For some, it's an old familiar feeling

Damai Primary School had formerly taken in Bedok West Primary in 2015. It will now take in East Coast Primary from 2019.
Damai Primary School had formerly taken in Bedok West Primary in 2015. It will now take in East Coast Primary from 2019.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

The upcoming school mergers will bring a sense of deja vu for half of the 14 primary schools affected.

Bendemeer Primary, Cedar Primary, East Coast Primary, Damai Primary, Da Qiao Primary and MacPherson Primary had previously absorbed pupils from closed or merged institutions, while Balestier Hill Primary was formed from the 2002 merger of Swiss Cottage Primary and Moulmein Primary.

Damai Primary, which took in Bedok West Primary pupils in 2015, had grappled with low Primary 1 intakes. In the 2013 Primary 1 registration exercise, for example, the school filled slightly more than one-third of its 150 vacancies.

The issue is not new. Sennett Primary, with no fresh Primary 1 pupils since 1997, was closed in 1999 and its remaining pupils were transferred to Cedar Primary.

MacPherson Primary and East Coast Primary are even more familiar with mergers, having gone through multiple rounds.

The former merged with Aljunied Primary in 1998 and with Woodsville Primary in 2002, while the latter took in Jaya Primary pupils in 1999 and absorbed pupils from Bedok North Primary in 2001.

 
  • PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL MERGERS

  • Primary schools

    East View; * Junyuan

    Balestier Hill; * Bendemeer

    Da Qiao; * Jing Shan

    East Coast; * Damai

    Coral; * White Sands

    Loyang; * Casuarina

    MacPherson; * Cedar

  • Secondary schools

    Shuqun; * Yuhua

    East View; * East Spring

    Hong Kah; * Jurongville

    * Site of merged school

Merged schools have made extensive attempts over the years to preserve their histories and welcome new pupils. For example, East Coast Primary built a four-storey rock wall dedicated to Bedok North Primary after a previous merger, while Da Qiao Primary set up a showcase of Chong Boon Primary's sports trophies.

Ask Sandra

Have a question about the mergers? Send it to ST’s senior education correspondent Sandra Davie at askST@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2017, with the headline 'For some, it's an old familiar feeling'. Print Edition | Subscribe