Whether you’ve been in Singapore for some time and your children have just reached school age, or you’ve just arrived here with youngsters in tow, finding the right school for them will be one of your priorities. To help you make an informed decision about which school is best for your child, we asked parents where they chose to send their children and why.
Australian International School
1 Lorong Chuan
6883 5515 | ais.com.sg
Our three daughters, Jazmin (11), Holly (8) and Indiana (6), have been attending AIS for just over a year. When we moved to Singapore, where to school our children was the most important decision to be made. While researching different schools, we heard of AIS’s good reputation. After visiting several schools, we left AIS feeling very certain that this was the school for us; it met all of our criteria. We are Australian, so it was also advantageous for us to continue with the Australian curriculum.
At AIS there is a high level of pastoral care, which is important to us. Our children have settled very well into the school and into life in Singapore. They made friends very easily and their teachers have all been encouraging and supportive. The Parents’ Association holds many fun events, so we have been able to really enjoy the school community.
The girls most enjoy sports, art, learning new things and being with their friends. Indi enjoys Mandarin enormously and Jaz thinks she’s so lucky to have gone to Tioman Island for a school camp and been selected to represent AIS in netball. Holly, who is quieter, chose public speaking as her co-curricular activity, which is great. They also learn the piano through the school.
The girls have met a wide variety of people through school and are fortunate to be sharing the experience with others from their hometown. We are sure they will enjoy many special friendships formed at AIS for years to come.
Kellie Dark, Australia
Avondale Grammar School
318 Tanglin Road
6258 8544 | avondale.edu.sg
We have two daughters, Alice in Year 6 and Felicity in Year 5, who have been attending Avondale for over four years. Before we relocated from Melbourne, I mainly did research through the internet, including on expat forums.
On a preview trip, I toured three schools and immediately felt at home at Avondale. Following the Australian curriculum and calendar made the transition very easy. The small class sizes help children settle in quickly and I noticed that the new children in their classes are instantly included in everything – and their families are, too.
A most important factor for me was that the school would get to know the girls as individuals and provide access to lots of sports and activities. Avondale, as a small school, offers this in abundance. Realistically, in a larger school my children would not have been selected for all the sports clubs and performance opportunities that have been made available to them.
Their teachers and other staff members know them well, encourage their interests and set high academic standards. My daughters are especially thriving under the Mentor Program, where they have a specific staff member to help them set goals and discuss any issues. They are also enjoying the new Leadership Program, where each student in Years 5 to 7 has a specific leadership role with responsibilities.
Avondale is more than a school – it’s a community with an uncanny ability to attract the most awesome teachers. Just ask my kids!
Lucinda Bertram, Australia
Chinese International School (CNIS)
60 Dunearn Road
6254 0200 | cnis.edu.sg
We have three children, aged eight, six and three, attending CNIS. We have been at the school since we came to Singapore in 2007.
We chose CNIS because it is the only school in Singapore to offer a bilingual (Mandarin and English) education with an IB accreditation. The school is small compared to other international schools in Singapore (only one or two classes per grade), and the classes are small, which means I have more personal contact with teachers, administrators and parents. CNIS is truly international; there is no dominant nationality. In my son’s class of 20 students there are 14 nationalities.
All my children have settled in quickly and easily at CNIS, primarily because of the community atmosphere. On my son’s first day of school he was greeted by several children he knew from my daughter’s class and their siblings. Also, he was assigned the same teacher that my daughter had two years previously, which added to his (and our) comfort level.
My children enjoy being with their friends, plus the challenge of learning new things. The PYP (Primary Years Programme) and the international environment allow them to expand their thinking in ways they would never have imagined at home.
CNIS is unique in Singapore because it is bilingual, international and IB-accredited. In our experience, CNIS is most interesting to parents who are making a longer-term commitment to Asia, and therefore have a vested interest in pursuing a bilingual education for their children.
Susan McKay, Canada and UK
Canadian International School (Lakeside campus)
7 Jurong West Street 41
6467 1732 | cis.edu.sg
In early 2011 we moved to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur, where we had lived for nine years. We had friends in Singapore and knew a little bit about the schools here. Living in KL, we were fortunate as we could visit prospective schools on multiple occasions to meet the admissions staff directly and also to see the campuses.
Some of the key factors we looked at were the school’s infrastructure, the responsiveness and approachability of the staff that we met, the academic programmes offered and also the feedback we got from our friends whose children studied there.
Our daughter Tanya, who is in Grade 12, has had an excellent experience at CIS. The school offers tremendous opportunities, which she has grabbed. Participation in extra-curricular activities like sports, MUN (Model United Nations), the student office, music and drama helped her settle into school life very quickly. She enjoys the leadership opportunities offered to her – such as being part of the student council and MUN – and the freedom to organise service drives such as blood donation camps.
Most of the top international schools in Singapore are terrific, and there is little difference between them. Visiting the campuses and meeting the staff, not only the admissions team but also the heads of grades, is a good idea. For parent with kids in middle or high school, it is critical to look at the high school diploma options and view them in light of where your kids want to go for third-level education.
Manjot Deol, India
Dover Court Preparatory School
301 Dover Road
6775 7664 | dovercourt.edu.sg
Angus (13), Bethany (10) and Rosie (7) have been pupils at Dover Court Preparatory School since we moved to Singapore from Hong Kong four years ago. We are British, and we wanted the children to be educated in a school following the English curriculum so that we could easily transfer back into the English system when the time came to move back to the UK.
Angus and Bethany had been at a small school in Hong Kong and we were keen to find a similar environment where each child would be known and valued for their own particular strengths. We felt that Dover Court could offer our children the opportunity to flourish within a small community, and this has certainly been the case. Between them, the children have been part of the infant (including nursery), junior and senior sections of the school.
A wonderful positive of the Dover Court Community is the integration of children with special needs. This has taught our children valuable life lessons about appreciating each individual and celebrating the uniqueness of the human spirit. The small classes offer each child the attention that they require and the enthusiasm of the teachers is notable.
We are returning to live in the UK this summer and the support that we received in securing places for each child in their new schools was wonderful. We will leave with very happy memories of Dover Court.
Fiona Michie, UK
James and I were looking for a school that was close to our home, would cater for all of our children and would provide a supportive environment that embraced diversity. We were very fortunate to have friends with children already at EtonHouse; we attended some school events prior to enrolling our own children, thus getting a feel for what was to come.
The task of finding a school for our children, Genevieve (8) and Xavier (5), was made more difficult by Xavier’s diagnosis of autism, but we were delighted when the children were both accepted by EtonHouse.
Genevieve is currently in the Year 3 bilingual class. She loves learning and especially enjoys her time with the specialist teachers at school. She has been given many opportunities to explore outside of the set curriculum, supported by her class teachers. Xavier has been attending ‘big school’ for nearly six months and is showing progress in many areas. Our youngest, Alexander (2) is yet to venture into schooling.
We have been very happy with the levels of support that have been offered by the dedicated staff and love the close community feel that pervades the school’s many celebrations of learning and living.
Mary and James Whittred, Australia
German European School Singapore (GESS)
72 Bukit Tinggi Road
6469 1131 | gess.sg
We have three children: Maximilian (9), and twins Francesca and Giulia (8). They have been going to the German European School for almost two years.
The school offers a German and European education system that allows students to be confident when returning to live in Germany. This was our main concern when finding a school. As well as choosing a school that exposed our children to the German education system, another important factor was that the curriculum is taught in English, which benefits them a lot.
GESS has great co-curricular activities, such as cooking, swimming and vocal classes. Maximilian enjoys the cooking classes; Francesca and Giulia do yoga and gymnastics.
Our children had no difficulties fitting into the school, as they were able to connect easily and were comfortable with the environment. There is a lot of interaction between teachers and students, with about 20 to 23 children in a class. The whole presence of the school gives off a strong family atmosphere, and there is a strong sense of community between everyone.
Fulvia De Luigi, Italy
Integrated International School
41 Sunset Way
6235 9602 | iis.com.sg
We have three children attending school in Singapore; our daughter Abby goes to the Integrated International School (IIS).
Abby was initially not accepted at a number of schools due to her special needs. In Australia, children with similar issues are mainstreamed. Confusion turned to desperation when we could not find a school for her here. We researched the internet and found Live and Learn, a special needs consultancy and assessment firm, who recommended Stars International (now IIS).
IIS offers small classes, with professionals trained in special needs teaching and an understanding about moving children along at their own pace. With personalised attention to detail, specifically about each individual child’s requirements, IIS was truly a good news story after our initial heartache.
Abby is suitably challenged, with the school ensuring that the disciplines that encourage successful learning are in place. She also learns appropriate behaviour and social skills through the teachers and by exploring with other students.
IIS allows Abby to mix with a group of children with similar challenges. In this way, they do not feel different and they gain support from one another. There is no fear of being left behind and potentially isolated, or feeling alone. Abby has found some very good friends that she mixes with at school and on weekends.
IIS has successfully been integrating mainstream children since 2012, and this has been fantastic. The mainstream children are very caring towards the special needs children and the school is like one happy family, truly tolerant and celebrating each child’s unique abilities.
Cathy and Paul Greenaway, Australia
ISS International School, Paterson Campus
25 Paterson Road
6737 6407 | iss.edu.sg
Our daughters have been attending ISS International School since 2010. Jasmine (9) is in Grade 4 and Jamie (5) is in K2. Both girls have thoroughly enjoyed their experience there.
Prior to moving here, we researched IB schools in Singapore. Once we had decided that ISS was a good fit for our girls, we contacted the school and had lengthy discussions with them about what academic documentation they required from us and what sort of school we were looking for. An overview of the school curriculum also provided an insight into the school’s philosophy. Despite the 11- or 12-hour time difference, we never felt as though we were being rushed, and all of our questions were answered.
The three most important factors for us in choosing ISS were: that it was centrally located and easily accessible by public transport; that it had a low student-teacher ratio and was a small school like the one that our oldest daughter attended in Bermuda; and that it was an international school, as we wanted our daughters to experience other cultures.
The first day we arrived in Singapore, we took our children to visit the school to meet their teachers and see their new surroundings. The teachers and students made our daughters feel so comfortable and welcome that they started classes that very day.
Jamie thinks school is fun and likes how she is taught. Jasmine likes the fact that she gets to meet students from other countries, and says that makes her experience at the school more interesting and fun.
Elaine Colmet, Bermuda
One World International School
696 Upper Changi Road
6542 2285 | owis.org
We have been living in Singapore for nearly one year and have been very happy with our choice of school, having looked at location, school size, school philosophy and cost. We have three children, aged eight, six and four, attending One World International School, and they settled in quickly.
Living on the East Coast, we wanted a school nearby so the children wouldn’t have a long commute. We also wanted a smaller school, as they are quite young and we didn’t want them to be overwhelmed. They were at a small school in Australia; we enjoyed our experience there and feel that a smaller school offers a more secure and nurturing environment.
Moving to Singapore, and because my husband and I are each from a different country, we wanted our children to experience a multinational environment and to meet children with different backgrounds.
The school offers daily Mandarin lessons – even for our four-year-old, which is impressive. Coming from Australia, which has close ties with Asia, proficiency in Mandarin is a skill that could be of great assistance to our children in the future as well as helping them to enjoy their time in Singapore now.
The school has been responsive to any concerns that we have had. For example, we felt our older son was not being challenged in the class he was in. They looked into it and offered a change of class; he has subsequently flourished.
Jennifer O’Riordan, Australia
Singapore American School
40 Woodlands Street 41
6363 3403 | sas.edu.sg
We moved from Dubai when our second child was two months old. My older son Nikhil (now a senior) joined SAS in Grade 1, and my daughter Anisha is now finishing Grade 6.
Selecting SAS was an easy process for us. The school came highly recommended by friends who had children studying there, and a couple of phone calls to the admissions office confirmed what we already knew about the school: it had a fun, friendly and enriching environment that would nurture each child.
The first weeks of school were crucial for my son, who had not only moved schools and countries but also had a new sibling. The transition was so smooth, however, that I signed up as a volunteer with the PTA in the first month. Being at the school with my son on special occasions and helping in the classroom sometimes helped bring us closer.
We all love SAS. My daughter, though in many ways different from her brother, has been encouraged to pursue her talents. Each child is treated as a precious person who will one day make a huge and positive impact on society. Each talent is honed, each fear is relieved and each parent is treated as an integral part of the journey that the student undertakes.
My children love that they can study, play their favourite instrument and play the games they love in school. The friendly and supportive teaching and administration staff is another reason that makes my children want to be at SAS.
Arathi Nilakantan, India
Stamford American International School
279 Upper Serangoon Road
6602 7247 | sais.edu.sg
We moved here almost two years ago from a small town in North Carolina. Our girls, Eleanor (14) and Olivia (11), are in the fifth and eighth grades, and have been at Stamford a year and a half.
When we moved, we made a list of criteria that were important to us when looking for a school. We listened to suggestions and searched online, but ultimately, touring the schools gave us a feel for what we were looking for. We wanted a school that was medium-sized; a place where kids seemed happy and enjoyed learning. We found all of this and more at SAIS.
The administrators and teachers are friendly and take a special interest in helping each child reach their true potential, not only academically but socially and through extracurricular activities. It’s a place where parents are welcomed. We also wanted a school that was American, with an IB programme. Importantly, we sought a school that was multicultural; Stamford kids are citizens of the world and all the different cultures pieced together create an extraordinary quilt. SAIS reminds us of being back home, but with a feeling of universality.
The best part of Stamford for our girls is the confidence they have gained in academics and in performing. They also appreciate the wonderful friends they have made along the way. Our kids transitioned easily because of the smaller school atmosphere and welcoming community.
Years from now, when we are back home, we will recall the fun memories we had in Singapore, and remember fondly our days at Stamford American International School.
Paul and Tica Winston, US
Tanglin Trust School
95 Portsdown Road
6778 0771 | tts.edu.sg
When we were moving here from Sydney, finding the right school for the children was a priority. We talked to friends who had lived in Singapore and my father who was a headmaster of an international school in Malaysia. We visited several schools to get a feel for each and immediately liked the positive atmosphere at Tanglin. Everyone was enthusiastic about their role within the school and we saw a great balance of academic rigour and the social and emotional education of the children.
Sophie (11), William (10) and Tom (6) have been at Tanglin since August 2011 and have thrived in what is a very stimulating, kind and stable environment. The teachers are incredibly committed and, given the vast number of children, still treat and know each child as an individual, which is a key factor in ensuring they quickly feel part of the community.
Moving from the Australian system into the UK system was a leap for the children, and the staff acknowledged this and supported them in this transition. They have had incredible opportunities to participate in competitive sport, community events and overseas trips, while being challenged and advancing academically. They have made some firm friends and rarely come home without a smile on their faces, talking animatedly about their day.
For a parent choosing a school, I recommend talking to current parents and looking at prospectuses and reviews, but feel it’s more important to go and see the school in action. You quickly get a gut feeling whether a school is right for your children.
Anna Meadows, UK and Australia
UWC South East Asia, East campus
1 Tampines Street 73
6305 5344 | uwcsea.edu.sg
Our family moved to Singapore in early August 2011. Our two elder children (Grades 9 and 7) attend United World College South East Asia, East campus. We are very happy with our choice; the school is superb and has far exceeded our initial expectations.
Before selecting this school, we checked the internet, asked friends in Singapore and visited a number of schools. The United World College movement’s service orientation and excellent facilities is well known throughout the world.
UWCSEA took great care of our children and held orientation sessions for both students and parents. The children felt welcomed and settled in virtually from day one.
Our children love the dynamism of the school and enjoy the learning atmosphere that makes education interesting and engaging. They have found interests in the school’s extracurricular activities, which include sports (rugby and football), drama (acting in plays by Brecht and Shakespeare) and music, and various service activities. Our eldest also had a unique opportunity to visit the Everest base camp in a school-organised trek.
UWCSEA has an excellent teaching and mentoring staff that we feel makes our children’s education here in Singapore a life-changing experience. As parents, we are truly grateful and our children are privileged to have these opportunities.
Kamal Taraporevala, India
Queensland Academies, Brisbane and Gold Coast
+61 7 3377 9366 | qa.eq.edu.au
The Queensland Academies are selective-entry state high schools for high achievers in Years 10 to 12. The campuses are located in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.
All three campuses offer the International Baccalaureate diploma programme – an internationally recognised pre-university-level qualification that allows subjects to be accelerated and graduating students to study at Australian tertiary institutions or overseas universities.
The Academies are dedicated to engaging and empowering Queensland’s high-achieving students in a collaborative, world-class environment that allows them to realise their potential. Their students consistently excel academically. What’s more, each campus offers specialisations that give students the opportunity to achieve both within and beyond the classroom.
At the Creative Industries campus at Kelvin Grove, students benefit from state-of-the-art technology and facilities, both on site and within the Queensland University of Technology Creative Industries precinct. This supports a diversity of creative subjects, including theatre, music, film, visual arts (both fine arts and design) and design technology.
Students at the Health Sciences campus at Southport, in partnership with the adjacent Griffith University Gold Coast campus, gain university course credits and enrich their studies in areas such as the sciences, humanities, business and health.
Students at the Science, Mathematics and Technology campus at Toowong work collaboratively with the University of Queensland to enrich their studies in areas such as the sciences, engineering, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics and health.
Whether you are moving to a new country within Asia, or you are a long-term expat living in Asia but looking for the right school environment for your child, you might want to consider seeking advice from an education consultant.
ITS Education Asia’s consultants offer a bespoke and flexible service to suit your specific requirements. Whatever your situation, they will match your child to the school that meets their educational, social and emotional requirements. Their team of educational experts is supported by resources, expertise, research and client services managers.
ITS Education Asia’s excellent relationships with both day and boarding schools have been developed over many years. The consultants have strong personal links with head teachers, admissions directors and registrars at many of the most sought-after international and local schools around Asia.
A variety of placement solutions are offered to meet your and your child’s needs – from a single consultation, to step-by-step management of the school placement application and school admissions process. They can:
- Assess your needs
- Provide information about suitable schools including admission requirements
- Check availability of places
- Contact admissions offices
- Assist in the application process
- Arrange school tours and interviews
- Prepare children for interviews and entrance assessments
Other key services include bespoke packages for higher education and careers advice, hourly residential and online tutoring, guides to special needs schools, and summer school programmes.