ACS needs to open doors to those outside of community it is 'comfortable' with, says school management on Tengah move
"We strengthen our commitment to Bishop Oldham’s mission of serving the community and the nation by bringing quality education to a wider cross-section of society," the school's managment said in a letter to alumni.
SINGAPORE: For Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) to carry on its mission, it needs to open its doors to those outside of the community it has been comfortable with, said the school’s management on Thursday (Feb 9).
In an internal letter to ACS alumni on the day that the Education Ministry announced that school will admit girls when it moves from Barker Road to Tengah in 2030, the school’s management also noted that some alumni may feel that a co-ed school is a break from tradition, since ACS has primarily been a boys school.
“This will be an opportunity for us to expand the ACS education and family to a new group of students, and a greater number of ACS (Primary) alumni will then be able to benefit as their daughters will now have access to an ACS education,” the letter read.
An Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) that also admits girls will allow the daughters of alumni to enjoy the same privileges accorded to male students, said the school’s management.
“The reality is that for ACS to carry on the mission that our founder Bishop Oldham set out to do, we need to open our doors to those outside of the community we have been comfortable with,” said the school’s management in the letter.
“There are also perceived benefits for future students as we aim to unlock learning opportunities for those we have yet to engage with.”
The decisions were taken with the school’s strategic interests in mind, the letter read.
“For one, by serving the critical needs of the wider society, we will build goodwill with our external stakeholders - an important effort if we are to navigate the rapidly evolving environment.
“The changes will allow us to strategically review and reorganise our primary schools to respond to wider national trends such as low birth rates and more younger families moving to new and emerging estates.”
"WIDER CROSS-SECTION OF SOCIETY"
The new residential estate in Tengah is likely to have a diverse population comprising people of varied socioeconomic, ethnic and religious backgrounds, said the school’s management in the letter.
“To that end, we strengthen our commitment to Bishop Oldham’s mission of serving the community and the nation by bringing quality education to a wider cross-section of society,” the letter read.
The letter was signed by chairman of the ACS board of governors Richard Seow, president of the ACS Old Boys’ Association Lock Wai Han and bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore Gordon Wong.
The school’s management also committed to a town hall meeting with parents and alumni on Feb 22, to address concerns.
When ACS was set up more than a century ago by Bishop William Fitzjames Oldham in 1886, it was uncommon for girls in Singapore to have a formal education, the school’s management noted in the letter.
ACS has also progressively welcomed female students over the years into ACJC (junior college), ACS (international) and ACS (Independent).
“So it is not uncommon now to have the daughters of our alumni also enjoy the same privileges we have accorded our boys, as well as welcome the wider female population in Singapore.”
The new location at Tengah will be more than 12km away from the school's current site at 50 Barker Road, located in the affluent Bukit Timah residential enclave.
All Primary 1 cohorts of ACS (Primary) admitted to the school until 2029 will remain at the Barker Road site until they graduate. When the Tengah site opens in 2030, it will accept both male and female siblings of existing students of the Barker Road site for Phase 1 admission.
From 2030, the school at Barker Road will only accept male Primary 1 students who are siblings of students currently studying at the site, said the Education Ministry.
Cohort sizes at the Barker Road ACS (Primary) site will gradually fall, the ministry noted. Tentatively in 2033, the school will consolidate with ACS (Junior) at the nearby Winstedt Road, and operate under the ACS (Junior) name.
The new ACS (Junior) will then operate from both campuses before shifting all operations to the Barker Road site around 2039.