How did you choose your Secondary School

Unlike entry to Primary Schools, admission into Secondary Schools is based on meritocracy. PSLE results are used as key admission criteria. Discuss everything related to PSLE and selection of Secondary Schools here.

How did you choose your Secondary School

Postby fable » Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:21 am

Hi guys,
My son is in P5 GEP and we've been going to the Sec school open houses in the last few weeks (with more to come) to get an idea of the different pathways of education available. Trying to figure out which pedagogy (A levels vs IB vs NUSH diploma) and then which school would best suit our son. I know its early days yet, but I figure by this time next year the decision will be alot more imminent and therefore stressful!

My son is kind of an all rounder. He represents school in various sports, plays an instrument, competes in triathlons, loves math and science and ISO. Has no tuition coz we are of the "can hit baseline, teachers don't complain ok already" school of thought.

If you have kids from GEP who have already moved on to Sec school, what was your thought process in your selection of school? And how is it working out? Is there really a difference between a school with a SBGE and one without? I don't want him to necessarily be stretched to his max, but I've been looking at some of the Sec 1 curricula and it sounds like many of the topics would already have been taught in the Primary school GE curriculum. And I know when he is bored he will switch off.

Would really appreciate your thoughts! Thanks!

fable
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Re: How did you choose your Secondary School

Postby jtoh » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:25 am

We considered the school culture (whether it was a good fit for us), the environment, CCAs available, subjects the school offered which may not be offered in other schools, opportunities to pursue academic and non-academic related activities...

I find that even in an SBGE school, quite a bit of Year 1 has already been covered in primary GEP. So it's probably better for your son to select an SBGE school.

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Re: How did you choose your Secondary School

Postby fable » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:13 am

jtoh, thanks very much for your feedback. What we are looking at is quite similar. Its not just about getting into the "best" school that will take him, but whether we think he will be more suited to the IB vs A level approach. Is your child in an A level IP SBGE school?

fable
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Re: How did you choose your Secondary School

Postby jtoh » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:47 am

fable wrote:jtoh, thanks very much for your feedback. What we are looking at is quite similar. Its not just about getting into the "best" school that will take him, but whether we think he will be more suited to the IB vs A level approach. Is your child in an A level IP SBGE school?


She was from RGS and just graduated from RI. We went to several Open Houses and confirmed that this was the best fit for her. We liked that the school wasn't focused on just academics but allowed a lot of opportunities to explore non-academic pursuits as well. In short, the students worked hard but played hard too.

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Re: How did you choose your Secondary School

Postby fable » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:43 pm

Thank you! Anyone else deliberating between IB and IP? Our thoughts regarding the advantages of one system viz the other :

IB
is more similar to the GEP pedagogy, with more project work, independent research. Its also more broad-based than A levels which is good if he hasn't decided yet what he wants to be.
is that it is marked on one unified international standard, which given Singaporean students' general performance on the right side of any curve, should mean relatively high marks. Singapore-Cambridge A levels are a special Singapore exam, which is known to be more difficult than the generic GCE A levels. Works fine when seeking to enter local university, but may put local students at a disadvantage if applying to overseas universities.
seems to be more widely recognised in the US and also in the UK.
Is easier to pass but harder to get "full marks"


A levels
are more established, something we as parents are familiar with which gives us a certain level of comfort and perhaps less risk?
Are supposed to be "deeper" than IB subjects and therefore better especially if you plan to pursue the sciences like Medicine
Are more recognised when applying for local universities, especially the most difficult courses to get into - Medicine and Law
requires less consistent work throughout the years - feedback is that you can study like crazy for half a year and do ok for A levels but can't do this for IB

Are these reasonable suppositions, or have I got it wrong? I'm also wondering about the syllabus because it looks like in year 1 and 2, IB and O level curricula are the same?

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Re: How did you choose your Secondary School

Postby pirated » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:31 pm

in broad terms, one of the JC principals summarized this way :

IB is more broadbased learning

A Level is more in depth in the selected subject area compared with IB

Most unis around the world cater both qualification for admission purpose. Check the admission pages of those uni you are considering

It is true that the Singapore Cambridge A Level is known to the UK unis that it is tougher than their peers in UK. If there is a waiting list or appeal situation for the UK unis, this is a qualitative factor taken into consideration. However if the degree course is a popular one, waiting list or appeal cases may not come into play.

For local u purpose, 80%~90% of the intake are local, so it is fair competition. Local u must reserve 10%~20% to foreigners to maintain its international ranking - else not ranked or ranked lowly

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Re: How did you choose your Secondary School

Postby fable » Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:42 pm

pirated wrote:in broad terms, one of the JC principals summarized this way :

IB is more broadbased learning

A Level is more in depth in the selected subject area compared with IB



yes I read that article. I wonder if that's because the IB SL subjects are equivalent to H1 A level while HL are equivalent to H2, and A level programmes offer H3 subjects which are more advanced than HL subjects? If the H3 subjects are not considered would the A levels still be considered more in depth? Or are H2 subjects studied in more detail than equaivalent IB HL subjects?

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Re: How did you choose your Secondary School

Postby pirated » Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:45 pm

fable wrote:
pirated wrote:in broad terms, one of the JC principals summarized this way :

IB is more broadbased learning

A Level is more in depth in the selected subject area compared with IB



yes I read that article. I wonder if that's because the IB SL subjects are equivalent to H1 A level while HL are equivalent to H2, and A level programmes offer H3 subjects which are more advanced than HL subjects? If the H3 subjects are not considered would the A levels still be considered more in depth? Or are H2 subjects studied in more detail than equaivalent IB HL subjects?


truthfully the vast majority doing A level don't take H3

so when it is said A level is of greater depth, it refers to H2 level

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Re: How did you choose your Secondary School

Postby jtoh » Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:58 pm

fable wrote:
pirated wrote:in broad terms, one of the JC principals summarized this way :

IB is more broadbased learning

A Level is more in depth in the selected subject area compared with IB



yes I read that article. I wonder if that's because the IB SL subjects are equivalent to H1 A level while HL are equivalent to H2, and A level programmes offer H3 subjects which are more advanced than HL subjects? If the H3 subjects are not considered would the A levels still be considered more in depth? Or are H2 subjects studied in more detail than equaivalent IB HL subjects?


Generally H2 subjects are more indepth than HL subjects. I've heard that IB students need to attend bridging classes in the local unis for some subjects.

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Re: How did you choose your Secondary School

Postby sky minecrafter » Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:10 pm

fable wrote:My son is in P5 GEP and we've been going to the Sec school open houses. My son is kind of an all rounder. He represents school in various sports, plays an instrument, competes in triathlons, loves math and science and ISO. If you have kids from GEP who have already moved on to Sec school, what was your thought process in your selection of school? And how is it working out? Is there really a difference between a school with a SBGE and one without?


Hi fable, (1) travelling distance, (2) school culture, (3) child's personal preference.

I made a list of all e "suitable" schools & ranked them in accordance w e above 3 critieria. We discussed e research details w dc & ultimately left it to dc to decide. Dc is happy now, work is a breeze & dc is taking up new challenges.

Gifted children manage well on their own wherever they r. At e same time, whichever Sec school one finds oneself (gifted or not), there r bound to be challenges & times when u r "bored". Once e child buys-in, e child has to live w e consequences. Gifted children r mature enough to understand tt. :-)

My personal preference would be SBGE, IP program.

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