Primary 1 School Admission Exercise for #2

The ministry has been emphasizing that 'Every school is a good school' in Singapore. In the recent years, school rankings have been removed, media no longer provided coverage on the top scorers in major exams and niche programs have been introduced to even neighborhood schools. Unfortunately, most parents (who have gone through the system) aren't convinced. In fact, it would seem like competition has stepped up as the Internet has helped tremendously in the search of information. It's not difficult for 'unofficial' rankings to pop up on various websites and forums by individuals (or groups of individuals) 'manually' compiling the required data (as opposed to the ministry collecting & publishing the information). Competition for primary one vacancies have intensified (could be just the poor planning of the sudden surge in population numbers), with many of the popular schools entering a balloting situation in the earlier phases of registration.

We had it relatively easy with no. 1 as I previously studied in one of the top ranking schools in Singapore and was able to secure a place for her under the 'old boy/girl' phase. And as always, the good Lord shows her favor by 'providing' us with a 2nd car so that I could become her designated driver instead of putting her on the school bus. Unfortunately, her school (and mine, and my mother's) only admits girls and DH's primary school has already 'disappeared'. As a result, trying to get no. 2 into a relatively good primary school took some meticulous planning and started years before. I believe strongly in the importance of good company and had set out to shortlist schools that focused on more than academic performance. We knew the rules of the game and did our best to 'move up' into earlier phases of registration, even to the point of buying an expensive property as a backup plan to secure a seat in our 3rd choice school.

The entire planning exercise culminated with us entering a ballot last week. I monitored registration numbers closely and was on standby to withdraw from my 1st choice school and rush to register number 2 into another school. Fortunate for us, we did not have to activate plan B (nor C!). At the end of the phase, there was 35 applications (one pair of twins) for 22 seats. Odds were slightly better than last year and we are glad to have a shot at balloting. It must have been the most stressful 5 mins of my life (okay, I'm exaggerating! but there were really butterflies in my stomach) and I was overwhelmed with happiness when number 2 got a place! By the grace of God, his ballot number was the 2nd to drop out of the cage!


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