Primary 1 registration for all international students in Singapore starts in early June, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced today. All non-PR foreigners must complete an online indication of interest, which will only be live for one week from June 2 to 8, 2020.
The MOE also announced two key changes to this year's Primary 1 registration – all registration will be online rather than in-person, and there will be a cap on PR students in some primary schools.
Children born between January 2, 2014 and January 1, 2015 can register for admission to Primary 1 at one of Singapore’s government-run schools; the academic year runs from January to December 2021.
There is strong competition for places and priority is given to Singaporean citizens and those with Permanent Resident (PR) status. Primary 1 applications from foreigners are in the last phase of the annual registration exercise, Phase 3, after Singaporeans and PRs have secured their places in Phases 1 and 2.
All phases of Primary 1 registration will be online for 2021 in light of the Covid-19 situation. The registration period will open from Wednesday, July 1 to Friday, October 30.
International students must first submit an online ‘indication of interest’ form via the MOE P1 website. If you do not do this by June 8, 2020, you will not be able to register during Phase 3 of the P1 Registration Exercise. The submission of the online indication of interest is not first-come-first-served.
The MOE said: "MOE will notify International Student applicants who have indicated their interest via email in October 2020, as to whether their child can be offered a P1 place in a primary school. If a place is offered, the parent of the child will be informed of how to register with the designated school."
The MOE receives around 3,500 applications from foreigners annually. According to MOE statistics, around 1,800 applications from international students to enter a local school were rejected in the 2016 Primary 1 Registration Exercise.
Read more: How to apply for a local school place
Phases 1 and 2A are for children whose siblings are current pupils of the school; children whose parents are members of the alumni association; or families who are members of the school advisory or management committee. Phase 2B is for children whose parents have volunteered in schools, have affiliations to churches or clan associations linked to the schools, or are active community leaders. Singaporean families with no links to the school can register in Phase 2C.
This year, for registration for Phases 2A1, 2A2 and 2B, parents will need to complete an online application form to register their child using their SingPass.
The MOE is introducing a cap of 25-30% on the intake of permanent resident (PR) children in 10 primary schools; this will only be applied in Phase 2C and 2C Supplementary. Schools affected include Bukit Timah Primary School, Bukit View Primary School, Changkat Primary School, Greendale Primary School, Marymount Convent School, North Spring Primary School, Opera Estate Primary School, Pioneer Primary School, Tanjong Katong Primary School, and Xingnan Primary School.
"This is to prevent any concentration of PR children in our primary schools, provide a more conducive environment to encourage interaction between Singapore citizen and PR children, and facilitate the integration of PR children into Singapore," said the MOE.
There are several reasons why international families prefer to attend a local rather than an international school. Annual fees for expats range from $8,000-15,000, which is at least half that charged by most international schools. As well as being considerably cheaper, local schools will immerse your child in the local culture, offer a world-class curriculum with an excellent reputation for maths and science, and a strong focus on learning Mandarin.
Read more: Local vs international schools in Singapore
The most popular local schools for expats (and where you’re most likely to receive a place) include Balestier Hill Primary, Bukit Panjang Primary, Bukit Timah Primary, Opera Estate Primary and Tanjong Katong Primary.