Secondary One Posting & Direct School Admission
After receiving their Primary School Leaving Examination results, students will be presented with a form where they would list down six secondary schools they would wish to be posted to. Most students would choose their Secondary schools based on their academic ability, for example an average student would choose a neighborhood school rather than a private school. However, a trend in recent years is that many prospective Secondary school students to choose schools based on the extra-curricular programs offered by the school. Other trends also include students enrolling in schools where their parents are part of the school’s alumni. Pupils who are interested in the Art Elective Programme (AEP), Music Elective Programme (MEP) or Language Elective Programme (LEP) would also indicate their interest in these programmes on the option form. For AEP or MEP pupils, they would have to include schools offering AEP or MEP under one of their six secondary school choices. Students from the Gifted Education Programme would only have a limited number of choices as they can only choose schools that offer Gifted Education. However, students who wish to pursue a sports-based education can enrol in the Singapore Sports School under the Direct School Admission scheme (see below).
The posting of students to secondary schools is computerized and based on merit. For example, the computer would first take the top student of that year and consider his choices and post him to his first-choice school. However if the places of a student’s first choice school have been filled, then he or she would be posted to his second choice school, and so on and so forth. If all of the pupil’s choices do not have any remaining vacancies, he or she would be posted to the secondary school nearest to his or her mailing address. However if the student is unhappy with his choice or has other more important reasons, such as the lack of facilities to cope with a physical disability or serious medical problems, he or she may appeal to the Ministry of Education for a transfer. The MOE will consider these cases and either reject or accept a transfer before the end of the first school term so that the student in question would be able to cope with the difference in work pace in his new school.
Direct School Admission
There is an alternate way of guaranteeing a posting to the school of the student’s choice. Under the Direct School Admission scheme, certain secondary schools will be allowed to select a portion of their Secondary 1 students before the release of their PSLE results, using criteria other than the PSLE results. These criteria are decided upon by the school. This is optional, but it is a more guaranteed way of securing a place in the school of choice. However, only about thirty percent of the school’s vacancies can be filled with candidates chosen by the school, while the rest of the seventy percent are to be filled with the normal posting process. This does not apply to private schools like Raffles Institution and Anglo-Chinese Independent as they are allowed to determine the percentage they wish to admit through Direct School Admission. They are however, obliged to keep at least a significant number of vacancies for students taking part in the posting process as some students might not have thought themselves capable enough to take part in the Direct School Admission system.
Schools eligible for the DSA will first select potential students through various selection exercises. This can be in the form of academic tests, intelligence tests, interviews or, in the case of Singapore Sports School, physical trials. Schools will then inform the potential candidates whether they have been given a confirmed offer, rejected or put on a waiting list. These candidates will also receive the mandatory school preference form from their primary schools where they will list down their six choices as per normal. However, if the student puts down the name of a school where he or she has been given a confirmed offer as his first choice, he or she will automatically be accepted into that school. Unsuccessful applicants would have to make do with the normal posting system.