Boarding can help with the demanding lifestyles that many families have, whether needing to make frequent overseas trips or having to relocate overseas. Why else would you want to consider moving your child into boarding accommodation during term time? Well, more sleep, movie and pizza nights, playing with friends, having a hot breakfast every day, and hot chocolate before bed are just a few reasons on the list. It can also be the ideal preparation for the move to university life. And for students with an early morning swim club or extra-curricular activities that run late into the evenings, it can mean less time travelling during the week (and more time in bed!).
If you're considering a boarding education for your child, here are five international schools in Singapore to consider.
The Anglo-Chinese School (International) is one of three local international schools in Singapore (the other two are Hwa Chong International School and SJI International School). These three local international schools are managed by the MOE, but they are privately funded, and they have the freedom to set their own curricula and fees. While at least half of the students must be Singaporean, these schools tend to have a very international student community.
Students aged 12 to 19 years can board at one of two hostels run by the ACS school group – Oldham Hall or the ACS (Independent) Boarding School – for a minimum period of one year. Although ACS accepts boarders from other international and local schools, priority is given to ACS students. All international students who are residing in Singapore without their parents are required to board with the school.
Open since 1994, the ACS (Independent) Boarding School is home to about 500 students and staff. There’s a choice of double and single rooms, and each boarder has a personal study area. It’s a 20-30 minute bus ride away from the school, and boarders get daily meals including breakfast, lunch (on holidays and weekends), and dinner. There’s a compulsory two-hour homework session every day, and regular events organised by the Junior Common Room Committee. Fees range from $400-495 a week.
The longest-established boarding institution in Singapore, ACS Oldham Hall, is home to more than 300 students studying in local and international schools. Centrally located in Singapore, 10 minutes from Newton MRT, ACS Oldham Hall has two, three, four and six-bed rooms, as well as common rooms, a music room, dining hall, sports hall, tennis courts and swimming pool.
Built on the foundations of a highly respected British independent school, Dulwich College (Singapore) offers an enhanced UK curriculum with a dual language approach to Mandarin, a choice of the IBDP or IBCP, an exciting STEAM initiative, and a global creative arts programme. But, as one of Singapore’s most expensive schools, it all comes at a very high price.
Dulwich College (Singapore) has partnered with ACS Oldham Hall (see above) to offer full boarding for Year 12 and 13 students aged 16-18 whose families live outside Singapore. The annual boarding fee of $35,300 includes one-way transport from ACS Oldham Hall to the College in the morning on school days.
This Serangoon-based school, which takes students on a learning path from two through to 18 years, describes itself as “globally focused and distinctly Australian”. As well as celebrating the diversity of Singapore’s expat community, Australian International School (AIS) has a warm, welcoming, and friendly environment that is rooted in Australian culture.
With its choice of international pathways, and enormous early years campus the school has plenty of international appeal. And, well-known for being strong in the pool and on the field, the all-through AIS also has the facilities, the sporty cohort, and the specialist programmes to make it one of Singapore's top schools for sport.
Australian International School offers a boarding programme at ACS Oldham Hall (see above) for students aged 12 years and above (Grades 6 to 12) whose families reside in another country.
An all-through Catholic school in Toa Payoh, St. Joseph's Institution International has a reputation for its impressive exam results, pastoral care and rigorous approach to teaching maths at elementary level. A local international school like SJI International appeals to expat students for many reasons: it is easier to get a place than at a local school; teaching combines the local Singapore with a UK curriculum and IB programme; fees are lower than many international schools; and academic standards are high.
Boarding is available from Grade 9 onwards at SJI International for students who do not live with their own parents or a direct blood relative. The school has its own 12-storey St Andrew’s Hall, which is a co-ed residence housing up to 600 students, and facilities include a communal study centre, gymnasium, dance studio and music room. Students are cared for by Residential Mentors, who are teachers at SJI. The cost is $930 per month.
UWC South East Asia is a seriously big, and seriously impressive, K-12 school. Whether your child is academic, sporty, or artistic, UWCSEA offers something for pretty much every child. The school has two large campuses in Singapore, with around 2,400 students at its East campus, and another 3,000-plus at its Dover campus.
There are more than 310 boarders aged 13 years and up (Grade 8 and above) from 76 countries shared across the two campuses. Both campuses have a very diverse student body, with the highest numbers of children coming from India, the UK, the US, and Australia. Around 30% of the school’s residential boarding community have been awarded a scholarship to attend the school.
Both Dover and East have on-campus boarding houses; Dover Campus offers four-bed rooms with an attached bathroom for all students; East Campus has different styles of accommodation depending on the grade-level of the student. Annual boarding fees, paid in addition to the school fees, are $37,323.