P1 registration: Over half of schools have more applicants than places

New citizens Xue Rong Gang, 35, and Sia Ai Bee, 40, hope to enrol son Jaydan Xue, six, at St Joseph’s Institution Junior in Novena. -- PHOTO: STACEY CHIA
New citizens Xue Rong Gang, 35, and Sia Ai Bee, 40, hope to enrol son Jaydan Xue, six, at St Joseph’s Institution Junior in Novena. -- PHOTO: STACEY CHIA

More than half of schools were oversubscribed at the end of Primary 1 registration's most competitive phase yesterday, leaving many parents with an anxious wait.

Out of 190 primary schools here, 99 had more applicants than places for Phase 2C, in which more than 16,000 parents signed up their six-year-olds over three days.

Those who went for the more popular ones will most likely have to ballot for places next Tuesday.

Among the most in-demand schools were Nan Hua, Ai Tong, Henry Park Primary and Rosyth, where up to five times as many children were registered than the number of places available.

That led several parents, such as Mrs Annabelle Lee, 38, into a last-minute switch.

The shop manager, who lives in Thomson Road, withdrew her daughter's application from Rosyth, where 120 hopefuls were vying for 31 places.

She registered her child at Marymount Convent instead, where all 127 children who signed up got places.

Competition for places was also keen at a handful of neighbourhood schools such as Canberra Primary, Hougang Primary and Jurong Primary.

Even the new Alexandra Primary, which only opens next year, surprised many by receiving 232 applications for 210 places.

Parents speculated that the high demand was due to its central location in Alexandra Road, as well as the school's principal and vice-principal coming from the traditionally popular Maha Bodhi School and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' Primary School.

Meanwhile, the countdown to Aug6 has begun for parents who will have to take their chance at the ballot.

Said housewife Catherine Ang, 33, whose daughter is trying for a place at Rosyth in Serangoon North: "I did wonder if I should withdraw my application and go to another school.

"But I live across the road from Rosyth so it would be the most convenient for my son."

Ms Sia Ai Bee, 40, who applied at St Joseph's Institution Junior in Novena, said that she would be disappointed if her son did not get in.

She was told that the school, which got 77 applications for 57 spots, will conduct balloting for those within 1km to 2km.

"But what can I do? I think I'm quite lucky to have already been given citizenship.

"As a PR, I wouldn't even have had a chance to ballot," said the director of a cosmetic company, who became a Singapore citizen in June.

When applications exceed places, priority will be given to children who are Singapore citizens, followed by permanent residents.

But if the number of Singapore citizens exceeds the number of places, then priority is given to children who live within 1km, then those who live between 1km and 2km, followed by those who live further away.

Those unsuccessful under Phase 2C will have to try for Phase 2C (Supplementary) on Aug 13 and 14.

About 40,000 children apply for Primary 1 places every year.