EtonHouse International Education Group, known for its pre-schools, is making footprints into private education at all levels.
It is seeking approval to open another international school offering primary, secondary and pre-university classes in Tanglin Road. This will be the fifth school opened by the group to offer classes to children of expatriates beyond pre-school.
EtonHouse has been running an international secondary school - in Broadrick Road - since 1995, but in recent years opened three schools partly to meet the demands of expatriate parents who have been unable to get their children into Ministry of Education-run schools.
It started two new primary schools over the last three years - in Thomson and Sentosa - and launched Middleton International School in the beginning of this year offering primary school education at $18,000 a year.
The fee is 40 per cent less than the average of $30,000 charged by top-end international schools here.
Explaining EtonHouse's expansion, Mr Ng Yi Xian, the executive director of the group, said there has been growing demand among EtonHouse pre-school parents to provide a through-train pathway for their children.
"When we started primary, it was in response to our pre-school parents wanting continuity into the primary years. Moving into secondary and high school is also in response to our families who value our primary school education and want their children to gain from the same experience throughout their schooling.
The school will be a "boutique" school and will enrol 300 students. It will prepare them for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education, the equivalent of the O levels, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. It will also focus on science, maths, art, research and technology.
"We also see demand among parents for good-quality schools that are innovative and affordable."
The group currently has 10 campuses offering early years education in Singapore.
Dr Yvonne McNulty, a senior lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences who studies global mobility, said EtonHouse has identified a gap in the international school market. She noted that a rising number of expatriates here are on local packages that do not cover housing and children's school fees.
"International schools at over $30,000 a year are often out of their reach, especially if they have two or three children."
The Straits Times reported two years ago on the trend of foreigners being turned away from local schools.
The Education Ministry recently revealed that some 1,800 international pupils who applied to enter Primary 1 this year were rejected.
Mr Ng agreed that affordability is a concern for parents, and tuition fees will start at $27,480 per year for the primary years at the new school. "With more international schools, we can benefit from economies of scale and pass on the benefit to parents in the form of fees."
The first batch of pupils at the primary level is expected to start classes in March next year.
The school will be a "boutique" school and enrol 300 students. It will prepare them for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education, the equivalent of the O levels, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. It will also focus on science, maths, art, research and technology.