Places in a primary school are allocated by priority, through seven phases of the Primary 1 registration exercise.
From Phase 2A(1), when the number of applications exceeds the vacancies available in a specific phase, balloting will be held.
Children who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents (PRs) are eligible to register for admission under the first six phases - Phase 1, 2A(1), 2A(2), 2B, 2C and 2C Supplementary. Children who are neither citizens nor PRs can register only under Phase 3.
At the start, 40 places in every primary school will be reserved for registrants in Phase 2B and 2C - 20 places for each - to ensure that those with no direct affiliations have "open access to all schools", the Ministry of Education said.
Children whose siblings are current pupils of the school can register for a place under Phase 1. All applicants under this phase will be given places in the school.
The subsequent phases - 2A(1) and 2A(2) - are for a child whose sibling is a former pupil, or whose parent is a member of staff or advisory committee, or a former pupil.
The remaining vacancies, if any, will be brought to Phases 2B and 2C. These will be added to the 40 spots initially reserved for both phases, and the number of vacancies will then be split equally.
Phase 2B is for those whose parents have volunteered in the schools, have links to churches or clans, or are active community leaders. The remaining places from Phase 2B will be carried over to Phase 2C, which is for those with no links to schools.
Phase 2C Supplementary is for those who have not yet secured places.
EXAMPLE 1: NO BALLOTING
For instance, School A has 240 vacancies. It has to reserve 40 places for Phases 2B and 2C, so only 200 places are available from Phase 1.
Suppose 70 vacancies are taken up in Phase 1, 50 in Phase 2A(1) and another 30 in Phase 2A(2). There will be 50 spots remaining and these will be brought over to the subsequent Phases 2B and 2C.
Together with the 40 spots reserved at the start, there will be 90 spots up for grabs for Phase 2B and 2C. This number will be split evenly into 45 vacancies each.
Then, if there are leftover spots from Phase 2B, these will be carried forward to Phase 2C. For instance, if there are 25 vacancies left from Phase 2B, it would mean 70 places will be available for 2C.
EXAMPLE 2: BALLOTING
But if 50 applicants apply for Phase 2B with only 45 spots available, balloting will be needed in this phase.
During a ballot, priority is given to citizens and those who live nearer to the school.
Priority is given in the following order: children who are citizens and living within 1km of the school, children who are citizens and living between 1km and 2km from the school, children who are citizens and living outside 2km, PRs living within 1km, PRs living between 1km and 2km, and PRs living outside 2km.
For example, 35 of, say, 45 vacancies in Phase 2B are taken up by citizens living within 1km, the first group with priority.
Then, the remaining 10 vacancies will be open to the group of citizen applicants living between 1km and 2km.
But if there are 11 such citizens vying for the 10 spots, a ballot will be held to decide who gets them.
More information on the registration exercise is available at www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissions/primary-one-registration
This article was first published on July 6, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.