Singapore’s only school to offer an Australian curriculum, AIS is an all-through school for students aged two to 18 years. The Serangoon-based school offers an education that’s underpinned by Australian curriculum standards, and shares the very best of Australia from swimming through to indigenous art.
With a large student population of over 2,600, it’s important that AIS does not follow a ‘one size fits all’ mantra. The school promises to focus on individual learning styles to help “your child become an active, compassionate and lifelong learner”.
It’s a philosophy that runs throughout the school’s education programme, which begins with a Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) from kindergarten to Year 5, continues with the Australian Curriculum for Years 6 to 8, Cambridge IGCSE in Years 9 and 10, and rounds off with the HSC (New South Wales Higher School Certificate) or the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) for Years 11 and 12.
Curriculum: Singapore Ministry of Education curriculum for maths, International Primary Curriculum (IPC), IGCSEs, IBDP
Admissions: Prep 1 to Grade 12
Location: Toa Payoh
Annual tuition fees: $28,742 - 30,960
An all-through Catholic school in Toa Payoh, SJI International School has a reputation for its impressive exam results, pastoral care and rigorous approach to teaching maths at elementary level. There are around 650 students in the elementary school, which follows the Singaporean curriculum for maths and the International Primary Curriculum (IPC); there are more than 1,000 students in the high school, where students work towards their IGCSEs and the IBDP.
It’s an academically selective school that admits it remains true to the heritage of the Lasallian’s “academic nature” where students “share the same drive”. Its more rigorous application process does help to maintain the school’s strong academic record, which means it may not appeal to families looking for a less academic experience.
Read our full review of SJI International.
HCIS is a top-performing all-through school with impressive IGCSE and IBDP results. A member of the Hwa Chong family of schools, this Singapore outpost has a reputation for its teaching of Mandarin and long list of academic accolades.
Teaching here follows a very international programme. In middle school (Grades 7-9) students study a foundation curriculum, with some taking the option of IGCSEs; in senior school (Grades 10-12), students follow the IBDP. In 2018, the school’s largest ever cohort of 135 students celebrated an average IBDP score of 37, which was well above the global average of 29; three students from the school scored 44 points.
Read our full review of Hwa Chong International School (HCIS).
Since opening its doors in 2005 with just 150 students, ACS (International) has grown rapidly. Today, 1,000 12 to 18-year olds walk through the school gates every morning – a mix of Singaporean students and international expats from more than 30 different countries. ACS (International) is set apart from its sister schools by having an international curriculum that starts with IGCSEs and ends with the IBDP in the last two years.
As a Methodist school, ACS (International) is guided by Christian values and beliefs – from academic pursuits in the classroom to sporting performance on the field, from student leadership programmes within the school to community projects overseas. That said, the school is not strictly a ‘religious’ school; while there is a weekly half-hour chapel service for students, the door is open to children from all nationalities and faiths.
Read our full review of Anglo-Chinese (International) School).
Curriculum: Singapore Ministry of Education curriculum for maths and Chinese, International Primary Curriculum, (IGCSEs and A Levels as the school expands)
Admissions: KG to Grade 8
Annual tuition fees: $15,800 – 17,250
Middleton International School's Tampines campus in eastern Singapore is an affordable school offering the creative and inquiry-led International Primary Curriculum blended with the rigorous Singapore Ministry of Education curriculum for maths and Chinese. This all-through school has capacity for 1,000 students from nursery through to Grade 12, although it is currently only open up to Grade 8 and has around 300 students; it plans to be a through train school by 2024.
With fees of $15,000 for primary and $17,250 in Grades 6-8, the school is nearly 50% cheaper than many other international schools in Singapore. Middleton offers a solid but stripped back curriculum, where families can choose to pay extra for Hindi or Chinese classes, after-school activities and swim lessons.
EtonHouse’s first Middleton International School is a small primary school with capacity for just 125 children; it is the sister school to the Tampines campus. Middleton offers the International Primary Curriculum and the Singapore Ministry of Education curriculum for Mathematics and Chinese.
With fees of $18,000 for a primary education, the school is nearly 50% cheaper than many other international schools in Singapore. The school is able to cut operating costs through its relatively lower rent, using external spaces for sports and other co-curricular activities, and economies of scale from running many EtonHouse schools in Singapore.
Middleton caters for children from Grades 1-5 with a strong second language foundation in Chinese and English as Foreign languages. However, it does not have the dual teacher arrangement operated in other EtonHouse schools, with one English-speaking and one Chinese-speaking native per class.
Read our full review of Middleton International School (Upper Bukit Timah).
This standalone primary school in the north east offers the Cambridge primary curriculum, a strong focus on creativity and outdoor learning, and fees of less than $20,000 per year.
Since opening in August 2018, the school has grown very slowly to a small community of students. Some families may be put off by the lack of facilities, small campus, north-east location, and non-IB curriculum. Others, however, will see the appeal of a school that follows a January to December academic year, has a close-knit community, and all the characteristics of a village school. Two standout features of the curriculum are the Creators in Residence, which focuses on creating works of art in the school's art room and multi-purpose hall, and the Garden to Table project, which “teaches essential life skills in a fun, engaging and hands-on way”.
Curriculum: Singapore-Cambridge local curriculum
Admissions: Secondary 1-6
Annual tuition fees: $11,600-plus
Dimensions High School is popular with both local and international students looking to follow the Singapore-Cambridge local curriculum. Founded in 2001, Dimensions High School has a well-equipped, modern campus, although it is not as glitzy or state-of-the-art as some all-through schools in Singapore. It is, however, one of Singapore’s more affordable schools with annual tuition fees starting at $11,600 for Secondary 1.
The school offers preparatory courses for Cambridge Primary, Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCEs) and Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCE A-Level). It also runs complimentary preparatory classes for the Admission Exercise for International Students (AEIS) (Primary programme), which may appeal to expats trying to get a place in a local school. The school describes itself as “a springboard for helping students to obtain entry into government schools and institutions.”
Read our full review of Dimensions High School.
As well as delivering an Australian education to mainstream students, Integrated International School’s (IIS) team of teachers, specialists, counsellors and therapists offer customised learning plans for children with learning and behavioural needs.
Founded on the basis that ‘one size does not fit all’, IIS has a high teacher-student ratio to tailor teaching to individual needs, and it incorporates holistic, socio-emotional classes into the curriculum. The school has a small but what it describes as “nurturing” campus, and makes full use of community facilities including playgrounds, parks and sports facilities that are just a five-minute walk away.
Read our full review of Integrated International School (IIS).