Education and Childcare in Singapore

Education and Childcare in Singapore

Expats moving to Singapore will be pleased to learn that Singapore has one of the best education systems in the world. The Singapore education system is broken down into three levels:

  • Pre-School or Kindergarten: Children attend this stage between the ages of four and six. Private options are expensive, but the Singapore Ministry of Education maintains 16 kindergartens around the Island which are more affordable
  • Primary School: Students attend primary school from between the ages of six and 10. There are a variety of primary schools, and you can even send your child to a school that suits their particular interests (such as music or languages or sport). You also need to think about the primary language of instruction and find a school that teaches in English if you’re only planning on going to Singapore for a short period
  • Secondary: Singapore has three streams of secondary school – Express, Normal and Technical. The stream your child is placed in will be dependent on their performance at primary school. Streaming gives your child the opportunity to enhance their strengths by being placed amongst a cohort of children with similar learning abilities.

Fast Facts About Education in Singapore

  • There are two semesters in each academic year. The first semester runs from January to May, and the second semester runs from July to November
  • Bilingual education is the norm in Singapore, although international students can opt out if parents send in a written request to the school
  • If your child has special needs, you need to research each school because there are no laws that require schools to cater for disabilities
  • There are public, private and international schools available in Singapore. Public schools teach according to the national curriculum, while private and international schools have the flexibility to set their own agendas. Private and international school are expensive, but the facilities are excellent. For more information, take a look at this list of international schools in Singapore
  • Public schools offer excellent standards of education, although competition for places can be high. Most schools will accept citizens and permanent residents before temporary workers, so you may have better luck finding a place for your child in a private or international school
  • Australian students may take some time to acclimatise to the increased workload and pressure placed on Singaporean students. Education is highly-valued in Singaporean society, and students feel this pressure daily. Outcomes are excellent, but you should monitor your children to ensure they’re coping
  • You will need to have copies of the following documentation to enrol your children in school:
    • Your child’s and your passports
    • Your child’s Dependent’s Pass
    • Your child’s school records for the last three years
    • Your child’s immunisation and medical records
    • Your child’s birth certificate
    • At least two passport-sized photos of your child.

Childcare in Singapore

If your children are too young to attend pre-school, you’ll need to find other childcare options. You have three to choose from:

  • Childcare centres: You can place your children in these centres for either a full day or a half-day. For full day infant care, it costs about AU$1,450 a month
  • Babysitter: Freelance sitters and nannies, as well as au-pairs work throughout Singapore. This will cost parents about AU$880 a month for freelancers, and AU$1,450 a month for an au-pair
  • Co-Working space or child-friendly office: Some companies in Singapore will allow you to bring your child to work. Some spaces will include a play area, dedicated daycare or just a playpen.

Paying School Fees

School fees vary depending on which school your child attends, but when it comes to paying school fees, you have several options:

  • AXS: Allows you to pay your school fees online
  • GIRO: A payment system where fees are automatically-deducted each month
  • Pay directly to the school
  • Pay at the Ministry of Education’s Customer Service Centre
  • Send a cheque payable to “Ministry of Education” to:

Ministry of Education, Finance & Procurement Division, Cashier’s Unit
1 North Buona Vista Drive, MOE Building,
Singapore 138675

Further Information on Education in Singapore

The following resources are excellent when it comes to finding the right school for your child:

You can find more information on working, transport and housing and top 5 things to know when moving to Singapore to ensure you have a full spectrum of tips and advise considering a move to Singapore.

Speak to our International Consultant to assist you with your move now.

Blog Author:

Lisa Fink

Blog Author Lisa Fink