The mission of the founders of Overseas Family School back in 1991 was to build a Singapore international school that children love to attend. They did so by welcoming students of all nationalities, cultures, strengths and talents. All the while aiming to provide a respectful and nurturing learning environment.
As OFS celebrates 30 years in Singapore, here’s a look at five key points of the school today, which reveal its recommitment to that original mission.
#1 Kids first!
In the words of Head of School Suzanne Bentin, “It’s all about the children.” A child’s sense of happiness and joy comes first at this Singapore international school, says Suzanne. “The students are guided towards self-discipline, resilience and independence.”
#2 No labels
OFS follows an inclusive student philosophy; it doesn’t label children or pigeon-hole them into a pre-set future. This inclusive philosophy continues to form the bedrock of the school’s admissions and exams policy, and its curriculum.
There are many opportunities for academic and personal growth with education aligned to each individual student.
#3 Over a dozen languages
Overseas Family School offers the most extensive mother tongue programme among the Singapore international schools. There are 14 different languages – Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.
The programme is integrated into the main curriculum for the best student experience – and at no additional cost. This allows students to thoroughly immerse themselves in the languages and cultures of their home countries while maintaining native-level proficiency of those languages.
Students from Pre-Kindergarten 2 to Grade 8 can opt for the programme, which involves attending four sessions per week.
#4 Sport for all
In 2015, Overseas Family School moved into its current home at Pasir Ris. As a member of the Athletic Conference of Singapore International Schools, the sports programme at OFS caters for both elite athletes and recreational players alike. This provides students the opportunity to compete at national, intra-school and inter-school levels, and excel beyond academics.
The school’s Head of Competitive Sport Gil Levy shares, “Unlike many other international schools, OFS doesn’t charge additional fees for participation in competitive sports. We have an athlete-centred approach, providing and equipping athletes with world-class facilities and highly qualified, skilled and experienced coaches, many of whom are distinguished athletes in their own right, at no additional cost.”
#5 Blitzing the IB
In the May 2021 IB exam season, over 150 OFS students were awarded IB Diplomas; 33 percent of these were prestigious IB Bilingual Diplomas. Of the 1,200 students globally who achieved the perfect 45 points, five were students of Overseas Family School. This has positioned it as one of the best performing schools locally and internationally.
Suzanne says that OFS is passionate about giving children the chance to succeed. “Our commitment to providing a learning environment in which students can achieve their potential is seen in our open-entry admissions and exam policies. We don’t preselect students into the IB Diploma programme – every student can take the full IB Diploma and choose any subject they wish, even at Higher Level.”
Suzanne admits that, because of this lack of restriction, OFS may never have a 100% IB Diploma pass rate. “Nor should we, if it means even one child is denied a chance to turn things around in their final two years of school. But then, our 96.8% pass rate is pretty good, we think!”
Overseas Family School
81 Pasir Ris Heights
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