This local primary school in the Novena district is popular with international students looking for a government-run school that follows the Singapore MOE curriculum.
Balestier Hill Primary School (BHPS) is a government-run local primary school that follows Singapore’s MOE curriculum. As well as being considerably cheaper than an international school, BHPS offers all the advantages of a local school: it immerses your child in the local culture, offers a world-class curriculum with an excellent reputation for maths and science, and embraces an English-based bilingual system where Mandarin is taught as a second language to international students.
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BHPS has a sizeable international student population for several reasons – the school is located in the very expat-friendly neighbourhood of Novena, and it often has places available as it is less popular with Singaporeans due to location more than anything else.
The MOE curriculum focuses on English, maths, science, mother tongue languages, humanities and the arts, as well as lessons in PE, knowledge skills, and character and citizenship education. Students in Primary 1 through to 6 work towards the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) at the end of Primary 6. After school, students can sign up to various co-curricular activities.
BHPS enhances the MOE curriculum with its Active Learning Through Outdoors and Sport programme that features various experiential learning opportunities. The school also has a strong focus on STEM; a six-year ICT programme that includes robotics, 3D printing and coding; and a Fins ‘n’ Claws programme that focuses on environmental issues and technology.
The mother tongue programme includes Chinese, Malay and Tamil, and BHPS has a Student Care Centre that offers after-school care including meals, homework supervision, games and tuition. The school will merge with Bendemeer Primary School in 2019 and move to Bendemeer’s site in the Kallang district.
Admission and fees
All primary students must apply for a place through the Primary One Registration Exercise, which takes places from June to September every year. Also, all expats entering Primary 2-5 and Secondary 1-3 have to pass the Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS), which assesses English literacy, numeracy and reasoning abilities.
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Annual tuition fees (2018-19) for international students from non-ASEAN countries are $7,800 for all local primary schools; additional costs include a miscellaneous fee, which the MOE says is “a contribution towards the cost of materials used by students”.
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