One Secondary Education, Many Subject Bands: 28 Secondary Schools to Pilot Full Subject-Based Banding

1. To provide an even more customised secondary education experience for students, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will be rolling out Full Subject-Based Banding (Full SBB) to secondary schools by 2024. Ahead of this, 28 secondary schools will start piloting aspects of Full SBB from 2020. (please refer to Annex for the list of pilot schools).

2. Today through SBB (Secondary), students are able to take English Language, Mathematics, Science and Mother Tongue Language, at a more demanding level when they enter Secondary 1 based on their performance in these subjects at the PSLE. As they progress in their secondary education, those who do well in school-based assessments in a subject also have the opportunity to take that subject at a more demanding level. With Full SBB, students will be able to study even more subjects at a level better suited to their strengths and interests.

3. By 2021, the pilot schools will have fully implemented the following aspects of Full SBB:

  • Reorganisation of form classes at Secondary 1; or
  • Offering of Humanities subjects at a more demanding level from Secondary 2.1

4. The pilot schools were selected based on their readiness to participate in the pilot. Factors considered include their involvement in the earlier phases of SBB (Secondary) and their experience in supporting different profiles of learners.

5. Pilot schools are currently fine-tuning the details of Full SBB that they will be implementing next year. Students and parents can visit the schools’ respective Open Houses and/or websites for more information, once details have been finalised, in the fourth quarter of 2019.

New Ways of Organising Form Classes

6. Pilot schools will implement new ways to organise students from different academic courses into the same form class, to create more opportunities for them to learn together and interact. These students will take a set of subjects at a common level, amounting to about one-third of curriculum time. These subjects are Art, Character and Citizenship Education, Design and Technology, Food and Consumer Education, Music, and Physical Education. Teachers will also differentiate their teaching methods to meet the different learning needs of their students in the same form class. This common learning experience creates a valuable setting for students to mingle, build meaningful friendships, and appreciate different perspectives. It can also help reduce the inadvertent labelling associated with streaming.

7. For other subjects, students will be grouped in classes according to the level at which they take each subject, as is the case with SBB today. For example, students taking Express-level Mathematics will be grouped with other students of similar learning ability in Mathematics, who may be from Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) courses.

Offering of Humanities Subjects at a More Demanding Level

8. Besides the existing options of PSLE subjects, the pilot schools will offer Humanities subjects (Geography, History, and Literature in English) at a more demanding level from Secondary 2. The criteria for taking Humanities at a more demanding level will be based on students’ aptitude for and interest in these subjects at Secondary 1. With this increased flexibility in customising our students’ learning experience, schools can better recognise their strengths and nurture their intrinsic motivation to learn.

Progressive Roll-out of Full Subject-Based Banding

9. Full SBB is part of MOE’s ongoing efforts to nurture the joy of learning and develop multiple pathways to cater to the diverse talents of our students. By giving students the ability to exercise greater flexibility and ownership over their learning, we aim to nurture a generation of lifelong learners who can reach their full potential.

10. Beyond the initial 28 pilot schools, more secondary schools will progressively introduce aspects of Full SBB from 2022 to 2024. MOE is working closely with our pilot schools to ensure that they have sufficient support and resources to implement Full SBB effectively. Pilot schools will share their learning points and best practices with other schools, to support smooth implementation across schools by 2024.

11. As previously announced, the 2024 Secondary 1 cohort will see the introduction of a common national examination and certification framework, in addition to re-organised form classes. The Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) courses will effectively be merged into a single course, such that these courses, together with their attendant labels, will also be phased out.

  1. Humanities subjects at a more demanding level will be made available for Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) Secondary 2 students in the Full SBB pilot schools starting from 2020 and 2021 respectively.