It’s probably not unique to Singapore that parents are obsessed with which schools their children go to. But the MOE primary school registration system is probably like no other.
To get into top schools that are typically oversubscribed, there is a balloting process put in place. Tiger parents would plan ahead to fulfil the criteria that will help them get higher chances at the ballot.
The more pragmatic ones may simply prefer a school that’s near. These parents will have a relaxed time if the schools nearby are less popular, which means that the vacancies will outnumber the applications so there is no need for balloting.
No matter which type of parent you are, if you need a step-by-step guide to MOE primary school registration in Singapore, you’ve come to the right place.
MOE primary school registration 2019: Which phase can you apply?
|Phase 1||3 and 4 July||–||Child has a sibling studying in the primary school of choice|
|Phase 2A(1)||9 July||12 July||Child has a parent who is an alumni and has joined the alumni association at least 1 year before PSLE registration, or, is a member of the School Advisory/Management Committee|
|Phase 2A(2)||15 and 16 July||19 July||
Child whose parent or sibling has studied in the primary school of choice.
Child whose parent is a staff member of the primary school of choice Child who attended MOE Kindergarten under the purview of the said school
|Phase 2B||22 and 23 July||26 July||
Child whose parent has joined the primary school as a parent volunteer at least 1 year ago and has given 40 hours of volunteer service by 30 June 2019
Child whose parent is endorsed by the church or clan directly connected to the school
Child whose parent is endorsed as an active community leader.
|Phase 2C||From 29 July 9 am to 31 July 4.30pm||7 August||For all children who are eligible for Primary One in the following year and are not yet registered in a primary school|
|Phase 2C Supplementary||From 12 August 9 am to 13 August 4.30pm||21 August||For a child who is not registered in a primary school after Phase 2C|
|Phase 3||October 2019||31 October||Only for non-Singapore Citizen and non-PR who have indicated their interest from 4 June to 10 June and are informed by MOE in October that they can be offered a place.|
Phases 1, 2A(1), 2A(2), 2B are conducted at the primary school, while Phase 2C and 2C Supplementary are conducted online through the Primary 1 Internet System (P1-IS).
If you’ve done the hard work registering your older child years ago, you can now enjoy the fruits of your labour, because Phase 1 is easy peasy.
You simply have to submit the registration form and relevant documents through the older sibling. Your child is confirmed a spot, so there’s no result announcement.
For Phase 2A(1), 2A(2) and 2B, according to the MOE P1 Registration Exercise website, the hours of registration are from 8 am to 11 am and from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm on each of the registration dates.
As Singaporean citizens are prioritised for primary school places, non-Singapore citizens and non-PR will need to indicate an interest to enrol, and then the applications will open for them at Phase 3. Read more about the procedure for Phase 3 on MOE’s website.
The number of vacancies in the primary schools will be updated along the way, so you can check on MOE’s admissions page.
If you die die want a school that is traditionally known to be oversubscribed, you need to start planning early.
Here is what you need to do:
Consider moving near to your preferred school
There are two types of parents in Singapore. The first type who won’t settle for anything less than a prestigious school like Methodist Girls’ School or Anglo-Chinese Primary School.
Competition will be fierce, so these parents start planning as soon as the child is born. If they did their planning right, they would shift their address near the school and stay there 30 months from primary school registration in order to enjoy priority admission.
If your parents or grandparents stay near the school, you can make an alternative child-care arrangement declaration so as to use their address.
In the event that the school is in its holding place, the permanent location will be taken into account.
This year, P1 registration exercise starts on 3 July 2019. Rental addresses are accepted.
Then, there is the other type of parents who is pragmatic and believe that “every school is a good school”. If you feel that the nearest school will suffice just fine, you can simply go to Google Maps and find the nearest school within 2 km radius of your home.
Sign up for alumni association, volunteer at the school, or join an affiliated organisation at least 1 year prior
As you can see from Phases 2A(1), 2A(2) and 2B, your child will be given a priority if you are:
- An alumni of the school
- An alumni of the school AND you sign up for the Alumni Association (which typically, isn’t free)
- A member of the School Advisory or Management Committee
- A staff of the school
- A volunteer with the school. You will need to contribute 40 hours, starting from at least 1 year prior (if there is a Parent Volunteer Scheme)
- A member of an affiliated association, either a church, the Buddhist Federation, or a clan like Hokkien Huay Kuan
You need to do this at least 1 year prior to the MOE Primary One Registration Exercise 2019. So hopefully, you’ve settled these in June 2018.
What you need to bring for P1 Registration Exercise
To register your child, you will have to bring:
- The child’s Birth Certificate
- The child’s Singapore Citizenship Certificate for those who are not Singapore Citizens at the time of birth
- Singapore NRIC of both parents or Entry Permit / Re-entry Permits of parents if they do not possess Singapore NRIC
- The child’s Immunisation Records, which you can obtain from the HPB National Immunisation Registry.
If parents are Singaporean PRs without a Singapore IC, they must also bring along entry permit/re-entry permits of parents.
For foreigners and non-PRs, there are more things to bring. Read more about Phase 3 on MOE’s website here.
How to choose a good primary school
In Singapore, all schools follow the same curriculum that is regulated by Ministry of Education. Purely in terms of academics, your child will receive a world-class education.
The first variable factor you should look at is obviously location since your child will be commuting to and from the school for the next 6 years.
But there are other variables to consider before you proceed with MOE P1 registration.
Religion: In Singapore, a good number of schools have some sort religious backing, and the name will give it away (e.g. Methodist or Anglo-Chinese). In these schools, children may be required to go for mass chapel sessions or sing Buddhist songs. There will always be a secular option, meaning that it’s not compulsory to attend them.
Gender: If you have children of both genders, then you may want to go for a co-ed school so that they can attend the same school, and it’s easy to send and pick up the child. And, the child enjoys priority admission. But if you’re the kind of parent who wants them to focus on studies by not interacting with the opposite gender, then that’s your call.
Secondary school affiliations: You may also want to think long-term. Several primary schools have affiliations to secondary schools. The child can have an easier time later going to a specific secondary school later on if you go for such a school.
Teachers: The curriculum is world class, but we all know from personal experience that type of teachers in a school matters a lot in terms of ensuring that your child stays interested in learning. To check if your child will be going to a school where the teachers are warm and engaged, you might want to poke around in forums like KiasuParents.com.
Academic pressure: Schools that require balloting to get into are very popular. This means that the parents are more engaged and by some level, more well-to-do. Usually, this means that the academic pressure to do well in school is high. This can go 2 ways: Your child may be inspired to achieve perfect grades and learn how to strive for excellence, or the stress may get simply too overwhelming. The choice is you and your child’s.
CCAs: I doubt that many 6-year-olds have a clear idea of what their passion or hobby is, but in the event that your child really does, you might want to find a school that has a relevant CCA that he or she will enjoy.
Which primary school will you be registering your child for? Or are you one of those tiger parents who is planning ahead? Share your experience with us!