It’s time to choose a secondary school.
Choosing a secondary school is a completely different process than primary school. One tends to choose a primary school based on distance or affiliation. Picking a secondary school is a different ball game.
Grades play a major part in secondary school selection. While some may have scored well and have an easy choice for school selection, others are uncertain if their chosen school is within reach due to the AL scoring system. Unlike the past when t- score is the cut off point , an AL scoring system would result in a higher number of students scoring similar scores. This will lead to a higher chance of balloting making choosing a secondary school a potential minefield.
S1 Option Form
S1 Option form has 6 schools for a student to choose from. You are to list the school choices in order of preference using each school 4 digit code.
Important points to note
- For Priority admission to an affiliated secondary school, your child must indicate the school as the FIRST choice. However, admission is based on availability and any additional qualifying criteria for the affiliated schools.
- For dual track schools offering Integrated Programme (IP) and O-level Programme, affiliation consideration will only be given for the O-Level Programme.
- At least 20% of the places in each course, Express, Normal (Academic), Normal (Technical) will be allocated to students who do not benefit from affiliation priority.
- Schools with IP and O-Level Programme will have different codes.
Cut Off Point
The first thing to look at is the Cut Off Point or COP for school. It is more practical to choose schools with COP within the range of the student’s PSLE result. Given the increase competition due to AL scoring, choosing a school with lower COP, even if it is a point off will probably be impractical. Unless you have a secured 2nd choice, you will need to place your option wisely.
Eg: PSLE Score 12
- COP for School 1: 11
- COP for School 2: 14
- COP for School 3:15
You can try School 1 as option 1and place school 2 as the second option. Given that you have a good buffer, barring any unexpected shift in COP, you would most likely get into school 2.
- COP for School 1: 11
- COP for School 2: 12
- COP for School 3: 13
In this case, it may be wiser to drop school 1 and place school 2 as the first choice. In the event of a tie-breaker, the ranking of schools will be important as it is part of the criteria. Students who rank the school higher will have priority over the other in the event of a tie.
In any case, do have at least 1 SAFE school on the list. A SAFE school would have a COP of at least 2-3 points higher than the PSLE score. If not, in the event of no schools allocated based on options procidws, the student will not have any choice in the school allocated.
Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)
A good portion of the time will be spent in school on CCA. Under LEAPS 2.0, students will be recognised for participation, Achievement, Leadership and Service. As a result, they will obtain points for their CCA that can offset their GCE O Level scores.
Additionally, choosing a school with CCA that interests the student will motivate them to participate actively in the CCA for over 4 years. This, a school with a suitable CCA is a big factor to consider.
Student Development and Special Programmes
Some secondary schools offer special programmes such as Music Elective or Applied science that may interest the student. Others offer tailored character and leadership education and development . Looking beyond academic education may benefit students in the long run.
The school culture will be important for students, especially during their teenage years. Choosing a school that fits the student’s character would mean they will be better assimilated into a new environment.
Affiliation to Junior College (JC)
Choosing a school affiliated with JC benefits those who wish to embark on a JC path. This would give the student an additional 2 points off for affiliation. This would be good for students who are not taking Higher Language (HL) for Secondary schools as they cannot benefit from the additional deduction for O Levels from passing HL for JC application.
Distance to school
While Singapore is a small country with good transportation connections, you will be surprised by the travelling time for distance that are only 10km away . If all things equal, choose a school closest to your home. 30 minutes vs an hour travelling means you can save up to 5 hours a week or 20 hours a month. With secondary schools having longer hours and higher workloads, any time saved is good for the student.
Discuss with the child
Many times, as parents, we tend to have the tendency to impose our wishes on the child. While it is of good intentions, sometimes the child would have preferred other options. They may consider if they have classmates or friends attending the same school or strongly prefer a particular aspect of a school. Given that one spends 4-5 years in secondary school, discussing these options with the child and deciding together is best.
Good luck with your secondary school selection!