Home Tuition
Call us at 3158 4759 Now!

Introduction to Secondary School Education in Singapore for Parents

Every parent wants the best for their children. They want to let their child experience the things they never had before. That’s how the term “overcompensation” came into existence and sometimes choosing the best things for the children can be taxing, tiring and confusing. It happens when choosing the best party to throw for him or her or even choosing the kind of shoes you want to give them for their birthday. After all, a parent’s main concern is for their children to be happy and secure, may it be for short term or long term.

High school students

Speaking of long term security, parents invest in their children’s education because it’s one way of giving their children a bright future and they know education is the only thing that anyone can’t take away, but what kind of Education are you investing? Where should you enroll your children?  In the Government Aided Schools or to Independent Schools? Do they have the same quality in teaching? What might be the difference? These are some of the questions that plague the parents; the unheard questions, “the always-in- the- back- of –their- minds” questions.


The two types of Secondary Schools in Singapore are:


*Government Secondary Schools – focuses on hands-on approach and practical based curriculum. Students are divided into three streams: ExpressNormal (Academic), and Normal (Technical), depending on their PSLE results. Good ‘O’ Level results are needed for entry to a junior college or polytechnic. Through the years, the Singapore’s education system has grown in diversity and depth. There are now a wide variety of educational pathways available, to meet individual needs and talents. This includes the Singapore Sports School, School of the Arts and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.

*Independently-run schools – have greater autonomy in their curriculum. They are not administered by local, state or national governments.  They don’t rely on mandatory taxation through public funding. There are more than 30 foreign-system (or international) schools in Singapore. The school may offer an education pathway and curriculum that are similar to those in the foreign student’s home country. This is especially beneficial if they have been educated in a language other than English. Each school has its own admission criteria.

There are about 160 secondary schools in Singapore and entry to it is based on the child’s performance at PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination), the result of the examination determines if the child is ready to commence secondary education. The PSLE also determines to which track the child might land into, whether Special, Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) courses. These programs are specifically designed to match the abilities of each child, which makes the program holistic because it caters and hones their talents, potentials and capabilities.

two types of secondary schools


Special and Express are basically the same, four year courses leading to the GCE “O” Level examination, the only difference is that the “Special” will have to take up ‘Higher Mother Tongue’ while the Express is just ‘Mother Tongue’. Normal Mother Tongue Students will have to go through one more year of study in their Mother Tongue after their ‘O’ Levels to take the ‘AS’ Level Mother Tongue Examinations and fulfil the MOE’s requirement.

Normal stream is subdivided into normal tech and normal academic course. The latter is a five year course where students take Normal- level (N-level) exam at 4th year and O-levels at the 5th year, most of their subjects are academically oriented, like principles of Accounting. On the other hand, Normal Tech a 4 year course where students take their N-levels at 4th year and graduate, with their subjects being more technical, more hands-on, tapping on technology and design.

However there is the IP or the Integrated Programme that allows students to skip the GCE Ordinary Level (O Level) and proceed to sit for the GCE Advanced Level (A-level) examination, International Baccalaureate (IB), or an equivalent examination, after six years of secondary education. The A-level examination is typically taken by students at the end of their second or third year in junior college. Only the top performers are eligible to be part of the IP programme. The program is also known as the “Through-Train Programme”.

There is also the CCA (Co-Curricular Activities) that are compulsory at this level. Students have to participate in at least one of the core activities. Their participation will be graded together with other achievements in a scoring system called LEAPS (Leadership, Enrichment, Achievement, Participation, and Service). Each student will be assessed based on various co-curricular activities. Through CCAs, students in their early teens are often given actual public responsibilities.

different interests


Since there are many secondary schools in Singapore, students have more options to choose. They can select a school for mixed, male or female students. Below is the list of top Secondary Schools that can be considered:

  • Nanyang Girls’ High School
  • Raffles Girls’ School
  • Raffles Institution
  • Hwa Chong Institution
  • National Junior College
  • Dunman High School
  • River Valley High
  • Methodist Girls’ School
  • Cedar Girls’ Secondary School
  • CHIJ St. Nicholas
  • Catholic High School
  • Singapore  Chinese Girls

Whether you choose Government or Independent schools, you can be sure that both are designed to help your child achieve the growth they need to become globally competitive.

globally competitive

But no matter what the results are of their PSLE, parents should always be grateful of their child’s small (and big) victories. Education should not be forced and demanded on your children,  it should be explained thoroughly that it’s not just about their future, but it is about the Learning and the Experience. Yes, it can be considered as an investment, but not as an investment for the sheer goal of working, like an insurance policy of some kind- 25 years of premium and 10 years of payouts, but an investment in Knowledge and in their Self-Awareness and Development.

Comments are closed.

Contact Us

237 Alexandra Rd #04-10
Singapore 159929
(By Appointment Only)
Phone: (+65) 3158 4759
Website: https://www.frankltuition.sg
Email: info@frankltuition.sg
Site Map    Careers    Feedback
Visit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Facebook