Changes to the Primary One Registration Framework to Ensure Our Schools Remain Open to All

Published Date: 09 September 2021 04:00 PM

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1. The Ministry of Education (MOE) is committed to ensuring that our mainstream schools remain accessible to children from all backgrounds, while preserving strong ties to the community and culture that our schools have built up over the years.

2. At the Committee of Supply (COS) debate in March 2021, MOE shared that the Primary One (P1) Registration Framework was being reviewed to help more children obtain a place in a school near their home in Phase 2C, which is for children who have no prior connection to the school. 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. We undertook this review carefully to balance the competing needs of other children. The review is now complete with changes to be made from the 2022 P1 Registration Exercise (for children starting P1 in 2023).

Increase in reserved places for Phase 2C

3. In recent years, competition for places has intensified under Phase 2C, even though 20 places have been reserved for this phase since the 2014 P1 Registration Exercise. In the 2021 P1 Registration Exercise, about one in three schools balloted in Phase 2C in the Singapore Citizens (SC) living within 1km of the school ("SC within 1km") category, which is an increase from one in four schools that balloted in that category in the 2014 P1 Registration Exercise.

4. MOE will hence double the number of reserved places in Phase 2C from 20 to 40 places in each primary school, starting from the 2022 P1 Registration Exercise. Phase 2B will continue to have 20 reserved places. This means a total of 60 reserved places will be set aside in all schools at the start of the P1 Registration Exercise.

5. In addition to these reserved places, one-third of any remaining vacancies at the end of Phase 2A2 will be allocated to Phase 2B, and two-thirds to Phase 2C.

Combining current Phases 2A1 and 2A2 into a single Phase 2A

6. Priority for alumni members was introduced in Phase 2A1 in the 1999 P1 Registration Exercise to encourage stronger alumni and community support for schools. Over time, more stakeholders such as former students and alumni associations have been actively contributing in their own ways to the schools. It is timely to review the fine differentiation of priority between stakeholders in Phases 2A1 and 2A2.

7. In addition, the increase in reserved places for Phase 2C will 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.

8. Phases 2A1 and 2A2 will therefore be combined into a single Phase 2A to ensure that all Phase 2A2 registrants continue to have a chance to register under Phase 2A. This would also better achieve the objective of providing priority admission for MOE Kindergarten children, who are currently eligible for Phase 2A2, to support their transition to P1. Phase 2A1 registrants will continue to be able to register under Phase 2A. An overview of the revised phases can be found in Annex A.

Updates in methodology for computing Home-School Distance

9. MOE will also be updating the methodology for calculating Home-School Distance (HSD). HSD is currently calculated from a single reference point based on the school's original building layout to the registrant's home, even if the current school building layout has changed significantly with upgrading or re-building.

10. From the 2022 P1 Registration Exercise, HSD will be calculated based on the School Land Boundary (SLB), i.e. from any point on the boundary around the school to the registrant's home. The SLB is much less likely to change over time, and is a more stable basis to compute HSD. Using the SLB to compute HSD would result in a slightly larger coverage of residential addresses within 1km and 2km for all our primary schools, compared to the current methodology using a single reference point (see Annex B for an illustration). The maps showing the buildings within 1km and 2km of all primary schools have been updated (based on the revised methodology) and can be referred to on OneMap.

11. The majority of registrants applying to our primary schools will not be affected under the updated methodology (i.e. their HSD categories remain the same with respect to a particular school), while some registrants will be in a nearer HSD category. For three of our primary schools, there will be a small number of registrants who will be shifted to a further HSD category. This is because for these three schools – Cedar Primary School, Maris Stella High School (primary section) and Marymount Convent School – the original reference points are outside the SLB due to significant past upgrading or re-building works, coupled with school boundary changes. For the purposes of the 2022 P1 Registration Exercise, MOE will allow this small affected group to retain their original HSD as a once-off transitional arrangement.

Choosing Suitable Primary Schools

12. Even with the changes made to the P1 Registration Framework, there will always be balloting for some schools, even for those who live within 1km of their preferred school. Parents are hence also encouraged to consider various schools which are within a reasonable proximity from home.

13. MOE is committed to ensuring that every child is well supported to reach their fullest potential, regardless of the school they attend. We will also ensure that every school is well-resourced and able to offer programmes that cater to the diverse strengths and interests of our children. Parents can use MOE's SchoolFinder for a more holistic understanding of the offerings by each school.

14. Parents registering their child in the 2022 P1 Registration Exercise can check the MOE website at https://www.moe.gov.sg/primary/p1-registration/changes-to-p1-registration for more information on the changes to the P1 Registration Framework.

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