SINGAPORE -Eight schools had more than half their places filled when the first phase of the Primary 1 registration exercise ended on Friday (June 30) - double the number of schools last year.
The P1 registration exercise consists of seven phases. Phase 1 is for children whose siblings are currently studying in their primary school of choice.
Nanyang Primary School in Bukit Timah had 203 out of 390 spots taken up, while Concord Primary School in Choa Chu Kang had 109 out of 210 places taken up.
Two schools in Jurong West - Jurong West Primary School and Xingnan Primary School - were also sought after. They had 111 and 94 children signing up for 210 and 180 places respectively. In Pasir Ris, Casuarina Primary School and White Sands Primary, which have a combined total of 180 places available, had 95 and 99 children registered respectively.
Sengkang Green Primary School had 121 out of 240 places taken up. Over at Junyuan Primary in Tampines, it was 99 out of 180 spots.
Overall, there are fewer Primary 1 vacancies in primary schools next year -39,250 compared with 39,790 this year.
Based on figures from the Department of Statistics Singapore, the number of babies born in 2011 - who are entering primary school next year - was 39,654. This is an increase from the 37,967 babies that were born in the year before.
Parents like polytechnic lecturer Wendy Ang, 39, were glad that they were able to register their children for Primary 1 at an earlier stage, without having to ballot for a spot.
While her Primary 2 son got into Rosyth School at the third phase of the P1 registration exercise two years ago, Phase 2A2, Madam Ang's daughter could register for a spot through the earlier Phase 1 stage.
"We are already familiar and comfortable with how the school works, so we don't have to go through the trouble of looking for another school. It's also more convenient to have both children studying in the same school," said Madam Ang.
Tutor Vanessa Teo's son will join his older sister in South View Primary School in Choa Chu Kang next year.
"It's near my father-in-law's house, so the children are comfortable with the environment around the school. I also realised that the school has good programmes and teachers after my daughter joined the school," said Madam Teo, 38.
The next registration stage, Phase 2A(1), which starts on Wednesday (Jul 5), is for children whose parents have joined the school's alumni association for at least a year, or whose parents are members of the school advisory or management committee.
A new school, Fern Green Primary in Sengkang, will open next year and accept P1 registrations this year. Meanwhile, 14 primary schools in mature estates will be merged into seven schools in 2019, including Balestier Hill Primary and Coral Primary.