Invictus International School branches out by opening a bilingual primary school and a secondary school in Farrer Park in August 2020.
Invictus International School will open its third Singapore campus – a secondary school and bilingual primary school – in Farrer Park in early 2021. What began as a small standalone primary is expanding into a small global family of primary and secondary schools. Invictus' latest opening means that it can now offer students an all-through education, as well as one of the most affordable bilingual primary education programmes in Singapore.
Invictus has existing primary campuses in Dempsey and Sentosa and has a reputation for its low-cost, primary education. The Centrium campus marks its first move into bilingual and secondary education.
The school's opening, originally due to be in August 2020, has been delayed until early 2021. All Centrium students are temporarily based at Invictus' Dempsey and Sentosa locations until the campus officially opens.
Teaching and curriculum
In line with Invictus' existing primary schools, teaching will follow the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) in Grades 1-6; a key difference will be that instruction will be in both English and Mandarin. The bilingual immersion programme will offers classes in English and Mandarin on alternate days; daily Chinese teaching will range from 60% in Grade 1 Prep to in 40% in Grades 5 and 6. Subjects taught in Chinese include Mandarin language, music, art and PE; maths will follow the Singaporean curriculum.
The school says: “There will also be integrated Chinese lessons which include speech and drama, cultural elements and reading programmes. English will be the primary medium during maths and science lessons.”
While students can join the Invictus bilingual programme in Grade 1 without Chinese foundation skills, the curriculum is described as “rigorous” and they may struggle in class without supplementary Chinese classes. Joining a bilingual programme requires commitment from the child’s family, and Invictus reminds families that its students need to “have a strong interest to learn Chinese and a willingness to work hard”.
The school says: “Children will be assessed to possess the minimum Chinese skills before they are enrolled into the programme to ensure they can excel in their daily rigorous learning.”
Class sizes will be a maximum of 25 students, which is larger than some other bilingual primary schools. As part of an all-through school, students will be able to transition directly into the secondary school where instruction will be in English.
Invictus is one of just 10 international schools in Singapore where teaching follows the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) in part or full; this thematic approach to teaching subjects is adopted by schools of all budgets, from Middleton Tampines up to SJI International. The IPC is cheaper to teach than the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, which is taught at many international schools in Singapore, but Invictus founder John Fearon asserts that, “it’s lower cost, not lower quality.”
Grades 7-12 will follow the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC), and then switch to the UK curricula for IGCSEs and A Levels. Invictus will be one of only a few schools in Singapore to offer A Levels; others include Tanglin Trust, DPS International School, and Middleton (Tampines) (from 2023).
Leadership and faculty
The founding principal is Dr Nicholas Duggan, whose experience includes secondary school principal of Yew Chung International School in Beijing, headteacher of St George’s British School Malaga, and headmaster of the first British Independent Boarding School in India, in partnership with King’s College Taunton in the UK.
The bilingual programme’s vice principal is Chia Puay Leng who has a background of steering the Chinese curriculum for pre- and primary-aged children; most recently she was the director of Chinese bilingual programmes at Repton Schoolhouse.
The new Invictus school will be located across three floors of the Centrium Square mixed-use development in Farrer Park. The school is described as having "spacious classrooms, each with a maximum capacity of 25 students per classroom:" While this modern campus will feel worlds apart from the school’s charming Dempsey campus in a heritage building, it is well-located for sports facilities and the MRT.
Invictus founder John Fearon says: "I can’t replicate the nature of the Dempsey campus, but I can make every campus beautiful.
Admission and fees
The low-cost school has annual fees of $17,000 for primary and $18,800 for secondary, making it one of the most affordable international schools in Singapore. Expat packages are shrinking and finding the money to pay school fees is becoming a growing challenge for many families who have relocated here. So, the time seems ripe for an alternative to the traditional and more expensive international bilingual and secondary schools.
The school is currently offering an early bird offer for its first year, which will be a lower $15,000 fee. Scholarships from Grade 7 are also available.
Read our review of Invictus (Dempsey) here.
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