How to choose secondary schools

Every child has different strengths and abilities. Find out more about choosing a suitable school for your child.

1. Talk to your child about their strengths, interests and learning styles

Strength

Beyond academic results, help your child find out:

  • What they are good at (their strengths).
  • What they like, value and enjoy (their interests) by observing how they spend their time.

Explore schools that offer courses which suit your child's learning pace. Look at the opportunities and programmes to develop their talents, strengths and interests.

Learn more on how to begin this conversation.

2. Based on your child's strengths, interests, learning styles and PSLE results, you may want to think about:

School culture
School culture

Visit schools' websites to have a sense of the different schools’ culture, ethos and environment.

Courses
Courses

Depending on your child’s PSLE score, they will be offered a course option. If your child is eligible for only 1 course, they are not allowed to choose another course. If your child is eligible for 2 courses, either Express and Normal (Academic) or Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical), they must choose 1 course before submitting their school choices. The selected course will apply to all the school choices.

Programmes, subjects and CCAs offered
Programmes, subjects and CCAs offered

Secondary schools offer various programmes, subjects and CCAs to develop students in various areas. Choose schools which offer CCAs and learning programmes that can nurture your child in their areas of interest and develop their potential.

Location and transportation
Location and transportation

Think about transportation options, such as how your child will get to school, and the travelling time.

School type
School type

Choose a school type (for example, government, government-aided, independent, etc.) that suits your child. If your child is a Singapore Citizen, financial assistance and scholarships are available to help them attend the school of their choice.

Special Assistance Plan (SAP) Schools
Special Assistance Plan (SAP) Schools

SAP schools aim to deliver a bilingual and bicultural education through a learning environment steeped in Chinese culture and language. If your child has taken English and Chinese language as subjects in the PSLE, they may opt for SAP schools.

Affiliated schools
Affiliated schools

For priority admission to the affiliated secondary school, your child must indicate that school as first choice. However, admission is not guaranteed as it is still subject to the availability of places. Some secondary schools may also have additional qualifying criteria for their affiliated primary school students.

For dual-track schools offering both Integrated Programme (IP) and O-Level Programme, affiliation considerations will only be given for the O-Level Programme.

Note: At least 20% of the places in each course, i.e. Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical), will be reserved for students who do not benefit from affiliation priority.

Special needs
Special needs

If your child has special needs, for example, hearing loss, visual impairment, or physical disability, choose a school with specialised facilities or resources that can support them.

3. Shortlisting schools

Shortlist

You should have a list of 6 schools ready before submitting your choices in the Secondary 1 posting. As choice order of schools will be a tie-breaker from 2021 onwards, you should give careful thought to the choices, and to consider:

  1. Prioritising schools with programmes and CCAs that match your child’s strengths and interests.
  2. Your child’s PSLE score against the schools’ indicative Achievement Level Cut-Off-Point (AL COP) based on the previous PSLE cohort for their chosen course — for example, Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical).

    Meeting the school’s indicative AL COP does not guarantee admission into the secondary school as the indicative AL COPs are determined by the PSLE Scores and school choice patterns of the previous PSLE cohort. Actual AL COPs may vary from year to year depending on the students’ PSLE results and school choices for that year’s S1 Posting.

    You should therefore include at least 2 to 3 schools with AL COP higher than your child’s PSLE score. This will increase your child’s chances of being posted to a school of choice.

  3. Using all 6 options. There will be more students with the same PSLE score due to the use of wider AL scoring bands. This may result in more tie-breaking, especially if these students choose the same few schools. Hence, it is advisable to use all 6 options to increase your child’s chances of being posted to a school of their choice. If your child does not get into any of their chosen schools, they will be posted to the nearest school with available vacancies based on your registered address.
  4. Listing the affiliated school as the first choice when applying to a school affiliated with your child’s primary school. This will give your child priority, but it does not guarantee admission. Learn more about affiliation priority.

Explore and shortlist suitable schools.

Continue learning more about S1 Posting process.