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Singapore schooling - again...

(47 Posts)
Mummyinggnome Sun 13-May-12 04:33:54

Are there any MNers who have their children in the local school system here? We have our places for Tanglin for August but our kids are in a Singaporean kindergarten at the moment which seems so good that I'm wondering if we should stick with it. Academically Tanglin seems to be behind the Singaporean schools on a same age comparison?
Wuld love to hear any experiences?
Many thanks

Saltedcaramellavacake Mon 06-Jan-14 17:07:38

I thought it was properly bilingual too but the website now says "dual language" in Early Years (to Year 2) then specialist Mandarin classes "each week" (!!) from Year 3. If that's right it seems no better than any other (not Chinese) international school in SG. Such a missed opportunity!

sgbaby Sat 04-Jan-14 11:36:42

hi. anyone know more about the level of mandarin at Dulwich. we signed up as the headmaster told us it was going to be a dual language approach through the primary years. I have since heard that will only be in the early years (under 6). I went to a recent talk at Dulwich specifically about the mandarin and the head replied to my question with "If you want that level of Mandarin then perhaps this isn't the school for you"..........he has changed his tune - it was a different story when he was taking my $7k cheque for 2 kids 6 months earlier!!

S999 Sat 27-Jul-13 06:24:59

DH just told me that Dulwich Singapore kids get automatic entry to Dulwich College anywhere and JAGS in London. He said the headmaster had told him this specifically.

Saltedcaramellavacake Wed 24-Jul-13 09:22:45

Thanks. My kids are in an IB school at the moment and there's a strong emphasis on the basics (reading, writing etc) so perhaps it depends on the school.
Interesting to know about the London places - an easier route in may have tempted me to move schools but it is as I feared from the slightly cryptic replies I've had from the school. I'll definitely go to an info session, though - always good to see what's out there and the Mandarin program does sound good. I'm less tempted by sport but my kids are little and the big problem in SG for high level competitive sport is the size of the pool of kids to compete against!

S999 Wed 24-Jul-13 07:24:57

Hi there, I think it will be the standard tests but you can apply for occasional places at any point, not jut 4, 7 etc. There will be special consideration and help given by the school to accomodate them, we were told. I haven't focused too much on that, I was more worried about the kids being nowhere near the standard needed to get back into private London day schools, the 11plus for girls is shockingly competitive and I don't anticipate mine boarding if/when we come back, not that that's any less competitive. At least with Dulwich, the academics are really sound as well as the other opportunities for nsport, music and drama. Also, I can put all mine in one school, as it has a nursery as well!
UWC is an extraordinary school but to be honestly, the infant school and junior school weren't the same standard reading adn writing wise becaue I think IB just doesn't focus on that so much, a lot of that is up to the parents to do.
Do go the Q&A sessions, my husband went and he found it super helpful as is the head, who will happily talk to you any time, including his wife. Quite a few people I know from London are starting next year so there's definitely a captive market, not just the UWC and Tanglin rejects (we weren't) but those who want a good academic British education.

Saltedcaramellavacake Wed 24-Jul-13 02:22:01

S999, can I ask about the places at Dulwich London and JAGS? I can't find any info about this on the website. Have you been told the test to get in is the standard entry test at the standard entry points (4+, 7+ etc) or is there are special entry for ex-SG kids? If the latter this might go a long wag to solving my worries about schooling on return to London! I haven't managed to get a straight answer yet, but I've been asking on the phone and plan to get to one of the open days next month.

S999 Tue 23-Jul-13 18:07:00

Hi there, we have accepted places for my children at Dulwich College next year, despite having aplace for one of my kids at UWC Dover. We were extremely impressed by the standards, selective entry and bi-lingual teaching. WHile UWC is extraordinary, for the lower years of schooling, they are quite behind, in my opinion, the central London prep schools and this we felt would be a problem if we were to return to UK in a few years and have to sit the competitive 11-plus, 8-plus etc exams.

I don't think DUlwich is anything like a franchise, as pupils get entry (ok there's a test) to Dulwich College in London or JAGS (for girls). Marlborough is most certainly a franchise but Dulwich - the staff are from London, Shanghai as well as of course new recruits so quite a big link with the UK side of things. THe current head was also deputy head of the London school.

Do have a look into it, I think you'll be quite impressed. I know the Shanghai school has been a roaring success, beating Tanglin and UWC in the top ten world schools already.

Hope that helps.

Hamishbear Tue 29-May-12 01:40:24

Re: local schooling system I quite like many aspects but it's not for everyone. See the link I posted upthread about the expat who sent his children to Nan Yang Primary (a great school). It's recently become much tougher to get your children in even if a Permanent Resident. Priority goes to Singaporeans.

Personally I like the work ethic, Singapore Maths, daily exposure to Mandarin (especially in schools like NanYang that prioritise this). I was quite surprised by some of the English curriculum. It seems, to my untrained eye, that it's taught almost as a second language (which it may be for some). Think cloze passages, constructing a story around pictures, copying out prescribed phrases etc. There's also a negative marking system and lots of tests (although these are being phased out for younger children they are still generally popular with parents so some schools still using).

One of mine answered all the questions correctly for a English comprehension passage but received zero marks. They were 6 at the time. They hadn't spelled words correctly or used the correct (simple) punctuation. I thought this was quite a good thing, sloppiness in spelling and grammar are not tolerated (my child knew the correct spelling - it was there in the text). I imagine it would make many of my friends raise their eyebrows smile. It's quite a traditional, old fashioned approach that many won't like I suspect but it's only part of the whole picture.

Hownoobrooncoo Mon 28-May-12 20:14:40

I'm not anti the local schooling system but a few of my friends sent their kids local and came to regret after a few years and moved them back into the international system. I'm sure there are those who are happy with their choice of local schools.

Hamishbear Mon 28-May-12 14:05:21

TTS is a good school - will PM you.

Mummyinggnome Mon 28-May-12 13:56:40

Hi Hamishbear,
I like the school (Marlborough), the staff etc. But not overly sold on Nusujaya and surrounding area. Looked at moving closer to the border etc, but in all honesty my gut feeling is that it's not for us. At this stage anyway. I absolutely loathed boarding and will do everything in my power to make sure my kids stay with us! So, it's my hang up, rather than anything else... My positives/ negatives list was lengthy!
Out of our three dc's, one has a place for august so then hopefully the other to should get in sometime in 2013 with sibling priority. I remain hugely unsure, but equally my dh doesn't want them to go through the local school system either. So...
Do you like TTS?

Hamishbear Mon 28-May-12 09:32:29

Weekly OR flexi boarding I mean.

Hamishbear Mon 28-May-12 09:31:19

Thanks for reporting back. Are you on TTS list? It is allegedly moving faster than anticipated at the moment.

If me I think I'd go for Marlborough. I know a dozen or more now that will be commuting each day. It will be a Public school & the Prep a proper Prep. That would be enough to tempt me if I needed a spot. Not least the high quality teachers & class sizes of 18 max in the Prep.

Allegedly there are around 5 only signed up for boarding in the two parallel Y7 classes. It's true it's a boarding school but many parents want to send their children as day pupils and also want weekly of flexi boarding...

You could always live near the border for easier commute?

Mummyinggnome Mon 28-May-12 02:48:14

Thanks merlion,
Just rang sji, waiting lists for 2007 year of birth is over 50.
What to do! Such a nightmare.

Merlion Mon 28-May-12 02:00:04

Mummy that's interesting re Marlborough thanks for reporting back.

As I mentioned earlier DS will start SJI on January 2013. He was on the wait list for August this year but probably wouldn't have got in but as his year will be the first to run calendar year we got him a place as effectively there will be 2 entries. I have been told by another friend that that wait list for children born in 2009 is already at 60.

I have friends whose children already attend and all are very happy with it. It has the advantage of being smaller and so the principal knows the parents and children well. For instance a friends daughter was hospitalized for about a week and the principal called my friend every day to check on her progress. Also they do daily mandarin and follow the Singapore maths curriculum.

Mummyinggnome Sun 27-May-12 14:32:55

So today was the Marlborough college open day - and I said I'd report back, so...
It really is very much a boarding school that accepts day pupils, but the headmaster was very keen that the children should board. On that basis, it is very much not for us!
Also, getting across the border is time consuming. If your child is going on the bus from Singapore it's going to be a very long day for them.
Facilities and staff were all very nice, but gut feeling was that it's not right for us.
Does anybody have any experience of St Josephs?

Mummyinggnome Sat 19-May-12 09:23:09

I think they've organised for the buses to be fast tracked each morning, and I agree, I'm sure it will be desperately organised.
Saying that, I'd quite like to drive mine myself - in the uk, the school run was when you actually got a good bit chat with them!
Personally, I'm looking forward to the open day, dh is very much in favour, I'm trying to think neutral thoughts re Marlborough vs Singapore local schooling and our reserve position of Tanglin.
But, I look forward to us making a choice and sticking to it!
Have a good weekend!

empirestateofmind Sat 19-May-12 09:14:51

I wonder how the passport stamping will go everyday. Surely the students will get some sort of pass otherwise they will need to buy a new passport every six months!

Hamishbear Fri 18-May-12 15:40:05

Empire, thing is you can be a day pupil now after 11. That may change things I think. They still will give priority to boarders first but I know many who will begin to think more seriously now that's on offer.

Many are watching and waiting and as you say have reservations about the buses going across the border. Thing is the Marlborough team are very well organised and I predict things will run far more smoothly than many imagine given time.

As far as I am aware it's in Malaysia, therefore abroad, and local families won't be restricted. I know a few who would like to duck out of PSLE (can see why) and have looked. There may be restrictions I am not aware of though but nothing I've heard would stop anyone, apart from the price!

empirestateofmind Fri 18-May-12 12:48:05

I think there are a number of pupils who will be interested in the space and sports facilities that Marlborough has got. The full boarding is going to put lots of people off though after age 11.

If people can't get into UWC or TTS then I think they will look seriously at MCM.

Does anyone know will local families be allowed to send their DCs to MCM (like happens in HK) or will there be restrictions (like in Singapore) about who can go to International Schools?

empirestateofmind Fri 18-May-12 12:16:44

I think it is all going to depend on who the other children are and on how quickly the buses get through at the Malaysia/Singapore checkpoint each morning.

Hamishbear Fri 18-May-12 00:59:27

Just looked at the website, you're right Mummy it does say boarding and day school. Definitely not given as an option at earlier open days I attended (after 11).

Hamishbear Fri 18-May-12 00:27:24

Hello again Mummyinggnome, boarding isn't compulsory in Prep - you're right - but (unless there's been a radical U turn in the last ten days) it definitely is after 11.

I've just been speaking to a parent who is ruling out the school because weekly boarding is not an option - only full boarding.

Mummyinggnome Thu 17-May-12 20:00:37

Hamish, apparently at Marlborough it isn't compulsory to board, I checked with the school. Will report back after the open day!

Hamishbear Thu 17-May-12 16:48:54

Empire - what are your thoughts on Dulwich and Marlborough? Do you think Marlborough will entice pupils away from UWC and TTS etc in time?

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