P1 registration: How do I choose between two schools for my child?

With Primary 1 registration around the corner on July 4, Straits Times senior education correspondent Sandra Davie is answering questions that parents have about the process. Here are two questions sent in by readers:

Question: "My first choice of school for my twins is a school that is within 1km of our house because I value the convenience. But it is a very popular school and I have no connections to the school. My second choice for them is my alma mater which is within 2km of our home. If the first choice school is under a later phase than my second choice, what should I do?"*

Answer: "You stand a better chance of securing a place at your second choice school - your alma mater - as it would come under an earlier phase - 2A1 (if you joined the alumni association at least a year ago) or 2A2.

With no connections to your first choice school, you will only get to register your child at a later stage, Phase 2C. Since you mentioned that it is popular school, you will have to take your chances at a ballot under Phase 2C. But if you really like the school, have a look at how many people ballotted for places under 2C in the last two years to give yourself a gauge of your chances. You can ask the school for the figures or you can go to KiasuParents.com which provides this information."

Question: "My child is born on 1 January 2008. Can I choose to register him next year instead of this year as I feel that he is still not good in his English and mathematics?"*

Answer: No. Under the Compulsory Education Act, children born between Jan 2, 2007 and Jan 1, 2008 (both dates inclusive) have to register for Primary 1 this year. If you wish to defer your child's entry into Primary 1, you will have to write in to Compulsory Education Unit for approval.

*Readers did not leave their personal particulars