Parents should pick secondary school that suits the child, not the parent: Principal

Raffles Institution principal Frederick Yeo noted that parents should talk to their children about their choice of school. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Parents should pick a secondary school that suits their child's interests and learning dispositions.

Gunning for a top school based on its academic prestige without considering how the child will take to the pace of learning may do more harm than good, said Raffles Institution (RI) principal Frederick Yeo.

Noting that parents should talk to their children about their choice of school, he added: "It must be a school that he wants to go to; it can't be a school that you want him to go to."

This was among the advice given to parents of children who had just taken the PSLE that emerged during discussions that featured 10 school principals.

They were participating in the Straits Times Smart Parenting webinar on Saturday morning (Oct 30) about the new PSLE scoring system and how it will impact pupils.

They fielded questions from parents about subject-based banding and the importance of taking Higher Chinese to enter Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools.

SPH Brightcove Video
The Ministry of Education's deputy director-general of education Sng Chern Wei talks to Senior Education Correspondent Sandra Davie on how the new PSLE scoring system could impact secondary school posting this year.

In the session featuring Pasir Ris Crest principal Koh Caiyu and Anderson Secondary principal Tan May Teng, part of the discussion focused on how subject-based banding will be implemented in their schools.

In 2019, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that the Normal (Technical), Normal (Academic) and Express streams would be done away with and replaced by full subject-based banding, in which students will take up subjects at higher or lower levels, based on their strengths.

Mrs Tan said her school would start subject-based banding in 2022, and that it has already started the programme for subjects such as English and mathematics.

She said her students have enjoyed it so far and that they get to practise empathy and bring their non-academic talents and perspectives into class, adding: "You can imagine how vibrant it can be when you put them all together."

Responding to questions on whether taking Higher Chinese Language will affect a child's chances of getting into an SAP school, MOE deputy director-general of education (curriculum) Sng Chern Wei said those with Higher Chinese results are given posting advantage compared with someone who has the same PSLE score without Higher Chinese.

Nan Chiau High School principal Siau Fong Fui noted that about 40 per cent of the school's students did not take Higher Mother Tongue in primary school.

She said: "So it's not a prerequisite, but it's good to have (the subject)."

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