Singaporeans can be very particular when it comes to choosing a home. One of the biggest priorities? Living near the primary school of their choice. Read ahead to learn why.
When it comes to choosing a home, we Singaporeans are known to be extremely picky.
Everything from the quality of the home to its location is pre-planned to the core.
One of the most vital requirements for young couples is moving into a home within 1km of a top-ranked primary school.
The reason? Let’s just say it’s in our nature to be extremely Kaisu.
We Singaporeans have a competitive nature, and we do everything we can to make sure we aren’t left behind.
That means giving our children the best education so that they have access to the most lucrative opportunities later on in life.
After all, it’s only natural for parents to want the very best for their little ones.
That’s why, in Singapore, living within 1 km of our preferred school is an absolute must for parents.
So we wouldn’t be surprised if a young couple demands their property agent to find a home close to, say, Tao Nan school.
Because an elite school like that almost guarantees a bright future for their kids.
To understand this trend, we have to talk about the very process primary schools use to select their future students.
It’s called the P1 registration process, and it happens every year.
As you may know, getting your kid selected in phase 1 is one of the most difficult tasks for a parent.
You might have registered your child early on, but that doesn’t guarantee placement.
In fact, only those children who already have siblings studying in that particular school are guaranteed an immediate placement.
Alternatively, being eligible for Phase 2A(1) and 2 A(2) is also a good sign that your kid will get a placement.
However, if your child still doesn’t get placed, they’ll be moved to phase 2 B.
This is where parents have the opportunity to become proactive citizens and volunteer as societal role models to increase the chances of their kids getting placed.
But what if your child still doesn’t get placed after 2B? Well, then they’ll be further moved to phase 2C. Now, this is normally where the balloting system takes place.
So, you see, it can be extremely frustrating to get your kid into the school of your choice.
Many foreigners are simply astonished by all this helter-skelter, and rightfully so.
Be that as it may, it doesn’t change the fact that we all want the best for our children.
Given Priority admission
Whenever a school has more applicants than the available vacancies, the school has to prioritize the applicants.
This is done based on the applicant’s citizenship and the home-to-distance category.
That’s when the registered address of the applicant becomes critical.
The first priority is naturally given to those applicants who are Singapore citizens living within 1 km of the school.
The next priority will be given to Singapore Citizens living between 1km and 2km of the school.
After that, priority will be given to Singapore Citizens who live outside of a 2km range from the school.
Then, it will go to Permanent Residents living within 1 km of the school.
Next, priority shall be given to Permanent Residents living between 1 to 2 km of the school.
And then finally, Permanent Residents outside of a 2k range will get a chance.
If you observe the basis of eligibility, you’ll see why living close to a school becomes so essential.
This explains why so many parents make a great deal of effort to live close to their preferred schools.
What is the best primary school in Singapore?
Below are the official listings for the most popular primary schools in Singapore based on the Gifted Education Program.
- Rosyth School, popularity rating- 126 %.
- Nanyang Primary School, popularity rating-107 %
- Catholic High School (Primary), popularity rating- 103 %
- Nan Hua primary school, popularity rating- 95 %
- Tao Nan School, popularity rating- 82%
- Henry Park primary school, popularity rating – 74 %
- Anglo-Chinese Primary School, popularity rating- 73 %
- St. Hilda’s Primary school, popularity- 69 %
- Raffles girl’s Primary school, popularity- 27 %
Below are the listings for the top 15 most popular mainstream primary schools in Singapore and their popularity ratings.
- CHIJ St. Nicholas Girl’s School (Primary)- 157 %
- Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School- 121 %
- Ai Tong School- 100 %
- Red Swastika School -82%
- Temasek Primary School-79%
- Pei Chun Public School- 76 %
- Methodist Girl’s School (Primary)- 75%
- Ruland Primary School- 74 %
- Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) – 71 %
- Anglo Chinese School (Junior) -68 %
- Singapore Chinese Girl’s School (Primary) – 66%
- Gongshang Primary School – 60 %
- Holy Innocent’s Primary School – 46 %
- CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh)- 44 %
- Maris Stella High School (Primary Section)- 41 %
How much does it cost to live 1km from a primary school in Singapore?
The cost of living within 1 km of a primary school directly depends on the kind of neighbourhood or locality.
Usually, most elite primary schools are located in expensive localities dominated by private properties.
Naturally, these properties will be much more on the expensive side.
For example, Rulang Primary school, located on Jurong west street, is surrounded by luxury condominium projects.
Alternatively, there may be multiple locations near your desired school that come with different price tags and building types.
Sometimes, you might even see two branches of the same school located in different localities.
For example, the Boys Anglo-Chinese School has both primary and junior branches.
The primary school is located in Newton/Novena, while the junior school is located in Orchard/River valley.
The cost of living is high in Newton/Novena, so if you’re looking to move there, you’ll mostly find executive condominiums like Birmingham Mansions which cost approximately $ 1,812 per square foot.
However, if you want to live within 1km of Anglo Chinese school, you’ll have to move into a prime property like the Five Chancery, which can easily cost up to $ 8million.
Alternatively, you could move into the Balmoral Gate or Chancery park, which may cost you around $ 2 million to $ 4 million.
On the other hand, if we move over to Orchard/River Valley, you’ll see that the property prices are similar but vary in range.
You could try your luck at the Cavenagh court, which will probably cost you around $ 3 million.
Similarly, you could check out the Atelier, which gives you a wider price range between $ 1 to $ 5 million.
While both of them are primary locations, obviously, there will be some minor differences in housing costs.
Either way, you have to be prepared to spend millions if you plan on moving into a prime location close to an elite school.
However, most of us can’t really afford to live in a condo or terraced house, so the next best option is an HDB resale flat.
Why resale flats? Because it gives us the flexibility of location, which is almost vital if you have a certain school in mind.
Additionally, the availability of public transport, such as an MRT line, is also a vital requirement.
For example, Ang Mo Kio primary school is located at 20 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, close to the North-South line.
Both Clementi (East-west line) and Kembangan (East-west line) have multiple primary schools located within a 1km radius.
So you can expect a lot of demand for property in these areas.
More demand means higher prices.
Let us look at a few more examples to understand the varying price ranges from a broader perspective.
Ai Tong Primary School is located in the Bishan area, with the closest streets within 1km being Bright Hill and Sin Ming Avenue.
The cost of a 4-room HBD resale flat in these localities ranges from $ 507,000 to $ 538,000.
If we compare that to Catholic High school’s primary division, also located in the Bishan area, we can see the difference in the price range.
The closes streets within 1 km are Bishan street 24 and Bishan street 22; the cost of a 4-room HBD resale flat ranges from $ 542,000 to $ 593,000.
Tao Nan school at Marine parade has resale flats ranging from $ 465,000 to $504,000, depending on the locality.
To conclude, how expensive a location might be, depends on the type of location.
Naturally, prime locations that only have condominiums will be more expensive, and average locations with HDB resale flats nearby will be relatively cheaper.
How far is the primary school from home?
The Singapore government has announced a new way of calculating the home to school distance, potentially adding some 10 percent of new homes under the ‘within 1 km’ range.
The current way of calculation entails using a single point of reference within the original layout of the school.
A line is drawn from this reference point to the home’s location to determine its distance.
The new calculation method will use the shortest distance from a boundary point of the school to the applicant’s home.
As the boundary point does not reside within the school’s original layout, it will effectively add a few meters to the measurement line.
This way, homes already within the 1km radius will automatically move closer to the boundary point.
Meanwhile, the line of actual measurement will be slightly elongated, adding a few more homes within the radius.
Can I use the rental address for primary school registration?
Yes, you can use your rental address provided that you and your family have been living in that address for at least 30 months from the start of the P 1 registration process.
If this criterion is not met, the ministry of education will transfer your child to another school with open vacancies.
What is Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)?
As mentioned earlier, the Singapore government introduced Additional Buyer’s Stamp duty as a cooling measure to combat the rapid price rise amongst residential properties.
Its main objectives are to prevent property prices from exploding and to ensure that price rises are in line with economic fundamentals.
ABSD is payable by all Singapore Citizens from their second residential property onwards.
Singapore permanent residents will have to pay ABSD on first, second, and subsequent residential properties, while foreign nationals and entities are liable to pay ABSD on any property purchases.
What is a reasonable distance for a child to travel to school?
A reasonable distance for any child to travel to school would be something that is within walking distance.
A distance of 2 miles from the school is considered walkable for children who are 7 years old or younger.
A distance of 3 miles from the school is considered walkable for children who are 8 years and above.
However, there might be a small group of children with special educational needs.
In that scenario, the council will undertake the responsibility of providing travel assistance for those children.
Moreover, children of statutory school age and are required to travel beyond the usual walking distance may also be eligible to receive travelling assistance.
Singaporeans Parents Weigh In On Moving House to Live Near Choice Primary Schools
Buying a new property just to move to a location within a 1km radius of a preferred primary school might seem like going overboard for most.
However, a lot of Singaporean parents are more than willing to do the necessary.
Granted, the decision to move to another locality just for the primary school may seem too much.
But think about it this way, it’s a great way to plan out the educational career for future generations.
A family could get a property on a 99-year leasehold TOP, ensuring that their children and grandchildren have a chance to attend the school they want.
We wanted to find out more about how parents feel regarding this trend, so we interviewed some parents on the topic.
Some of the parents were already living near the school of their choice, while some were definitely considering making the move.
It all boils down to personal choice and economic status in the end.
For most parents, moving into a locality near a primary school is necessary, but they don’t mind if it is not one of the elite branded schools.
One such parent, Sun, aged 32, is expecting her first child in August and is residing in an HBD flat near Macpherson MRT station.
It is a convenient location for commuting purposes; however, it does not have any primary schools nearby.
Obviously, she would have to move to a primary school location for her child to have even the slightest chance of getting enrolled.
However, she has no personal preference when it comes to what school her child will go to.
In this case, she has to make a move out of necessity and not preference.
On the other hand, some parents take careful measures to ensure they move into a locality next to a branded prime school.
For those parents, money really isn’t the issue.
They don’t mind spending hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars just so that their children get a placement in an elite school of their choice.
For example, one father of 29 years old wants to send his now 3-month old son to Anglo Christian School when the time comes.
This would mean shifting his family to either Newton/Novena or Orchard/River valley.
Both these areas are well known for their expensive and luxurious condos costing up to $ 8 million.
It is a humongous financial commitment, but the sacrifice is worth it for a lot of parents.
Similarly, another mom, Katie, aged 28, plans to move closer to St. Stephen’s School in Siglap.
This would mean she has to move out from her current home in Punggol to the new location at least 30 months before her child is ready for primary school.
She picked St. Stephen’s School due to its affiliation with St. Joseph’s Institution and St. Patrick’s School, both of which are elite institutions.
Moreover, St. Stephen’s School is close to her in-laws and parents’ residence, which is an added factor.
Another couple had moved into Dover for a variety of strategic reasons.
One of those reasons was that the area is close to Methodist primary school, which is their personal choice of school for their children.
The father explained that sending his child to a good primary school is the first step in providing his children with access to a solid network.
He went on to add that having a good network is very important in his line of work.
So naturally, he wants to send his child to the best primary school that opens doors to better education, opportunities and a better lifestyle.
Although he acknowledges that living near the school doesn’t guarantee a placement for his child, he believes that it is still better than nothing.
Similarly, other parents also strategically plan out their residence to get their child into an elite school, but we wouldn’t say that’s the case everywhere.
Would You Move House to Live Nearer to a Choice Primary School?
Moving your residence to live nearer to a choice primary school does come with some benefits.
Although it doesn’t guarantee that your child will get placed, it does increase their chances.
As we discussed before, when it comes to balloting, only those children who are living within a 1km radius will get priority.
So, as a parent, that naturally becomes an incentive to move house.
However, making such a move might be expensive, as most elite primary schools are located in prime districts dominated by private properties.
This could mean spending millions just to increase your child’s chances of placement.
On the other hand, living close to a school reduces your child’s travelling time, which means your child could get more time to rest.
So, despite the expense, it does seem beneficial for your kids.
However, there may be other ways to ensure that your kid gets into the school of your choice.
This includes doing volunteer work with the school or making a considerable donation to increase your child’s chances.
But naturally, these techniques don’t always guarantee your child’s placement.
As parents, you have to take the time to plan things ahead so that your child has the best chances of succeeding.
Given how expensive some localities are, it wouldn’t be surprising to see young couples plan their future residence years ahead of time.
What’s more, it is important to point out the benefits of moving into a specific locality for the sole purpose of primary school enrolment.
Getting your child into your preferred school is no doubt quite difficult to pull off.
Still, once you’ve done it, it has a long-lasting advantage for your other kids as they would naturally be given priority since their older sibling studied in that particular school.
P1 admission in Singapore: Priority for home-school distance or alumni?
This is one of the most discussed topics regarding education in Singapore.
Should P 1 admissions prioritise home-school distance or a family’s ties to that school?
This was a question asked by Gan Thiam Pho, a member of the Ang Mo Kio GRC parliament.
The current priority level is classified according to the manner listed below.
Phase 1 prioritises those students who already have a sibling studying in that school.
Phase 2 A (1) prioritises those students whose parents are either ex-students who joined the alumni association or members of the school’s management committee or advisory board.
Phase 2 A (2) prioritises students whose parents or siblings are ex-students of the primary school or if a parent is a school staff member.
Janil Putucheary, the senior minister of state for education, expressed his concern over the need to balance the two sides.
He mentioned that the current P 1 regulations don’t understand the need to consider both home-school distance AND school ties.
He further revealed the pre-dominant imbalance resulting from student selection based on home-school distance.
It was brought to everyone’s attention that only 12 % of the primary 1 cohort students were enrolled through the Phase 2 A (1) and Phase 2 A (2) selections.
Moreover, this figure has remained stable for the last 3 years.
He also explained that only less than 15 % of the successful applicants from the Phase 2 A (1) and Phase 2 A (2) selections lived more than 8km away from their schools.
As a result, they only form 2 % of the total primary 1 cohort.
One Singaporean mother stated the importance of considering school ties during the selection process.
She stated that many primary schools have years of culture and heritage that dates back to 100 years.
She further specified the importance of maintaining and preserving the culture of those schools.
Therefore, it is unfair only to consider the home-school distance and not the alma matter, as many alumni have made countless contributions to improving those schools.
If you think about it, it does make sense that the people who have contributed to the school’s growth should be given priority when it comes to the enrolments of their children.
While it is definitely something to consider, it is not an amendment that the Education board has passed yet.
If a change like this occurs, it might potentially allow more students living further away from the school to be enrolled.
We predict that a policy like this would effectively remove the need for parents to move closer to their preferred school of choice.
Moreover, our personal opinion is that broadening the enrolment requirements would further open up new avenues in the real estate market.
As we mentioned before, most of the high ranking schools are located in prime locations surrounded by many luxury apartments and condos.
Perhaps easing up on the home-school rule would dissuade people from moving into these prime locations, thus contributing to a more controlled price range.
11 Popular Primary Schools in Singapore and Properties Within 1km of Them
We have created a detailed list of the 11 most popular primary schools in Singapore for your convenience.
The list also includes properties that fall within a 1km radius of these schools.
- Ai Tong School
In the Bishan area, Ai Tong School is very close to the Bishan Point condo and is within walking distance of the HBD 441 estate at Sin Ming Avenue and the landed housing areas at Fulton Hill.
All properties are within the Ang Mo Kio / Bishan / Thomson (D20) districts and are close to MRT stations such as Bright Hill (Thomson-East Coast Line), Upper Thomson (Thomson-East Coast Line), Marymount (Circle Line).
- Anglo-Chinese School (Junior)
It is located in the Central area, at Winstedt Road and is close to prime projects such as the upcoming Kopar At Newton.
Additionally, it is also within walking distance of Cavenagh Court apartments and Atelier Condos.
All properties are in the Orchard / River Valley (D09) districts near the Newton (North-South Line, Downtown Line) MRT station.
- Anglo-Chinese School (Primary)
It is located in the Bukit Timah area, at Barker Road.
It is close to projects like the Five chancery landed housing estate, Chancery Park condos in the Newton / Novena (D11) districts and the Balmoral gate condo in Tanglin / Holland / Bukit Timah (D10) district.
All properties are located near the Newton (North-South Line, Downtown Line) MRT station.
- Catholic High School (Primary)
It is located in the Bishan area and is close to many HDB housing projects which are 99- year leasehold TOP.
Additionally, there are terrace houses in Coral Park as well as a Condo at the Seasons view.
Closest MRT station to Bishan and Coral park is the Bishan (North-South Line, Circle Line), while the Seasons view is located near the Marymount (Circle Line).
All properties are in the Ang Mo Kio / Bishan / Thomson (D20) districts.
- CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School (Primary)
It is located in Ang Mo Kio, close to the Saint Nicholas View and Wellington Park terrace houses and The Panorama condo.
All properties are located in the Ang Mo Kio / Bishan / Thomson (D20) districts, with the nearest MRT station being Mayflower (Thomson-East Coast Line), Yio Chu Kang (North-South Line).
- Nan Hua Primary School
It is located in Clementi, West Singapore and is close to various HBD resale flats in the area and the Trilinq condo and Faber Hills Estate Semi-Ds.
All properties are in the Buona Vista / West Coast / Clementi New Town (D05) districts, with the nearest MRT station being Clementi (East-West Line).
- Nanyang Primary School
It is located close to the Asana condo, the Coronation Gardens semi-Ds, and many HBD flats at Queens road.
The nearest MRT station to the Asana condo is the Botanic Gardens (Circle Line, Downtown Line).
The nearest MRT station to the Coronation Gardens is the Tan Kah Kee (Downtown Line).
The nearest MRT station to the Queen’s road HBD flat projects is the Farrer Road (Circle Line).
All properties are inside Tanglin / Holland / Bukit Timah (D10) district.
- Raffles Girls’ Primary School
It is located within 1 km of Hillcrest Villa, Hillcrest Arcadia condo and Watten Residences.
All properties are located in the Newton / Novena (D11) district, with the nearest MRT station being in Tan Kah Kee MRT (Downtown Line).
- Rosyth School
It is located in the Serangoon North area and is surrounded by many HBD flats.
It is also nearby the Hundred Palms Residences EC and Regentville condo project.
The Hundred Palms Residences and the HBD flats in Serangoon North are both located close to the Kovan (North-East Line) MRT station.
Meanwhile, the Regentville Condo project is close to the Hougang (North-East Line) MRT station.
All properties are located in the Hougang / Punggol / Sengkang (D19) districts.
- St Hilda’s Primary
It is located in Tampines, East Singapore, near the HBD block at 832 Tampines Street 82.
It is also within 1km distance of the Arc at Tampines EC and The Tapestry condo.
All properties are located in the Pasir Ris / Tampines (D18) district, with the nearest MRT station being Tampines West (Downtown Line).
- Tao Nan School
It is located in the Marine parade area in east Singapore and is close to prime condos like the Villa Martia and new D’Ecosia, as well as HBD resale units at Marine Crescent.
All properties are located in East Coast / Marine Parade (D15) district, with the nearest MRT stations being Kembangan (East-West Line), and Marine Parade (upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line).
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