A very well-spent 40 hours for parent volunteer

Madam Silvia Ho could have registered her son Jayden at the traditionally more popular Tao Nan School. Instead, she opted for Ngee Ann Primary School because she felt it would be a better fit for her six-year-old.

"I felt the environment and school culture at Ngee Ann was better for my child as there was a mix of pupils," said the 36-year-old, whose husband is a civil servant.

Her family lives in a Marine Parade condominium less than 1km away from both schools.

After visiting Ngee Ann last year and getting feedback from friends with children studying there, she signed up as a parent volunteer. She spent 40 hours helping in the school library. "It's a good thing I could afford the time to volunteer because I'm a housewife," she said.

"It was a good chance for me to know the school. I saw that the kids were not 'hot-housed' and the school encourages academically stronger pupils to help the weaker ones. I also didn't want to go through the whole balloting experience."

She was rewarded yesterday with a place for her son under Phase 2B, the latest round of Primary 1 registration just ended. The school, which had 59 spots for this phase, received just 29 applications, so no ballot was required.

Tao Nan, a Special Assistance Plan school with a focus on Chinese, had 66 hopefuls vying for 41 places under this phase, which is for children of school volunteers, active community leaders, and those with church or clan associations.

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