Choosing and Evaluating Primary Schools

Work your way through the complex rituals of Primary One Registration. This is where you find out more about the dream school you have always wanted for your kid.
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sparkling
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Re: Choosing and Evaluating Primary Schools

Post by sparkling » Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:03 pm

Ang2elina wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:36 pm
Davischew wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:45 am
Ang2elina wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:48 pm
All,
We are PR and stay within 1km of CHIJ Toa Payoh and are thinking to apply under P2B. If fail in this phase, should we try again in P2C?
Other option is within 1km of Pei Chun but that will be under P2C.
Does anyone know how do PRs fare in these phases?
Zero chance in both. Suggest you go for LOGC in 2B and Marymount Convent in 2C
Sounds like we have to look further than our 1km. Other than OLGC and Marymount, any other suggestion of schools that we can apply under 2B? We think we should not waste a chance in 2B - it feels like we should try before it goes into the ocean of 2C.
Also, read somewhere that we should at least shortlist 3 schools in case of worst case scenario.
Hi

For phase 2B, there are three main scenarios:

1. Religious/clan affiliation.
Assuming you are Catholic and going under religious affiliation , you are probably only restricted to Catholic schools.
A lot of the clan schools are super competitive and unlikely to have spots for PR.

2. Parent volunteer
Are you prepared to volunteer at however number of schools you would like to enrol your child in?

3. Grassroots volunteer
The hours required may be longer than being a parent volunteer at one school and there is a restriction to the schools where your home is.

Please note that at any one time, you can only register for a single school at any phase.
If the chances are not looking good, you will have to withdraw from that school before registering at another school under phase 2B school.
Last edited by sparkling on Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Davischew
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Re: Choosing and Evaluating Primary Schools

Post by Davischew » Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:43 pm

Ang2elina wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:36 pm
Davischew wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:45 am
Ang2elina wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:48 pm
All,
We are PR and stay within 1km of CHIJ Toa Payoh and are thinking to apply under P2B. If fail in this phase, should we try again in P2C?
Other option is within 1km of Pei Chun but that will be under P2C.
Does anyone know how do PRs fare in these phases?
Zero chance in both. Suggest you go for LOGC in 2B and Marymount Convent in 2C
Sounds like we have to look further than our 1km. Other than OLGC and Marymount, any other suggestion of schools that we can apply under 2B? We think we should not waste a chance in 2B - it feels like we should try before it goes into the ocean of 2C.
Also, read somewhere that we should at least shortlist 3 schools in case of worst case scenario.
OLN, kellock, OLGC , PR all in 2B

zac's mum
KiasuGrandMaster
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Re: Choosing and Evaluating Primary Schools

Post by zac's mum » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:55 am

Some insight into the culture at Farrer Park Primary School. Article from Channel News Asia, 1 December 2019.

Friends from other lands: The unique challenges of international students at one primary school:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cna ... k-12139974

Midnightbaker
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Re: Choosing and Evaluating Primary Schools

Post by Midnightbaker » Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:42 am

Dear all, I have been a silent reader of this thread for a while now. Please pardon a very long entry below but our situation is rather unique and would require some form of long term plans and guidance from the experts in this forum.

My husband and I are SCs currently based overseas for my husband's work while I am a SAHM. We will only be back in Singapore when our son is 4 years old (exactly 1.5 years before p1 registration). This will be quite a tight timeline for any preparations for phase 2b/2c so we probably need to decide soon our strategy and which school to focus on.

We plan to have a second kid soon, our current place (MOP will be up in 2 years time) is within tanjong pagar GRC, less than 1km away from New Town Primary, 1-2 km away from FMPS and Henry Park. My husband and I are open to moving to anywhere in Singapore which puts us less than 1km of the preferred school and increase our chances.

We would prefer to look into decent schools with affliations but not too competitive and kinda sure in for Phase 2c less than 1km. We both been attending church on and off but not a confirmed member. We have plans to start commiting ourselves to a church in Singapore and overseas where we are based at the current moment, as we want our children to grow up knowing God.

We are currently considering SAJS as it appears to meet our criteria above. Nevertheless we note that there seems to be new developments within 1km of the school and competition may intensify in the near future.

If you are still reading this, here are some of my questions. There are some sense of desperations because prep for p1 registration is already very tough - moreover when we are currently based overseas.

A. If we are prepared to relocate to any part of Singapore within 1km to any school for our son, the only criteria would be high chance of enrolment/sure in at phase2c <1km,based on past balloting trends and reasonably decent well rounded school with affliations, what are some schools you would recommend and which area of properties we should consider?

B. As we are currently planning for number 2, gender unknown and the requirement of staying 30 months after successful p1 registration, what are some of the schools to consider for both my DS and *DD* as SAJS may be out of the question since there are no good girl schools around that area. Or SMPS is okay at 2c >2km away? Otherwise which area of properties are within 1km of a decent co Ed school or both single sex schools? It would be so much more straightforward if we have 2 boys.

C. If we plan to go under phase 2b as a PV/endorsed by church, would our return 18 mths prior to registration give us sufficient time to prepare? Otherwise, should I consider moving back earlier with the kids first? Noted that some schools require parents to volunteer at least two years before registration and there is no guarantee that I will even be selected as a pv and even so, a pv may not be guaranteed a place too. RC may be out of the question since min 2 years of volunteering is required.

Thank you for your attention. Looking forward to the advice and guidance from the experts here. Please feel free to PM me as well.

Davischew
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Re: Choosing and Evaluating Primary Schools

Post by Davischew » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:12 am

If you move to Novena area, nearer to United Square, you will get below.

ACSJ < 1km - 90-100% chance
ACSP <1km - 60-80% chance
SJIJ < 1km - sure in
SMPS 1-2km - sure in

1.5 years too late for PV/Church/GRL


Estéema
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Re: Choosing and Evaluating Primary Schools

Post by Estéema » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:26 am

Davischew wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:12 am
If you move to Novena area, nearer to United Square, you will get below.

ACSJ < 1km - 90-100% chance
ACSP <1km - 60-80% chance
SJIJ < 1km - sure in
SMPS 1-2km - sure in

1.5 years too late for PV/Church/GRL
Just to add, abv are boys’ schools.

Girls’ school options :

SCGS
MGS
* if u’re on the Dunearn Bt Timah side (which means I’ll drop SJI. Use onemap to check which are best location to move to to satisfy the 1km for both girls & boys schools as mentioned.

Ano alternative is move to west/Dover. Fairfield Methodist is co-ed, but no guarantee with competition. Property ard Dover/Ghim Moh/Holland hot there too.

zac's mum
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Re: Choosing and Evaluating Primary Schools

Post by zac's mum » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:02 am

Hi Midnightbaker, I have PMed you.

I just realized that I misread, thought your son is 4 years old now, so I thought 30-month period would be over by the time it’s your daughter’s turn for registration.

If the age gap is *not* going to be 3 calendar years apart, then you either have to pick a co-ed school (I think the only Christian co-ed school that doesn’t need balloting for <1km is Geylang Methodist Primary) or limit yourself to those housing areas suggested by the other KSPs above.

You can apply for PV even when you’re overseas btw. The PV application can be sent via email & correspondence is via email. Not all schools conduct face to face interviews. Maybe you can apply first & then decide after you get the offers.

Davischew
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Re: Choosing and Evaluating Primary Schools

Post by Davischew » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:11 am

Can’t think of any Boys/co-Ed Christian schools that accept PV (Pei Hwa?), so by the time need to PV/GRL for the *Girl*, should have enough time :)

zac's mum
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Re: Choosing and Evaluating Primary Schools

Post by zac's mum » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:25 am

Maris Stella, Fairfield, SAJS accept PV. That was way back in 2015 when I applied. Not sure about now.

zac's mum
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Re: Choosing and Evaluating Primary Schools

Post by zac's mum » Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:06 am

Article in today’s Todayonline. Read carefully to spot which schools in particular have a hyper-competitive culture. Fighting to get into such schools will only perpetuate the competitive mentality & stress into your child:

Brilliant minds, anxious souls: Top students discuss their fear-of-failure demons after Pisa findings
http://bit.ly/34Z3Gs4

BY: WONG PEI TING

“ SINGAPORE — Yulia (not her real name) could have gone to the School of the Arts, or transferred to Lasalle College of the Arts to pursue her interests in music and theatre.

But the 18-year-old student stuck to the science stream at Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), studying biology, chemistry, mathematics and literature. “I still think it is safer to have my A-Levels in case I fail in the arts because it is so hard and competitive,” she said.

Such a psyche that drove her to think that way was recently put in the spotlight after the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) test found that three in four Singapore students grapple intimately with a fear of failure.

The Pisa results released on Tuesday (Dec 3), in fact, put Singapore students as among the most fearful of failure in the world, even as the same test also ascertained them to be among the world’s brightest.

Specifically, Singapore has the highest percentage of 15-year-olds (78 per cent) viewing failure as something that would cast doubt into their plans for the future – well above the 54 per cent average for the 37 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries who took the test.

And while Singapore is not the top country when it comes to worrying about what others would think if they fail, the percentage is still consistently high – 72 per cent here said they would worry, while the average for OECD countries is 56 per cent.

So, what causes students here to be afraid to fail?

Students say it has a lot to do with the perception of lower self-worth, or that they are not good enough, that comes with failure.

‘GOVERNED BY FEAR’

Returning to the story of Yulia, although her intelligence had taken her through the doors of one of the top junior colleges in Singapore, she had, in fact, struggled with an anxiety disorder from age nine.

Its onset, she said, was not caused by parents but by the highly-competitive school environments that she had been exposed to from age seven. Before entering HCI, she was in “elite” schools such as Nan Hua Primary and Nanyang Girls’ School, where one is surrounded by high achievers.

The pressure to do extremely well was great, she said, to the point where there were times when she stopped studying for an exam altogether for fear of not scoring well enough.

“It stops me from achieving what I am capable of, and puts me in an unhealthy mental state governed by fear, questioning all the ‘what if’s of the outcomes of my tests and exams, and my process of revision,” she said.

And there are teachers whose actions only made things worse.

Yulia recalled how one of her former teachers at HCI had made the class review a spreadsheet of their results for every test they had taken for a particular subject.

While the teacher’s intentions might be to generate healthy competition and stretch students to their full potential, it had an adverse effect on her. “Seeing (my) peers’ grades is just so intimidating because comparison is inevitable,” she said.

Nineteen-year-old Jaren Ong, who recently graduated from Saint Andrew’s Junior College with three As at the GCE A-Level examination last year, concurs. The reactions he got after failing an exam were often: “Why didn’t you study?”, “Can you take your academics seriously?”, or “Do you want a good job in the future or not?”

But when a student fails, teachers need to find the root cause, he said. “Is it due to a lack of motivation? Why is there a lack of motivation? The student doesn’t like the subject? How can we help the student gain an interest in the subject?”

“I studied so that I could avoid being judged to be a failure,” he continued. “This should not be why a child goes to school. It’s a weak source of motivation.”

Former school teacher Ken Teo, 43, noted that some schools would make exam papers more difficult to prod students to work harder. This is unnecessary and gives students an inaccurate picture of their competence, said Mr Teo, who is now a private tutor.

COMPULSION TO OVER-PRACTISE, OVER-REVISE FOR A GRADE

Top psychology student for Nanyang Technological University’s class of 2019, Mr Chun Win Ee, might be revered for his perfect grade point averages in both university and polytechnic.

But not many know that the former JC dropout struggles with a strong fear of failure as well. The 27-year-old said he would “over-practise” and not stop his revision until he could memorise every bit of information from cover to cover. He would do and redo practice papers until he got full marks.

His efforts were, however, counterproductive when it comes to subjects like mathematics, where concepts were not as easy to grasp to him since primary school.

“I didn’t want to let people down and disappoint them with poor results. That pressured me to want to perform, but ironically was also why I wouldn’t do well,” he said, recalling that his mind would go blank when tackling math problems.

His fear of failing then led to a self-fulfilling prophecy. He avoided math and convinced himself that he was “not a math person”. “Naturally, that was a terrible mindset to have and contributed to why I continued to do poorly,” he said.

It was not something that he easily got over. During his statistics examination at university, he told TODAY he had to spend the first 15 minutes of his exam managing his anxiety, using meditation and breathing techniques.

For Raffles Institution (RI) alumnus Daryl Yang, 26, getting good grades was a huge part of how he defined himself, and that only exacerbated his fear of failure, he said.

He became occupied with proving that he did not just get lucky scoring 261 for PSLE, and, having managed to enter RI after an appeal, that he belonged to the school.

He became very risk-averse, dropping literature and biology at Secondary Two even though he had more interest in those subjects, and instead stuck to those that he knew he would do better in.

And when he did not perform as well as he had expected, he took it hard upon himself. “Doing less well made me feel like I was useless or worthless,” he said.

Mr Yang only started shedding this fear of failure when he started university at Yale-NUS College, where he was not graded for examinations, only for projects and research papers.

“This allowed us to explore our interests and think more deeply about whatever we were learning,” said the fresh graduate with a double degree in law and liberal arts.

FEAR OF FAILURE PERVASIVE IN SINGAPORE SOCIETY

Besides the experiences of the four students TODAY interviewed, the encounters of psychologists here made them conclude that the fear of failure is pervasive in the Singapore society.

Clinical psychologist Joel Yang said he often saw students with severe fears of failure who refused to go to school, and even skipped exams. “It is sad because we see kids who are very bright but underperform or avoid exams for fear of not aceing them,” he said.

Developmental psychologist Jeslyn Lim said 70 to 80 per cent of the students she sees as part of her practice have some aversion to failing, out of which 20 per cent are at the extreme.

She is concerned as a fear of failure can cause a delay in a student’s cognitive development, which includes attention span, memory and reasoning among other mental processes.

What could happen when a generation of fearful kids grow up? Dr Lim painted a future where doctors might avoid performing tricky surgeries, and educators might find it challenging to teach with confidence.

The former school teacher, Mr Teo, said that while a fear of failure drives performance on paper qualifications, it breeds “mediocrity, pencil pushers, and status-quo and reactionary mindsets”.

“These prices are way too heavy to pay to score high in reading, mathematics and science, given how the world will be taken over by AI (artificial intelligence),” he added. “We need resilient people who are not afraid of failures, who push boundaries, who envision possibilities.”

He laments: “If students are afraid to fail in school, how can they learn to face inevitable failures in life?”

Singapore Management University law lecturer Eugene Tan said it cannot be right that children here only learn if they are confident that they will not fail. He said this issue is particularly important at a time when the imperative to be innovative, bold and transformative is a national objective.

In spite of that objective, “we will have a society that will only want to attain what they are confident of attaining, and not have to risk or deal with failure”, he said. “This is a recipe for national malaise and stagnation — not just economically but also in all spheres of what we can describe as human endeavour.”

Critiquing the widespread mentality among parents to encourage their children to only pursue subjects they would do best in, he said the easy option reflects a “stunted growth mindset”.

“We need a significant mindset shift so that our students will enjoy learning and not fear failure, and this growth mindset will be with them throughout their lives,” he added.

THE CONCEPT OF ‘CONTROLLED FAILURE’

The idea of letting children fail a little is making some parents uncomfortable.

Mdm Iris Sim, 39, told TODAY she is investing a lot in her children, aged six to nine, to ensure that they do not fall behind in the “brand name” primary schools she had managed to enrol them in.

After all, she had gone out of her way to secure a home within a 1km radius of CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School and Catholic High School to get her children in the doors.

She believes that if kids really have to fail, it should be “within control” or “not too far off the mark”. “In Singapore, you need to study hard to give yourself options, to do what you want,” she said.

The problem, Mdm Sim added, has its roots in Singaporeans being taught that the country has no natural resources, and that people are the nation’s best resources.

“Naturally, parents pour their resources into creating these ‘best resources’, piling on our hopes and putting all our time into it,” she said, pointing to her children. “A lot of pressure then rides on a child not to screw up their chances because it would be tough to get a second chance.”

HOW TO MAKE IT EASIER TO FAIL

In getting the nation to become less allergic to failure, education experts said that teachers’ perceptions must first change.

Dr Timothy Chan, director of the academic and student life divisions at SIM Global Education, said the Ministry of Education should drill into educators that failure is “a part of daily life”, and that “there is nothing so special about failure” that they should become embarrassed by it.

If students were unable to give a correct answer, what is more important is if they learnt from their mistakes, he stressed.

“If the culture is more forgiving and more encouraging, and make it not a big deal when a child is not able to come up with an answer, it sends the message that they don’t become inferior (by failing),” he added.

Agreeing, Dr Jason Tan Eng Thye, an associate professor for policy and leadership studies at the National Institute of Education, said teachers need to recognise that not all students are motivated by fear.

People should also be conscious about viewing failure only in terms of academic outcomes.

Failure, he noted, could come in non-academic areas of school life, such as not being selected for the school team, not winning a trophy, and in interpersonal relationships.

A report card of the future could very well include all these other areas of a student’s development, said Dr Chan.

But Dr Tan cautioned that if implemented prematurely, this could lead to children broadening the list of areas they view themselves to be failing in, such as in sports, cooperativeness and kindness.

“There is always that danger that if you don’t change the fundamental way you think about success and failure, you will just be extending the concept of failure to more areas of life,” said Dr Tan.

He described reversing mindsets as a “long-term pursuit — a process that needs to be undertaken in collaboration with parents”.“

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