Phase 1 of Primary 1 registration ends today

Seven-year-old Faith Oh loves going to Westwood Primary so much that she asks to be dropped off half an hour early to catch up with friends - and even wants to attend during the holidays.

Her enthusiasm has led her father, Mr Derek Oh, 41, to enrol his younger son, Keith, at the same school, which, he said, has "created an environment where children feel at home".

Six-year-old Keith has been enrolled in Phase 1 of the Primary 1 registration process, which ends today and guarantees a place in a school for siblings of pupils already attending it.

Going by previous years, a third of the 40,000 places will be taken up in this phase.

But for some popular schools, the number can be as high as 50 per cent.

As of last night, 97 out of 210 spots had been taken at North Vista Primary, 99 out of 240 were filled at Evergreen Primary and 164 of 300 were gone at Henry Park Primary.

The number was not quite as high for single-sex schools. Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) saw 74 of 240 spots (30 per cent) taken up last night, while Raffles Girls' Primary had 98 of 270 spots filled.

Almost all parents that spoke to The Straits Times said they are sending their younger offspring to the same school mainly out of convenience.

Ms Pang Chin Boo, 33, said she wanted her children to be in the same school so that they can learn to take care of each other. She has a son in Primary1 at Yangzheng Primary and another will go there next year.

"It can help strengthen bonds between siblings because they have the common experience of going to the same school," said Ms Pang, a senior sales executive.

Madam Tan Ee Leen, who has enrolled her youngest daughter at Juying Primary, where her two older children are studying, said teachers there are caring and open to suggestions from parents.

"The school may not be the most sought after in the Jurong West area but I am familiar and happy with it," said Madam Tan, a case-worker for a voluntary welfare organisation.

But some parents also noted that a school may not necessarily suit all their children.

Housewife Chee Yunn Tyan, 33, who enrolled her younger son in Pei Chun Public School in Toa Payoh, said that the school can be rather academic and she is not sure if her younger son will cope well.

"I don't need him to do well, but if he feels lousy and his self-esteem is affected, I may consider switching schools," said Ms Chee.