Which Secondary School: Making that All-Important Decision

Submitted by Ee Leng Chong

With the 2015 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) now over, parents are probably all geared towards waiting for the PSLE results to be released between 25 and 27 November 2015 before choosing a secondary school most appropriate for the child. Applications for secondary schools can be made via Secondary One-Internet System (S1-IS) within seven days after the release of the PSLE results and you can get more details from the MOE website here regarding the Secondary One (S1) posting exercise.Unknown Object

Parents actually play an important role in influencing a child to choose a school that meets the child’s interest and learning needs. Making an appropriate school choice is crucial as the secondary school period can determine the path the child might take towards his/her future career. Below are some of the factors that parents, including myself, will generally consider when choosing a secondary school for their child.


School Vision, Mission and Strengths 

I will shortlist the secondary schools that I am interested to let my child choose and check out their websites for the school vision, mission and strengths. Most of the secondary schools conduct open houses before the release of the PSLE results for parents and children to visit and determine if they are interested to join the school. By talking to the principal and teachers during the open house, you can find out more about each secondary school, as well as take a look at the school environment to determine if it is appropriate for your child. Check out 2015 dates of Open House for Secondary Schools in the KiasuParents’ forum here.


Academic Results 

Most parents will want their child to get into a secondary school known for its good academic results. Of course, this will mean higher cut off points. If your child manages to score better results for his/her PSLE, there will be no qualms about getting the child into the “good” secondary school that you are considering. However, it is also important to consider the learning nature of your child – whether he/she is comfortable and confident to learn in a more competitive environment. Otherwise, the child will be demoralised and left behind if the secondary school is too challenging for him/her. You can join in the discussion forum on “All About T-Score” here. For reference of the cut off points for admission to secondary schools, see here.


Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) 

The child should have a balance of academic and non-academic learnings in the secondary school that he/she chooses. I will definitely encourage my child to participate in the CCA offered in the school based on his interests. As such, one of the important criteria I will look at is the CCAs offered by the secondary schools that I will shortlist for my child. LEAPS 2.0 is a framework to recognise secondary school students’ holistic development in the secondary school education. When the child participates in CCAs or any school projects, he/she will be recognised under LEAPS 2.0.


School Affiliation

The primary school that the child is currently attending might have some affiliation with a secondary school, which will give the child priority for admission to that affiliated secondary school as the cut-off point for admission is lower for students from affiliated primary school. You have to ensure that the affiliated secondary school is indicated as the first choice for priority. However, there may be additional criteria that the secondary school might consider for affiliation admission, thus there is no 100% guarantee that the child will be admitted. You can join in the discussion forum on “All About Affiliations between Pri & Sec Schools” to find out more about affiliated schools here


Distance from Home

Though a child should be independent enough to travel to school by himself/herself, it is still more advisable to choose a secondary school that is nearer to home simply for the sake of convenience. He/she can avoid traffic jams which will save him/her ample time to spend on revisions or other leisure stuff. The child can also choose to go home and rest after school and before CCA. To find out the secondary schools within the same area as your home, you can visit the MOE website here


Special Programmes and Schemes

Another consideration for parents in choosing second school for the child is the special programmes and schemes offered by the secondary schools. There are a variety of programmes such as Integrated Programmes (IPs), Bicultural Studies Programme (Chinese) (BSP/C) & Special Assistance Plan (SAP) Scholarship, Elective Programme in Malay Language for Secondary Schools (EMAs), Malay (Special Programme) [M(SP)]/ Chinese (Special Programme) [C(SP)], Foreign Language Programme, Art Elective Programme (AEP) and Music Elective Programme (MEP). To find out more about each programme, you can visit the MOE website here


There are other factors that the parent and child might take into consideration when choosing a secondary school such as preferring to be in the same secondary school as their peers. No matter what the factors are, the parent and child should spend some time sitting down and shortlist the 6 choices carefully. Which secondary school that the child ultimately gets into will most probably determine the path to his future career.


Get more details on enrolling for secondary school in the “Secondary Education Booklet (English) 2015” here.


Thu 15/10/2015