Affordable international schools in Singapore
Parents looking for a more affordable education have a growing choice of international schools with fees of under $25,000 – half the price of the city's most expensive schools. The majority of schools offering fees from $5,500 to $20,000 are primary, and parents can expect to pay $21,000 and above for most secondary schools in Singapore.
Most schools with lower tuition fees tend to have smaller, older and more basic campuses, but have a small student body that doesn't need a sprawling campus anyway. There was a noticeable rise in affordable schools opening from 2015-19, most of which have quickly become popular and well-subscribed.
What makes an affordable international school truly outstanding?
In this Award category, we were looking at how schools in the lower price range are offering a more affordable education without compromising on the quality of teachers, the rigour of the curriculum, the level of pastoral care and much more. We focused on how the school is compensating for any lack of facilities, asked whether lower fees impact its delivery of education, and looked for each school’s standout features that make it more than simply “an affordable school”.
How are the Winners and Highly Commended schools decided?
Our panel of expert judges selected the Award winners based on their strengths; feedback from parents, teachers and students in WhichSchoolAdvisor surveys; information in the Award entries submitted by schools and parents; and reviews by WhichSchoolAdvisor (Singapore) editors.
Strengths of the school include:
The judges were impressed by Middleton’s affordable fee, and the school was praised for having “significantly lower fees than other Singapore schools whilst offering a broad, well-regarded, international curriculum including modern foreign language options and a range of extra-curricular activities”.
Judges highlighted the “rigorous, solid IPC curriculum where parents may choose the optional extras that they believe are most important for their children” and “the strong focus on social and emotional learning, including mindfulness and student wellbeing programmes, in addition to the academic”.
Middleton’s flat teaching structure incorporates specialist teachers for languages, PE, art and library, which enables the school to keep staffing costs at a lower level, while ensuring that professional development is available through the EtonHouse group.
Lyn Soppelsa, Reviews & Community Editor, Which Media said:
“Middleton has a very open approach in terms of the clear communication around the areas on which it will compromise (class sizes and owned resources) whilst ensuring that the core requirements (the rigour of the curriculum, overall facilities, specialist rooms and staffing) are provided.”
“Also, the innovative support and creative approach of other staff and experts from both within and outside the school for additional skills where there are no specialists ensures the inclusion of key subjects such as IT, art and design and technology."
The school was also praised for its focus on involving the family in each step of a child’s education. And, as David Flint, Principal, South View School in Dubai, said:
"The inclusive and fun focused nature of the school and, particularly, the parent testimonials create a very positive image of a school that operates from the heart. Caring for the individual experience and involving the family in each step of a child’s education is a strong theme."
Anita Simpson, Head of School, American International School in Hong Kong, highlighted the school's simple and memorable motto (Learn, Innovate, Serve). As a Mothership School for the US-based Contentment Foundation, Middleton "clearly places mindfulness as a priority for the students' learning experience", and it is inspiring to see a school where students are expected to "enjoy their learning."
The general feedback from parents is that Middleton is a friendly, warm community where the principal knows every child by their name. The teachers are frequently described as very supportive and dedicated, and parents feel they are part of the Middleton ‘family’ and have a close partnership with the school.
“My two children have been here over a year now and the standard of education we have experienced has been excellent. Singapore’s education system is renowned, and I am happy that MIS offers Singapore Maths and Chinese. Furthermore, because MIS follows the IPC, my children pick up skills and knowledge that are transferable, and they can fit back to the UK education system if we return to the UK.”
“Overall, the lower fees are a bonus, but we are thrilled and would recommend Middleton to any parents considering a new environment for their children. I think Middleton has the perfect blend of facilities required for the educational needs of the students.”
“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. It is giving parents the choice to pay for what some families may regard as less-important subjects.
“It’s a school where teachers are encouraged to be creative and share new ideas. The school encourages transparency and collaboration by having glass-fronted classrooms, and it takes advantage of the user-friendly IPC lesson plans to give teachers a basic framework to work from – and then enhance.
"While Middleton does not have a vast team of department heads, there are specialist teachers for languages, PE, art, and library. Other specialist subjects such as IT, art, and design and technology are taught by the class teacher, and sometimes with the help of experts from in and outside of the school.”
Read our full review of Middleton International School (Tampines) here.
In its nomination for this Award, Middleton said:
“The Middleton culture isn't by default nor chance, but something that we designed and instilled within our school community from the very start. When we first set up Middleton, happiness and well-being are included explicitly in our Vision and Mission, and we have selected Mindfulness as one of our Core Values. We have also included social and emotional learning as a key part of our school's curriculum.”
“By ensuring students have access to an academically rigorous education, and a rich learning environment that is safe, nurturing and enriching, we equip students with the knowledge, skills and right attitude to be successful, responsible and caring global citizens.”
Read more in our 2022 Round-up of Singapore's Most Affordable Schools. Click here.
Next: Highly Commended Schools