Singapore Expats Forum

local schools

Discuss various schooling options for your children here.
chippie
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local schools

Postby chippie » Sun, 07 Dec 2008 7:59 pm

Both are kids,12 and 14 are Australian, what are the advantages and disadvantages of enroling them in local schools.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 07 Dec 2008 10:25 pm

At 12 & 14, the biggest challenge will be a 2nd language.

Also, they may well not be able to keep up with those in the same age group as the local system would seem to be about 12 -15 month ahead of the same age group in a western type of schooling. However, as I know nothing of the Aus school system I may well be off there as I am comparing with the US system that so dearly needs a overhaul that it will take about 40 years to get it back to what it was 40 years ago.

Others on here will tell you that ONLY the International School will give your children a well rounded education. and ONLY International Schools have sufficient extra curricular activities. Again, there are differences of opinion, but at the end of the day, what may make the deciding decision is the duration of your stay here. If you are here for the long haul, then seriously consider local. If you are here only for 2 or 3 years, it might be better to stay in a school system that will facilitate easy return to the Aus syllabus.

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Thanks

Postby chippie » Mon, 08 Dec 2008 4:03 am

Once again Moderater thanks.

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Language

Postby chippie » Mon, 08 Dec 2008 4:46 am

Is the main language english?

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Postby lynn13 » Mon, 08 Dec 2008 8:17 am

Actually, if your children are younger, I recommend that you go to local schools.

But as they are already in the middle school, it may be quite difficult for them to get into good local secondary schools. After elementary school or primary school, Singapore kids are been streamed or put into different secondary schools based on their results or strengths. All the good local schools will already be filled up. Neighbourhood secondary schools will mostly have vacancies but ...

If you decide on the local secondary schools anyway, you can actually ask to have the 2nd language waived.

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Postby AussieSkater » Mon, 08 Dec 2008 10:51 am

We are moving to Singapore from Australia in early January, and I have two children 8 and 6 who we have decided to send to Local School.

We looked at the International Schools, but were not impressed with their cost, also the Australian School is just a NSW state school just in another country. My kids went to private school in Australia and from what I have read this is similar "attitudes" and "teachings" to the Local Singapore Schools. Also we want the kids to experience "local" life and meet local people, not saying they can't do that in an International School though.

One advantage the Aussie kids will have is that the school years are the same as Singapore, so both countries have just finished for the year. So even if you are only here a couple of years they will be able to easily slot back into Oz. (I looked at all this before making my decision).

The standard Singapore Schooling length is one year less then in Australia as they seem to do two years "pre-school" but they then finish at the same age.

Have a look through the Ministry of Education website and they have an information service, where you can search on schools in particular areas and those that offer particular sports etc, each of the schools have a website which lists everything they do, which I found very informative.

Also rather then trying to contact each school, if you ring MOE they will tell you which schools have vacancies.

The 12 year old would go into 1st year Secondary, and the 14 year old would go into 3rd year secondary. So not the "critical" years when they don't allow admissions.

All the teachers that I have spoken to here, have all suggested it is a great thing and have had nothing but praise for the Singapore schooling system.

Well these are my thoughts.

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Postby madura » Mon, 08 Dec 2008 2:07 pm

Do give the local-international schools a consideration. Anglo-chinese international, SJI international

Yes, yes, I know I've said that once too often already... :D

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Postby AussieSkater » Mon, 08 Dec 2008 2:47 pm

If you have the $20K a year per child, I am sure the local International Schools are wonderful. But this cost is twice the cost of the top private schools in Australia.

Way beyond most people's income, unless of course you are on one of those "expat" packages.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 08 Dec 2008 4:25 pm

Do a thorough search of these threads in this forum. There have been lots of discussions over the past couple of years & months. There are those like myself, whose children have done the whole of their schooling in the local system and are now completely fluent in Standard English, Mandarin, Singlish and a comprehension of spoken Tamil (they understand the language but do not speak it). Also, boffenl, another regular here who has recently obtained her PR here, opted for the local system (she's a Yank like myself) with her young daughter) and, like me, has nothing but good things to say about the local system.

There are tradeoff as I mentioned before, but the integration into the local system is as fantastic opportunity for a young child and the level of education here is far better than just maths & science I can guarantee.

sms

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Postby AussieSkater » Mon, 08 Dec 2008 7:35 pm

If you do choose local school, the children will have to sit an "entrance exam", depending on the school they will either do it themself or they seem to be outsourcing this now to an organisation called Principals Academy Certification Test, www.pact.sg.

If you go to this site, it has a world of information about what International Students need to do, to attend all levels of local school (from Primary to Uni), it also has all sorts of links to the Ministry of Education.

Hope this helps.

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From a girl who's been there, done that...

Postby smayrhofer » Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:56 am

I went to a local school here. My family moved here when I was 15 or so, from Atlanta, Georgia. Not being expats (local contract), we couldn't have afforded the private schools.

My sister and I both attended CHIJ Katong Convent. It's an all girl's school in the east. This was ten years ago and going to local schools wasn't common as yet. There wasn't en entrance exam, however. We just interviewed with the principal.

In terms of second language, your children are not required to suddenly master chinese or malay or any other asian language. Instead, they go to a language school once a week where they must take another language of choice such as french, german, etc. This language is taught from Secondary 1 onwards, so if your children are older, they need to have learned it before.

The curriculum is not that difficult, though I would only recommend putting your child in local school if they are primary 3 or below, secondary 1-3, or JC1. Otherwise, if Secondary 4, JC2, or Primary 4,5 they will be too close to the PSLE, O-Level or A-Level exams (if applicable) and will have too much to catch up on.

Like mentioned previously, neigbourhood schools are to be avoided!! Primary schools which are 'neigbourhood schools' still cane the children as a form of discipline, among other things. Also, the level of education will not be high enough and their exam results will not be good enough to continue at a better school at the next level (secondary/JC).

Adjustment issues depends on your child and on how international the local school of choice is. In our case, there was one other russian girl in the school and the rest were locals. If your children are adaptable, it's not problem. Local kids are very friendly and willing to make friends.

One benefit of local schools is that there is no 'popularity contest', 'cliques', 'gangs', 'drugs', or any of that nonsense which you tend to get in some private schools here. Kids are focussed on doing well in exams, and it's not considered 'cool' to flunk out etc. I often hear of such problems in private schools, though I have no first hand experience and it could just all be a big misunderstanding.

In our case, my sister and I both thrived in the local system. I went to local schools throughout, scored extremely well in local exams (it helps that being from the west you were taught how to THINK not just memorise. gives you an edge in the exams), streamed into a top JC, went to the local university, and am now working here at an investment bank.

Went to local schools, no harm done, still successful.

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Postby smayrhofer » Tue, 09 Dec 2008 11:59 am

Please excuse the spelling and grammar mistakes. I rushed through and didn't proofread...

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Postby pakjohn » Tue, 09 Dec 2008 1:17 pm

Compared to Atlanta Schools Singapore must have been quite an adjustment. I'm from Atlanta, my kids went to private school till after Jr. high because the local schools were so bad.
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Re: From a girl who's been there, done that...

Postby local lad » Tue, 09 Dec 2008 1:50 pm

smayrhofer wrote:.......

My sister and I both attended CHIJ Katong Convent. It's an all girl's school in the east. This was ten years ago and going to local schools wasn't common as yet. There wasn't en entrance exam, however. We just interviewed with the principal.

.......

Like mentioned previously, neigbourhood schools are to be avoided!! Primary schools which are 'neigbourhood schools' still cane the children as a form of discipline, among other things. Also, the level of education will not be high enough and their exam results will not be good enough to continue at a better school at the next level (secondary/JC).



To parents who had sent their kids to local school in recent years, is this sort of punishment be meted out to wayward kids? During my time, 20 odd years ago, it was a norm. Not sure it about now.

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Re: From a girl who's been there, done that...

Postby AussieSkater » Tue, 09 Dec 2008 4:44 pm

smayrhofer wrote: Like mentioned previously, neigbourhood schools are to be avoided!! Primary schools which are 'neigbourhood schools' still cane the children as a form of discipline, among other things. Also, the level of education will not be high enough and their exam results will not be good enough to continue at a better school at the next level (secondary/JC).


Thanks for your insight, can you just clarify what are "neighbourhood" schools and I guess non-neighbourhood schools. I know that there are certain local schools that you almot have to sell your left kidney to get into, mainly because of their "academia" excellence and hence very popular amongst the Kiasu parents.

Thanks


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