SINGAPORE - As a parent of two children attending a neighbourhood primary school, I have realised that enrolling one's child in a school with a good track record, such as producing the top Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) pupil, has little bearing on how he will perform ("Good results boost neighbourhood schools' popularity"; last Thursday).
A child is not guaranteed excellent results if he studies in a "branded" school or a "proven" neighbourhood school. Conversely, he is not condemned to getting poor results if he studies in a lesser-known neighbourhood school.
I have friends whose children studied in average neighbourhood primary schools, performed brilliantly in the PSLE and were posted to branded secondary schools. And I have other friends whose children studied in branded primary schools, but performed below expectations in the PSLE and were posted to neighbourhood secondary schools.
Choosing a primary school need not be stressful. All primary schools are more or less the same, and will become increasingly so, given the Education Ministry's efforts to make all schools good schools.
All primary schools have fairly large class sizes and an equal mix of good and not-so-good teachers.
So it really comes down to home support, tuition and the child himself.
Children who excel in their studies are likely to have strong family support. Tuition alone is not enough; there must be family involvement. It also helps greatly if the child is naturally self-motivated.
As parents, we must be wise to nurture the intrinsic talents of our children - not all are academically inclined. So even if you place such a child in a "proven" school, he will still not perform to expectations as his talents lie elsewhere.
Crystal Teo Lai Ching (Mrs)
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.