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Singapore Expat Guide: International School Edition

If you are a parent and are either considering moving to Singapore or have just moved here, one of the decisions you might be trying to make is which school to enrol your child in. Most expatriates living in this Lion City tend to send their children to one of the many international schools here due to the diversity of cultures found in these schools. And for children of expats who travel around the globe frequently, being exposed to a global community is essential for their little ones.

However, the diversity of cultures is not the only factor you should consider when deciding on an international school to send your child to. With a large number of international schools in Singapore, there are other factors to consider as well to ensure you are making the best choice for your child.

 

Tips on Deciding on an International School for Your Child

If you are currently deciding on which international school would be the most suitable for your junior, here are some factors to consider to help you make your decision:

Curriculum

A school’s curriculum content is one of the most important factors you need to consider when deciding on which international school to enrol your child in. There are currently several curricula offered by international schools in Singapore. Some of them include the International Baccalaureate, the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education, and the national home curricula. Think about what your child needs and which curriculum would suit his character and interests best. Below are some of the questions you should ask yourself before making your decision: what kind of learning style best suits my child? What are my child’s educational needs and will this curriculum benefit him/her in future? Will this curriculum facilitate my child’s needs if he/she transfers schools in the future?

Location

Since there is a wide range of international schools available in Singapore, the location of the school might help you narrow down your options further. For instance, is the school located near your home? If your child will be taking public transport in Singapore, is the school convenient to get to? Does the school offer a transport option? All these questions will help you along before you make your decision.

School Fees

Don’t be alarmed if you find that the fees of international schools are higher than what you might be used to back home. Depending on which education level you’ll be enrolling your child in, you’ll be looking at an annual tuition fee from at least S$10,000 to S$40,000. You can check with the school to see if you are eligible for any discounts. For instance, certain schools might offer a lower school fee for families who have at least one child enrolled in their school. Another component to consider if the school’s fee structure. Each international school in Singapore has its own individual fee structure — some might allow you to pay the fee in instalments while other schools only accept a full payment upfront. Therefore, make sure to thoroughly consider your family’s budget and expenses before making a final decision on which school to send your child to.

Subjects

Most international schools in Singapore provide their students with a diverse range of subjects and not solely focusing on academic subjects like Mathematics and Science. Consider your child’s interests too when browsing through the subjects offered by the school. Will your child have the opportunity to learn a second language? Does the school have a robust creative department in the fields of musical theatre or drama? These questions are important, especially if your child is older and is at a stage in their education where they need to think about the career they would like to pursue. In this case, the subjects they take in school will play a major role in their future career opportunities.

Facilities

Many international schools provide facilities that are of world-class standards. Robotics labs, Olympic-sized swimming pools, state-of-the-art performance theatres, and full-sized football pitches are just some of the facilities available in these schools. However, don’t just consider the kinds of facilities the schools provide. Be sure to find out how often the students will be able to make use of these facilities and whether the facilities play a beneficial role in your child’s learning. After all, the cost of these facilities will be added to your child’s school fees, so you want to make sure that you get what you are paying for.

Extra-Curricular Activities

The international school your child is enrolled in should be able to provide them with an educational experience that balances both their academic and non-academic activities. Providing your child with the opportunity to be involved in activities outside of their academic subjects is essential to ensure they are able to develop holistically. Most of these schools offer their students a diverse range of extra-curricular activities such as sports, music or the arts, so do make a thorough check and of course, consult with your child too to see what kinds of extra-curricular activities they are drawn to.

School Excursions

Apart from extra-curricular activities, do check if the schools offer their students any excursions throughout the year. In many international schools, students are given the chance to travel overseas or go on local outings within the country for various activities such as volunteering opportunities and community engagement. These excursions also add to your child’s educational experience as well as their holistic development, so do consider this factor when deciding on an international school for your child.