2023 P1 Registration: Here’s What You Need to Know

Will your child start Primary 1 next year, in 2024? You will have to register your child for primary school this year, beginning on July 4.

If you’re new to this process, here’s some essential information to get you started.

In Singapore, Primary 1 or P1 registration takes place over several phases, from Phase 1 to 3. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has the registration details of each phase on their website. You can also use their phase checker tool to find out which phase your child is eligible for.

Wondering if you can hedge your bets by registering at more than one school? Not quite! The rule is that you can register your child in one school per registration phase. Within a phase, multiple registrations will not be accepted.

If you have submitted your registration and wish to make an amendment in the same phase, you will need to remove your previous registration and submit a new registration on the P1 registration portal — before the phase closes. The MOE will process your latest submission.

If your child has secured a P1 place in a previous phase but you’ve changed your mind, the same parent who registered the child must withdraw their place through the P1 registration portal before registering for another school. Otherwise, the MOE will not process the new registration. 

To avoid last-minute hassles and stress, please consider your school choices well ahead of time, and decide on a school before submitting your registration. Withdrawals or amendments may lead to delays or missing a registration phase, resulting in your child not getting a preferred school. 

Final tip: the registration portal will log you out after 30 minutes of inactivity, without saving your information. So please have your documents ready when you’re applying!

Have more questions about the school registration process? We’ve got answers, below.

 

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Who needs to register for primary school in 2023?

Any child who is officially seven years old by January 1 will need to attend primary school in that same year.

What this means is that children born between 2 January 2017 and 1 January 2018 (both dates inclusive) should attend Primary 1 in 2024. As such, it also follows that they should take part in the 2023 P1 Registration Exercise. 

However, not all parents are keen for their January 1 children to start school a year ahead of their peers. There is an option to defer registration, and you can find out more here

Can I submit my child’s registration in person, at a primary school?

No, you can’t do that. The P1 registration process is now fully online, and in-person submissions will not be accepted. If you have issues with registering online, please get support from your social network, or from social welfare officers. You can read the MOE’s Registration Matters FAQs section to find out about the documents needed.

Can international students register in local primary schools?

Yes they can, but only during Phase 3 of the registration process. This is because priority for school places will go to Singapore citizens and permanent residents. There is also an interest form that you would have needed to submit earlier in the year — if you have not done so, you will have to contact the MOE directly for assistance. 

For more information, read the MOE’s registration guide for international students, or the FAQs for international students.

How to choose a primary school? Which primary school is the best in Singapore?

This is a tough question to answer! Parent A may want a nearby school to avoid a long commute, while Parent B may look for schools known for being academically rigorous, regardless of distance. 

Other factors that parents prioritise include:

  • School representation opportunities for a child with a strong interest, such as in sports 
  • Affiliation to secondary schools
  • Schools with religious ties
  • A preference for either single-sex or co-ed schools
  • Schools that are known to support children with behavioural or learning issues

The important thing to remember: you probably can’t have it all. For instance, a values-driven school may fall short on academic drilling, simply because it’s not considered essential, nor the ‘right’ way to learn. To avoid overcomplicating the process, identify one or two qualities that really matter to your child, and use this as your basis for shortlisting schools. 

You can read our guide to find out what primary schools other parents are searching for, and how to tell if a school is strong in sports, the arts, and more.

Do both parents need to register their child for primary school?

No, only one parent is required to register a child through the P1 registration portal. But during registration, you will need to declare that you have sought consent from the other parent to register your child for P1. Both parents will be able to view the submitted registration. 

More details are available in the MOE’s Registration Portal FAQs section.

I am divorced or separated. Can I choose my child’s primary school?

This depends on your custody arrangement. If yours is a joint custody arrangement, both parents should agree on the choice of school. But if you are the parent with sole custody, you can proceed to choose the school on your own. 

More details are available in the MOE’s Registration Matters FAQs section

How do I check for nearby primary schools within a 1km distance?

The MOE recommends that you use the OneMap School Query tool to check home-school distances. Currently, this measurement is based on the School Land Boundary, and the home-school distance would be the shortest distance from a point on the boundary around the school to the registrant’s home.

Once you’re on the School Query page, simply enter your home postal code, select your address, and OneMap will show you a list of schools that are within 1km, as well as between 1 and 2km. 

I plan to move homes. How does this affect P1 registration?

A child who gains priority admission into a school through home-school distance must reside at the address used for registration for at least 30 months from the start of the P1 Registration Exercise

For those registering in 2023, your child must be based in the same residence for 30 months from 4 July 2023. If the 30-month requirement is not met, the MOE will transfer the child to another school with vacancies. 

More details are available in the MOE’s Home-School Proximity FAQs section.

Can I use a family member’s address to apply for primary schools?

Yes you can. But in order to do this, both you and your partner should be working full-time, and your intention should be to have your parents or siblings watch over your children after school, while you are at work.

Parents will have to make a childcare declaration, which you can read about in the MOE’s Childcare FAQs section

How much are the school fees in Singapore’s primary schools?

This depends on whether your child is a Singapore citizen, permanent resident, or international student. For instance, Singapore citizens will generally pay a low fee — a maximum of S$13 per month — while permanent residents may pay up to S$268 per month. 

For the most accurate information, please use the MOE’s school fees checker tool to view the fees for your preferred school.

Why is Henry Park Primary School so popular? How to get into Nanyang Primary School or Ai Tong School?

These schools are all known for their academic rigour. Also, all three are co-ed schools, which may make it appealing to parents who have younger children of different sexes. (Children with older siblings already in primary school have priority admission.)

For Ai Tong School, it is affiliated with the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan clan association. If you have been a member of the clan association for at least two years, and have contributed 80 hours of volunteer service, you are eligible to register your child for Ai Tong School in Phase 2B.

If not, admission into these primary schools will be similar to other primary schools:

  • Children who have siblings studying in the primary school can register at Phase 1.
  • Children who have parents or siblings who used to study in the primary school can register at Phase 2A. This phase is also open to parents who are School Advisory and School Management Committee members, staff members of the primary school, and children from affiliated MOE Kindergartens (if any). Note that for now, MOE Kindergartens are generally not affiliated with highly popular primary schools.
  • For parents who have volunteered with a primary school, are members of a church or clan connected with the primary school, or are endorsed as active community leaders, they can register their children in Phase 2B.
  • If you don’t fall in any of the above categories, you will register in Phase 2C.

To better understand the registration phases and key dates, please read the MOE’s guide.

Have more P1 registration questions? Check the MOE’s Primary One Registration FAQs section, or seek help from other parents in our KiasuParents forum!