(Brought to you by Intellicat Auntie Counselling Department – originally written on Dec 2014)
Now that PSLE is over, many parents are approaching us for advice on how to choose a Secondary school for their child. For those children who can get into top schools, that decision is easily made. However, for those who received average or mediocre grades, the decision is not so obvious. Here is a list of advice compiled by experienced MOE teachers from Primary and Secondary Schools and tutors from Intellicat (Hougang / Kovan, Singapore) and other networks:
– “MOE says all schools are good schools!” – (I personally recommend the teacher who said this for HOD position!)
– “All schools are good. It really depends on who your child mixes with. I would recommend choosing a school near your house as your child will be tired/drained from a long day in school and will not want to spend so much time commuting to and fro. The energy and time saved can be put to more productive activities.”
– “It depends on your child’s strengths and interests. For example, does the school provides the CCA your child is interested in?”
– “You cannot just depend on CCA. I have known students who managed to get into a school because they excel in CCA but end up failing O-levels.”
– “Go to the school’s open house and learn about their programmes. Some schools have a strong focus on Express students and might neglect the Normal stream students if they happen to be a minority.”
– “Don’t just rely on school branding. Be realistic about your child’s capabilities. Being a big fish in a small pond may even encourage them to do better, get more attention or maybe even boost their self-esteem and confidence.”
– “Log in to ecareers.sg and compare aggregates of schools and subjects/CCAs offered. Also check out the school’s website to look at the subjects and programmes offered.”
For me, I would strongly recommend going down to the school’s open house and really observe the school’s culture. By observing culture I mean:
– Are the students lively, driven, motivated, well-behaved, creative, etc?
– Are the teachers and management helpful, resourceful, genuine or are they redirecting you to other people or giving vague inconclusive answers?
– Are the teachers and students communicating freely and getting along well with each other?
– Talk to the student volunteers and teachers, and ask them about the school. Gauge the replies they give with your gut-feeling to tell if the answers are genuine or not.
And of course, take into account all the other pointers previously discussed to determine a school that best suits your child.
I would also like to remind parents that PSLE is not the end of the road. There is still a long road for formal education and many factors will play a part in shaping your child’s development. At the end of the day, the ultimate factor is your child himself/herself.
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
– Buddhist Proverb.
(Do help to share if you find this useful! Additional comments are welcomed!)
Head of Auntie Counselling Dept
Intellicat Tuition School
1030 Upper Serangoon Road
[Located in Hougang / Kovan]
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