NorthLight School influenced Singapore's education system: PM Lee

PM Lee Hsien Loong touring NorthLight School's new campus, on Sept 21, 2016.
PM Lee Hsien Loong touring NorthLight School's new campus, on Sept 21, 2016.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - NorthLight School - a specialised school for the less academically inclined - has not only changed the lives of its students, but also influenced Singapore's education system, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday (Sept 21).

"It has helped us rethink how we should develop a school's culture, and how teachers relate to students and to the curriculum," he added.

Mr Lee was speaking at an event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of NorthLight School. NorthLight, which was established in 2007, is a specialised school for students who have difficulties keeping up with mainstream education and are keen on vocational studies.

The celebratory event, which was attended by more than 400 guests including current and former students, also marked the official opening of the school's new campus in Towner Road, a location which it has called home since December 2014. To facilitate students' learning, the new campus has special learning rooms, extensive sports facilities and state-of-the-art vocational training facilities.

NorthLight, which admits students who attempted the Primary School Leaving Examination at least once, takes in about 200 new students each year. It welcomed its first batch of 228 students at its original campus at Dunman Road.

Today, more than 1,400 students have completed their education at NorthLight.

Of these, about one-third have progressed to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). Fourteen went on from ITE to polytechnics, and so far, three have graduated with polytechnic diplomas.

The school's principal, Mr Martin Tan, said: "The students appreciate their teachers who go the extra mile to help them feel accepted and believe in them.

"The culture and environment in NorthLight provides for an encouraging and motivating climate for students to do their best."

Mr Tan also took the opportunity to thank those who have supported the school and and its unsung heroes - current and former teachers.

"We are very appreciative of the many people who have helped to build the school in the early years," he said.

"More than just teach, teachers here make uncountable home visits when students are not in school, take those who are sick to the doctors, buy food for those who are hungry and provide counselling support for those who are emotionally affected by family break-ups and other setbacks.