Singapore Expats

Local schools for expats kids

Interested to get your child into a local Primary School? Discuss the opportunities here.
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4zana
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Local schools for expats kids

Post by 4zana » Wed, 17 Nov 2010 12:04 am

Hi dear friends,
We are moving to Singapore in January 2011 from HongKong. I have 12 and 6yrs old children who are attending ESF school in HK. International Schools in Singapore are much more expensive then ESF in HK. Our company is not providing school fees. So we are planing to send them at local schools. I have checked the list from MOE but confused which school will be better. Could you please advise or send me the list of some good local schools name. Will be greatful......Many thanks

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 17 Nov 2010 12:53 am

You can virtually forget getting into a "good" local school. With the allocation system as it currently stands, you will have to look to even be able to get into a school somewhat close (halfway across the island?) to where you will be living. Foreigners are given the last ballot for and remaining open places in any given school. this usually means zero places if it's a perceived good school.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by scarbowl » Wed, 17 Nov 2010 6:16 pm

PP is right. There are new limitations on this and your chances are quite low of admission into a "good" local school. And for your 12 year old this might be a difficult experience as well. Perhaps talk to the International Schools here about financial aid? There isn't much likely but it should be worth a try.

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Post by movingtospore » Wed, 17 Nov 2010 7:07 pm

Yes, we looked into trying for local schools, and pretty much gave up - sucking it up and paying for International Schools now. If you have not finalized your offer, try to negotiate that they pay at least some of the International School costs - you can point to the rules the government here has in place to limit the entry of foreigners into local schools.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 17 Nov 2010 8:18 pm

movingtospore wrote:you can point to the rules the government here has in place to limit the entry of foreigners into local schools.
Not entirely correct is it. It's not to limit the entry of foreigners as much as it is to ensure ample places for qualifying locals. Should there be sufficient room after locals/PR's have found entry, it's up for grabs the remaining places. Before anybody yells foul, locals are forbidden to enter the International Schools unless it's a special needs program or the family has concrete plans on immigrating and can show proof of same.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by bethnalgreen » Thu, 18 Nov 2010 9:18 am

I don't have experience trying to get into a local school, although I've heard that is not easy to get foreign children into the good ones.

What is interesting to me is that of all the people I've met who have arrived in Singapore recently (including us), no one was offered any kind of school fees assistance as part of their relocation. At the same time International School fees are eye-poppingly expensive, plus cost of living here is much higher than probably most realise. Just to warn you: I've lived in HK as well, and find SG more expensive in terms of everything except housing.

My husband's company is in the middle of trying to relocate an office from an other Asian city to SG, and everyone in that office has flat out refused to move. The number one reason being that the relocation offers were not going to cover the true cost of being here!

I think they were right to push back, because if the company wants to move you, they should at least offer parity of cost-of-living, spendable income, etc. If you suddenly have to shell out tens of thousands extra for school fees I think either they cover it (either in higher salary or as part of an expat package), or you should refuse to move.

In our case our child is young, so school fees weren't a deal breaker. But, part of our agreement to move here was on the understanding that we would leave before our child hit school age. I'll be curious to see if suddenly the coffers open up when that time comes... (not that we would stay anyway, but that's another story). I am curious if other people have been successful in going back after the fact and getting some level of company assistance.

Well, anyway, good luck with your negotiations!

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 18 Nov 2010 10:01 am

bethnalgreen,

You are absolutely correct. It's pretty common knowledge that "full expat" posting here are becoming a rarity here. I think its probably due in part to the fact that Singapore is not exactly a "hardship" posting like most other expat postings. Again, you are right, one should be prepared to say NO if the offer will not give you at least the same level of comfort & financial stability at that which you are leaving. Provided which, you are being transferred by your own company. Should you be leaving to join another firm, then, like all things, you must weigh the future gains with the short term losses, if any. Only each individual family can ascertain that.

For what it's worth, when it comes to the local school system, ALL the schools use exactly the same syllabus & textbooks. Often it's just a matter of competition in the classes (peer competition) and the role the parents play in the home education. Often of late, the student who tops the results at the year end have been non-"good" schools. But had teachers who cared. All class sizes here are large be they good or neighbourhood schools. Kiasu parents here have been known to actually sell their homes and buy another closer to the school so as to ensure a spot under the phase one balloting. Doesn't mean the kid actually does any better, but it just gives the parents bragging rights. Kinda like keeping up with the Jones' back home. I actually put both of my kids through the local system but that's been a while ago now (one is 21 & the other is 26).
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

4zana
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Post by 4zana » Thu, 18 Nov 2010 9:27 pm

Dear All

Thank you for your candid and informative messages.

How easy or difficult is it to get a transfer during mid-school year incase we do not get our first choice with the local schools? Are there any govt subsidzed schools similar to ESF Schools in HK; with fee below 1000 SGD per month? Also, I would appreciate if anyone could share their opinions or experiences with DPS -Delhi Public School.

thanks once again

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Post by madura » Fri, 19 Nov 2010 10:04 pm

4zana wrote:How easy or difficult is it to get a transfer during mid-school year incase we do not get our first choice with the local schools?
Don't bother. The disruption isn't good for your child in all senses - socially, psychologically, academically. The difference between the non-"good" schools and the "good" schools is insignificant.

Many of the "good" schools here are too focused on academics, popular among the locals because they produce kids who ace tests but imho, they do not provide a well-rounded education.

I've said this many times on this forum and I'll say it again, a "neighbourhood" school can be much better than the top schools, especially at primary school level.

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Post by aargon » Fri, 19 Nov 2010 10:56 pm

my son is only 3 yrs old and I`m forking out 20K a year for his education. Assuming I stay here for another 5 yrs, thats 100K total and he`ll only be 8 yrs old!!!! talk about messed up :???:

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Post by movingtospore » Wed, 24 Nov 2010 9:38 am

You should call the MOE here. I was told last year that there were no spots for Primary 1 for foreigners anywhere on the Island. I also approached our neighbourhood schools, which told me I could get on the wait list, and might get a spot in a year or two.

There a number of methodist schools here - but honestly I'm not sure how difficult it is to get a spot. They are "local" but outside of the main MOE system. There are also a few International Schools that are slightly less costly than the average $20K/year at most of them -but, you will pay a price in terms of quality.

It's kind of a ridiculous situation in Singapore at the moment - I think expats coming need to push back hard on their employers re the school situation, and/or the employers need to push back on Singapore to open up more spots to foreigners. Good luck...

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 24 Nov 2010 10:04 am

movingtospore wrote: It's kind of a ridiculous situation in Singapore at the moment - I think expats coming need to push back hard on their employers re the school situation, and/or the employers need to push back on Singapore to open up more spots to foreigners. Good luck...
The way I see it is that Singapore only has a duty to provide schooling for it's Citizens & PR's. They generously allow the dependents of EP holders to enter the local system 'if' there is space for them. But, why should they deliberately build more/larger schools for transient foreigners? The curriculum is different and normally they are more advanced at any given age up through secondary school. The private schools are here for that and normally follow the curriculum of the home country.

In years gone by, a lot of foreign postings were Single Status and the families were left in the home country.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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