First Look: Invictus International School (Sentosa)

Founding vice principal Laura Appleton promises a “back to basics education” with an “engaging International Primary Curriculum” at the new Invictus Sentosa campus for Grades 1 and 2.
First Look: Invictus International School (Sentosa)
By Carli Allan
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Since opening in 2016, Invictus International School Singapore has quickly become a popular primary school with a reputation for its close-knit community and personalised learning – and this year it plans to build on this success with the opening of its Sentosa campus for six to eight-year-olds.

Invictus’ ‘back to basics’ education and annual fees of $17,000, which are considerably cheaper than most international schools in Singapore, have proven popular with families looking for an affordable education within a small, understated and welcoming school. It’s not surprising that it plans to grow the Invictus brand, first with the opening of a campus for Grades 1 and 2 in Sentosa; further afield, it is due to open a campus for up to 100 kindergarten and 500 primary students in Grades 1-6 in Hong Kong in November.

The Sentosa campus is the only new international school to open in Singapore for the 2019-20 academic year, a move that may be welcomed by families living in Sentosa where there is just one other school for Grades 1-2 on its doorstep (EtonHouse Sentosa). As well as its low school fees and location, Invictus (Sentosa) is one of only 10 schools in Singapore to follow the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).

Invictus School (Sentosa) will be led by founding vice principal Laura Appleton, a UK-born educator who was previously a teacher at Invictus’ Dempsey Hill campus. As students and teachers settle into their first term, WhichSchoolAdvisor speaks to Laura Appleton to learn more about the school’s “simple, focused and affordable” education.

Read our reviews of Invictus International School Singapore and the new Sentosa campus.

Vice principal Laura Appleton (pictured left)

Invictus Sentosa has opened as an affordable school, and your fees are certainly among the lowest for an international school in Singapore. How can you deliver a quality education for less?
Invictus International School focuses on a ‘back to basics’ education with excellent educators and an engaging curriculum. We provide a quality education that engages and nurtures our students to be life-long learners.

Teaching will follow the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) for Grades 1-2, which takes a very creative, thematic approach to teaching. Why have you decided to fully embrace the IPC rather than following the IB programme or UK National Curriculum?
The IPC curriculum is a forward-thinking curriculum which empowers learners and encourages them to be active and independent participants in their education. Its thematic approach is interesting and relevant to the students and can easily be adapted to current events and locality. Furthermore, the style of the IPC is in line with the IBDP programme.

The campus may not have the same state-of-the-art facilities as other international schools here. Does this restrict you in terms of teaching a modern curriculum?
No, it does not restrict our teaching. Children growing up in Singapore are fully surrounded by technology and have access to it in their homes, so they do not necessarily need to be surrounded by it at school. We do have laptops for the children, and they learn and produce projects with these. However, in my experience, children would rather roll a real dice or count with real base 10 blocks than do so on a tablet.

What do you bring as the founding vice-principal to this new school?
I bring international experience and genuine love of the classroom and learning process. I have had the privilege to teach in South Korea, Belgium, England and Singapore and this international experience gives me a good understanding of the dynamics of a multicultural classroom. I am also sensitive to the needs of young children who may have recently moved to a new part of the world and the experiences they may be having as a third culture kid.

What facilities are at the new campus?
We have four classrooms and a large hall for indoor play and physical education. We also take daily walks to the Sentosa Cove playground to have a snack and a chance to play. We have a specialist PE teacher who also takes the children to a nearby field for sports. We also plan to make regular visits to the new public library at Vivocity.

Why open in Sentosa? And do you expect your students to move to Dempsey Hill for Grade 3 despite the distance?
Our Sentosa Campus eases the stress of a long-distance commute on younger children. It allows children who live on Sentosa to start their primary education in a familiar environment. By the age of eight or nine years old, children are ready to move to a bigger campus and can easily make the transition to Dempsey Hill.

What are the main challenges of founding a new school here in Singapore?
I am following in the footsteps of the Invictus founding principal and vice-principals so opening a satellite campus hasn’t been as challenging as founding a new school. However, one challenge we’ve faced is getting the word out that we have opened our new campus. We are open for school tours and have open enrolment this year for Grades 1 and 2. I’m happy to be able to spread the word and I encourage everyone to come on over and see the beautiful marina views for themselves.

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