When viewed from the street, most international schools give little away; it’s often impossible to know what lies beyond the security guard. Here, we get a sneak peek at what goes on inside five of Singapore’s international schools, from the first-class school facilities to the programmes on offer for your child.
In under a year, the students of GESS will settle into their new school campus at Dairy Farm Road, just across from the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. The purpose-built $135m campus boasts numerous ecologically friendly features and will open with 1,600 students (capacity is 2,000) and over 300 staff in August 2018.
The focus on hands-on learning will continue and facilities at the new campus will really turn up the notch for students – to the point where they may not even know what to do first! Develop culinary prowess at the Cooking Lab? Take to the stage in the 400-seat auditorium and practice in the arts, music and drama rooms, recording studio and a vocal instrument centre? Play sport on competition-sized sports fields and do laps in the Olympic-sized swimming pool? Get creative at the Design and Technology Centre and Makers’ Space? As the cliché goes, the sky really is the limit.
Even though it’s a big campus, GESS will maintain a sense of community for students (who range in age from 18 months to 18 years) through distinct learning pods dedicated to each age group. And language clusters in the primary and secondary school provide the physical structure to underpin GESS’s focus on languages, and providing Europeans foundations for tomorrow’s world.
As well as in traditional classrooms, learning at Nexus happens in innovative learning pods. These interactive and collaborative pods are designed to enhance the teaching and learning experience by empowering each child, whatever their age, to be involved in deciding how they wish to work depending on the agreed learning outcomes, using the best available and most appropriate resources, information and technology.
One example of innovation is Makerspaces, where students really get to exercise their creativity. Recently, learners at Nexus moved Pokémon Go from virtual to reality: they spent time analysing, modelling and 3D printing a Pokémon ball that integrated with electronics to flip open so they could ‘catch them all’.
Planning has begun for a new Nexus campus to open in 2020 at Aljunied. The school is being designed to offer effective and flexible learning spaces to meet the learning needs of 2,000 students. Facilities will include a 50-metre pool, a full-size astro-turf sports field, music recording studios, library, 700-seat theatre, sports halls, a fitness gym and more.
Overseas Family School (OFS)
School facilities at the purpose-built campus of OFS, which opened in 2015 in the island’s east, underpin a holistic education and a dynamic community, and encourage excellence in every student. The campus is home to just about every possible facility that a learner could wish for. (It’s built to accommodate 4,800 students.)
Sports are covered in the two astro-turf fields and five covered courts, and the next Michael Phelps can train in the covered 10-lane Olympic-sized swimming pool. Aspiring actors, meanwhile, can tread the boards in the 112-seater Black Box Theater, which has state-of-the-art audio-visual and lighting facilities; plus, there is a spacious 2,400-seater multi-purpose auditorium for large gatherings.
From Pre-Kindergarten to High School, OFS offers spacious and bright classrooms, four libraries housing over 200,000 books, 16 science labs for chemistry, physics and biology, five technology labs, chess and coding rooms, and dedicated music and art rooms. OFS opened in 1991 and academic places are available. Check it out for yourself on a school tour.
Also: Read what it’s like to live in the Pasir Ris neighbourhood
One World International School (OWIS)
OWIS Nanyang Campus is the school’s second campus in the area known as Pioneer, in the island’s west. The new 1,200-place school, set on 3.2 hectares, will open in January 2018 and offer some of the lowest school fees for international schools in Singapore.
The school offers a holistic multicultural education with the aim of delivering outstanding results through a core focus on quality tuition and a unique and all-rounded learning experience for students. Among the many school facilities and curriculum highlights will be the following:
- Classrooms equipped with e-learning technology, including Apple iPads for on-campus use
- Dedicated spaces for entrepreneurship, performing and visual arts, technology and robotics
- A “nature kindergarten programme” open to local and international students with an emphasis on a natural learning environment
- The International Baccalaureate Programme for both Primary School and Diploma levels
- Cambridge’s IGCSE programme, for students aged 11 to 16
- Fees of $17,000 per child for Kindergarten and Primary, and a cap of $20,000 for Secondary students
Global Indian International School (GIIS)
GIIS is recognised for its hallmark initiatives in educational excellence, environmental conservation, peace- and value-based education, and community integration. Through participation in a range of school activities and external programmes, there are fruitful opportunities for students of all ages not only to learn but to develop their personalities.
For young learners, Global Montessori Plus is a customised Montessori-based curriculum filled with opportunities to play and learn. A dedicated indoor play space offers the opportunity for children to really maximise their school day. As well as 80 minutes of sport programmes weekly for every student, GIIS has set up a Gold Squad Programme to identify, develop and hone elite athletes in soccer, cricket, badminton, basketball and tennis.
Students are eligible for selection to represent the school at both national and international competitions. Arts, drama and music are an essential part of the schooling experience at GIIS and students receive classes in a range of areas including vocal music, percussion instruments, classical and contemporary dance plus lessons in visual arts.
Look out for the new campus with purpose-built school facilities under development at Punggol!
Four locations across Singapore
Also: Read what it’s like to live in the Punggol neighbourhood
Keen to compare? Check out the facilities at other Singapore international schools