For many of us, selecting the right international schools for our children is, after choosing where to live, the most important decision we have to make when moving to a new country. There’s a wide choice of international schools in Singapore, most of which offer a multicultural environment, with students from a diverse range of backgrounds and countries. Add to this a wide variety of curriculums, from single-country programmes to the International Baccalaureate and International Primary Curriculum, and there’s not much more that a parent could wish for.
While a visit to a school is often the best way to make an instinctive decision based on the individual needs of your children, hearing the opinions of other families about their experiences can be invaluable. The following guide is not just a list of international schools in Singapore, it features a multitude of referrals from Expat Living readers to help you decide on a school, or slim down the list of schools you will visit.
Stamford American International School
Parents: Rebecca and Ben Daniels, American
Child: Cora (13)
“Cora started at Stamford American midway through first grade when we arrived in Singapore in March 2013. She’ll complete eighth grade this June. We chose Stamford American because of the emphasis on the IB teaching philosophy and the diversity of the student population. We also expected to stay a few years before returning to the States, so being on the same calendar was a benefit. We also liked the central location which allows us to live reasonably close to work and school. Like many families who move here, we decided to stay, and we continued with Stamford due to the excellent teachers, Cora’s excitement to go to school every day and the positive relationships with her teachers.
Cora loves that she can choose the topics she studies in each subject and her teachers guide the development of those ideas. She also regularly makes recommendations on new books to add to the library. There are a few school activities each year that offer students the chance to try out an activity or profession. Stamford also has a variety of athletic programmes, many of which practice on campus, which is convenient for working parents. Cora started tennis with Coach Rose in the Lions Tennis Academy and enjoys playing on the U14 team. She also has the opportunity to build her leadership skills in Girl Scouts after school. Stamford has been a great support for Cora – her teachers take the time to know her and push her to excel. We’re excited for her to continue into high school and complete the IB programme.
We recommend Stamford for the educational support it provides to students. The school embraces a diversity of nationalities, learning styles and personalities.”
One World International School
Parents: Christina and Aaron Oliver
Children: Jacob (12), Samuel (10) and Alyssa (7)
“This is our second time living in Singapore – we moved back here in 2018 after being in Dubai for four years. A big consideration for our family was the size of the school. The idea of a school with over 3,000 children did not seem personable enough to us, so a moderate school size was a factor in our choice. Curriculum was also important. The fact that OWIS offers both IGCSE and IB was key. We also like how down to earth everyone is. They are approachable and sensible, and they place the children first. They take a back-to-basics approach of prioritising what matters, which is the educational and social wellbeing of pupils. We appreciate the school’s strong core values and how they communicate with the children, not only with parents.
The timetable is balanced, and the students know what to expect, know what is expected of them and understand how they can add value. We also like the fact that technology plays enough of a part within their studies but doesn’t take over basic literacy skills of reading, writing and presentation. Putting pen to paper is still an important skill to master, and at OWIS there is a balance. There are also many school activities, campaigns and initiatives around the theme of kindness and having a global mindset. So far, all seasonal holidays have also been celebrated across all the school’s cultures and main ethnic groups. It’s always colourful!
Our children often tell us what they discuss and write about at school, and they’re able to talk about the unit of inquiry being covered in class. They also like to share what happens during lunch and break-time.
• 21 Jurong West Street 81
• Block G, 231 Mountbatten Road
Australian International School
Parents: Charmaine and Paul Keogh, Australian
Children: Xavier (18), Stirling (15), Zara-Catherine (12) and Phoebe-Jane (8)
“We’ve been living in Singapore for six years and our daughters Zara and Phoebe are currently attending AIS. Xavier completed the IBDP last year and is due to start at Imperial College, London, while Stirling completed Years 4 to 8 and is now attending boarding school in Melbourne. Our children have been to many schools, from Montessori preschools in South Korea and English preschools and primary schools in Hong Kong to a great IB school in Melbourne. We wanted a school that could meet the individual needs and interests of our four kids and also a caring one that is academically challenging and dynamic, with a range of co-curricular activities. AIS fit the bill for us.
AIS has passionate and committed teachers and this is particularly important to our family as we want our children to achieve their full potential, both academically and socially. Xavier, Stirling and Zara are very passionate about sport and have enjoyed fabulous opportunities to represent AIS locally and overseas. Our boys cannot speak highly enough of the Athlete Development Programme (ADP), which is designed to set fitness and nutrition goals and educate athletes on strength and conditioning. Zara can’t wait to join the ADP next year. The school’s outdoor education programme is also a highlight for us. Last year, Phoebe had a two-day activity based camp, which included a sleepover at school. Music, drama and the arts at AIS are newer to us as a family but we’re so impressed with the opportunities given to the students. Last year, Zara participated in her first school musical, The Jungle Book. Phoebe also just started piano lessons at school and the access to facilities, musical instruments, tuition and quality teachers is incredibly pleasing.
I would recommend the school to families who are looking for a well rounded and solid education. Besides having a welcoming and friendly vibe, the school is also a place of action and engagement. There is always something interesting and amazing that the students are involved with. AIS is more than a school – it’s a community, a tribe; it has a heartbeat.”
Canadian International School
Parents: Sanjiv Vincent D’souza and Ruth Nurmala Nababan, Indian and Indonesian
Children: Virgil (19) and Evangelia (11)
“Evangelia has been attending Canadian International School since June 2011. When she was turning two, we checked out various preschools as well as CIS when we heard about the Lakeside campus that was going to be opening. We enquired to see if they offered Early Childhood Education at the campus and found out that they were taking in kids the next year. CIS was also about a 15-minute walk from home. So, we decided to enrol Evangelia.
Besides having well-planned facilities, the school teaches the PYP curriculum, which offers a holistic approach to education and the personal and social development of students. Our daughter initially learnt French for the first two years and changed to Chinese when the school introduced the bilingual programme. Living in Singapore, we felt that this was a good programme as Chinese is a commonly used language. The school has a diverse pool of experienced teachers from all over the world who have taught in other reputable institutions. As a family, we enjoy being part of the CIS community. Parents are engaged to provide additional support in school activities like United Nations Week.
When the topic of school selection came up, it was always going to be a question of how good a school was and how much it would cost. We always recommend CIS, given that our daughter is enjoying school. We also have good interaction with the teachers and staff. Enrolling Evangelia in CIS has made her knowledgeable and happier, and allowed her to socialise more.”
Chatsworth International School
Parents: Kevin and Clodagh Ryan, Irish
Children: Aoife (20), Oisin (17) and Caoimhe (8)
“Oisin and Caoimhe have been attending Chatsworth International School in Bukit Timah since July 2019. When we first came for our ‘look-see’ in April 2019, we shortlisted Chatsworth based on the website and conversations with friends living in Singapore. During our school visit, we were met by the Admissions Team who answered our questions and brought us around the campus. We really connected with the ethos and core principles of the school. We also met some teaching staff and the Head of Primary, Mr Smith. Our youngest daughter was moving from a primary school with a total pupil population of 104 and it was important to us that she would find a voice and not be swallowed up amongst the masses. At Chatsworth, Caoimhe has not only found her voice but has grown and developed so much in a short span of time.
From our first day, we have been made to feel so welcome. Caoimhe and Oisin have made a seamless transition to international school life in Singapore. The teaching and admin staff work so hard to create a culture of positive learning and go out of their way to help our children integrate into the IB system, which is completely new to us. There is a perfect mix of learning blended with extra-curricular activities, all supervised by an excellent teaching and support staff. Our children are thriving, and embracing their new life and school. They are surrounded by like-minded kids, and we’re delighted that they have made such a great start to school life in Singapore.
From the moment you enter the school gates, you know you are somewhere special. You get treated like a family member and everyone actively demonstrates and lives the ethos of ‘Inspire, enlighten and educate’. This is all done in a respectful and fun way that brings out the best in everyone.”
Dover Court International School
Parents: Kirsty and Graeme Smith, British
Children: Connor (13), Arin (10) and Sasha (8)
“All three children have been attending Dover Court International School since August 2015. We heard about the school soon after our arrival in Singapore, from friends whose children attended. Our children were previously at another school that we felt wasn’t providing a solid grounding in core subjects. When we decided to change schools, we visited Dover Court. We were looking for a curriculum that combined a strong and structured approach to core subjects, while having an enquiry-based element. With those boxes ticked, the atmosphere of the school and friendliness and enthusiasm of the admissions staff were probably the clinchers in the end, and we’ve had no regrets.
The primary school curriculum combines the English National Curriculum with the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). Taught through topical themes, the children are learning essential research, critical thinking and group collaboration skills from an early age. This system has worked really well for our kids – they’re thriving! We’ve been impressed by the Year 6 ‘transition year’. During that year, we’ve seen an increased maturity in Connor and Arin in terms of their thinking, learning and ability to manage their own homework. Lower primary is a nurturing environment for Sasha and she particularly loves her teachers, the interactive playground and the mindfulness sessions. The kids have also benefited from Mandarin taught as the second language in the primary years, and the various upgrades to the school over the past few years. Being a sporty bunch, the kids enjoy taking part in teams such as football, basketball, rugby, athletics, cross country and swimming.
We’ve been very happy with the quality of teaching and the caring attitude shown to the kids. We also especially appreciate the community at Dover Court, where everyone feels welcome. This is incredibly special and important in our transitory lives.”
Dulwich College (Singapore)
Parents: Kris and Ian Parkinson, Australian and Scottish
Children: Ewan (14) and Paisley (12)
“When we decided to change schools, a friend suggested that we consider Dulwich College (Singapore) as the academic programme is very rigorous (one of the things we were looking for). Both children joined in January 2018. This was the third curriculum our children had been in since they started school – American, Australian and now British. The College is very accustomed to supporting transitions and the teachers are patient, understanding and considerate during the settling-in phase, offering extra support where and when it’s needed. The school community has been welcoming, and Ewan and Paisley found themselves with firm friends on day one.
Our experience at the College has been fantastic. We were very impressed by the facilities, in particular The Alleyn Theatre. Both children are passionate musicians and their different interests are catered for – Paisley being a flute player and member of the concert band and Ewan being a rock music fan and an enthusiastic member of the senior rock band. Our children have the chance to learn another language in addition to Mandarin. Ewan is enjoying French, while Paisley chose to start Spanish. Both children are enjoying the competitive co-curricular sports programme. Ewan has represented the College in the ACSIS Athletics Championships and Paisley has travelled to Thailand for gymnastics and also to the Dulwich Games in Myanmar.
I (Kris) have joined the Friends of Dulwich (FOD) which is the volunteer parent committee. I’ve met some of my closest friends here and there’s always someone to have a chat with after drop off. One thing that stood out was the family feel, even though it’s a large school. I believe this is because of the happy campus, the headmaster Mr Nick Magnus and the approachability of the leadership team and teaching staff.”
GEMS World Academy (Singapore)
Parents: Meri Rosich and Sergio Salvador, Spanish
“We’ve lived in Singapore twice, for ten years in total, and also in New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. We are a third culture family, with mum from Barcelona and dad from Zaragoza. Both of our kids have been at GEMS World Academy (Singapore) since 2017.
There are many things we like about the school, but some that we particularly appreciate are the diversity of the community, the range of competitive sports and the afterschool activities. The level of flexibility and openmindedness is a highlight: a year ago, we suggested adding taekwondo (the school already offered karate and judo as martial arts at the time); six months later, taekwondo became one of the activities!
In Tokyo, our kids attended a pure Montessori school, designed around the principles of collaboration, so we wanted to find a 21st-century skills school in Singapore. Five minutes into our first conversation with the Head of the Primary School, we knew that GEMS (Singapore) was the perfect environment for our family. We felt that the school offered the closest experience to what we loved about Montessori, with an IB curriculum. It’s also not a big school and has a very international community (no single nationality represents more than 15 percent of the total). The open-door policy of the Principal and the faculty to connect with parents and incorporate their suggestions, together with facilities like the STEM labs, design centre, VR and robotics labs, convinced us that the school was a great choice.
We highly recommend the school to any family looking for a multicultural, highly academic and, at the same time, stress free environment. It has an open philosophy on how to educate great little people, offering spectacular facilities, a rich multicultural community and a strong IB focus.
Parents: Susanne Nielsen Kozlova and Sergey Kozlov, Danish/Hungarian and Russian
Children: Christina (9) and Daniella (6)
“Both children have been attending GESS since we relocated to Singapore in August 2019. When we learned that we would be moving here, we looked at options online and GESS popped up. We’ve lived in Denmark, the Czech Republic, Hungary and South Korea over the past nine years and a priority was to find a school where the children would fit in well, where they could easily catch up to their classmates and have an individualised approach. Also, we were looking for flexibility around languages – our children are almost trilingual (Danish, English and Russian), so introducing more languages now seemed unnecessary. There is a choice of extra languages, such as German and Danish. The progress they have made in reading and writing in Danish has been huge. We were also considering changing to the IB curriculum. GESS was pretty much the only school that offered all of these and we’re happy that we managed to get in.
The school has impressive facilities, which are new and modern – there’s nothing else to wish for here. Both the curriculum and extracurricular activities are engaging and the kids enjoy those. Our oldest has found a new passion in music and her music teacher gives her the right encouragement to work on what she knows and how to improve. The children are progressing across all the subjects despite being in the school for less than a year. We also like the fact that classes are mixed up every two years; there is stability but, at the same time, the children can make new friends and learn to be open to change. Teachers use the Seesaw app to keep us updated about what happens in class and about our children’s daily life at school.
GESS works not only on academic abilities, but also on social skills and inclusiveness, which is important to us. We would definitely recommend the school due to the personalised experience, where children who need to be challenged can have just that, while those who need additional support can have access to the help they require.”
Integrated International School
Parent: Jennifer Foss, American
Children: Oscar (7) and Henry (2)
“We’ve been living in Singapore since July 2019 and Oscar has been attending Integrated International School since August last year. When choosing a school, I was looking for a smaller one with small class sizes that would focus on Oscar’s social and academic needs.
Oscar’s experience at IIS has been positive right from the start. When Dr Vanessa and Ms Shanida met with him for the first time, I could see that they understood his needs well. His class has 12 students and two teachers so he is able to get individualised attention. His teachers have been patient and understand that transitioning to a new country can take time. They supported him in making new friends and adjusting to the new school. In addition to being caring and nurturing, his teachers have also been firm in their expectations for him. They are understanding of his academic needs and they look for ways to motivate him. Oscar has participated in their ECA activities including soccer, art, ukulele and others, as well as the camps offered during school holidays. The school also offers additional support during the school day, including counselling, occupational and speech therapy. There is a great community and everyone at the school knows my son personally.
I recommend IIS to families that are looking for a small community that accepts and values the strengths and challenges of all students. The school’s motto, Redefining Success, spoke to me because it suggested that there are many ways for children to be successful in their learning and beyond. Oscar’s experience at IIS has shown that the school really believes this to be true.”
International Community School
Parents: Jeff and Shelley Young, American
Children: Aaron (14), Justus (11) and Eli (8)
“We’ve been in Singapore for almost two years. The children transferred to ICS for the 2019/2020 school year, having attended a different school the year before. Aaron is in 8th grade, Justus is in 5th grade and Eli is in 3rd grade. We learnt about the school when doing research prior to coming to Singapore. We enrolled them in a different school in the first year, but decided to explore ICS again as the first school was not a good fit for our family. We really love the freedom with which the boys can apply their Christian beliefs. We knew we had made the right choice when we met with the teachers for parent-teacher conferences and they began the meeting by praying for our children.
The boys are known by their teachers and other staff and faculty on campus. The curriculum aligns with the American curriculum, which will make it easier for our return to the US. The Christian approach to teaching has allowed the boys to freely express their beliefs and apply them to the academic knowledge they’re gaining. They’ve made wonderful friends through classes and participation in extracurricular activities such as soccer and Minecraft Club. The elementary art programme has also strengthened both Eli’s and Justus’s love for art and creating. Above all else, we appreciate that all of the instruction and learning occurs within the framework of a biblical worldview.
We’d recommend ICS for its intimate size, curriculum, and caring staff and faculty. The boys are thriving and will be prepared for their return to schools in the US.”
International French School
Parents: Emma and Wesley Hughes, Irish
Children: Euan (11), Una (10) and Aoife (7)
“All three kids attend IFS; they’ve been there for five years. When we arrived in Singapore, we had about six months before we needed to choose a school. We have a connection with France (we have a holiday home there) so almost naturally we visited the school. We felt that it would be a great stage in our children’s lives to place them in a non-English speaking system to learn a new language, given that we frequently visit France, even from Singapore.
We joined the school at a time when nearly everyone at the school was French. Our two girls joined kindergarten and our son started in primary school. Initially, it was tough as none of the children spoke French and we, as parents, were frankly quite useless, too! It was easier for the two girls to pick up the language, but Euan struggled initially, being older. However, the school provided extra French lessons to help him get up to speed.
Highlights for us have been seeing the children adapt to a different culture and learn a new language. The children have shown the ability to adapt and learn, which has given them huge confidence. It hasn’t been without difficulties but working to overcome them has also been hugely rewarding. The availability of English language teaching has increased exponentially over the time we’ve been there, along with the general diversity within the school.
The kids have always felt at ease at IFS and have made great friends. The teachers are supportive and engaging and there’s a growing community of nonFrench speakers willing to offer support and advice. There’s also a Lycee friends group on Facebook where people post questions and get support.
Other enriching elements of school life include the vast array of after-school activities available, from chess and climbing to sewing! Every year, the children have the opportunity to try something different. This also extends to languages. Our son is now in the enviable situation of choosing a third language to learn – again, opportunities we as parents never had!
The school has taken our three children from zero to fluent French speakers, which is quite an achievement. It also has a relaxed nature to it, underpinned by serious academic rigour. For us, the bottom line was that it needed to feel like a ‘normal’ school and not a franchise or a business entity. IFS does just that and gives the feeling of a community-orientated school.”
Invictus International School
Parents: Andrew and Emily Leahy, Australian and American
Children: Henry and Jack (10), George (7) and Fred (5)
“Henry and Jack started at Invictus in Grade 1 in August 2016. It was the first year the school opened so we are a founding family, which is a pretty unique thing to be a part of. George started in Grade 1 in August 2018 and Fred will join Grade 1 in August this year. He already loves wearing the uniform and is very excited to join his brothers at ‘big school’!
We had the boys down to start somewhere else but then we heard about this new school. The idea was around delivering quality education at an accessible price. Given that we have four children, affordability is a huge criteria. We met with the principal and toured the school and were impressed with the passion and energy. We’ve continued at the school because the quality of teaching is outstanding and the community is fantastic. Everyone knows everyone so you’re able to build great relationships with the teachers, school staff and parents. Our kids are at the Dempsey campus, which is quiet and intimate and surrounded by nature.
The curriculum is the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and the school uses the Singapore Maths approach. Mandarin is also taught. They also ensure the kids are up and moving throughout the day with ‘Wake and Shake’ to start the day (15 minutes of dancing to their favourite songs), recess and PE. There’s a good variety of extracurricular activities every day so every child can find something that fits their interest. There are also school events throughout the year, from Parents’ Quiz Night and Student Talent Show to Sports Day and Family Day. In addition, parents get invited to class for ‘Exit Point’, part of the IPC curriculum that encourages students to share what they have learnt. The teachers are the real treasure at the school. With our three older boys, we’ve had 10 different teachers over the years and it’s amazing how each one has managed to bring out the best in our boys.”
ISS International School
Parents: Masako and Yoshiki Yuge, Japanese
Children: Yoshimasa (12) and Akihito (9)
“We moved to Singapore from New York and have been living here since 2017. Both children have been attending ISS International School for the past three years. When we moved here, I (Masako) visited many international schools. Most of the schools in Singapore have high standards. But ISS stood out for its quality and the friendliness of the teachers. That impression has not changed since I visited the school. Another reason why we decided to enrol our children in ISS was because they offer learning support too.
Our older son is receiving learning support and our younger one is engaged in the IB curriculum, so we get to see both aspects of ISS. So far, we are absolutely satisfied with the school. The teachers of the special education team are all well experienced, always available for follow-ups and supportive in planning how to help my son progress in his academics. As for our second son, the IB curriculum is an eye-opening form of education for him – and even to us as parents. From the elementary years, they’ve had the opportunity to discuss the importance of recycling, politics in each country, immigrants and more. We like how they educate the children to have perspectives from a global point of view. Since the elementary and middle school in Orchard will be unified into one campus at Preston Road from August 2020, we will also have a fresh start in a newly renovated campus.
I would highly recommend ISS for the intimate environment and natural surroundings. The children feel safe and are able to focus on their academics as well as sports.”
Nexus International School
Parents: Jemma and Andrew Fairfoull, British
Children: Maisie (14) and Archie (12)
“We’ve been living in Singapore since January 2016. Maisie (Year 9) and Archie (Year 8) both attend Nexus. We wanted a British curriculum but, more importantly, we were keen on a smaller school where the kids could settle in quickly and would be known personally by teachers. We immediately loved the friendly community feel of the school and the ‘give it a go’ ethos where children are encouraged to try, express themselves and learn from their mistakes. Nexus is a friendly, personable, multicultural and inclusive school. It is so nice being able to walk into the school and have the staff know us. The community feel extends to Jemma teaching English as a Foreign Language to parents on a weekly basis.
It’s a particularly exciting time for Maisie and Archie at Nexus with the move to the new site with its state-of-the-art facilities. They love the new pod classrooms, mega science labs, auditorium and, in particular, the sports facilities where they participate in nearly all sports – volleyball, basketball, netball, badminton, football, and track and field. Maisie is actively involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme and Archie recently started boxing.
Without doubt, we would recommend the school to other families. What we love about Nexus is the happy environment, low staff turnover and the special relationship that the children have with their teachers. If you’re looking for a school that gives kids the opportunity to flourish academically and socially, Nexus is the perfect one for you.”
Overseas Family School
Parents: Neeraja Rao and Arun Vemuri, Indian
Child: Keertana (14)
“When we moved from Japan, we had trouble finding schools that would allow Keertana to start in Grade 1 as she moved in the middle of her academic year. In Japan, she went to a school with a Waldorf learning system, which didn’t place focus on literary skills in kindergarten. Since we were looking for schools with the IB curriculum, it became a problem because everyone at her grade level could read and write. While she was still a voracious reader, her writing left much to be desired. Some schools recommended she take special education courses, others said she needed to repeat K2 and some refused to accept her.
We went to OFS after hearing about its open-door policy and were told that she could start Grade 1. Finally, the words we were waiting to hear! If she was still struggling in a couple of months, we had the option to move her to kindergarten. We’re proud to say that Keertana is doing well in all the areas she struggled with at first.
OFS provides a supportive and inclusive environment and incorporates the latest teaching and practices. In Middle School, our daughter has the support of peer tutoring clubs that help her catch up if she misses lessons or falls behind. Our daughter is an avid chess player and the school encourages her to participate in international tournaments. In addition, the Mother Tongue programme is a boon to expat families like ours. There’s also the After School Sports Programme and enrichment programme with an array of extracurricular activities taught by experts. We also like the various events the school organises to promote culture and family values. And, in the current coronavirus situation, we’ve seen the school go above and beyond, with kindergarten kids given personalised hand sanitiser bottles – a great initiative! OFS is also empowering kids to be responsible about health and hygiene.
Our daughter has never once asked us to move schools and is extremely happy here. We feel great joy seeing her become a passionate and intelligent young woman who genuinely enjoys school. For her, the biggest punishment is not getting to go to school!”
Singapore American School
Parents: Maureen and Adam Crocker, American
Child: Charlotte (5)
“We moved from San Diego about eight months ago for my (Maureen’s) work and we’re really enjoying Singapore! There are many great options here, but in the end, SAS won us over. The professionalism of the staff – from admin and teachers to coaches – was top-notch, and there is a very low turnover for the teachers, an important consideration for any education system. Everyone seems generally happy to work there and this is reflected in their teaching. We appreciate that students can be around such a positive environment. We were also very impressed with the activities that Charlotte can take part in as she gets older – the engineering and arts departments were particularly impressive.
Charlotte started at SAS in the early learning centre programme a month after we arrived and she is loving it! Her teachers Ms Lynsey and Ms Yukako keep us regularly updated on class activities and Charlotte specifically, and are readily responsive if we contact them directly. We were also invited to visit and read her favourite book to the class on her birthday. SAS does a good job with these young ages to ensure that children and parents are receiving support, guidance and structure that benefits the entire family.
The early learning centre programme has been really fun for Charlotte. She has Chinese class for 45 minutes daily, and comes home singing songs in Mandarin! Their teaching philosophy is Reggio Emilia-inspired – the classroom has many interactive areas, and twice a day the children have time to explore the area that they gravitate to, with some guidance from teachers. There is also a weekly library day and Charlotte can bring home two books. She’s a big reader so we love having frequent access to new books!”
Sir Manasseh Meyer International School
Parents: Sabrina and Irvin Stein, American
Children: Ari (11) and Levi (6)
“Both boys have been attending SMMIS since we moved to Singapore in the summer of 2018. We researched schools for two years online and were in contact with this school for well over a year before deciding to go for a tour. What stood out for us when we visited were the state-of-the-art facilities and the nutritious lunch included in the tuition.
The school prioritises a childcentred classroom and our children have had enriching experiences. We’re also confident about the school’s delivery of the curriculum, which is taught through the frameworks of the International Primary and Middle Years Curricula and the iGCSE, and takes the best from different systems such as the British Literacy Curriculum and Singapore Maths. The fact that the school is not-for-profit speaks volumes about its vision and mission. While having a Jewish foundation and ethos, the school has a diverse international community that welcomes students of all denominations and faiths. The international students and families bring a vibrancy and dynamic mix that is novel yet grounded.
Our boys came from a small school back in California and we wanted to keep them in an environment where they could feel a sense of community. SMMIS is a place where you walk in and every staff member knows your child’s name. Students also know each other across the grade levels and it’s beyond heart-warming how they sincerely care about each other. If you’re looking for a small school with a wide world view and a place where your child will feel valued, SMMIS is it.”
St. Joseph’s Institution International
Parents: Samuel and Annie McGrath, British
Children: Eliza (10), Nellie (8), Beatrice (6) and Tess (3)
“Our three eldest children are currently attending the elementary school at St. Joseph’s Institution International – they’ve attended the school since Prep 1. When we arrived in Singapore with baby Eliza (just six weeks old), one of the first families we met told us about the wait lists for schools and advised us to get her signed up as soon as possible. They recommended three schools, including SJI International. Looking at its small family feel, we knew it was top of our list. The only downside for us was that the academic year starts in January and not September like in the UK. Other than that, we’re over the moon with our choice of school.
All of our children are very happy at SJI International. The curriculum is based on the International Primary Curriculum, with the addition of Singapore Maths. They also teach The Virtues Project throughout the school, a global grassroots initiative to inspire both parents and children to practice virtues in everyday life. It has hugely influenced our style of parenting and I highly recommend it!
We’re a sporty family and our children are on the school’s swim, athletics and netball teams. The coaches get the best out of each child while ensuring they have fun. The school also offers a wide and variety of co-curricular activities, ranging from classroom-based fun to fitness; so far, we’ve tried Lego Robotics, Jiu-Jitsu, ballet, Spanish, photography, edible gardens and drama, just to name a few. The teachers are also kind, caring and dedicated to each child.
We honestly couldn’t be happier! We would happily recommend SJI Interntional in a heartbeat. It’s an international school with a family feel. The curriculum is excellent and the teachers are outstanding, and we believe our children are receiving a top-notch education in all aspects.”
Tanglin Trust School
Parents: George Arnokouros and Katarzyna Kryczka-Arnokouros, Greek and Polish
Children: Jan (13), Alexandra (9) and Adrianna (4)
“Jan (Senior School) and Adrianna (Nursery) have been attending Tanglin Trust School since August 2019. Alexandra (Junior School) joined them in January 2020.
The school has an excellent reputation that you just learn of once you live in Singapore for a while. We decided to enrol our children based on very positive feedback on the school from other parents as well as its stellar IB and A-Level results – which is important as our son is already in Year 9. We were also looking for an inspiring educational environment which will prepare our children for future challenges in the globalised world.
Despite having joined Tanglin relatively recently, our children are thriving. The school has been welcoming from the start and helped them settle in smoothly. The school curriculum – based on the British national curriculum but reflecting the international setting and cultural diversity of the school and Singapore – is broad, balanced and quite universal, which matters for international families like ours. The school is an ideal multicultural environment that teaches kids skills and values. The focus is on holistic development: our children can enjoy a great range of curricular and cocurricular activities in sports, arts, academic subjects and community engagement. Most importantly, we can see our children being engaged and interested in the things they learn and do at school, thanks to the teachers who bring the best out in students and inspire them.
The school really lives up to its reputation. We greatly appreciate its friendly and stimulating environment and expert approach to education. The kids are happy, engaged with life at school and motivated to learn.”
The Grange Institution
Parents: Uma and Daniel Preve, Singaporean and Swedish
Children: Gabriel (7), Michael (5) and Raphael (19 months)
“Gabriel is attending The Grange Institution and is in Year 2. Michael and Raphael are in Kinderland Preschool next door (sister school of TGI); they’re in K2 and Pre-Nursery 1 respectively. When we learned that we were going to move to Singapore, we researched and looked at many schools. Since our older sons were in school in Hong Kong, it was important to us to find a good school that would facilitate the big move and help them adjust to the new environment. It was also paramount that the school provided good quality education at a reasonable price.
A good point about The Grange Institution is that the day starts at 10am and ends at 4.30pm. This means that our son has more rest and a calmer morning routine (his previous school in Hong Kong started at 7.45am). This also allows for more family and personal time. The teachers, principal and staff are very kind and nurturing towards the students. Principal Eugene Low makes it a point to greet all students who come into school in the morning.
The school teaches the International Primary Curriculum and the children have units of learning where they cover different aspects of a subject viewed from various perspectives. This system is recognised worldwide, meaning that our children can transit seamlessly if we relocate again. Our advice to parents looking for a school for their child is to go for a site visit, talk to the staff and get a feel of how the school is run. See whether it matches your beliefs and, most importantly, whether it will suit your child’s learning needs.
The Perse School Singapore
Parent: Yen, Malaysian
Child: Cheng (7)
“We’ve been in Singapore for almost two years. Our older son has been attending The Perse School since January 2020 and is currently in Year 2. We found out about the school through online research. When we reached out, we were readily invited to the school’s Open Day. On that day, we had the opportunity to speak to the school principal, Mrs Claire Bell. Her passion for education was clear, and we spoke at length about the school. I learnt about their programme and observed how the staff interacted with my son. The curriculum was of particular interest to me – the daily Chinese classes and integration of Singapore Maths was exactly what we were looking for.
We are happy with the lovely and patient teachers who are always there to support their students. The Perse School also has a comprehensive curriculum that covers all the bases for a solid foundational education, such as English, mathematics, Chinese and coding, to name a few. The principal and teachers have the passion and patience to help my son academically. More importantly, they work hard to build his self-confidence and interest to learn through their emphasis on holistic education. We’re happy to see Cheng is enjoying school, and we have watched him grow since his first day.
There is no perfect or best school; only the most suitable school for your child. We would encourage parents to visit schools and talk with them. It’s the only way to find out if the school is the one for your child.”
The Waldorf Steiner School
Parents: Dang Chau and Samantha Hay, Australian
Children: Sebastien (7) and Gilbert (4)
“Sebastien has been enrolled in The Waldorf Steiner School since the beginning of Grade 1. He moved over from the kindergarten at the Waldorf Steiner Education Association Singapore next door. Gilbert is currently attending kindergarten there.
We first became aware of the Waldorf education system when searching for a health-conscious, non-digital, non-academic and outdoor-focused kindergarten for our eldest. We wanted a kindergarten that reflected our childhoods. It was a natural progression to send Sebastien to The Waldorf Steiner School for his primary years. One of the critical factors in choosing the school was the reduced use of technology. Our children aren’t required to use tablets or laptops, and they’re encouraged to explore without the influence of the latest app or technological trend.
Sebastien has thrived at the school. He has gained a strong sense of community, his self-confidence has grown and he has developed a deep love for learning. He loves to tell us about his lessons and bamboozle us with Chinese and German words or phrases. Due to the small class sizes, he regularly has one-on-one time from his teachers and the individualised support has allowed him to blossom academically and emotionally. He has bonded with his teachers and fellow students – the school has created a truly caring and nourishing environment. During lunch, students and teachers gather around the kitchen table to eat; afterwards, the children head out to play in the garden.
The school’s environment has an emphasis on natural elements. Classrooms have hardwood floors and an old-fashioned chalkboard, and the children use handmade pine desks and chairs. There are wooden pegs for hats and wooden cubby holes for bags. One of the highlights of the week for Sebastien is the picnic lunch on Friday when the students and teachers cycle down to the beach at East Coast Park.
UWC South East Asia
Parents: Jacqui and David Young, British
Children: Harry (13) and Lizzy (12)
UWC South East Asia’s new East campus opened in 2010 (they started taking students in 2008 at a refurbished MOE school in Ang Mo Kio). We attended the groundbreaking ceremony when the school was just an empty field site. Harry joined the first intake of K1 at the new campus and Lizzy joined two school years later.
We had been looking at schools when Harry was just a few months old – in those days, registration needed to be completed very early in order to get a space. We shortlisted a couple of international schools but felt that UWCSEA offered a broader and more rounded education compared to the others with more traditional approaches. There was also more diversity in the student population at UWCSEA and we felt the kids would benefit from that. Plus, the new campus in Tampines was difficult to ignore as it was being heralded as the most advanced and modern school in Singapore.
Overall, the school offers fantastic learning opportunities, substantially better than what we as parents had during our school years in the UK. The facilities, standard of teaching, range of sports, activities and school trips greatly surpass anything we experienced. Our children are very fortunate to have this world-class start. At the East campus, there are currently over 2,500 students, 262 teachers and 75 different nationalities. As you can imagine, the United Nations Day each year is definitely a lot of fun!
Every child is different and we think the learning model at UWCSEA benefits a broad range of learners and thinkers. The social and environmental aspects of learning at the school are amazing and will prepare our kids well for their future aspirations.”
North London Collegiate School – Opening soon!
Paul Friend, Principal
“Bringing the North London Collegiate School’s educational experience to Southeast Asia, NLCS (Singapore) will open its doors in August 2020. Held to the high standards of North London Collegiate School (UK), NLCS (Singapore) provides an academically ambitious curriculum supplemented by outstanding pastoral care and an exceptional extra-curricular enrichment programme.
The Junior School curriculum focuses on providing academic challenge, and on building the foundational skills required for ongoing successful academic study. Junior School students are encouraged to become independent learners, develop as critical and creative thinkers, and display tolerance and respect for others.
The NLCS (Singapore) curriculum reflects its international setting and a commitment to celebrate diversity. Our curriculum is fast-paced, with academic challenge and rigorous academic monitoring procedures to ensure that standards are high and maintained. Teachers focus on the needs of the students in their care and on inspiring learning. In the lead-up to our opening, the school’s Senior Team is building a strong cohort of specialist teachers. Contact us to receive an admissions overview and learn more about the assessment process.”
Need some uni advice?
Janie Richardson School Search and Placement
Janie Richardson, Founder
“Despite growing international opportunities for further education, universities in the UK have a reputation that continues to attract families from around the world, and numbers of international student applications continue to rise. At JR School Search, we have an experienced team providing exceptional support to students looking to secure university placements in the UK. We often support students from GCSE level (Years 9 and 10) when subject choice can determine courses available to study at university. It’s vital that students think ahead about the courses they’d like to study after school as well as career opportunities and expectations.
Our advisors explain the entire application process to ensure students are fully informed and prepared to make the right decisions at the optimum time. This includes explaining UCAS applications and registration processes and what courses offered by universities and academic colleges would best suit them. For many, we also help to ensure deadlines are met and that qualifications and academic references are submitted at the right time for each university. Offers (unconditional and conditional) are then managed to ensure the best ones are selected.
As a student, it’s important to fully research the courses available and make a concise list of the universities that offer them. Also, look at the costs of the undergraduate courses too as tuition fees and living expenses vary. When submitting a personal statement, including relevant work experience is vital. It’s key to think laterally and aim for the university that suits your needs.
And, as a parent, besides helping with the time-consuming task of research (which when done well is a valuable investment), be sure to discuss all higher education opportunities. University has always been a traditional route when students leave school but if your child is unsure of a career path, consider alternative routes.”
If you’re planning to live in Singapore or if you’re new to our sunny island, then make sure to read the digital edition of our latest CITY GUIDE.