Fewer schools with over half of P1 spots taken up

Fewer schools with over half of P1 spots taken up
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Four schools had over half their Primary 1 vacancies taken up after Phase 1 of the registration exercise, which closed yesterday - four fewer than last year.

Horizon Primary in Punggol joined Nanyang Primary, Nan Hua Primary and Tao Nan School in filling up over half their Primary 1 places in Phase 1, for children whose siblings are current pupils in the school of choice. All those who register in this phase are guaranteed places.

Horizon, which received its first batch of pupils in 2010, filled 61 per cent of its places in Phase 1 this year, up from 45 per cent last year.

This is partly due to it having only 210 places for next year, compared with 240 this year. Over 30 schools have also reduced the number of places available for next year by 30 to 60 spots each.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has made available 41,860 Primary 1 places for next year, which is 600 fewer than this year. But it assures parents there will be sufficient places for all eligible Primary 1 pupils.

Three new primary schools, each with 210 vacancies, will open in Punggol next year to help meet the growing demand in the area.

Parents looking to send their children to popular schools like Pei Hwa Presbyterian and Singapore Chinese Girls' School may be pleased to find fewer of these schools' places taken up under Phase 1 this year. But Raffles Girls' Primary and Nan Chiau Primary have more places filled up in this phase this year.

From the Phase 2A1 onwards, when the number of applications exceeds the vacancies available, places will be balloted based on the home-school distance criteria.

According to a new rule introduced in May, children who gain priority admission to schools based on distance have to have lived at the address for at least 21/2 years from the start of the registration exercise.

Administrative assistant Fanny Chan registered her daughter - the youngest of four children - at Canberra Primary, as two other children, are attending the school.

Madam Chan, 44, said the school, a five-minute walk from the family's home, is popular in the Sembawang area. "We can save a lot of travelling time because the school is near our place," she said.

Distance was not a factor for housewife Shirley Yong, 39, who registered her son at Rosyth School in Serangoon despite living in Jurong West, a 30-minute drive away.

"It makes practical sense since his sister is also in the same school. The siblings can look out for each other," she said, adding that the school's environment "is conducive for pupils". Phase 2A1 registration takes place next Tuesday.

This article was first published on July 4, 2015.
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