BACK TO SCHOOL

1st day for some schoolchildren, holiday for others

Angsana Primary in Tampines is the result of a merger between Griffiths and Qiao Nan Primary. The first day of school was a colourful affair as some pupils turned up wearing the new uniform and others, their old uniforms. Parents at Kong Hwa School's
Angsana Primary in Tampines is the result of a merger between Griffiths and Qiao Nan Primary. The first day of school was a colourful affair as some pupils turned up wearing the new uniform and others, their old uniforms. Parents at Kong Hwa School's canteen (left and top right) watching their Primary 1 children settling in. The new pupils were taken care of by their older Primary 6 schoolmates, who played buddy to the younger ones (right).ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE
Angsana Primary in Tampines is the result of a merger between Griffiths and Qiao Nan Primary. The first day of school was a colourful affair as some pupils turned up wearing the new uniform and others, their old uniforms. Parents at Kong Hwa School's
Angsana Primary in Tampines is the result of a merger between Griffiths and Qiao Nan Primary. The first day of school was a colourful affair as some pupils turned up wearing the new uniform and others, their old uniforms. Parents at Kong Hwa School's canteen (left and top right) watching their Primary 1 children settling in. The new pupils were taken care of by their older Primary 6 schoolmates, who played buddy to the younger ones (right).ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE
Angsana Primary in Tampines is the result of a merger between Griffiths and Qiao Nan Primary. The first day of school was a colourful affair as some pupils turned up wearing the new uniform and others, their old uniforms. Parents at Kong Hwa School's
Angsana Primary in Tampines is the result of a merger between Griffiths and Qiao Nan Primary. The first day of school was a colourful affair as some pupils turned up wearing the new uniform and others, their old uniforms. Parents at Kong Hwa School's canteen (left and top right) watching their Primary 1 children settling in. The new pupils were taken care of by their older Primary 6 schoolmates, who played buddy to the younger ones (right).ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE
Angsana Primary in Tampines is the result of a merger between Griffiths and Qiao Nan Primary. The first day of school was a colourful affair as some pupils turned up wearing the new uniform and others, their old uniforms. Parents at Kong Hwa School's
Angsana Primary in Tampines is the result of a merger between Griffiths and Qiao Nan Primary. The first day of school was a colourful affair as some pupils turned up wearing the new uniform and others, their old uniforms. Parents at Kong Hwa School's canteen (left and top right) watching their Primary 1 children settling in. The new pupils were taken care of by their older Primary 6 schoolmates, who played buddy to the younger ones (right).ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE

Schools moving to single session or changing premises stagger start days

While most students put on their uniforms and attended the first school day of the year yesterday, some got to enjoy an extra day of holiday.

Primary 1 to 3 pupils at St Hilda's Primary in Tampines could stay at home as only those in the upper primary levels reported to school. The rest will go in on Monday .

At Henry Park Primary, it was the reverse, with the Primary 1 and 2 pupils starting yesterday. The rest will join on Monday.

They were among a handful of schools to stagger term start times as they moved from running separate morning and afternoon sessions to just morning ones.

Commodities trader Tanya Prasad, whose daughter started Primary 2 at Henry Park, liked the idea of the younger ones starting first.

"It is less crowded and this helps the children settle down faster," said the 43-year-old mother of two.

"Schools are slowly shifting to a single morning session now. If everyone comes in at the same time, it could get chaotic and the younger ones could feel lost."

Her daughter Saloni Sinha got to play buddy yesterday as she showed her Primary 1 juniors around and taught them how to buy food in the canteen.

"She had a good time," said Mrs Prasad.

Henry Park principal Chia Soo Keng said the arrangement for pupils to report on different days was to help the school make a smooth transition to single session.

The Education Ministry said all primary and secondary schools reopened yesterday after the December school holidays, but a few staggered start times as they were changing premises or introducing single sessions.

Tao Nan School, which is operating out of a temporary site in Bedok South, had its Primary 3 to 6 pupils report yesterday. Those in Primary 1 and 2 will report on Monday.

In Tampines, the first day of school at the new Angsana Primary was a colourful affair, with pupils donning three different styles of uniform.

The school is the result of a merger between Griffiths and Qiao Nan Primary, which had both been struggling with low enrolment rates. The new school now stands where Griffiths used to be.

While some pupils donned the new white, purple and dark blue uniform, some showed up attired in their old school uniforms.

Pupil Ahmad Syahid, 11, a former Qiao Nan boy who began Primary 5 at Angsana yesterday, was one of those dressed in his old uniform.

His father, Mr Ahmad Salik Ahmad Ishak, 35, also an old boy of Qiao Nan, said his son had a good first day at school with old, familiar faces.

"His class now has pupils from both Qiao Nan and Griffiths, and some of his old teachers are also in the new school."

leepearl@sph.com.sg