Here are some things you need to look out for when looking for the right secondary school for your child:
Factor into your child’s interests
Every child has their strengths, interests and learning styles that will play a factor in how well they will do in secondary school. While browsing at the schools’ options, your child can be in, look into their offerings and see if it matches your child’s interests.
If you are uncertain about your child’s interests, ask their advisers about it and look into their PSLE scores as well. You can also check the school’s website to see what learning model will be used to see if it will match your child’s preferred learning style.
Discuss it with your child
By this time, your child is starting to figure out what career they wish to take in the future and what interests them. As parents, it can be difficult for us to stop our impulses in pressing our children to careers we think is best for them. But it is not something that we should do because our children are different from us. Wherever they go can also affect their future.
Sit down with your child and ask them what they want to do in the future. If they are uncertain, provide some excellent advice and let them know that you are here to help. It would be best if you also looked with them at their grades to see where they may be able to be strong at and use it as a guide to finding the best secondary school for them.
Remember, the next 4 to 5 years will be integral to your child’s development, and it is also the time they will discover what they want to pursue.
Think about the distance
When choosing the school for your child, you have to consider where the school is located. Your children may have to travel quite a distance to get to their secondary school, which is a significant shift from their previous arrangement in primary school where they don’t have to worry about it since there is a school service.
However, while your child can go to the school themselves, the time they will spend travelling can cost them a lot of time to use for other things. Look into how long the travel time would be from the school to your home and vice versa. You should also see what routes are available to teach your alternative child routes if their primary way to school is unavailable.
Consider what the school has to offer
Every secondary school in the country has its own sets of values and vision for students to abide by, and it can be seen in what they offer to their students. Check the school campus and culture, school type, co-curricular activities and others.
Your child will also need to check what is being offered for subject combinations once they reach Secondary 3 or 4. Some schools may not have the right subject combinations for your children once they take their O-Levels and other national examinations. You should also look into the subject combinations needed for your child’s chosen course once they go into tertiary schools like Polytechnics or Junior College.
If your child has special needs, you will also have to check if the school will accommodate your child’s needs. You can check with the MOE which schools offer students with special needs or look into the S1 Posting Information Booklet provided to students.
Some schools offer special programs to cater to a child’s preference, such as Art Electives, Music Electives and so on if your child is interested in these programs, list down the schools which offer them and see how their curriculum would be like.
However, it would help if you remembered that these schools would have special requirements for your children to be admitted to these special programs. Check the conditions beforehand so your child will be able to prepare accordingly and show their proficiency through their PSLE.
Singapore does offer the Integrated Programme for students who wish to streamline upper secondary or junior college learning. Through this programme, students can skip the O-Levels and go immediately to their GCE ‘A’ levels or take the International Baccalaureate Diploma exams after studying for six years. If this is the path they will take, they will have a broader education and get a more thorough understanding of the subjects they wouldn’t take in another program.
Affiliation to Tertiary Educations
If your child intends to continue with their tertiary education, you may want to consider secondary schools that have an affiliation to a junior college.
Secondary schools that are partnered with Junior Colleges give their students two bonus points once they apply. Of course, the student will have to include the affiliated junior college in question once they do their Joint Admission Exercise and put the school in their first or second choice to be considered.
Choosing the right secondary school for your children is difficult, considering how important it is for your child’s development. Make sure to use all the resources available to see which schools may present the most benefit and let your children get involved in the process because it is for their future. You can also reach out to their primary school to help you find the most excellent options based on your child’s strengths.