From Normal (Academic) to Express stream

Willy Heng, who did well enough to be promoted to the Express stream, obtained seven O-level passes yesterday.
Willy Heng, who did well enough to be promoted to the Express stream, obtained seven O-level passes yesterday.

Willy Heng was disappointed when he had to enter the Normal (Academic) stream four years ago. But yesterday, he graduated from the Express stream at Presbyterian High School with seven O-level passes.

This makes the 17-year-old eligible to apply for his dream course in cyber and network security.

He was part of the first batch of 370 Normal (Academic) students under the Subject-Based Banding (Secondary) scheme to get their O-level results.

The scheme - on trial at 12 secondary schools since 2014 - lets students from the Normal (Academic) stream who score at least an A for English, mathematics, science and mother tongue at the Primary School Leaving Examination study those subjects at the Express level.

It is being extended to all secondary schools from this year.

Willy, the third of four children whose parents are chefs, took up maths under the scheme. However, he failed it in Secondary 1. It made him more determined to succeed. He passed the subject in Secondary 2 and did well enough in other subjects to move to the Express stream.

Though it was a huge leap, he said he received a lot of help from teachers like Mr Loo Hup Tee, 45, his Secondary 3 mathematics teacher.

Willy, who scored a B3 for maths, said: "Sometimes, he would approach me just to give me extra help. He was very patient with me and clarified all my doubts... This really motivated me to do well in maths."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline 'From Normal (Academic) to Express stream'. Print Edition | Subscribe