Parents hoping to clinch a spot for their children at 17 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 directly connected with the schools, or are active community leaders.
Last year, 15 schools were oversubscribed at this stage.
This year, St Hilda's Primary School had the highest demand, with 58 children vying for 35 spots at this stage. Also oversubscribed were Methodist Girls' School (MGS), Canberra Primary, CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh) and Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary.
For example, MGS had 47 children competing for 31 vacancies in this phase, while Canberra had 61 children registered for 47.
At each registration phase, if the number of applicants is higher than the number of vacancies, parents usually have to ballot for places. Vacancies left unfilled are carried over to the next phase.
Not all schools that are oversubscribed need to have 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.
In 2014, a rule was introduced requiring all primary schools to set aside 40 places for children in the later stages. The 40 places are split equally between children registering in Phases 2B and 2C.
The next phase, Phase 2C, is for children with no ties to schools. For this phase, parents can register their children through the P1 Internet System instead of going to the school of choice to register.
Online registration for Phase 2C starts on July 25 and ends on July 27, while registration at the school starts on July 26 and ends on July 28.
A new school, Fern Green Primary in Sengkang, opens next year and is accepting Primary 1 registrations.