About 12 per cent of the Primary 1 cohort entered primary schools in the second and third phases of registration, said Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary.
This figure has remained "fairly stable" over the past three years, he told Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) yesterday.
Of those successful applicants in these two phases - Phases 2A1 and 2A2 - in the last three years, less than 15 per cent live more than 8km from their schools, said Dr Janil.
Phase 2A1 is for children whose parents had joined the school alumni association at least one year ago, or who are on the school advisory committee.
The next phase, 2A2, is for children whose parents or siblings are former pupils, or whose parent is a staff member at the school.
Mr Gan had asked if the Ministry of Education would consider modifying the enrolment criteria for primary schools, to include both consideration for school ties and the distance between the school and homes to ensure young children do not have to travel too far.
Dr Janil said the current system does recognise the need to consider school ties and home-school distance together, as priority is given to those who live within 1km of the school. This is followed by those who live between 1km and 2km away, and then only those who live more than 2km from the school.