WINNER: Best Schools Award (Singapore) 2022 for Best UK Pathway

Tanglin Trust School is awarded the WhichSchoolAdvisor (Singapore) Best Schools Award 2022 for Best UK Pathway.
WINNER: Best Schools Award (Singapore) 2022 for Best UK Pathway
By Carli Allan
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Winner of the WhichSchoolAdvisor (Singapore) Best Schools Award 2022 for Best UK Pathway is Tanglin Trust School.

Highly Commended is Dover Court International School and Dulwich College (Singapore).

International schools offering the most British education
In Singapore, there has traditionally been a choice of UK schools – a branch of the British independent school Dulwich College, Nord Anglia’s British-branded school Dover Court, and one of Singapore’s oldest international schools, Tanglin TrustWhile all look towards the United Kingdom for their roots, each school offers something truly unique – and only one of them offers A Levels (Tanglin).

Today, there are many more international schools following a UK pathway that includes the National Curriculum for England and I/GCSEs combined with other methods of teaching such as the IBDP, the International Primary Curriculum and Singaporean Maths. Most recently, three British public schools have moved into Singapore – The Perse School, SingaporeBrighton College (Singapore); and NLCS Singapore – and we watch with interest their growth.

But what makes an international school’s UK pathway truly outstanding?
In this Award category, we were looking how at how schools are offering students the very best British-based education, while preparing them for I/GCSE examinations and beyond. We asked, how is each school adapting the National Curriculum for England to its international school setting? Also, how is teaching focused on delivering high academic standards whilst ensuring that students develop wider life skills?

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.

Why did Tanglin Trust School win?


 Strengths of the school include:

  • Tanglin is the oldest British international school in Singapore and has a reputation for combining a UK curriculum with a forward-thinking international perspective. Teaching is both relevant and meaningful for Singapore expats; for example, students conduct a study of Ancient China instead of the Romans in history, and they learn about Singapore in depth while comparing London to Singapore.
  • Renowned for its strong academics, well-rounded, confident students, and unique choice of pathways, it is highly regarded in the UK by both schools and universities. The school’s curriculum is strongly British in character and closely follows the national curriculum, and this continuity allows students to enter or re-enter the UK education system smoothly. 
  • I/GCSEs: Good range of options which are as varied as film studies, psychology, economics, Latin, graphic communication and Chinese. I/GCSE psychology, economics, business studies, computer science and film studies are all popular here, which reflects a diverse student community.
  • At Tanglin, the starting principle is that students should have a broad and varied pathway through I/GCSE and avoid specialising too early. There is lots of support in the lead-up to exams, with subject clinics on offer during and after school.
  • Choice of sixth form pathways: It is the only school in Singapore to offer both A Levels and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) at post-16. Students can tailor their learning to the subjects they love or follow a pathway that provides them with a broad base of knowledge.
  • Regardless of pathway, all students follow the Tanglin Core – A Level students follow the Extended Project Qualification and the Community, Action, Service programme (CAS is not reserved only for IB students).
  • Forward-thinking: Competition from other schools ensures that Tanglin is never complacent, even though waitlists remain long here. Tanglin’s curriculum continues to improve and evolve to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world and the broad needs of students. Most recently, it has remodelled the UK’s personal, social, health and citizenship education (PSHCE) as its own Lifeskills programme. This ranges from sign language in Year 7 to IKEA furniture building in Year 9. 
  • Pastoral care: Tanglin has been awarded the Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS) by the National Children’s Bureau in the UK for its commitment to promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. Examples include friendship captains in every class, Wellbeing Diaries with daily tasks such as mindfulness colouring and acts of kindness, and leadership roles including Wellbeing Warriors.
  • Facilities: Recent facilities including a film/media suite and a design and technology suite cater for a broader offering of A Level/IB subjects. A new Centenary Building opening in August 2022 will have a full floor dedicated to Lifeskills.
  • Strong academics: The majority of Tanglin Sixth Form students go on to study at UK universities with increasing numbers in North America, Continental Europe and Australasia. The majority of students secure their university of first choice.
  • Results at I/GCSE and A Level are outstanding overall, and compare favourably with high performing selective and independent schools in the UK, as well as other top tier schools in Singapore.
  • CCAs with links to the UK: It is one of only a small number of international schools in Singapore offering the Duke of Edinburgh International Award, as well as Scouts.
  • Alumni: Tanglin has a strong UK alumni, with students there offered support and career opportunities. Each year, the school identifies the Top 20 university destinations of its graduating cohort and connects leavers with Tanglin alumni at each UK university. 400-plus graduates of Tanglin attend an annual UK alumni gathering every year. And, during the height of the pandemic in 2020-21, Tanglin mobilised its strong alumni network to settle new students into UK universities in the UK.
  • BSO inspected: Tanglin Trust is currently the only British Schools Overseas inspected British school in Singapore, and its Infant, Junior and Senior schools have all been rated Outstanding between 2017-19.
  • BSO inspectors say that Tanglin’s curriculum is “strongly British in character and closely follows the national curriculum; consequently, it allows for students to enter or re-enter the UK education system smoothly”. Inspectors said that the school “drives to produce ‘international citizens’, capable of thriving anywhere in the world” while providing learning opportunities that develop the ‘whole person’, particularly through its Lifeskills programme.

The Judges’ View


Tanglin was recognised as being a well-established school whose strengths include being BSO-accredited, offering A Levels and having excellent links to its alumni. Judges praised the school for its combination of I/GCSEs, A Levels and IB, which provides an exceptional preparation for students to be successful in highly regarded British and international qualifications.

Judges recognised Tanglin’s commitment to supporting the whole child. For example, the prominence given to Lifeskills programmes and the “broad and balanced range of subjects, which provides pathways and personalization for students”.  The provides further evidence of this school’s commitment.  

Matthew Tompkins, CEO and Principal, GEMS First Point School in Dubai, said:

“Additions like the Forest School element to the curriculum show a great commitment to providing students who are schooled in Singapore, the same experience as those who are schooled, in the same curriculum, back in the UK. The BSO inspection, judging Tanglin as outstanding at all levels, is very complimentary about the curriculum coverage in relation to UK standards. The addition of the Duke of Edinburgh and Scouts programmes also provide a very British feel and further compliment the British curriculum.
“The inclusive nature of the school provides an exceptional basis on which to celebrate the excellence in every child. The examination results are outstanding, but there is much more to Tanglin. The teaching of sign language, community, action and service programmes for all students and even the building of IKEA furniture prepare the students for a world where they are ready to be successful.”

David Flint, Principal, South View School in Dubai said:

“The combination of academic rigour with a proven track record of achievement – as well as a broad offering of learning pathways for children supported by excellent staff, facilities and learning opportunities – sets this school head and shoulders above the competition.
“Being able to balance tradition and the very highest standards of UK education in the context of Singapore locals and expats is laudable. The deployment of alumni to help settle in university students, a move over and above any normal expectation, is testament to the true commitment to education and, importantly, to the betterment of the individual student.”

The Parents’ View


The general feedback from parents is that despite its size, Tanglin has created individual school communities where the individual child is well-known and supported by a team of excellent teachers.

There are frequent references to personalised learning, allowing individuals to flourish and exploring each child’s potential. Families recognise that Tanglin is a high-achieving school, but what they really value is its holistic approach to education and well-rounded learning experiences.

Testimonials include:

“Tanglin helps to discover my children’s individuality. Each child is happy, motivated to achieve and participating in the activities that interest them, whether sport, music, or academic. I feel that Tanglin achieves high academic results while taking care of children’s mental wellbeing. There seems to be a lot less pressure than similar high achieving schools in the UK, and seems a healthier way to learn for my children."

"Tanglin is striving to be the best school in the world; they never rest on their laurels but look to always improve. The teachers are passionate and dedicated and offer personalised learning, and although both my children are very different, Tanglin brings out the best in both of them!"

 The WhichSchoolAdvisor Review


“It's a large, popular and high-achieving school that prides itself on being a big school with a small school feel. Families from the UK and beyond are adding their child’s name to the long waitlist, attracted to the school’s British values, international outlook, nurturing community, excellent results, and outstanding facilities.

“And, far from resting on its laurels of being one of the most oversubscribed schools in Singapore, Tanglin is investing in some extraordinary new facilities (the Centenary Building will open in August 2022), changing some traditions that have existed for decades (it now has a unified house system to give all students a grouping that will remain with them as they grow up at Tanglin), and introducing new programmes and curricula (most recently, it opened a Forest School in the Infant School).

“Since taking on the challenge of steering Singapore’s oldest British international school into the future, CEO Craig Considine has said that a “broad holistic education is at the heart of Tanglin”.

Read our full review of Tanglin Trust School here.

The School’s View


In its nomination for this Award, Tanglin said:

“2022 marks Tanglin’s 97th year of providing British-based learning, with an international perspective, to an expatriate community in Singapore, primarily comprised of UK passport holders.

What sets Tanglin apart from other British international schools are the stringent accreditation and awards it has received. Each of Tanglin’s schools are inspected every three years, following UK Ofsted British Schools Overseas (BSO) standards.

"Tanglin is repeatedly described by UK inspectors as “outstanding”, the highest possible grade. This outcome is the result of carefully curated curriculum, which draws strongly from the rigour of the English National Curriculum, from Infant through Senior School. As one of the few not-for-profit schools in Singapore, all fees are devoted to providing an outstanding education to students.”

Read more about British schools in Singapore
What Are The Top UK Schools in Singapore? Click here.
Secondary School: IGCSE or IB MYP? Click here.

Next: Highly Commended

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