Full SBB is being piloted in 28 secondary schools in 2020 and 2021.
The pilot will provide valuable insights on the implementation of Full SBB and inform on the subsequent progressive roll-out to the rest of the secondary schools. It will also guide MOE HQ to develop relevant resources for schools, teachers and students to better support the initiative.
Students will not be able to opt out of mixed form classes. This is a key feature of the secondary school experience when Full SBB is introduced. Within these classes, students have more opportunities to learn from, interact with and bond with a more diverse group of peers.
Students who are eligible to take Humanities at a more demanding level can decide whether to take up the offer, based on their interest in the subject(s) and ability to cope with overall curriculum demands.
Stream-based policies, including the concept of “lateral transfer”, are currently being reviewed under Full SBB. More details will be made available when the review is completed.
Schools will assess each student based on the prevailing eligibility criteria and suitability to offer more/ all subjects at a more demanding level. Students would need to be able to cope with the increased curricular demand of taking more/ all subjects at a more demanding level.
Whether a student will be suitable for a lateral transfer therefore depends on whether they meet their school’s guidelines/criteria, such as through their overall academic performance.
Sec 4 and Sec 5 students will continue to take the GCE O- and N-Level examinations until 2026.
Under Full SBB, the GCE ‘O’/ ‘N’ Level will be replaced with a common national examination and certification. This will apply from the 2024 Secondary 1 cohort onwards. This single national certification will reflect the level at which each subject is taken, and will take effect from 2027.
The post-secondary admissions framework is currently under review, to take into consideration the changes from Full SBB. More details on changes to post-secondary admissions and pathways will be made available when the review is completed.
For now, admissions to Post-Secondary Education Institutions (PSEIs) already recognise the efforts of students who take relevant subjects at a more demanding level through the provision of SBB(Sec).
For example, students in the N(A) course can use their O-Level subject grades to apply for the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) or the Direct-Entry-Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP). Similarly, students in the N(T) course can also use their O-Level or N(A)-Level subject grades to apply for ITE Nitec courses.
This will continue for all students who take subjects at a more demanding level, including students in the Full SBB pilot schools.
Mixed form classes and common curriculum
The pilot phase will provide schools with a direct experience of the benefits and challenges of implementing mixed form classes at the lower secondary level. MOE would work with schools to decide if and/or how they should implement mixed form classes at the upper secondary level based on their resourcing capabilities.
There are six subjects that will be taken in the mixed form classes, i.e. Art, Character and Citizenship Education, Design and Technology, Food and Consumer Education, Music, and Physical Education. For these subjects, students will continue to experience a high level of quality and rigour in teaching.
While the learning outcomes will be common for all students, teachers will differentiate their teaching to meet the needs of a class of students using a range of teaching approaches. This will benefit all students as they learn through different experiences and ways of thinking.
Mixed form classes allow students the opportunity to learn Character and Citizenship Education, Physical Education, Art, Music, Design and Technology, and Food and Consumer Education in an environment with diverse perspectives, which is useful in building communication, collaboration, and cross-cultural skills.
These are important education outcomes. Students will continue to offer English, Mathematics, Science, Mother Tongue Language and the Humanities at-level.
Our teachers are trained and continue to be supported by MOE HQ with professional development to cater to students’ learning needs with consideration for their strengths and interests.
With the progressive roll out of Full SBB, teachers are provided with resources and professional development opportunities to hone pedagogical practices for classes with more diverse student profiles. These include using differentiated instruction to engage diverse learners, designing and carrying out effective assessment practices, and creating a positive classroom culture.
Teacher-student interactions take place both during and outside of classroom teaching time. Form teachers and co-form teachers work as a team with their level teachers to look after the students in the cohort. For instance, form and co-form teachers engage students through CCE lessons, other school activities such as learning journeys, VIA programmes and school camps, etc.
In the deployment of form and co-form teachers, schools would take extra care to ensure that both teachers would have contact with all the students in the same form class. For instance, some pilot schools have carved out dedicated timetabled slots such that form teachers can check in regularly with their form class.
Collectively, these measures continue to enable the form and co-form teachers to know and understand each student.
Subjects such as Art, Character and Citizenship Education, Design and Technology, Food and Consumer Education, Music, and Physical Education will be assessed at a common level and standard regardless of the course.
Offering Humanities at a more demanding level
Students who wish to take a subject at a more demanding level can indicate their interest to their subject teacher at the end of Secondary 1.
Subject teachers will then advise interested students on the appropriate level that they can take the subject in at Secondary 2.
If the students meet the eligibility criteria for taking the subject at a more demanding level, they will then begin the respective class at the start of Secondary 2.
Students can continue to take the Humanities subject at a more demanding level as they transit into upper secondary, so long as they meet the eligibility criteria and are deemed suitable by the school.
This will apply to both students in the N(T) course offering N(A) Humanities, as well as students in the N(A) course taking Express Humanities.
Schools will typically communicate the eligibility criteria and considerations to Secondary 1 students via briefings, e.g. at the start of the new academic year or other appropriate platforms like school websites. Do check with the respective schools for more information. This will help students and their parents make informed choices of taking up the offering of subjects at a more demanding level.