P1 Registration: What are the Most Searched For Primary Schools in 2024?

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Parents in Singapore: If your child is born between 2 January 2018 and 1 January 2019, please remember to take part in this year’s Primary 1 registration exercise! The registration process begins on Tuesday, 2 July — registrations are now fully online, and in-person applications at individual schools are no longer accepted. 

Feeling anxious as a first-time registrant? Don’t worry! All the information that you need is on the official registration website, so bookmark it and read the details carefully. We’ve also covered some essential considerations for parents in our registration guide.

But no matter how many guides you read, you may still be uncertain about how to choose a good primary school for your child. 

Unlike in the past, we no longer rank primary schools by their PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) performance, and we believe this is for the best. This is why many parents gauge a school’s popularity by looking at how difficult it is to enrol. If this interests you, you can visit the Ministry of Education’s website for last year’s registration figures. The site allows you to search for schools of interest, and check if all applicants were successful at all phases of the registration process, or if there were more applicants than vacancies for specific phases. 

However, just because a school is difficult to get into, doesn’t mean it will be the best place for your child. In fact, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment by trying to compete for a so-called ‘top school.’

What’s an alternative approach?

Below, we feature 10 primary schools that have come up tops in terms of local search volume. We can’t say for sure why these schools have garnered the most search interest, but we’ll look at their strengths, which may give you some ideas for assessing similar schools.

Nanyang Primary School

Located in Bukit Timah, Nanyang Primary is definitely a sought-after school. In fact, prospective students in 2023 had to ballot for places from Phases 2A to 2C. One reason for Nanyang’s popularity? Its reputation for academic rigour — for instance, parents from other schools might view Nanyang’s test and exam papers as being more challenging, and therefore more suitable for academically strong students. 

It’s also a school with two highly regarded programmes, SAP (Special Assistance Plan) and GEP (Gifted Education Programme). SAP schools are known for immersing their students in an environment rich in Chinese culture and language, while GEP classes in the upper primary years cater for highly advanced learners. 

Although Nanyang Primary is co-ed, it is only affiliated to Nanyang Girls’ High School, and boys will have to look at other options after Primary 6. To some parents, this may be a disadvantage. 

Nan Hua Primary School

Located in Clementi, Nan Hua Primary is similar to Nanyang, in that it has both the SAP and GEP, is co-ed, and saw balloting from Phases 2A to 2C in 2023. In terms of accessibility, both Nan Hua and Nanyang have nearby MRT stations, but both require a 10 to 15-minute walk. For affiliations, unlike Nanyang, Nan Hua isn’t affiliated to any secondary schools. 

However, for context, affiliations may be less of a concern for high-performing students, as these students will likely qualify for a number of top secondary schools. It’s the average-ability or weaker students who will benefit more from having a safety net.

Bukit View Primary School

Located in Bukit Batok, Bukit View Primary had ample spaces and few applicants in 2023, until Phase 2C Supplementary or 2CS (but no balloting took place). This probably means that parents last year did not consider this school in the earlier phases, and viewed it more as a ‘safety school’ when their other choices fell through. 

One reason for the ‘under-subscription’ is that Bukit View is currently located in an ageing neighbourhood — in fact, the school will shift to a new campus in 2027 to serve growing demands in Bukit Batok West and Tengah. For now, the lower intake might suit a more introverted child, where they have two to three years to enjoy a quieter environment, before the school becomes livelier with a larger campus and community after the move.

Bukit View Primary is co-ed, and its nearest MRT station is about a 15-minute walk away. The school has some interesting CCAs (co-curricular activities) like Community Service and Strategy Games. If you live in the area and want a fuss-free registration process, do try to visit the school to better assess its strengths.

Fern Green Primary School

Located in Sengkang, Fern Green Primary saw balloting at Phase 2C last year. This might indicate that parents see this as a desirable school in the Sengkang neighbourhood, despite the fact that it’s a fairly ‘young’ school, established in 2018

Fern Green is co-ed, and it lists its achievements by year on its website for easy reference. Last year, its students did well at the Singapore Primary Science Olympiad, as well as lesser-known competitions like Wits & Words (debating) and Cepat Tepat (a Malay language and culture competition). 

There aren’t any MRT stations within walking distance, so this might be a school that appeals most to those living in the surrounding areas.

Punggol Primary School

Located in Hougang, midway between two MRT stations, Punggol Primary was oversubscribed at Phase 2C last year, which indicates its popularity in the neighbourhood.  

This is a co-ed school with a fairly long history (since 1995), and it offers the Modular Sports CCA, which is a great way for kids to try different sports. To get a sense of the school activities and culture, you can check out their Instagram account

Casuarina Primary School

Located in Pasir Ris, Casuarina Primary had enough spaces to meet registration demands in 2023 until Phase 2CS, where it was just slightly oversubscribed. There is a nearby MRT station, about a 15-minute walk away. 

This co-ed school made the news last year for interesting reasons like building a culture of reading, as well as having a student who managed to broadcast a song in space. To see what else their students are involved in, you can follow them on Facebook

St. Margaret’s School (Primary)

Currently located at Mattar Road (Macpherson) due to upgrading, St. Margaret’s should be moving back to its original location at Sophia Road by end-2024. 

If you have a daughter and are looking for a centrally located school that will develop girls with a holistic and values-driven approach (similar to Methodist Girls’ School), you can consider St. Margaret’s. One good reason is that compared to other well-known girls’ schools, it’s not too difficult to secure a spot here. In 2023, the school had more than enough vacancies until Phase 2CS, where it was only minimally oversubscribed. Balloting was conducted for PR (permanent resident) students who lived more than 2 km away from the school — five students balloted for three places.

Springdale Primary School

Schools located in Sengkang and Punggol tend to draw more searches, because these areas have a larger proportion of younger families with school-going children. Another co-ed school in Sengkang is Springdale Primary, and it was oversubscribed in Phase 2CS last year. It’s within walking range of an MRT station (10 minutes), and it offers a Modular Sports CCA.

To find out more about Springdale, you can check their achievements on the school website. Many of its recent students have participated or been recognised at the Singapore Youth Festival, so this is a school you might want to consider if your child has an interest in the arts.

Zhenghua Primary School

Located in Bukit Panjang, Zhenghua Primary had ample vacancies last year, and was only oversubscribed at Phase 2CS. There are many Light Rail Transit stations nearby, making this co-ed school very convenient for those in the neighbourhood.

If you want your child to truly enjoy learning, you may be happy to know that the principal herself has said there is no need to over-prepare a child academically for Primary 1. The school has also been in the news for preparing care packs for migrant workers. 

You can view Zhenghua’s recent achievements on their website — they seem to have a good showing in a wide range of activities, from STEM competitions to arts and sports events. 

Bendemeer Primary School

Located in Kallang, Bendemeer Primary has a nearby MRT station, and another station that’s accessible with a slightly longer walk (more than 15 minutes). There are ample vacancies in this school even at Phase 2CS, so your child is likely to secure a space easily, if this should be one of your options.

To motivate its students, the school hands out academic awards by term. It also participates in mentoring tie-ups with schools like Raffles Institution and St. Joseph’s Institution, where the older students provide tutoring and reading support. This allows Bendemeer Primary’s students to interact with academically strong teens, who can serve as role models, and give advice on learning and goal setting. This is not the only primary school that has mentorship arrangements — if you are keen on such programmes, do enquire with your schools of interest.

Want to chat with other parents about the P1 registration exercise in 2024? Join the conversation on KiasuParents!