Ask Dominique: P1 Woes

Image by Oberazzi via Flickr

Last weekend I received this question from Cynthia.

She asked

Could you share on how to select a good primary school for our children? Must we really buy a property within 1 km of the school to get in? Our children are about of same age group so we face the same issue. For example, if I want my son to get into ACS but do not stay near there then got to ballot, slim chances of getting in.

Choosing a good primary school is never and easy decision for a parent. There are many factors which have to be considered. [ I have shared about this in my E-book-How to choose the Right Primary School]

I would like to highlight that choosing a primary school would depends on

  1. Ability of child and his/her interest
  2. Distance of school from home and willingness and ease of transportation.

Purchasing a property within 1km would not GUARANTEE that your child will enter the school of your desire as there is still a chance of losing out in the balloting process if there is an oversubscription for that particular year. If the particular school is very popular, as the cited ACS,ย  and has its own alumni ( Old boys club), religious association, Methodist in this case, andย  parents volunteer club these people’s kids would have a priority over those staying within 1km.

I would also like to state that if you are not able to get into a “Branded”/”favoured” school under Phase 2A1/2A2/2B or 2C you would then have to subject your child to re-apply for a place at another lesser known or not of your choice under Phase 2C supplementary. It is a gamble that you would have to take and it is unknown if the odds are for you or stacked up against you.

Every year during the P1 registration exercise, MOE will state the number of vacancies left for each school after each phase has been closed. There is also a list of primary schools conducting balloting so you will have a clearer idea of your child’s chances for that school.

For me ,personally, the options that I have for my boys are

  • Under Phase 2A2 if I am teaching in a good school in the year my children are due for registration.
  • Under Phase 2C and within 1KM from the school of choice.

I won’t be applying to be a parent volunteer and move house just to be nearer my favoured school for my child as I do not see the benefits (time wise or financially) from taking such actions.

What would you as a parent advise Cynthia?

*Update- How to Choose the right Primary School is being updated and currently removed “