Current views on Singapore schools

(28 Posts)
whizzbang1 Wed 03-Jun-15 10:47:53

Hi all,

Can I ask some Singapore MNers their opinions on the following schools? We're looking for a long term solution (ie, from 5 to 18 years old), not planning to return to the UK so don't need British curriculum necessarily. Our preferences at the moment stand as:

UWC (any views on the chances of managing to get all four children in?)
Stamford American / Dulwich

We have two that are relatively bright and would love a more academic environment, and two who are too young to know - we just want them all to be happy!

Grateful for your views.

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 03-Jun-15 11:34:09

Quite different curriculums. I'd certainly chose UWC over stamford as they have a very established track record delivering the IB programs.

If you plan to be in Sg longterm, UWC is also a better option as it has a vey high proportion of long term expats/permanent residents with many parents being former alumni.

ALL schools like big families, it is a steady stream of income. Call them and see which year groups offer the best chances of entry and then use sibling priority to get others in. (if you are prepared to have them in different schools for a year or 2)
Be very open with the admissions officer if UWC is your number one choice.

RecoveringPerfectionist Wed 03-Jun-15 12:05:37

Stamford has had some issues and we had a disastrous time there. However, they are going through some changes (deputy principal left and the principal is now leaving (this Summer I think)). I can't help but wonder if this is in response to issues similar to what we experienced (we weren't the only ones). But I also know people who are very happy with it. And from friends still there they seem to be addressing the problems but I guess with new management there will be an adjustment period.

I would go for UWC though for the reasons Laptop states. I have friends who are alumni and their kids are now there.

Have you been to see any of the schools op?

whizzbang1 Wed 03-Jun-15 12:27:39

Thank you both.

Yes, have been to stamford ad we're seeing UWC and Dulwich next week.

I wonder if stamford is more 'style over substance' - UWC wins on paper I think as it has an impressive track record of DP results and alumni. But it could be a long wait...!

whizzbang1 Wed 03-Jun-15 12:28:11

Apologies for typos - iPhone!

RecoveringPerfectionist Wed 03-Jun-15 13:01:19

Interesting that you got that impression! Is that your gut feeling or have you spoken to others? In my experience if your kids fit the mould (highly academic) they'll probably be fine.

Fwiw I know a few people who have left Dover Court for Dulwich and they are very happy with it.

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 03-Jun-15 13:56:21

Have only heard very good things about Dulwich . Just wondering how many eventually leave after primary, middle school to board in the UK?
As long term expats, UWC seems better for stability, life long connections etc.....And maybe also a less european centric population. Really depends what you prefer and where you think your children are likely to end up for university.

You are planning for the long run so you can always move them over as and when places become available. That's what most PRs do. Start in TTS, SAS, AIS etc...and move to UWC when a place opens.

Agree it's always best to see for yourself before listening to what others suggest!

FeckityFeck Wed 03-Jun-15 16:50:21

Can I drop in a couple of questions too? Our situation is different in that we're only going to be going for 2/3 years. What are the waiting lists like? We haven't really got strong ideas where we'd try for yet, but have looked at Dulwich, Tanglin and Dover Court. What do people generally do while they're waiting for places? If we go, it won't be til next summer, would that give us enough time to secure places for when we get there?

Sorry to hijack!

whizzbang1 Thu 04-Jun-15 04:51:13

Hi feckityfeck,

I don't know about Dover and tanglin, but for Dulwich you need to apply now-ish for August 2016 start. It does of course depend on the age of your children...

Good luck!

Laptopwieldingharpy Thu 04-Jun-15 05:32:16

The earlier the better. Before blanket applying, you may consider talking to an Ed consultant to pinpoint your best bets. Might be more cost effective.

FeckityFeck Thu 04-Jun-15 07:21:56

Thanks, I had a feeling we should be getting on with things pretty soon. DC are 6 and 4. We're still waiting to confirm with DH's company what they're offering so still not definite we're going, so can't start signing up to anything yet. Should find out at the end of the month.

Hope you find somewhere to suit your dc whizzbang smile

NK5BM3 Thu 04-Jun-15 07:25:15

Have you considered local schools? They are v well regarded, and if you want the Chinese immersion, that's the best way to do it.

Laptopwieldingharpy Thu 04-Jun-15 10:36:35

Sadly local schools are a long hard challenge for short term expats. Mandarin immersion is a fallacy for short term expats. Unless the next posting is China to consolidate, don't get your hopes too high. Singaporeans speak english to their kids, it's almost a status thing. And grand parents at home speak Hokkien or a variation from the straits.
However, there are a lot of pre schools/learning centres to bridge the gap up to year 1-2 and these do offer quasi immersion if that is what you are after.

OP good luck. Its trying to research things while everything is still up in the air!

NK5BM3 Thu 04-Jun-15 11:18:45

But op said she was doing it long term....

FeckityFeck Thu 04-Jun-15 11:24:33

Sorry, that's my fault for coming in with a different situation. I don't know if OP wants immersion, but it definitely sounds like she's in Singapore long term.

whizzbang1 Thu 04-Jun-15 15:02:36

Hi,
Regarding Chinese immersion: personally we're not overly keen given that the Singaporeans educate heir children in English, and it's what you hear in the street. I'd prefer the Spanish / French language option at the schools...
I am wondering if we should consider gems whilst waiting for the UWC places. I heard some parents chatting today in our condo block about how brilliant it it.
Blimey - international schooling is a headache!!!!

FeckityFeck Thu 04-Jun-15 15:42:16

Are you in Singapore already whizzbang? Are your children in a school at the moment or are you waiting to apply/get places? (I just don't know how it works if you go over without a place to go to)

whizzbang1 Thu 04-Jun-15 16:02:11

You should try and get places now, we've done it the wrong way round! We were meant to be returning to the UK (for the duration of education) but that changed about a month ago.

FeckityFeck Thu 04-Jun-15 19:18:13

That's a significant change of plan! Are your two older dc in school over there at the moment then?

whizzbang1 Fri 05-Jun-15 01:23:35

No, as it's so close to the end of term here. It's possible to fill the void educationally with home tutors etc until we get a space, and lots of extra stuff like Camp Asia for sociability- but school will be needed!

I've just signed up to go a gems or day on Saturday morning - can report back if you're interested.

FeckityFeck Fri 05-Jun-15 09:29:12

At least being there you can have a look round places, and hear parents chatting about schools like you did. I hadn't heard of gems before. I think as we're only going to be short term we'll be sticking to British curriculum places, but always good to hear about what's out there if you can report back smile

Laptopwieldingharpy Sat 06-Jun-15 00:18:03

Whizz what about the canadian school?

BiscuitMillionaire Sat 06-Jun-15 00:26:24

Mine went to the Canadian school, the east campus (smaller) and I was pretty happy with it. It has a great caring ethos and follows IB, not Canadian curriculum. Perhaps less academically pushy than UWC. I've heard that UWC is unofficially selective, btw.

Clueless2727 Sat 06-Jun-15 11:25:19

Hi. I've got 2 children in Dulwich. Love it, it's a fab school. We looked at Stamford and I agree with the above comment that it was style over substance so we didn't choose it. Problem with Dulwich is waiting lists, you'd need to check with the school for each year group how long they are. UWC has a good reputation, but is IB rather than British curriculum and again waiting lists. Gems is a new school following IB but heard good things about it. Dovercourt has new management and they're making a lot of improvements. Local schools are also hard to get in, expats get allocated places after Singaporeans so may end up with no place or at the other end of Singapore. There's a Facebook group for parents with kids in local schools in Singapore but afraid I don't know the name.

whizzbang1 Wed 10-Jun-15 14:29:39

Hi guys,

Just incase it's of interest to anyone in a similar position, we've had a look now at UWC, GEMS, Dulwich and Stamford. Having thought UWC was without doubt the first choice, we couldn't have been more wrong. Our children weren't keen and neither were we. It's come down to a choice between Dulwich or GEMS, both of which we really like the feel of.

Thank you for your thoughts, appreciated.

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