but I know a few families who go there and they seem to be reasonably happy with the school.


Thanks The Ref ! So are you as happy about UWC as you were about Dover Court ? Are your kids happy about this switch ?

PNGMK
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Postby PNGMK » Sun, 09 Mar 2014 3:20 pm

I wouldn't recommend CIS. I know too many teachers there who have a low opinion of it.

If your kids are doing O and A levels you could consider the local school system as well. French is an optional second language. Math and Science are Singapore's shining expertise from a global perspective.

newsingmum
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Postby newsingmum » Sun, 09 Mar 2014 3:28 pm

PNGMK wrote:I wouldn't recommend CIS. I know too many teachers there who have a low opinion of it.

If your kids are doing O and A levels you could consider the local school system as well. French is an optional second language. Math and Science are Singapore's shining expertise from a global perspective.


Thank you very much PNGMK !
You kind of confirmed my feeling about CIS. No need for an expensive fancy school which is not performing well academically.
I guess local schools have a very good reputation as well. I thought these were for Singaporeans only. A new option to explore maybe...

PNGMK
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Postby PNGMK » Sun, 09 Mar 2014 3:46 pm

newsingmum wrote:
PNGMK wrote:I wouldn't recommend CIS. I know too many teachers there who have a low opinion of it.

If your kids are doing O and A levels you could consider the local school system as well. French is an optional second language. Math and Science are Singapore's shining expertise from a global perspective.


Thank you very much PNGMK !
You kind of confirmed my feeling about CIS. No need for an expensive fancy school which is not performing well academically.
I guess local schools have a very good reputation as well. I thought these were for Singaporeans only. A new option to explore maybe...


The local schools are available if they have places available. You need to talk to the Ministry of Education. There's a lot of info on this forum about how to get a place in the local schools. If you kids do well here there are then options to matriculate into the local uni system as well I believe.

The Ref
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UWC is awesome

Postby The Ref » Tue, 11 Mar 2014 10:31 pm

UWC is a great school but VERY expensive. When I moved from Dover Court to UWC I knew the fees were a bit higher, but when it cuts so much into your disposable income it hurts.

Local schools look good but I have no experience with them. If you can afford UWC it is a very good school. Kids love it and they get a good education - as they would in (most) Singapore schools.

Remember the cost does not include the additional compulsory school trips or extra curricular activities.

newsingmum
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Postby newsingmum » Wed, 12 Mar 2014 11:23 pm

Dear The Ref and PNGMK, thanks for your opinions and suggestions ! After a lot of hesitations I think we will go for Dover Court after all. We all feel quite OK with the school and their philosophy. The small number of students doesn't seem to bother the kids. A local school would surely be a good option, I'm quite convinced of that. But then we have to restart a complete search again and we've all had it I believe :-) We've been to Singapore for school visits 3 times already, 2 times with tests for the kids… We'll give Dover Court a try, and if it doesn't turn out to be the best choice we will look further, once we live in Singapore that will be more obvious. And I guess in that case our choice would possibly again be Tanglin Trust, maybe the kids will be sufficiently fluent in their written English by then. Many thanks for your input !


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