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Admission to primary 2

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jrMaryland
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Admission to primary 2

Postby jrMaryland » Tue, 31 Mar 2009 11:23 am

I've been offered a job in Singapore to start in July/August. I have a child who would be finishing 1st grade in the US this June. We would receive some assistance from the company for school, but not enough to send her to a private school. Also we are looking forward for her to experience a new culture, so we are looking at public schools.

I have three questions:
1) Could she at least do the last period September-Dec in 1st grade P1 (We don't want her to stay at home for six months with no school.)

2) Can she easily enter second grade p2?

3) We will live most likely in the east, 15 district I believe. Good schools for someone coming from the US? My wife and I are both Americans so don't have any Asian background (not sure if it makes any difference)

I haven't accepted the offer, and if we were to have issues like setting our kid back 1 1/2 years in school, I'd have most likely to decline the offer. So any help would be very appreciated.

Thanks!

Thaiclan
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Postby Thaiclan » Tue, 31 Mar 2009 12:32 pm

The local schools run from January so your child may not be in P2 here. I know my daughter would be in Year 2 in the UK but here she would start primary 1 the year she turns 7 so effectively she wouldn't start school until January 2010 (she would be half way through year 2 in the UK by then).
Also as a foreigner you would not get your first choice school. First round placements go to locals and then to PR's (permanent resident holders). Foreigners holding a work permit/S pass get allocated placements last. I contacted 2 of the schools in the East Coast (Bedok and Temasek) and both said that for 3 years running there have not been any places for foreigners and even 3 years ago when they did it was only 2 at Bedok and 1 at Temasek. However these are the "best" schools on the East so maybe others would be easier. Foreign worker allocation happens in August I think.
The biggest thing to consider aside from year placement is the style of learning. The US (and UK, Europe, Australia) have a very child-centred inquiry based foundation for learning and this is not the case for local Singaporean schools. Kids here are expected to pass exams and not ask any questions outside of the material they are given. Class sizes are quite large compared to the private school (35 +) and the pressure to get good grades is put on strongly from Primary 1. Most kids have extra tuition at home to keep up, and kids know how "bad" or how "good" they are compared to the rest of the class for a very early age.
Yes private schools are ridiculously expensive here and its not a case of you get what you pay for - some of the most expensive schools are shocking. However there are some great ones, and there is also the homeschool option with groups meeting up weekly for enrichment classes.
I hope this helps. Check out Ministry of Education (MOE) website for more advise.
Good Luck!
:)

jrMaryland
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Admission for Child into 2nd grade

Postby jrMaryland » Tue, 31 Mar 2009 9:26 pm

Thanks for your advise. I have sent out about a dozen letters to schools in the area, already one replied that they have no slots available.

One more question if I may...you said in your reply that you think my kid would have to start in P1 right? My kid will finish 1st grade in the US this June and would be 8 in Jan '10, so you think she would have to repeat 1st grade? I can see this could be a deal breaker, since it would set her back 1 1/12 years, but let's see.

Thanks for the advice, I actually sent requests to the schools you mentioned, although by chance since I didn't really know how to differentiate them. Is there a ranking place I could go to lite greatschools.net ?

thanks!

Thaiclan
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Postby Thaiclan » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 6:34 am

Hi you may even chuckle when they tell you she may have to start in P1. If she is still 7 on January the 1st then that would place her in Primary 1 for that year, effectively more than 2 years behind your US system. My child is a May baby so she is 1.5 years behind the UK system if I put her here.
That said.....the Primary 1 and 2 work here is way advanced and many expats here cannot believe what 7 and 8 year olds are expected to know compared to our home systems.
(of course I only know for sure that my daughter turns 7 this May so wouldn't be able to start Primary 1 until Jan 2010 when she would be 7 and a half, you would have to find out directly in regards to your child)

jrMaryland
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Postby jrMaryland » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 8:56 am

Thanks...we are kind of getting used to the idea that if I take this job, my 8 year old would have to start in P1...

My other concern while deciding is the whole mother language requirement. We speak English and Spanish at home...So I don't know if putting my kid through Mandarin would be the right thing...From other posts I can't tell if anyone in some the households was a Mandarin speaker so this second language thing is possible. My kid is fluent in two languages.

Anyone with a similar experience? that is no mandarin at home, placing their kids in public school and takin Mandaring as second language?

Thanks to all..this forum it's been a great help in deciding about this job..

singaporetamale
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Postby singaporetamale » Thu, 02 Apr 2009 11:52 am

If the multi-language is your major concern, then you should definately consider SAIS. They have the option to learn either Mandarin or Spanish 5 days a week starting from Age 3 and also have a Mother Tongue program. :D

viajera
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Postby viajera » Thu, 02 Apr 2009 4:42 pm

Thaiclan wrote:(of course I only know for sure that my daughter turns 7 this May so wouldn't be able to start Primary 1 until Jan 2010 when she would be 7 and a half, you would have to find out directly in regards to your child)


actually, if your daughter turns 7 this year, she should already be in P1. my son is, and he's yet to turn 7 in sept. according to the MOE:

Children born between 2 January 2002 and 1 January 2003 (both dates inclusive) may be registered for Primary One Classes in 2009.

source: http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissi ... equirement


to OP, your child may also need to pass a placement test if you push for P2. more admissions info for intl students here:

http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissi ... ts/dp-ieo/
Last edited by viajera on Fri, 03 Apr 2009 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

jrMaryland
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Postby jrMaryland » Thu, 02 Apr 2009 10:13 pm

Thanks...I think I have read almost every page and link out the MOE website.

My wife and I are certain about two twings.

1) If we put our kid through the public system, which BTW I'd love to do, since I believe in the value added of the cultural immersion, she will have to repeat 1st grade, which is fine for us

2) If she wants to go a public school, since we would not be Citizens or PR, we whould be "Phase 3" so essentially would have to take whatever school has vacancies...something that in any case we wouldn't know until August.

We are very dissappointed since we were actually looking forward for our kids to enter a public school. But it seems that if I decide to take this job, Private school will be. It's a shame since a big drive to even consider moving from the US was the cultural experience. (My wife and I have lived in three continents already) so we were hoping a similar experience for our kids.

Am I correct in my assesment? Is it really that complicated for non-citizen non-pr to get their kids into a good (not best) public school?

Or maybe I am being too paranoic about it, and getting her into a good school should not be that complicated.
Last edited by jrMaryland on Thu, 02 Apr 2009 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jrMaryland
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Postby jrMaryland » Thu, 02 Apr 2009 10:18 pm

singaporetamale wrote:If the multi-language is your major concern, then you should definately consider SAIS. They have the option to learn either Mandarin or Spanish 5 days a week starting from Age 3 and also have a Mother Tongue program. :D


Thank you singaporetamale...I went through their website a couple days ago when you first suggested it and filled-out the form requesting info and I have received no replies yet (not a good sign if you ask me)

The website has almost no information, is just a couple of pages with a few paragraphs. I know the school is brand new, but even then more info should be available, specially if they are placing themselves as the other American School.

I sent an email to SAS last night and got reply within 30 minutes! Not sure how their waiting lists are looking for this year, but at least response was good.

Thanks all for your help!

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Postby viajera » Fri, 03 Apr 2009 10:20 am

jrMaryland wrote:Am I correct in my assesment? Is it really that complicated for non-citizen non-pr to get their kids into a good (not best) public school?

Or maybe I am being too paranoic about it, and getting her into a good school should not be that complicated.


I suppose it depends on what you expect when you say "a good school". We didn't have any difficulty getting into our school of choice, perhaps largely because it's not one of those "top schools" (based on the leaving exam scores of the students) that are more popular among the locals. As it is, it's already academically challenging and we didn't want the added pressure of being in a school that focus so much on scores.

If you would like to have an idea of the quality of public schools here in comparison to those in Maryland (assuming based on your nick), perhaps you can contact a poster named boffenl (you can also search the forum for posts written by her as she's posted lots on the topic) who has a P2 in a local school.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 03 Apr 2009 11:04 am

jrMaryland wrote:Thanks...I think I have read almost every page and link out the MOE website.

My wife and I are certain about two twings.

1) If we put our kid through the public system, which BTW I'd love to do, since I believe in the value added of the cultural immersion, she will have to repeat 1st grade, which is fine for us

2) If she wants to go a public school, since we would not be Citizens or PR, we whould be "Phase 3" so essentially would have to take whatever school has vacancies...something that in any case we wouldn't know until August.

We are very dissappointed since we were actually looking forward for our kids to enter a public school. But it seems that if I decide to take this job, Private school will be. It's a shame since a big drive to even consider moving from the US was the cultural experience. (My wife and I have lived in three continents already) so we were hoping a similar experience for our kids.

Am I correct in my assesment? Is it really that complicated for non-citizen non-pr to get their kids into a good (not best) public school?

Or maybe I am being too paranoic about it, and getting her into a good school should not be that complicated.


You will be fine. A little investigative work and acknowledging the fact that "a good school" is a bit of a misnomer as the schools are ranked primarily on exit grades of the students. Schools that are in the higher rent districts obviously have students of parents who probably have a higher level of education (especially if a lot of condo/private housing instead of HDB Estates) Don't get me wrong though about HDB estates. I'm not saying they are like our ideas of "Projects". Nothing like that at all.

But, as property here IS expensive, it can be also considered as a gauge of the educations of residents of the area as a general guideline. I put both of my kids through the local school system from Kindergarten through their tertiary educations. One in a medium "Good School" and one through a "Neighbourhood" School. Both turned out fine. Boffenl has her child in a neighbourhood school that is in a new facility and both she AND her child are elated over both the school AND her assimilation into that school. Oh, like Boffenl, I am also a Marylander (still have my farm on the Eastern Shore) but I've been here a wee bit longer....... :wink:

sms

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Postby AussieSkater » Fri, 03 Apr 2009 8:26 pm

We are from Australia and both our boys had to "repeat" the year that they were in, to attend local school. The youngest one turns seven in may and he is in P1, the other one turned 9 in Jan and he is in P3.

There is nothing stopping you from getting into school this year, after half way, it is just a matter of finding a school. One of the things that we did was ring the MOE hotline and they told us which schools had vacancies in which years, so this helps a lot. Saves a lot of sending letters off to individual schools.

Also as we found with the school, the admin person wasn't thrilled with having another foreigner in the school and tried to tell us that there weren't any vacancies, when we told her that there was according to MOE, she soon changed her tune.

My boys go to school in the west, same one as boffenl. They love it, although the first month was difficult, different teaching style, but they are absolutely thriving now. They are taking chinese for mother tongue, the boy in P1 is not doing too bad, the boy in P3 is struggling but we aren't concerned about it.

We wanted our boys to experience the local culture and they certainly are, they take the school bus, partake in the extra cirrcular activities and are eating at the local school canteen.

One thing we did though was pick a school that was single session, it's just that with the double session we would of had one attending each session. Also the afternoon session at which most schools have the P1's in doesn't finish until 6pm.

Good luck

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Postby barbaraus » Fri, 03 Apr 2009 10:34 pm

singaporetamale - I see you on several threads pushing the new Singapore American School. Are you on their payroll :-)

jrMaryland
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Postby jrMaryland » Sat, 04 Apr 2009 1:35 am

Thank you all. It has been very helpful.

If I take this job we wouldn't move till July. What we decided is to put her in Private School at least to finish 2009, so she doesn't stay at home between August and December.

Then once in Singapore we can decide on what's available, sign her up in August to start in Jan '10 and when the time comes, decide to have her start in Public School in January or to continue in Private School. This way we will have more time to look around and see what's out there.

It's good to see there are other people from Maryland...I live just south of Baltimore..

Again thanks for your help!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 04 Apr 2009 6:56 am

barbaraus,

It would appear so. 7 posts and all identical which is in violation of our policies here on this board as it constitutes spamming so they have been deleted.

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