Primary 1 School Admission for Foreigners in Singapore

It’s that time of the year again when the postbox of most of the foreigners, read not a citizen or a permanent resident (PR) of Singapore, awaiting primary 1 admission for their child in a local school get the rejection letter from the Ministry of Education (MOE). The MOE website clearly states that there are only limited vacancies in local schools for foreigners and it is better for them to look for alternatives in International schools well in advance. While no one knows how a foreigner can get admission in a local school, from the look of things, it appears that nothing more than luck plays a role in someone getting an admission. Let us first see the procedure for applying for a local school.

First of all, academic year in Singapore starts from January and a child completing 6 years age in the current year is eligible for primary 1 in the following year. The application process for the next academic year starts as early as the end of June. The first couple of months are reserved for the citizens and PRs and there are several phases in it. Till then, the MOE website is regularly updated with the number of vacancies in each school. The list is categorized based on the area the schools belong to.

Then comes the application date for foreigners which usually falls in the end of August. A few days prior to that, the website is updated with the list of schools which have vacancies for foreigners. However, it does not update the number of vacancy in each school and the total number of schools open for foreigners is also very less. The top-ranking schools are reserved only for citizens and PRs.

On the day of the application, the parent has to go the nearest school, wait in the queue and submit the application form. Apart from the birth certificate, passport and the Dependent/Long-term/Student pass of the child, the other important document required is the child’s immunisation records.

Then, the wait starts. The result is communicated only through post and it is done before November 30th. Early November is usually when a majority of people start receiving the letters.

Every year, it is at this time we see people comparing different international schools and quite a few moving back to their own country since the fees of International Schools are quite expensive in comparison to the local schools. While the monthly fees of local schools for foreigners is currently S$ 600, set to increase by S$ 50 each year for the next three years, the lowest monthly fee of an international school is not less than S$ 1000.

So what are the options for Indians? Stay tuned.

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