Selecting the Right Secondary School in Singapore for your Children

A high quality secondary school curriculum is vital for the future success of its students. These secondary years allow students to enhance their natural talents and gain in-depth knowledge of their chosen subject matter, which will support them throughout University and in their onward careers. During this time they will also gain numerous non-academic skills such as communication, time-management, learning methods and compassion which will stay with them throughout their lives. Parents seeking to enrol their children in an international school in Singapore have several curricular options to choose from.

International General Certificate of Secondary Education

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is a two-year programme that offers rigorous coursework in more than 70 subjects. Accredited by the CAIE (Cambridge Assessment International Education), the IGCSE is a UK based framework with certified examinations that set the global standard for international education. These qualifications are created by subject experts from the prestigious University of Cambridge, academically rigorous and keep up to date with educational trends and developments across the world.

Core subjects centre around Mathematics, Science and English. Other topics covered include business, social sciences, physical education, creative arts and foreign languages. Students will usually study between seven and nine subjects from a combination of the core topics which they are able to select according to their passions or future career dreams. The curriculum allows for flexibility to accommodate varying ability levels, moving between assistance for students who may need extra support, and more challenging and advanced learning for students preparing to attend leading Universities. Many Universities require a combination of IGCSEs and A-Levels or IB qualifications. This is why it is important that students are supported to make the right decisions about their topics of study early on. Our teachers and administration staff at OWIS makes this an easy process.

The IGCSE requires 65 hours of teaching time per subject and is offered across many countries and academic institutions. The IGCSE exams can also be taken by children who are homeschooled. This takes the pressure off families who may need to move during the time that their child is studying.

An illustrative example of secondary school pathway options in Singapore - by OWIS
What is the International Baccalaureate Programme?

As the next step from primary school, the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum includes the following programmes for older students.

● The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is intended for children aged 11-16. It encompasses eight subject groups and teaches students how to use their classroom learning practically in the real world. It encourages both personal and academic achievement. The MYP requires at least 50 hours of teaching time for each subject group. The MYP’s well-rounded approach emphasises relationships, cultural identity, scientific innovation, globalisation and other key areas which will allow students to flourish in all areas of life.  It teaches them to be innovative and practical learners who are able to adapt to different learning styles and experiences. It also opens their eyes to the wider world around them by giving them experiences outside of the classroom.

● Intended for students aged 16-19, the Diploma Programme (IB DP) is highly-respected by prestigious Universities worldwide. This programme concentrates on providing students with a wide breadth and depth of knowledge besides developing their critical thinking, analytical and collaborative skills. It is a solid training course that gives them the academic and social skills required to go to University and their onward career. The Diploma allows students to study at least two languages and helps them to flourish in traditional academic subjects. It supports them in progressing physically, emotionally, ethically and intellectually.

Are There Country-Specific Offerings?

Parents may also opt for a secondary school model that aligns with their respective home country’s approach so their children can follow a framework with which they are already familiar. Country-specific curricula in Singapore include German, American, Australian, Indian and many more. This may be particularly useful for families who know that they may only be in Singapore for a short time before returning home. It means that their children can integrate back into their country specific programmes easily and not feel that they are behind their peers.

With so many schools on offer for expat families, Singapore offers a comprehensive selection of curricula for students at all educational levels, including secondary school.

Secondary education at OWIS

At OWIS, we offer our secondary students an academically rigorous curriculum based on the IGCSE for Grades 6 to 10. Our secondary students from Grades 6 to 8 follow the Cambridge Checkpoint Curriculum and students in Grades 9 and 10 participate in the IGCSE programme, which provides a solid foundation for the IB DP. Students in Grades 11 and 12 at OWIS follow the globally-recognised International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme that equips students to flourish in higher education, their career and other aspects of their life.

Aaron O., parent of a secondary student says, “The fact that OWIS offers both IGCSE and IB was key. We also like how down-to-earth everyone was.”

Ready to Enrol Your Child in Secondary School?

For more information on enrolling your child in secondary school, contact us at OWIS today. Our friendly admissions staff are always happy to answer any of your questions.

This blog was originally written in collaboration with Jasween Gill, former Admissions and Communications Director, OWIS Nanyang and Suntec.