Singapore is well-known for its top-notch education system, and expats relocating to the country often decide to choose the right international school for their children. With over 80 international schools available, finding the perfect fit can be daunting.
This guide provides an overview of the factors parents should consider when selecting an international school in Singapore, including curriculum, school fees, location, and more.
Curriculum Options in International Schools
The curriculum is one of the most critical factors when choosing an international school. Singapore offers several curriculums, including the International Baccalaureate (IB), British, American, Australian, and others. It is essential to research each curriculum and select one that aligns with your child’s educational needs and future academic goals.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
The IB program is popular with many expat families due to its global recognition and high academic standards.
The program focuses on developing well-rounded students with critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. The IB program is divided into three levels: Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP), and Diploma Programme (DP).
The British curriculum, also known as the National Curriculum for England, is another popular choice for ex-pat families.
This curriculum is known for its structured approach and rigorous standards. Schools following the British curriculum typically offer IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) and A-Levels.
The American curriculum is based on the Common Core State Standards and focuses on developing students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Schools following the American curriculum typically offer the Advanced Placement (AP) program or the High School Diploma.
Based on the Australian National Curriculum, the Australian curriculum focuses on developing students’ literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking skills. Schools following the Australian curriculum offer the Australian Certificate of Education (ACE) or the Higher School Certificate (HSC).
It is essential to research each curriculum thoroughly and consider your child’s learning style, academic goals, and the likelihood of your family relocating again.
School Fees and Additional Costs
International schools in Singapore are known for their high fees, ranging from S$20,000 to S$50,000 per year. It is essential to factor in the school fees when selecting an international school.
In addition to the tuition fees, there may be additional costs such as application, registration, uniform, and transportation fees. Some schools also require a debenture, a refundable deposit paid by parents to secure a place for their children.
Location and Transportation
The location of the school is another crucial factor to consider. Singapore has well-developed public transportation, but it is still essential to factor in the daily commute to and from school.
Some international schools offer bus services, so checking the transportation options and routes is crucial. Choosing a school near your home or workplace also minimises commuting time.
School Size, Facilities, and Extracurricular Activities
The size of the school can impact the learning environment and student-teacher ratios. Smaller schools offer a more intimate learning environment with personalised attention, while larger schools may have more extensive facilities and extracurricular activities.
When selecting a school size, it is essential to consider your child’s personality and learning style.
International schools in Singapore usually offer excellent facilities, such as state-of-the-art classrooms, sports facilities, and performing arts centres. Visiting the school and examining the facilities is essential to ensure they meet your child’s needs.
Extracurricular activities play a vital role in a child’s overall development. Inquire about the range of activities offered by the school, such as sports, clubs, and community service opportunities.
School Reputation and Accreditation
Researching the school’s reputation and accreditation status is crucial when selecting an international school. Accreditation ensures that the school meets certain quality standards and is recognised by other educational institutions. Speak to other parents and read online reviews to gain insights into the school’s reputation and the quality of education provided.
Language Support and Special Needs
If your child is not a native English speaker, it is essential to consider the language support available at the school. Many international schools in Singapore offer English as an Additional Language (EAL) programs to help non-native English speakers improve their language skills.
Additionally, inquire about the school’s approach to teaching other languages, as some schools may offer bilingual or multilingual programs.
Considering the support available for students with special needs is also crucial. Ensure that the school has trained staff and appropriate resources to accommodate and support children with learning difficulties or disabilities.
Curriculum and Teaching Approach
International schools in Singapore offer various curricula, including the International Baccalaureate (IB), British, American, Australian, and Singaporean national curriculums.
Consider your child’s educational needs and your long-term plans when selecting a school with a suitable curriculum. If you plan to move back to your home country or another country in the future, it is essential to choose a curriculum that is recognised and accepted in your intended destination.
Additionally, research the school’s teaching approach and philosophy. Does it focus on academic achievement, holistic development, or a balance of both? Consider your child’s learning style and preferences when evaluating the school’s teaching approach.
Extracurricular activities play a significant role in your child’s overall development. International schools in Singapore often offer diverse activities, including sports, arts, music, and clubs. Consider the school’s extracurricular offerings and ensure they align with your child’s interests and abilities.
Facilities and Resources
The quality of facilities and resources is another essential factor when selecting an international school. Visit the school in person to assess the classrooms, libraries, sports facilities, and other amenities. Ensure the school has adequate resources to support your child’s learning and development.
Class Size and Teacher-Student Ratio
Smaller class sizes typically allow for more individualised attention and support from teachers. Research the school’s average class size and teacher-student ratio to ensure your child receives the attention they need.
Additionally, inquiring about the qualifications and experience of the teaching staff, as well-trained and experienced teachers, are crucial to providing high-quality education.
Cost and Financial Assistance
International schools in Singapore can be expensive, so it is essential to consider the cost of tuition and other fees. Additionally, inquire about any financial assistance, scholarships, or payment plans that may be available to help offset the cost of education.
Location and Transportation
Lastly, take into account the school’s location and the availability of transportation options. Consider the school’s proximity to your home or work and the availability and reliability of school buses or public transportation.
Selecting the right international school in Singapore requires thorough research and consideration of various factors. Keep in mind your child’s educational needs, interests, and future plans when evaluating different schools. By doing so, you can make an informed decision and provide your child with the best possible educational experience.
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