How to ace your child’s primary 1 registration

Phase 1 of Primary 1 Registration has just begun! I remember very well what I call my “primary 1 jitters.” Just like you, I felt a mix of excitement and uncertainty and yes, the process can get a little intimidating. That’s why I’d like to share my story with you so you can get some ideas on how to ace your child’s Primary 1 registration!

Taking into consideration that my daughter was born in the year of the Dragon (2012), registration is even more competitive due to a high birth rate. This is why the first thing I did was to identify the school I wanted for my child. Parents need to understand that our decision will affect not only six years of our children’s lives but more importantly, their formative years. This is the period of rapid cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development. For me, it was important to find a school that not only had a strong academic curriculum but also gave importance to character building and values formation.

Creating the game plan is where the excitement kicks in. Other parents have their own stories to tell. As for me, my approach was hinged on logic. I knew that if I had a better understanding of the process, then my chance of getting my child into the school that I have chosen will improve as well. That is why the next thing I did was to understand the different phases.

Since my daughter is an only child, there was no way I could qualify for Phase 1 which is assured placement if you have another child currently studying at your preferred school. I could not do Phase 2A1 and 2A2 either since I am neither an alumnus of my preferred school nor a staff member. I qualified for Phase 2B which is meant for parent volunteers who should have rendered 40 hours of service in their preferred school starting June of this year or if parents get an endorsement from either an active community leader connected to an association or Church.

Here is what I discovered at this stage of the process. Being a parent volunteer, while truly admirable, is not a surefire way for you to get in especially if your preferred school has tons of registrants as compared to the number of vacancies. Sure, some schools offer a corresponding number of parent volunteers to actual vacancies, but most do not.

This is where understanding statistics comes very handy. The Ministry of Education (MOE) presents data per school with regards to the number of registrants every year. From there, you can identify the trend of the number of registrants in your preferred school. Here’s a link that you can use to do just that: https://elite.com.sg/primary-schools.

Statistics from high demand schools, such as my preferred primary school means registration will be very competitive. While being a parent volunteer is one effective pathway to get in, I felt the best option for me was to move. Priority admission is given to Singapore citizens (SC’s) living within 1km of the school so that was my chosen pathway. To check the nearest schools in your area using postal code, you can visit this link: https://elite.com.sg.

Finally, some key takeaways.

One, have more than one school in mind for your child. While we can only register one school at a time, having three options is good for research and a fall back plan just in case. To illustrate the importance of having more school options, at Phase 2C, you can choose to register on the last day as the school will show the number of registrants staying within 1 to 2km. If there are remaining slots, then you can register. However, if the school announces that there is a need to proceed to ballot even among children living within 1km from the school, then it would be best to look at other school options. I was lucky enough to get into my first option which was a high demand school but provided enough vacancies so there was no more balloting for SC’s living within 1km from the school.

Second, understand the statistics. Some schools are so high in demand that by Phase 2A2, they have about 20 to 30 vacancies left. Even if you live a somersault away, these vacancies will still be balloted. This is where option 2 and option 3 will be useful.

Finally, plan ahead. There is no substitution for preparation. If you have an older son and a younger daughter, enrol in a co-ed school. This way, you do not have to go through two separate processes when your daughter reaches school age. If you have to change residences to improve your chances of getting into the school you want, make sure that you move well before registration season. For your address to be formally attributed to you, you have to stay in the said address for at least 30 months from the time of registration. Being prepared is half the battle so plan!

Yes, primary 1 registration might be intimidating but it offers you an opportunity to have something to be excited about. Our child’s first foray into school is a major milestone so let us enjoy every moment of it!

As for me, I enjoyed the process and I’m happy to report that my child is doing very well in school. In my next article, I will be talking about how to prepare your child for Primary 1 so join me in my parenting journey at Millennials Mummy Kelly!

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