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Stamford American vs Canadian Internat'l vs Dover Court??

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momofboys
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Stamford American vs Canadian Internat'l vs Dover Court??

Post by momofboys » Sun, 29 Jun 2014 2:49 am

Hi,

We are moving to Singapore in late spring 2015. Trying to pick school for two boys going into Senior Kindergarten and Junior Kindergarten. List is still pretty long but my top 3 choices without having visited are Stamford American, Candaian International- Tanglong campus, and Dover Court. Any thoughts on any of those?

And then when do we need to realistically apply by? Stamford gave the impression that we need to put in app as soon as possible or we might not get it. CIS did not give that impression. I thought they were both really good schools though, so why the difference? Is Stamford just pressuring me to apply (being for-profit school and all). My husband won't get the full details of his package and officially accept until October. Chances are very high we will be going but hate to shell out money for app fees now if I don't need to and could wait until October. Any thoughts?

Have already learned so much from reading this forum. So thanks to those that contribute. Appreciate any thoughts people have!

thanks for the help!
Last edited by momofboys on Sat, 19 Jul 2014 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hannieroo
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Post by Hannieroo » Mon, 30 Jun 2014 6:49 pm

Depends on the school and the system it's based on.

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Post by BedokAmerican » Sat, 05 Jul 2014 5:30 am

Yes, it really depends on which school he's going to be attending. From what I understand, local schools sort kids by the year of birth, unlike many US school systems that have a September (or thereabouts) birthday cutoff. Therefore, your 5-yr-old would be placed in the equivalent of first grade (and would be one of the youngest in his class) in a Singapore local school because of his birth year. Maybe they'd make exceptions if you bring his records but I don't know.

International schools probably do things differently but it'll depend on the school. In most instances, however, foreigners send their kids to international or private schools because the local school system here can be difficult to get into because citizens and permanent residents get first priority. Even if you do get him into a local school, it might not be anywhere near where you live. it's not like in America where you automatically are assigned to a zoned school based on address.

It'll be best if you can negotiate tuition for school into your employment contract because schooling in Singapore isn't cheap. You might want to look into Singapore American School or SAIS. There are others as well.

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Post by aster » Thu, 31 Jul 2014 1:06 am

Yes, local schools go by year of birth. EVERY system in the world is the same. Even if the US system says September X then what difference does it make, just treat Singapore as if here they're stating that December 31 is the cut off. Same story everywhere, every place has a fixed date.

Waiting lists and pressuring parents into applying is the name of the game over here. Keep in mind that locally, any school that doesn't scare parents with waiting lists and the possibility of not getting in... is not worth a penny.

If you had the best school in the world here in Singapore and there was no waiting list then local parents would stay clear of such a school, believing it to be worthless.

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Post by movingtospore » Sat, 02 Aug 2014 11:32 am

The schools you mention are all for-profit - do you some searching on this board on some of the issues associated with that.

If you can, come and visit the schools before you choose. Ask tough questions. Remember that schoooling is big business in Singapore and a number of these outfits are first interested in their business, and second interested in quality education. Don't believe the promises on the web sites until you do some digging. :)

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Post by momofboys » Mon, 04 Aug 2014 3:20 am

Thanks for the post movingtospore. Yeah, I know the for-profit can be questionable. I did not think the Canadian International School was for-profit. Am I incorrect?

I am having a hard time even figuring that out for many schools. Not exactly something they advertise on their websites given the reputation that goes with it. Any suggestions on how to figure that out for specific schools other than emailing the schools to ask point blank

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Post by PNGMK » Tue, 05 Aug 2014 12:25 am

momofboys wrote:Thanks for the post movingtospore. Yeah, I know the for-profit can be questionable. I did not think the Canadian International School was for-profit. Am I incorrect?

I am having a hard time even figuring that out for many schools. Not exactly something they advertise on their websites given the reputation that goes with it. Any suggestions on how to figure that out for specific schools other than emailing the schools to ask point blank
CIS is ABSOLUTELY for profit and probably one of the more extreme examples. One of the owners is Michael Milkin FFS! You think he owns the school out of some sort of misplaced, long lost sense of philanthropy?

Just because the school has "Canadian" or "Australian" or "British" in the title does not imply they are state owned or sponsored institutions (in fact, statistically the exact opposite - the ONLY examples I know of in Singapore is the SAS which was set up originally by the US State Dept I believe).

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Post by momofboys » Tue, 05 Aug 2014 12:38 am

other than SAS, what are other not for profit schools then? clearly it isn't something readily advertised.

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Post by PNGMK » Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:37 am

momofboys wrote:other than SAS, what are other not for profit schools then? clearly it isn't something readily advertised.
Not it's not and that's why my life mission has become educating people a little bit about this.

AFAIK;
ICS, Nexus (according to Hanni), Tanglin Trust, SAS are the only NFP FSS schools in Singapore. AIS, Chatsworth, Dover, OFS, the Global Indian ones etc are all for profit.

There sort of a middle ground (I think UWC is one and I think this is where Nexus sits as well) where the school maybe for profit but has an overarching governance board that overcomes some of the problems of a school being owned by a private group - i.e. the board ensures the money is spent on the kids and not just the owners dividends. BIS in Jakarta definitely sits in this group.

If in doubt, ask the school who owns them.

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Post by movingtospore » Tue, 05 Aug 2014 11:15 am

PNGMK and I are of like minds on this.

Also remember the "nationality" associated with school is often nothing more than a marketing ploy. That is certainly the case with CIS.

We started at one of these schools - being new to Singapore and a bit naive about these things. After a less than stellar experience we got out as soon as we could.

Some of the questions I wish I had asked are:

- Is there a board of governors that oversees the school and how is that board appointed?

- What curriculum is used by the school? Who oversees it's implementation and the academic performance of the school?

- Can families see the financials of the school?

- What % of teachers leave the school every year?

- What % of students leave for other schools in Singapore each year?

- What extra support resources are available? (tutoring, counselling, etc etc). Remember that you have no school board or district here for International Schools- so you will be on your own for finding a lot of those resources if the school doesn't have something in place.

And so on...

Another pet peeve of mine is the international IB organization. I have seen a number of schools of dubious quality with IB designation. Don't assume it's necessarily a recognition of school quality. Though the IB system is great on paper in practice it can be a disaster at a poorly run school.

Good luck.

Btw if you are a US passport holder and/or work for a US company you get priority admission at SAS. I'm not sure but I think the same goes for Tanglin Trust if you're British.

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Post by PNGMK » Tue, 05 Aug 2014 3:43 pm

Tanglin Trust is (as the name implies) a school with a governance board of some sort, probably similar to BIS in Jakarta and the website states the school is NFP.

As to the poster above - I agree - IB basically is a scam these days UNLESS your kid is so bright they can pull in 6 and 7's in the high school advanced places (which realistically is about 2 to 5% of the class at best), the middle school IB program is just a wishy, washy, touch feely lets all be nice to each other program with vague goal posts for the kids and - IMO - poor feedback to the parents - it's very easy for a kid to fall through the cracks in it.

Stick to the national curriculum you're most familiar with - that way you can monitor your kids progress with some real first hand knowledge AND you can call on resources back home to assist.


Movingtospore also makes a good point that there is no overarching school board - the MOE does NOT validate or inspect the credentials of the school or staff from what I can tell, if they did a certain FSS would not have had unqualified math and science teachers in the HS.

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Post by Primrose Hill » Tue, 05 Aug 2014 4:45 pm

SAIS is a british school despite its name. It is owned by COGNITA. My daughter went to a COGNITA school in London but heard that there's so much diversification here and in UK that the standards have gone right down. lots of teachers and students have come and gone for the past 2years

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Post by momofboys » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:12 am

thanks for the feedback everyone. the questions you suggested, movingtospore, are helpful and I will defintiely be asking them when we visit. the number of NFP schools is disappointingly small. we had kind of ruled out SAS given distance from where my husband will work. also heard some things about Tanglin Trust that concerned me--- focus on high-acheiving kids and if your kids don't fall in that category they will fall by the wayside. my kids are still really young-- I don't know how they will do! can't always assume your kids will be the top of the class. feeling more and more stuck...

had not really looked at Nexus or ICS yet. What do people think of those two?

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Post by PNGMK » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 9:45 am

momofboys wrote:thanks for the feedback everyone. the questions you suggested, movingtospore, are helpful and I will defintiely be asking them when we visit. the number of NFP schools is disappointingly small. we had kind of ruled out SAS given distance from where my husband will work. also heard some things about Tanglin Trust that concerned me--- focus on high-acheiving kids and if your kids don't fall in that category they will fall by the wayside. my kids are still really young-- I don't know how they will do! can't always assume your kids will be the top of the class. feeling more and more stuck...

had not really looked at Nexus or ICS yet. What do people think of those two?
ICS: Caveat: My SO works at ICS and my daughter goes there. In summary: Very good small community oriented school in a location that should be easy to get to for most. American curriculum. Good mix of nationalities. Very good elementary school. Negative: Middle school principal has unfortunately decided this year to invoke the disproven method of IB marking (i.e. no homework feedback which means the kids aren't pushed and hence not ready for HS).

Owners: School is run and owned by NICS - a NFP orgnisation that sets up Christian schools around the world to provide subsidized education to the kids of missionaries, pastors etc (the subsidy is via charging private kids normal fees). There seems to be a investment of funds into the school - at least they don't wholesale copy copyrighted texts like the Maple Leaf place.

Hanniroo can wave the flag for Nexus.

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Post by aster » Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10:39 pm

movingtospore wrote:Btw if you are a US passport holder and/or work for a US company you get priority admission at SAS. I'm not sure but I think the same goes for Tanglin Trust if you're British.
Don't think so. :)

As someone mentioned, my first decision would be to focus on a particular schooling system (by country curriculum) and then delve deeper.

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