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primary school entry queries

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aqualini
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primary school entry queries

Postby aqualini » Fri, 16 Oct 2009 3:59 pm

Hi,
I stay in a condo pretty close to my daughter's kindergarten. She starts K2 in Jan 2010. I am keen on putting her in a local school and we have bought an apt very close to the preferred school of choice (quite accidentally!). However, we dont want to shift till she finishes her K2. So when applying can I explain to them that we will be moving in to the flat close to the school on in Dec 2010 after she finishes her K2? Also is there an easy explanation as to the admission procedure for Primary One? with all the ballotting and phases it sounds like a government election. Back home we just applied, and if selected were called for an interview. so would appreciate some enlightenment ....thanks

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Postby taxico » Fri, 16 Oct 2009 7:25 pm

o boy. that's a whole new ball game, that primary school application ballot wachamacallit.

what school is near your apartment? competition is fierce in many top/popular primary schools.

most kids get preferred entry because their parents/siblings were ex/current students, or because the parents spent an inordinate amount of time "volunteering" in the school.

whatever leftover spots must be balloted or singapore parents will end up throttling each other over why their kid did not get in.

you may already be unable to put your child into that nearby school, as parents with no links tend to take action years before their child is ready for school.

you best check out www.moe.edu.sg or poke through the archives.
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

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Postby boffenl » Mon, 19 Oct 2009 9:45 am

Hi aqualini,

Great planning ahead! I wish I had enough forsight to purchase a place near my daughter's school.

Do check out the MOE website for information, are you PR? I'd certainly pay a visit to the school NOW to ask them any and all questions--and to get your face known to the school admin staff.

It's certainly possibly to get your daughter into a local school, many, many expats are hoping into the system as local schools open their curriculum and International School raise prices. :) Our family has had an unbelievably wonderful experience with the local system and esp if your daughter is starting in P1 it's worth it!

Good luck!

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Postby wkwoods » Mon, 19 Oct 2009 12:21 pm

If your child is not a citizen or a permanent resident, the balloting phases based on proximity to the school (1km etc) are largely irrelevant as you are at the back of the queue anyway. If you volunteer your services at the school e.g., teaching, being a traffice warden etc, preferably for 2 years, it may help. Even the billionaire investor, Jim Rogers, had to volunteer to get his daughter, Happy, into Nanyang Primary School. A large donation (say $10K+) also helps.

The right primary school is crucial in the local system because the PLSE exam at Primary 6 largely determines your childs future. If they make it into the Integrated Program (AP) at one of the top schools like Hwa Chong or Raffles Institution then they are guaranteed to be there for the next 6 years, whilst the rest have to slog it out for their O levels and achieve a perfect score to get in.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 19 Oct 2009 1:29 pm

So do you reckon that the kid who finishes at the bottom of the stats at Hwa Chong or Raffles Institute is better off that the kid who tops his class in any other school?

Didn't think so. :roll:

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Postby boffenl » Wed, 21 Oct 2009 10:35 am

There are ample spots at local schools for expats. It just might not be the school you have your heart set on! We toured three local schools and only one had spots available at the stage 3. And it's be a huge blessing in disguise since the school (facility) is brand new but has a long historical legacy as well.

On the note about PSLE's, this is an issue most Expat's struggle with when their kids reach that stage. Honestly, I haven't decided if I'll pull my daughter out (probably not since she's so Kiasu about exams now!) or let her slog through that year. It will be a great re-cap of the last five years, which can't be bad--and a good barometer to let me know if she should stay in the local system through "O" levels.

Um, if your kid finishes their "O" levels here then they can head right to the US, UK or Australia to begin University--no reason to continue on to "A" levels--they'll actually be a year or two ahead of their European or American counterparts. Save some money, stress and time--finish "O" levels and get right into Uni. :)

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Postby wkwoods » Wed, 21 Oct 2009 3:20 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:So do you reckon that the kid who finishes at the bottom of the stats at Hwa Chong or Raffles Institute is better off that the kid who tops his class in any other school?

Didn't think so. :roll:


No. Hwa Chong and Raffles take in the jocks as well and have remedial classes for them. However, the average kid at Hwa Chong or Raffles should get a far better education (given the quality and dedication of the teachers) compared to a neighbourhood school.

Its the same in any other country. Would you rather be the bottom student at Harvard or the top student at a community college?

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Postby wkwoods » Wed, 21 Oct 2009 3:31 pm

boffenl wrote:Um, if your kid finishes their "O" levels here then they can head right to the US, UK or Australia to begin University--no reason to continue on to "A" levels--they'll actually be a year or two ahead of their European or American counterparts. Save some money, stress and time--finish "O" levels and get right into Uni. :)


I've just finished attending numerous U.S. college recruiting sessions in Singapore, mostly organised by Raffles Institution. Most recently, the foreign admissions directors from Cornell and UPenn were here.

The top U.S. colleges now get many many students from Singapore. In fact, one year, Cornell took in about 60, mostly from Raffles. As a result, they understand the Singapore education system well and insist on the student completing their 'A' levels to stand a chance of being admitted. This is because the top schools want the child to finish the highest level of school education in their respective country before entering college.

If you are a U.S. Citizen studying in Singapore, you will be compared against Singaporeans for admission and most of them will have taken their 'A' levels. Financial Aid, however, is commonly need blind for U.S. Citizens, but not for Singaporeans.

This is not to say that the child can't apply after the 'O' levels, but they will be at a severe disadvantage and given the competitiveness of the Ivy League institutions, it will make a difficult job become almost impossible. Of the Ivy League institutions only one, Cornell, gives sufficient credit for high scores in the 'A' levels that the students can complete college in 3 years. This is one of the key reasons Cornell has the most Singapore applicants of the top schools. UPenn said that about 11% of Singapore applicants were accepted, whereas it was 20% for the overall acceptance rate. So they are more selective when it comes to Singapore applicants.

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Postby road.not.taken » Wed, 21 Oct 2009 5:20 pm

wkwoods wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:So do you reckon that the kid who finishes at the bottom of the stats at Hwa Chong or Raffles Institute is better off that the kid who tops his class in any other school?

Didn't think so. :roll:


No. Hwa Chong and Raffles take in the jocks as well and have remedial classes for them. However, the average kid at Hwa Chong or Raffles should get a far better education (given the quality and dedication of the teachers) compared to a neighbourhood school.

Its the same in any other country. Would you rather be the bottom student at Harvard or the top student at a community college?


Your posts are interesting wkwoods. I agree with some of what you say~ but you make it sound like the remedial classes are just for jocks? Surely not what you meant, also:

A student hanging onto the bottom rung at Harvard would or could be a top student at a 2nd tier, 3rd tier, etc... school. Lots of tiers before you get to the Community College level, many shades of gray. Also, to add: it's an open secret from people in the industry (alumni here in Singapore who conduct entrance interviews with applicants to "name brand" Ivy League schools) that a certain amount of spots are held open to Singaporean students.

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thanks

Postby aqualini » Wed, 21 Oct 2009 10:44 pm

thanks for the encouragement and the info....We are PR and hope that with that and the proximity we should be able to get in. I havent had any experience teaching, but I have done my Bachelors in English Lit and Communicative English. Would that be needed?
I don't mind about exams....back home we had a similar tough education system, though the board exams was only at the 10th grade level.

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Re: thanks

Postby wkwoods » Thu, 22 Oct 2009 9:57 am

aqualini wrote:thanks for the encouragement and the info....We are PR and hope that with that and the proximity we should be able to get in. I havent had any experience teaching, but I have done my Bachelors in English Lit and Communicative English. Would that be needed?
I don't mind about exams....back home we had a similar tough education system, though the board exams was only at the 10th grade level.


That definitely helps. Do make sure you are within 1km as the bird flies. Also, make an appointment with the headmaster of that preferred school next to you and you can discuss whether you can volunteer. I'm sure your skills would be helpful say for remedial classes for the kids. If you do enough work for them, they may be able to move you into the first phase i.e., the one for siblings and affiliates in the school. I agree that this intensity of effort to get a child into Primary One seems silly, but the local system is extremely elitist and its best to adapt to it than to fight it. Even billionaire Jim Rogers figured it out. Sucess means that for the next 6 years or more you have the kids in a top neighbourhood school and you save yourself $30K a year.

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Postby boffenl » Fri, 23 Oct 2009 5:55 pm

Sorry, again my two cents--there are over 3,800 accredited universities and colleges in the US. PLEASE, PLEASE don't mistake that you must attend an Ivy League Uni to get a good education. That is simply NOT the case. Ivy League is great if you are a legacy student or have special merit, but you'll probably get a great education are the roughly 3,789 other schools out there too.


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