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Applicants at popular primary schools face early balloting

At several popular schools, the number of registrations under Phase 2A (2) has already exceeded vacancies on the first day.

SINGAPORE: Parents hoping to clinch spots for their children at three popular schools – CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School, Nan Hua Primary School and Henry Park Primary School – will have to go through balloting earlier than in previous years.

The number of registrations under Phase 2A (2) had already exceeded the vacancies on Monday (July 14), the first day registrations were open under this phase.

Phase 2A (2) is for children whose parents or siblings are former students of the school. In past years, balloting was not required in this phase as it is considered an early stage of the Primary 1 registration exercise.

However, starting this year, all schools have to reserve at least 40 places for children with no connection to the school of their choice. These 40 places are split between Phase 2B and 2C.

Phase 2B is for children whose parents are school volunteers or active community leaders, or are endorsed by the church or clan directly tied to the school; the latter phase is for children with no connections to the school.

Three other schools – Yu Neng Primary School, Radin Mas Primary School and Catholic High School – also reported that the number of registrations was also close to exceeding the number of vacancies on Monday.

At CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School, the mood among parents was one of anxiety, as the school had only 14 places on Monday for Phase 2A (2). Said a parent who only wanted to be known as Mrs Wang: “Without this new rule, my daughter would have no problems entering the school.”

IT manager Owen Chen, whose wife attended the school, said: “When the news came out about the 40 places, I thought surely there would be balloting in this phase and we were worried about that.”

The 42-year-old is mulling over a back-up plan: To take his chances on the 20 places set aside for Phase 2C at the nearby Ai Tong School.

“There’s still a small glimmer of hope,” he said in Mandarin.

At Pasir Ris Primary School, 96 places had already been taken up under Phase 2A (1) – for children whose parents have been members of the school’s alumni association for at least a year, or whose parents are members of the School Advisory or Management Committee – leaving only 44 places for Phase 2A (2). As of Monday, half of the places have been registered for.

Although proximity was a consideration amongst parents, most were drawn to the curriculum. Technician Ali Othman, 45, whose elder daughter graduated from the school in 2010, said the school’s approach towards academics is “excellent”.

“The teachers are very helpful, they assist students and if the students have problems, they will provide assistance like the way they helped my daughter,” he said.

Ms Jolene Lim, an alumnus of the school, said she was drawn to the school’s good track record in sports co-curricular activities, particularly football.

“My daughter is active and good in sports, (although) she doesn’t have a preference yet about what sports she wants to do, it is good to put her in a school with good sports so she can decide later and (remain) active in sports,” said the 27-year-old ship broker.

Phase 2A (2) closes on Tuesday. The results will be announced by Thursday.

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