Parents hoping to clinch a spot for their children at 22 popular primary schools face the prospect of a ballot, after the latest registration stage closed yesterday.
Phase 2B - the fourth of seven phases - is for children whose parents have volunteered in the schools, have links to churches or clans or are active community leaders. Yesterday's total of oversubscribed schools was nine fewer than in the corresponding stage last year.
Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) had the highest demand this year with 90 children vying for 58 spots. The school in Winstedt Road will hold a ballot on Friday for children who are Singapore citizens and live further than 2km from the school. Those who are citizens and live within the 2km radius secured places.
Among the parents hoping luck will be on their side is sales manager Maurice Chew, who registered his six-year-old son at ACS (Junior).
Mr Chew, a member of a church affiliated to the Methodist school, had chosen it as it has a strong focus on character-building and Christian values. The 46-year-old, who lives in Woodlands, noted that a rule introduced last year has opened up more vacancies in the later phases for children who otherwise might not have a chance to get in. Under the change, schools have to reserve 20 places each for the 2B and 2C phases.
"It is still going to be competitive, but at least there is a better chance for those with no links to enter the school," he said. "It is worth a try."
Also oversubscribed this year are Tao Nan School, Nan Chiau Primary, Fairfield Methodist School, Methodist Girls' School and St Joseph's Institution Junior. Tao Nan had 58 children competing for 28 vacancies in this phase, while Nan Chiau Primary had 80 children registered for 61. At Fairfield Methodist School, 48 applied for 31 spots.
Out of the 31 schools oversubscribed in last year's Phase 2B, 28 had to go through a ballot. Not all schools that are oversubscribed need to conduct a ballot. For instance, if a school has 30 vacancies and 30 Singaporean children living within 1km applying for it, no balloting is required. In that case, those outside the radius would miss out.
One popular school that had just enough places to meet the demand this year is Henry Park Primary, which had 21 children applying for its 21 spots under Phase 2B.