Singapore / Singapore Central / Tanglin / ISS International School (Preston)

ISS International School (Preston) Review

ISS Preston prepares secondary school students for university by offering the globally respected International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme within a small school that lives up to its international name.
At a glance
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked Limited
Availability 2020/21
not_interested No
Annual fee average
SGD 37,000
Annual fees
SGD 33,868 - 38,647
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
1981
School year
Aug to Jun
Principal
Margaret Alvarez (Head of School). Nicola Zulu (Principal)
Owner
ISS
Main teacher nationality
A mix of nationalities
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities
Does your child attend this school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.
LET'S GO
favorite favorite_border Save
ISS International School (Preston)
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked Limited
Availability 2020/21
not_interested No
Annual fee average
SGD 37,000
Annual fees
SGD 33,868 - 38,647
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
1981
School year
Aug to Jun
Principal
Margaret Alvarez (Head of School). Nicola Zulu (Principal)
Owner
ISS
Main teacher nationality
A mix of nationalities
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities
MORE arrow_drop_down
First Published:
Wednesday 14 June, 2017

Updated:
Tuesday 29 October, 2019

ISS Preston prepares secondary school students for university by offering the globally respected International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme within a small school that lives up to its international name.

With just 250 students, ISS International School Preston is one of Singapore’s smallest international high schools. What this IB school lacks in terms of trendsetting classrooms, Olympic-sized sports facilities and wide-open space, it makes up for with small class sizes, a central location and a truly cosmopolitan student population. There’s a wonderful family feel that can sometimes be lacking at sprawling campuses in Singapore, as well as a nurturing environment and the promise of an empowering education. When weighing up your options for that all-important secondary education, there are advantages (as well as the obvious disadvantages) of a small school.

ISS opened more than 35 years ago, making it one of Singapore’s oldest and most well-established international schools. Today it has two campuses, one serving the elementary and middle schools (Kindergarten 1 to Grade 8, PYP and MYP) at 25 Paterson Road (off Orchard Road) and the high school campus at 21 Preston Road (off Alexander Road). The ISS high school is based at a hilltop campus in Bukit Merah, where it offers the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) from Grades 9 to 12; ISS also gives students the option to take the IB Diploma Course Programme (IBDC). It is just a 15-minute drive from the ISS Paterson campus.

In June 2020, ISS will close its Paterson campus and relocate students to its high school campus in Bukit Merah after “making the exciting decision to unify the school”.

Realising every student’s potential
There’s a lot of talk on the ISS website about “realising potential” in each and every student. The school sets out to achieve this by keeping class sizes small with as few as eight students per class. There’s also an excellent student support system including an onsite student counsellor, university advisor, guardianship and boarding services, pastoral care programme, and an after-school ROW (Reading, Organisation, Writing) club for learning support.

ISS also delivers a strong and established "English as a Second Language " programme. Each students' level of English language proficiency and progress is closely monitored with a differentiated approach taken for each and every student. At the MYP level, ISS has the Preparatory Course for High School, a one-year preparatory course of study that prepares students with limited academic English for entry for entry into either IBMYP 4 or 5 (Grades 9 and 10) and subsequently to gain entry into the IB Diploma programme (Grades 11 and 12). Students undergo intensive English instruction at the same time as they learn core secondary subjects such as mathematics, science, humanities and elective subjects such as the arts and physical education.

As stated in the parent-student handbook, students are expected to take at least one co-curricular activity (CCA), commit to a community service project, act as a buddy for new students, recycle materials, e-waste, spend time with others during breaks – and get plenty of sleep. (All parents will happily support that one!)

ISS expects learning to continue beyond the classroom, and Grades 9 to 12 should complete 90 minutes’ homework plus reading daily. There’s also an academic honesty code and a house system to encourage healthy competition. It all makes ISS feels like a very traditional school – and one with a close-knit community that can be so appealing to expat families.

An international school
There are plenty of schools with international in the title, but some feel more international than others. ISS Preston is one of them. The school was founded in 1981 by a member of Singapore’s post-colonial government, Chan Chee Seng, to address the shortage of international schools in the country. ISS is part of a larger ISS educational group, which includes the Beijing International School of Singapore (BISS) in China.

Today, this family-owned, not-for-profit school has kept its appeal to students from all nationalities. It is one of only a few international schools in Singapore to offer a purely IB curriculum, and not mix and match with other curricula. It has a teaching staff from 19 countries including the UK, US, Canada and Australia. Also, it supports students with English as a second language and strongly encourages bilingualism; all students study Mandarin, although this is the norm in many private schools here. For parents living overseas, the school offers a guardianship programme that places students with ISS-listed guardians, as well as a boarding house service.

The Preston campus is on the smaller side and does look slightly dated next to the newer schools on Singapore’s education scene. However, it does offer all the basics for a quality education, from a well-equipped library and wi-fi enabled classrooms to two basketball courts, an outdoor study area and a canteen. Its leafy surroundings and hilltop location are a bonus too. The school year runs from August to June.

Results
The school’s most recently published results for the 2019 Grade 12 IBDP cohort show an average score of 32.12, above the global average of 29.62; this is only marginally lower than last year's score of 33. 

• Average score: 32.12
• Pass rate: 98%
• Top score: 43
• No. students scored 35 points and above: 32%

The 2019 cohort celebrated a 98% pass rate, and the top score was 43 out of 45. 32% of students achieved 35 points or above; 88% of students achieved A-C in the TOK; and 45% of students achieved an A or B in the Extended Essay.

Read our roundup of Singapore's 2019 IB results here.

Curriculum
ISS has the benefit of many years’ experience in offering the IB programme to expat students. As well as the core subjects taught as part of the IB curriculum, the arts, PE, extra-curricular activities, and Service as Action / CAS, feature very strongly at ISS too. this ensures a holistic education for all their students. Evey student is given an equal opportunity to participate in all such activities to enable them to identify their strengths. Hence, there is student participation in public art exhibitions; scriptwriting, improve and drama; and a biannual Arts Showcase.  

PE lessons, including swim classes, are mainly held off campus as the school has limited sporting facilities. Students are introduced to a wide variety of sports including badminton, taekwondo and ultimate frisbee. ISS also fields teams in basketball, football and volleyball for the Athletic Conference of Singapore International Schools (ACSIS) league.

Languages offered include English, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean, and a multitude of other mother tongue languages from Grade 6 to Grade 12. While it may not have the most modern technology labs, ISS is wired with technology. All students follow the 1:1 MacBook programme (students are required to purchase their own MacBooks). Students also use the online learning platform ManageBac to receive and submit assignments.

Action as Service is an integral part of the curriculum at ISS, and this initiative encourages students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real world issues. Projects in Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore have included creating a basketball court for an orphanage in Indonesia, building boats for children to go to school in the Philippines, and working with animal welfare groups. At the very least, all high school students take part in one Week Without Walls activity.

Students are actively encouraged to sign up to the school’s extensive ECA programme, which runs clubs on campus every day from 2.30pm. Activities cover the arts, sport, sciences and creativity, and range from app inventors through to voluntary community service work.

If you are the owner or the principal of the school and note any inaccuracies, or would like to update data, you can now open an account with us. You will also be able to add admissions availability per year group, and advertise current job vacancies. This is a free service. Please help us keep prospective parents up to date with your latest information.

Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers. Request Information

Comments
Latest Singapore articles
New Schools

What's New in Singapore's International Schools?

Looking ahead to 2020, and a new affordable secondary school is set to open, as well as …

Choosing A School

Which Pre-school is Best For Your Child?

Several international schools in Singapore offer pre-school education for children …

New Schools

2020: New School Places In Singapore

A wave of international schools will open and expand in 2020, helping to meet the demand…

Which Curriculum

The IBCP: A Career-Focused Route to University

Which route is best for your child after secondary school? There is a range of options a…

Courses & Curricula

Harrow Launches Virtual Sixth Form

The UK's famous and very prestigious Harrow School will launch an online sixth form of…

New Schools

Singapore International Schools: What's New?

What's new? Well, there’s a school with annual fees of less than $9,000, a new Bri…

Choosing A School

What Schools are in Orchard and Tanglin?

Two of the largest international schools in the Orchard Road area due to close in 2020 &…

Interviews

Meet the Head: Middleton International School

Atima Joshi is a principal who leads from the heart. She took the bold decision to move …

0 Schools Selected
keyboard_arrow_down keyboard_arrow_up
Your selection Clear All