The cost of school fees in Singapore is probably one of the main reasons families decide not to move here, or choose not to stay on. If your expat package does include them you’re lucky, but these days it’s not the norm.
In recent years there has been some resentment towards expats on expat packages, but with International School fees costing between $20,000 and $35,000 a year and very few local school alternatives available, additional allocation for fees is not a luxury but a necessity.
There are limited local school places for PRs (Permanent Residents) and even fewer for International Students (IS). Fees for ISs start at $550 in primary and go up to $1,150 a month for Pre-University level, so it can really add up if you have a couple of children.
While a few expats have decided to home school, one man thought about the money he was going to spend on educating his three children over the years and decided to invest in a school: one with fees of just $15,000 a year, significantly less than those of the average International School.
The man is John Fearon, co-founder of tech venture builder Sugar Ventures. He came up with the concept of Invictus Private School and found investors and the right advisors to make it a reality.
He is working with three key personnel who will focus on shaping the school with the quality of education as the core.
The principal, Mary Ann Davies, has taught for 20 years and headed four schools in Britain, China and Qatar. Having grown up in Hong Kong herself, understanding third culture children and empathizing with those who may be struggling being away from their home countries is an important part of the role for both her and her staff.
School Advisors include Larry Ching, recently awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for his contribution to education, and Dr David Robinson. Dr Robinson is an Oxford graduate (from 3 generations of Oxford grads) with years of consulting experience and is currently an Academic Advisor and on the Board of Trustees at St Louis University. They are both serving on the Academic and Examination Board of the school.
Opening on 15 August in the first of its locations at Bukit Merah Central, Invictus will focus on education and teachers, cutting out the cost of facilities and amenities to make it more affordable. Co-curricular activities such as sport, music and drama will be available but outsourced.
The teacher-to-student ratio is likely to be about 1:18, up to a maximum of 1:25. The Board of Educators wants the ‘back to basics’ focus to be on good teachers, and parents being given a clear understanding of their child’s education. As John’s background is technology, he would like that to be a key element in the future of the school; there is already a computer room, in addition to an activity room for creative arts and assemblies.
The school is launching with 75 places available for students in Grades 1 and 2, and it will follow the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), developed in the UK. The response has been so good that they are already looking for more locations, with the aim of not having one large campus but several.
Invictus sounds like it might just be what Singapore needs to bridge the gap between local and existing international schools. If you’d like to go for a tour or talk to someone, contact the school at:
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