There’s a wide array of International Schools in Singapore to cater for the varying needs of expatriate children. Demand for places in international schools is intense and waiting lists are in operation for many of the schools, hence to allow the greatest possible choice start dialogue with the schools you’re interested in as soon as possible.
Applying to International Schools in Singapore
School fees include registration fees, non –refundable new student fees, annual infrastructure fees and annual tuition fees. Fees in international schools in Singapore range from pre-school of $15,000 to fees for senior students up to $47,000.
The availability of places for students to enter international schools in Singapore has been enhanced through the opening of new campuses and new international schools in the past three years. Inspite of greater capacity there are waiting lists for places at some international schools for certain grade levels. Each school has a unique policy on how the waiting list is managed.
To be confident that when you arrive in Singapore that your children can commence class at the preferred school of choice, it is advisable to submit applications for review and once accepted to register as early as possible, which may be up to eight months ahead of a new academic year. If you intend to arrive in Singapore during an academic year, check with your school of choice whether mid – term or mid – year entry is available. There are restrictions for entry dates for senior year students.
Language of instruction at International Schools
There are 17 international schools in Singapore that deliver tuition in English. This number includes the German European School and the Lycee Franciase of Singapore which each have a section delivering multi-lingual tuition English/German and English/ French. There are three Singaporean Integrated schools also delivering tuition in English.
In addition to the international schools delivering instruction in English, the Chinese International school delivers instruction in Mandarin, and for families who seek to place their child in school dedicated to giving instruction in their mother tongue European language or Asian language you can apply to Swiss, French, German, Dutch , Korean or Japanese schools.
There are supplementary schools for classes at weekends or afternoons for Italian, Spanish and Finnish speakers. Foreign language tuition and mother tongue language tuition is offered within the curriculum at the International Schools.The frequency of classes in the weekly schedule differs within each international school.
A sample of the variety of language options offered include Stamford American School: daily Mandarin or Spanish for all students; Avondale Grammar School: daily Mandarin or French; Eton House International School: daily Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese or English as a second language. Singapore American School daily Mandarin in Primary school, twice per week in Intermediate School, at Grade 6 introduction to Spanish, French and Japanese with selections by students to focus on their language of choice as they progress into High School.
Mother tongue programs are offered too with as a sample the German European School of Singapore (GESS) offering secondary students Dutch and Danish which is fully integrated into the curriculum The Australian International School offers classes in Mandarin, Korean, Japanese and Bahasa Indonesia.
Curricula Offered at International Schools in Singapore
There are ten different curricula offered in the international schools delivering instruction in English. The most popular is the International Baccalaureate (IB), Primary Years Program and Middle Years Program known as PYP and MYP which is offered in 13 schools including being offered at the Chinese International School. The curriculum is a student collaboration and enquiry based learning philosophy. Milestones are measured through assessment tasks and group and individual projects not measured through examinations. You can read about the IB approach on their website.
The most popular final High School examination program is the International Baccalaureate IB Diploma which is being offered in ten international schools and also in the three Singaporean Integrated International schools.
The next most popular curriculum offered by the International schools which leads to the final High School curriculum is the Cambridge IGCSE which is delivered in Grades 9 & 10. Nine schools including the Globan Indian School, The Australian International School and the three Singaporean Integrated International Schools offer the Cambridge IGCSE.
The variety of curricula offered can create confusion for families when selecting the school which may cater to their child’s immediate needs or to prepare them for entry into their desired tertiary institution.
Waiting list management policies include sibling priority which places a sibling ahead of a student with an earlier application date, preference for holders of specific nationality passport eg American passport holder at the Singapore American School or Australian passport holder at Australian International School and children of staff at the Canadian International School (CIS), students transferring from one CIS campus to another and children who are Canadian citizens.
The schools usually follow the curriculum of their native countries and the International Baccalaureate. Classes cover those from 4 to 18.
The facilities at the international schools are phenomenal and kids will be kept busy until late afternoon/evening with extra-curricular activities. This includes sports, music, sciences and debating- just a few examples. Most schools provide afternoon transport and students will be dropped back home after class or activities. Check with the respective transport office for more information.
Many expatriate workers negotiate this fee into their benefits package. If you haven’t tried already, this proposal could save you a lot over the course of your stay in Singapore. Because more expatriates are being employed on local terms, and prices for International Schools are on the rise, many expat families are choosing to send their children to local schools.
Learning Support and Special Needs Schools
Conditions catered for in main stream International Schools and at dedicated Special Needs Schools are Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Asperger’s Syndrome, development/physical disability, Down (or Down’s) Syndrome, Dyslexia/Dyspraxia, language delays/disorders and specific learning disabilities.
It is recommended that you contact your school of choice to obtain information about the current support services offered. The services range from Learning Support departments which provide a wide range of support services, to main stream schools which offer limited services for students with learning challenges. Admission is decided on a case by case basis to ensure that the academic team can provide the appropriate programs to support the academic , behavioral and emotional development so students reach their potential.
Dedicated Special Needs schools include Dover Court Preparatory School, Divinity Especial Needs Intervention Centre, Genesis School for Special Education, Integrated International School, St Clare School of Special Education, St Gerard’s School and Zee School. With other options for tuition available in schools run by Voluntary Welfare Organisations: Towner Gardens School, Lee Kong Chian Gardens School, Fernvale Gardens School and Woodlands Garden School. The web sites indicate fees for foreigners.
The volunteers who run support group Singapore Special Needs and Parents (SSNAP) have compiled a list which is available for group members which includes schools, support groups, medical services, educational support centres and tutors, development centres, multi-disciplinary therapy centres, psychologists and counselors, occupational therapists, natural therapists and professional services related to hearing, vision and speech. You can visit that list here.