This revision to increase the number of reserved places from 20 to 40 will apply for children starting Primary 1 in 2023.
The number of reserved places for incoming pupils under the Primary 1 registration’s Phase 2C will double from 20 to 40 from next year, reported TODAY citing the Ministry of Education (MOE).
Phase 2A1 and 2A2 will also be combined into a single phase from next year.
Phase 2A1 is for children whose parents are alumni of the school or advisory or management committee members.
Phase 2A2 is for children whose siblings have studied in that school or whose parents attended or are working at the school. Children in MOE Kindergartens that are under the purview of the school are also qualified to register under this phase.
Phase 2C, on the other hand, is for children living closest to the school but do not have links with it like parents being an alumnus.
In March, the MOE said that it would review the Primary 1 registration framework to help more children secure a place close to their home under Phase 2C.
“This is in the educational interest of the child, to help them spend less time travelling and have more time to pursue other interests as well as for the convenience of the family,” said MOE in a statement as quoted by TODAY.
The ministry noted that competition under Phase 2C had intensified in recent years.
About one in three schools had balloted in Phase 2C for Singaporeans living within 1km of a school, up from one in four schools seven years ago.
The latest change is expected to benefit children seeking admission to 32 out of the 64 primary schools which balloted in the category this year.
These 32 schools had 40 or fewer places at the beginning of Phase 2C, accounting for slightly less than 20% of all schools. These schools are probably where competition for a spot is the fiercest, likely due to the school’s popularity and status as a preferred choice.
The Government, in recent years, had noticed that the number of students enrolling in a school close to their homes and in which they have no affiliation had dropped, said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing.
He believes that a balance needs to be achieved between providing convenience for children and their families and building a strong community for schools.
“It is not an easy balance to strike, and there is certainly no perfect balance. But we believe that it is timely to take another step towards ensuring our schools remain open to a diverse profile of children,” he wrote on Facebook and quoted by TODAY.
Phase 2B, which is for children of parent volunteers or parents endorsed by a clan or church connected to the school, will still have 20 reserved places.
A third of the remaining vacancies by the end of Phase 2A2 will be set aside to Phase 2B, while two-thirds will be allocated to Phase 2C.
The hike in reserved places for Phase 2C may result in fewer places in earlier phases.
“We expect that several schools would end up with relatively few or even no places left for Phase 2A2 registrants if we continue to maintain the differentiation of priority between Phase 2A1 and Phase 2A2 registrants,” said MOE.
Combining the two phases will ensure those applying under Phase 2A2 a chance to register under Phase 2A. The merger will also better attain the objective of giving priority admission to MOE Kindergarten children.
Meanwhile, MOE revealed that it would update how it determines the “home-school distance” – whether a household is located within 1km or 2km of a primary school.
Currently, the distance is calculated from a single reference point, which is based on the original building layout of the school, to the registrant’s address even as the school building layout had significantly changed over the years.
From next year, the home-school distance will be calculated based on the school land boundary to the home of the registrant.
While the change may result in a “slightly larger” coverage of residential addresses within 1km and 2km of primary schools, MOE does not expect it to have any bearing on most registrants.
Cheryl Chiew, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.