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Last Updated: 18 October 2021

Subject-based banding for primary school

Subject-based banding (SBB) gives your child the opportunity to take a combination of subjects at standard and foundation levels based on their strengths. Learn how it works and how to prepare your child.

Students can take a mix of standard and foundation subjects through SBB at P5 and P6. This would allow your child to:
  • Stretch their potential in subjects they are strong in.
  • Build up their understanding in subjects they need more help with.

How it works

Primary 4
  • Your child sits for the school exams.
  • School recommends a subject combination based on their exam results at the end of the year.
  • You will need to fill up an option form to indicate your child's preferred subject combination.
Primary 5
  • Your child takes their preferred subject combination.
  • School assesses your child's ability to cope with the subjects at the end of the year.
  • Adjustments to the subject levels are made if needed.
Primary 6
  • Your child takes the subject combination recommended by the school and sits for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
  • Your child's progression to secondary level depends on their PSLE results.
  • If your child excels in certain subjects, they can pursue higher level options in secondary school.

Subject combinations

If your child passes 3 or more subjects in Primary 4, your child will be offered the 4 standard subjects:
  • English Language
  • Mother Tongue Language
  • Mathematics
  • Science
Higher Mother Tongue Language may also be offered if your child passes 4 subjects and does very well for Mother Tongue Language.

Students who pass 2 subjects or less will be offered the following choices:
  • 4 standard subjects
  • 3 standard subjects + 1 foundation subject
  • 2 standard subjects + 2 foundation subjects
  • 1 standard subject + 3 foundation subjects
  • 4 foundation subjects
Taking subjects at the foundation level is not a disadvantage for your child. It will help them to build up the fundamentals for the subjects and better prepare them for progression to secondary school.
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