New P1 Registration Rules In 2022: What You Need To Know

Do you welcome the MOE’s newly announced P1 registration changes, which will take effect in 2022?

The intended objective of the changes is to create a fairer school admissions system, where more children with no prior connections to a school can secure a place in a school near their home.

In reality, how the news affects your child depends on which registration category you were previously eligible for, and the schools that you have set your sights on. It’s not a rosy outlook for everyone, and KSP member kiasudad1 predicts that the following groups could see a negative impact on their registration outcomes:

  • Alumni association parents who live beyond 1km of the school
  • Phase 2B parents who live beyond 1km of the school

At the same time, he observes that these groups could see a positive impact on their registration outcomes:

  • Alumni (non-association) parents who live within 1 km of the school.
  • Teachers who live within 1km of the school.
  • MOE kindergarteners who live within 1km of the school. (There are currently 36 MOE Kindergartens in Singapore, most of them are located within primary schools, and more than 70% of these students apply to their kindergarten’s affiliated primary school.)
  • Non-affiliated parents who live within 1km of the school.

Of his own situation, he says: “I am relieved because it means my child has a better chance of going to a primary school near [our] home. It adds stress and anxiety to parents and children with an overly long commute and less sleep when we have to send our child to some further primary school because [other schools are] already full of affiliated children.”

As the new changes will impact each school differently, math-savvy parents will be inclined to do as KSP member floppy did, and use past-year admission numbers to gauge how your schools of interest might be affected. Namely, you would want to know which of the school’s registration phases are at risk of being oversubscribed, as this would require students to ballot for places. (See how our member ran her calculations here.)

If you are registering your child born in 2016 for Primary 1 next year, it might be a small consolation to know that there were about 600 fewer Singaporean babies born in 2016, compared to 2015 — so registrations next year should be slightly less competitive than this year.

For busy parents who have missed the news on the school registration changes, do read on to find out what you should know!

A New Way To Calculate Home-School Distance

If your chosen primary school is oversubscribed, i.e. it has more registrants than vacancies in any phase, computerised balloting will be conducted. During the balloting, priority admission will be accorded based on your child’s citizenship and the home-school distance category — ”home” refers to the address that you have used for school registration, which you can read more about on the MOE website.

For those unaware, priority admission is given in this order:

  1. Singapore Citizens (SCs) living within 1km of the school.
  2. SCs living between 1km and 2km of the school.
  3. SCs living outside 2km of the school.
  4. Permanent Residents (PRs) living within 1km of the school.
  5. PRs living between 1km and 2km of the school.
  6. PRs living outside 2km of the school.

Previously, the distance between a school and a home was calculated based on a single reference point. In the new calculation method that will take effect from 2022, this distance will be measured from a point on the boundary around the school to your home. This will be known as the School Land Boundary or SLB, and it more accurately estimates the shortest distance between a school and your home.

Parents can already use the OneMap School Query Service to check if this change affects you. There may be no change to the home-school distance category that you fall under, or you may find that your home-school distance has decreased enough to push your child into a ‘better’ category.

But for three primary schools, a small number of potential registrants will find that their homes are now considered ‘further’ from these schools:

  • Cedar Primary School
  • Maris Stella High School (Primary)
  • Marymount Convent School

According to the MOE, the original reference points for these schools are no longer valid, due to significant upgrading or rebuilding works, coupled with other changes that have affected the school boundary. The MOE has published the full list of affected addresses here.

More Reserved Places In Phase 2C

The 2021 P1 Registration Exercise saw about one in three schools balloting in Phase 2C, under the “Singapore Citizens living within 1km of the school” category. Back in 2014, only one in four schools balloted in this category.

In response, the MOE has decided to double the number of reserved places in Phase 2C — from 20 to 40 places in each primary school — and this will kick in from the 2022 P1 Registration Exercise. From this year’s registration data, the change will benefit at least 32 primary schools, which had 40 or fewer vacancies for Phase 2C. (You can view the Phase 2C statistics for 2021 here.)

There will be no changes to Phase 2B, which will continue to have 20 places set aside for students.

In addition to these reserved places, one-third of any remaining vacancies at the end of Phase 2A will be allocated to Phase 2B, and two-thirds to Phase 2C. (Previously, remaining spaces were equally distributed between Phases 2B and 2C.) Again, this is in line with the broader goal of ensuring that more kids without prior school connections are able to attend a nearby school.

A Simpler (But More Competitive) Phase 2A

For some parents, the real game-changer is the merger of the 2A(1) and 2A(2) registration phases — which previously differentiated alumni association and school committee members from other registrants with ties to the school.

KSP member Stevenage describes the newly consolidated Phase 2A as a “double whammy” for a group of parents registering next year, who would’ve not only paid for alumni memberships that no longer provide a registration advantage, but will now face the prospect of registering alongside a larger pool of applicants.

Going forward, the new Phase 2A will be the ‘first dibs’ phase that follows Phase 1 (the registration phase for applicants who already have a sibling in the primary school). From 2022, children can register under Phase 2A if they meet any one of the following criteria:

  • Child’s parent or sibling is a former student of the primary school, including those who have joined the alumni association as a member. 
  • Child’s parent is a member of the School Advisory or Management Committee.
  • Child’s parent is a staff member of the primary school.
  • Child is from the MOE Kindergarten under the purview of and located within the primary school.

For another early shot at the registration process, parents with a 2A advantage may now be considering Phase 2B eligibility as well, where students have to meet any of the following criteria:

  • Child’s parent has joined the primary school as a parent volunteer not later than 1 July of the year before P1 registration, and has given at least 40 hours of voluntary service to the school by 30 June of the year of P1 registration.
  • Child’s parent is a member endorsed by the church/clan directly connected with the primary school.
  • Child’s parent is endorsed as an active community leader.

You can read about qualifying as an active community leader on the MOE website, or contact your church or clan association for a letter of endorsement if you are an existing member. If you are registering your child in 2022, the deadline for signing up as a school volunteer has passed, so that option is no longer available to you.

Want to share your thoughts and concerns about the latest P1 registration changes? Please join the conversation on our New P1 Registration Rules thread!