This mid-range priced all-through school offers the International Baccalaureate Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma Programmes while holding onto its small school ethos.
Here's a well-established international school that has plenty of charm and tradition; it has a strong academic record; and offers a well-rounded education with a strong focus on athletics and the arts. The school is delivering a strong IB programme, from early years through to Grade 12, at a moderate fee of $24-33,000, which makes the IB a more affordable option compared to other schools. It is IB all the way here, and the school has many years' experience of delivering the IB and a proven commitment to the programme.
It's one of Singapore's smaller all-through schools, and its student body of 800 allows the school to hold onto the family, village-feel that it has a reputation for. Like many smaller schools, you can expect its ethos to foster a family atmosphere, good standards of behaviour, and close links with parents and the community.
In 2020, Chatsworth opened a new Chatsworth Early Childhood Centre on site, and moved its Orchard primary school to the campus. This meant that Bukit Timah has become one large, all-through school that children can attend from 18 months through to 18 years.
Chatsworth had to close its Orchard campus after the government ended its lease; the building was included in a heritage project by the Urban Redevelopment Authority to conserve three buildings on the site of the former Singapore Chinese' Girls School (SCGS) in Emerald Hill.
The move was not welcomed by all Orchard families, who preferred the homely, traditional feel of being centrally located in the grounds of a former colonial mansion. The move to the Bukit Timah campus has offered students more space, modern facilities, proximity to a rainforest, and a through-train education though - and feedback from parents is that the school continues to offer a nurturing, friendly and inclusive community.
According to our Parent Survey, 84% of parents are satisfied with the level of academic performance at the school; 100% would recommend it to another parent; 76% totally agree that the fees represent good value for money given the quality of the school offering; and 67% say that their child has a tremendous amount of belonging at the school. It is ranked the best IB school in Singapore by parents (WSA Parent Survey).
The general feedback from parents is that Chatsworth’s strengths are its small size, inclusive community and family spirit. Parents frequently refer to happy children who are thriving because of excellent teaching within a nurturing environment – and are developing into independent learners (which is what we’re looking for from an IB school) because of it.
Teaching at the Bukit Timah campus follows the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). The curriculum includes core subjects, art, music, PE, Mandarin, and French. Chatsworth also offers 14 mother tongue languages, including Arabic, French, Hindi, Italian, and Korean.
Chatsworth is one of only seven international schools in Singapore to offer all three IB programmes, and it strongly believes the PYP and MYP is the best – and most rigorous – preparation for the diploma programme. Although each IB programme has a standalone framework and curriculum, students with an MYP and PYP background can find it easier to meet the varied demands of the DP. For example, the experience of the MYP can equip students with the research skills need for the DP’s Extended Essay.
The school has a strong early years’ programme that follows the IB PYP play-based learning programme. Students start inquiring about different concepts from as young as K1 and are immersed in a play-based curriculum that equips students well for the PYP.
The primary school delivers the PYP, which is based on six Units of Enquiry – Who we are, Where we are in place and time, How the world works, Sharing the planet, How we express ourselves, and How we organise ourselves. All subjects (mathematics, languages, science, social studies, personal, social and PE, technology, music, and art – are taught through integrated units. The final year of primary ends with the PYP Exhibition, which gives students the opportunity to showcase their learning.
Both Mandarin and French are taught as additional languages to all students from KG to Year 2; from Year 3 onwards, students choose to continue studying either French or Mandarin.
In the secondary school, Years 7 – 11 complete the MYP and the externally moderated MYP Personal Project. Chatsworth is one of the few international schools in Singapore to offer the full IB MYP eAssessment examination, leading to the award of the IB MYP course results or the IB MYP Certificate. In 2021, 37% of the cohort scored 50 points or above out of the maximum 56 and three students achieved 54 points. 27% of the cohort earned a Bilingual MYP certificate
Unlike some other international schools, Chatsworth does not offer students the choice of taking IGCSEs. These exams can be seen as a valuable ‘add-on’ for parents who are concerned about the lack of measurement in the MYP.
The MYP prepares students for Years 12 to 13, when they study the internationally recognised IBDP. IBDP students can select courses from a decent offering of more than 20 different subjects, including Chinese, Spanish, French, psychology, business management, economics, and theatre.
The school believes that it is essential for students to have a strong foundation in their own mother tongue language. It encourages this development through an ethos that celebrated linguistic diversity within its international community, and supports multiple languages through a mother tongue language programme that is aligned with the IB from Years 7 to 13.
The truly international style of the IB is an excellent fit with the school’s multicultural community and the IB Learner Profile is embedded in the school's culture. For example, its Mother Tongue Language Programme is supported by external mother tongue tutors who are fully trained in IB concepts and help students to develop language and literary skills needed for the MYP or DP; students have the choice of learning French or Mandarin from Year 3.
It is also responsive to change. For example, after the IB updated the Diploma music course to include a new component on experimentation and music technology from 2022, Chatsworth has looked at ways to realign its MYP curriculum with this. It plans to teach music production skills from Years 7-11 in the future.
Its Curriculum Enhancement Week (CEW) programme broadens horizons with trips within and outside Singapore and there’s a big service-learning element such as helping with a food bank or taking part in an outreach theatre. Students are encouraged to be independent thinkers; for example, students in an eco CCA have implemented No Trash Tuesdays, encouraging students to use only reusable masks, food containers and utensils every Tuesday.
In addition to the IB Diploma Programme, secondary school students are awarded with the WASC accredited high school diploma in their final year.
There’s a 1:1 MacBook programme for all students from Year 3 upwards.
The school has a strong focus on the arts, with its offering of timetabled activities, after-school clubs, concerts, and exhibitions. Students are encouraged to get involved with arts nights and participate in the IN Art Exhibition at the Australian High Commission, the IB Diploma Visual Arts Exhibition, various school productions, and dance competitions etc. Art gallery visits and music field-trips are also organised to further broaden students’ learning.
The arts are a core part of the IB programme, and from Grade 9 onwards students can select either Visual Arts, Music or Drama which is typical of an IB school. As part of the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) element of the IB Diploma Programme, students have been involved in teaching art to young people, oil painting courses, learning a new language, learning or teaching dance, drama productions, and singing.
With its relatively small body of 800 students, there's an environment where students may feel more comfortable to perform or have a greater likelihood of taking a lead role in a play. Teaching staff also have a personal investment in the arts, from playing piano professionally, performing their own songs and covers in live bands, recording and mixing music, singing in choirs, directing and acting in local theatre – passions that can be shared with students first-hand.
However, the arts facilities are dated and more limited compared to several other larger, newer international schools, but this is also reflected in lower tuition fees. In place of an auditorium, the school uses its main hall with stage lighting; there are, however, specialist visual art rooms, black box theatre, and music practice rooms.
According to our survey, 30% of parents rate the performing arts at this school as being in the top 25% schools in Singapore; 30% rank it in the top 3. 21% of parents rate fine arts at this school as being in the top 25% schools in Singapore; 47% rank it in the top 3.
In sport, all students have the opportunity to compete in basketball, badminton, soccer, cross country running, swimming, ultimate frisbee, touch rugby, and netball. Chatsworth Bukit Timah is an active member of the Athletics Conference of Singapore International Schools (ACSIS), and it has more than 20 teams consisting of nearly 150 students playing close to 100 games.
The Class of 2021 celebrated a high average score of 36 in the IBDP, which is above the world average of 33.02 points by three points. The top score was 45 points and 33% of the graduating cohort achieved 38 points and above. 33% of the cohort were awarded the bilingual diploma, with a 100% pass rate amongst those who sat for it.
• Average score: 36
• Pass rate: 100%
• Top score: 45
• No. students scored 38 points and above: 33%
Chatsworth is one of the few international schools in Singapore to offer the full IB MYP eAssessment examination, leading to the award of the IB MYP course results or the IB MYP Certificate. In 2021, 37% of the cohort scored 50 points or above out of the maximum 56 and three students achieved 54 points. 27% of the cohort earned a Bilingual MYP certificate.
Opened in 2018, the modern Bukit Timah campus is located next to Singapore’s nature reserve, and is just a short ride on the school's shuttle bus from the nearby Sixth Avenue MRT station.
Facilities include a basketball court, football pitch, playground, sports complex, and swimming pool.
To accommodate the additional students joining the school from the Orchard campus, the school has built new facilities, including a primary playground. The Chatsworth Early Childhood Centre is a purpose-built block of three classrooms located at the front of the school. Early years students still access facilities on the main campus, including the canteen, play areas, and the library.
Chatsworth is a non-selective school with mid-range fees for Singapore. Fees range from $24,000 in KG up to $33,000 in Year 13. There's a very attractive sibling discount; families with two children concurrently enrolled in Chatsworth get a 25% discount.
Full scholarships are available for the two-year IBDP, with Chatsworth covering 100% of the fees; that's a saving of around $72,000. Since 2007, the school has awarded over 60 diploma scholarships.
Chatsworth International School (Bukit Timah) is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:
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