Go Back   British Expats / Living & Moving Abroad / Far East and Asia / Singapore

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
Old Dec 2nd 2004, 9:25 pm   #1
Emm 
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 346
Emm is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Relocating US to Singapore

Hi all,

My husband has been offered a relocation from the US to Singapore with his company. We are origionally from England and have also lived in Sweden so this is not a first move for us.

I was wondering if you have any advice for a family relocating to Singapore? I have 2 daughters aged 5 and 8 years and have heard that there are International Schools in Singapore but know nothing more than that about them, any info or opinions would be helpful.

At the moment this is very early stages in the negotiations but forewarned is forearmed as they say, so any help would be appreciated. If any families have previously relocated and have any general knowledge or advice on what/what not to do and any surprises that are specific to Singapore that I may not have thought of - all would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Emm.
Emm is offline  
Old Dec 3rd 2004, 12:28 am   #2
ptlabs Male
Ex Mod (2002-2005)
Premium Member
 
ptlabs's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2002
Location: NSW
Posts: 5,462
ptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Relocating US to Singapore

Hello Emm

International schools in Singapore:
http://www1.moe.edu.sg/privatesch/Directory/foreign.htm

Peter
__________________
Ptlabs Consulting Pty Ltd | Registered Migration Agent 0427067 | Specialist in ACS/RPL/IT cases
http://ptlabs.com.au/
ptlabs is offline  
Old Dec 3rd 2004, 12:40 am   #3
Emm 
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 346
Emm is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Relocating US to Singapore

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptlabs
Hello Emm

International schools in Singapore:
http://www1.moe.edu.sg/privatesch/Directory/foreign.htm

Peter
Thanks Peter,

I have already looked at the list of International Schools in Singapore but to be honest, there are just so many of them. What would be really helpful is personal recommendations from people who's kids have gone there and how they found them.

If we do relocate to Singapore we will have a fairly shorttime span in which to do it and it would be a good idea to have just a few schools to visit and pick out the best one for our children rather than a huge list.

BTW I don't suppose you know when the school year starts in Singapore do you? as this will give us an idea of when we need to be there.

Thanks again,

Emm.
Emm is offline  
Old Dec 3rd 2004, 12:47 am   #4
ptlabs Male
Ex Mod (2002-2005)
Premium Member
 
ptlabs's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2002
Location: NSW
Posts: 5,462
ptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond reputeptlabs has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Relocating US to Singapore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emm
If we do relocate to Singapore we will have a fairly shorttime span in which to do it and it would be a good idea to have just a few schools to visit and pick out the best one for our children rather than a huge list.

BTW I don't suppose you know when the school year starts in Singapore do you? as this will give us an idea of when we need to be there.
Emm

Why don't you give them a ring or email the schools? They should respond quickly.

School term dates for 2004 is here:
http://www1.moe.edu.sg/schapp/frames3.htm

I'm not sure if these term dates apply to international schools, as my kid isn't of schooling age yet

HTH

Peter
__________________
Ptlabs Consulting Pty Ltd | Registered Migration Agent 0427067 | Specialist in ACS/RPL/IT cases
http://ptlabs.com.au/
ptlabs is offline  
Old Dec 3rd 2004, 12:57 am   #5
Emm 
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 346
Emm is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Relocating US to Singapore

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptlabs
Emm

Why don't you give them a ring or email the schools? They should respond quickly.

School term dates for 2004 is here:
http://www1.moe.edu.sg/schapp/frames3.htm

I'm not sure if these term dates apply to international schools, as my kid isn't of schooling age yet

HTH

Peter

Thanks again Peter,

I will be checking out their websites (those that have them anyway) and hope for some personal recommendations along the way

Emm.
Emm is offline  
Old Dec 3rd 2004, 1:58 am   #6
Premium Member
 
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 6,741
Englishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond repute
Thumbs up Re: Relocating US to Singapore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emm
Hi all,

My husband has been offered a relocation from the US to Singapore with his company. We are origionally from England and have also lived in Sweden so this is not a first move for us.

I was wondering if you have any advice for a family relocating to Singapore? I have 2 daughters aged 5 and 8 years and have heard that there are International Schools in Singapore but know nothing more than that about them, any info or opinions would be helpful.

At the moment this is very early stages in the negotiations but forewarned is forearmed as they say, so any help would be appreciated. If any families have previously relocated and have any general knowledge or advice on what/what not to do and any surprises that are specific to Singapore that I may not have thought of - all would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Emm.
Emm......You lucky, lucky woman!

I lived in Singapore from Jan 1995 to July 2000 before my husband took a new expat posting in NYC. We're an English family and as Singapore is a former British colony you will find it a very easy place to live. I would go back there in a heartbeat!

Do you think you will return to the US after your posting in Singapore? I guess you need to decide if you prefer to keep your children in the American school system or if you would prefer a British or International curriculum for them. Most of the schools which expats attend are of a very high standard, but the most favoured and considered "la creme de la creme" are the Trust schools which are not run for profit and all income is ploughed back into the school. Some of the other schools eg. 'Overseas Family School' and "ISS" are profit-making enterprises and the directors take a large cut of them for themselves. All the schools offer a bus service door-to-door - be sure to get this included in your package. Cars are heavily taxed and the most expensive in the world to put on the road, some families prefer not to buy or lease because of this!!!!

The three Trust schools are: the United World College of South East Asia, Tanglin Trust School and Singapore American School.

If you want a traditional British education for your children which follows the UK National Curriculum (although adapted to an Asian perspective) then you should consider Tanglin Trust School, which both of my children attended - my son had all of his schooling there.and has fine facilities. My daughter had to leave at the end of Year 6 as at that time TTS was a primary school only; parents then had basically two options; sending their children to boarding school in the home country or the majority of them going on to United World College. (Sod's Law was that the following year, TTS began having a Senior school...) Many Tanglin children return to UK schools and are up to a year ahead of their peers. My son loved going to TTS and I was a Class Mum one year (liaising between the teacher and parents, arranging coffee mornings and our event for the school fete!) and mums are welcomed to help out at the school. The majority of pupils are from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and some other mainly Commonwealth countries - as are the staff and they do have regular in-service courses and school inspections carried out regularly from a team sent out from England. School trips are amazing; both of my children in Year 6 went to Borneo for a week including staying in a longhouse with an Iban tribe (former headhunters!) and learning how to use (poisoned) blowpipes and tribal games and dances. My son also went to Perth (Oz) with the school for an adventure week. Pupils can also go to the Snowy Mountains in Oz for skiing with the school.

'UWC' used to be a secondary school for the British Army and became an International school when the British Forces left. It is a superb school - my daughter attended it at secondary level until she took her IGCSE's. It also takes boarders and has the highest results in the world for the 'International Baccalaureate' exams (not that it would apply to your young ones I'm sure!). However, it now takes children from 'reception'/kindergarten age. What happened is that the Singapore govt. decided that some of the 'foreign' schools (including Tanglin and UWC) had too much space/land for each pupil....land is scarce in Singapore. UWC and Tanglin were told to increase the land/pupil ratio or give up some of its land...UWC lost some of their cricket field and where the original boarding houses were (and allocated to the Anglo-Chinese school next door). The only way the schools could increase pupils quickly was to expand the age-range of the pupils and at the same time add more floors to their buildings. Hence, Tanglin started a secondary section (Senior school) and UWC took little ones. UWC now follows the Early Years IB programme which is for a truly International education in flavour. I only know about the secondary section but the school has wonderful facilities (even had a mixing room for kids making their own musical recordings). I still recall Mike Millichamp taking us on a tour of the school and saying to us that "some of the students leaving this school will one day become world leaders". There are over 50 nationalities at the school - and it is part of the United World College movement with schools in other countries - the original one began in Wales....the whole philosophy and ethos of the UWCs are listed on the school website (link to follow). I do know that there are Class Mums for the younger years and class coffee mornings with parents, plus coffee mornings for parents and senior school staff. However, as my daughter was at secondary level it was more 'hands off' as regards to having so much contact with the school. Similarly to Tanglin, most of the UWC teachers are British with others from Commonwealth countries eg. New Zealand, Canada, South Africa but also a small number from other countries. Again, school trips are amazing - visits to Southern Africa, trekking in Nepal, trips to New Zealand and Oz, Thailand etc.

I know very little about SAS (Singapore American School) but the American parents have a high regard for it. I was informed by an Indian expat that SAS has fewer American pupils directly from the US than one would think.....many Asian parents eg. many Taiwanese with US passports or wealthy Chinese Indonesians (this is common in all US schools throughout in Asia). I did go to a school fete at SAS one day....in the canteen they have a Starbucks, MacDonalds and a Dominos Pizza The school is a long way out, just across the causeway to/from Malaysia l...hence an American enclave with American styled houses has been built adjacent to the school but most Americans still prefer to live closer to the city centre but of course longer bus journey times for the kids.

Beware that the 'top three' may have waiting lists for certain age groups....but they usually clear pretty quickly due to the high turnover of expats. If I couldn't get mine into TTS or UWC I would consider Chatsworth International School, located in the old Australian school just off Orchard Rd in the city centre. It's a small school with dated facilities but well-liked by most parents whom send their kids there. There is (if she is still there) a British headteacher who was sacked from Overseas Family School along with a few other teachers for asking too many probing questions about the amount of money the directors (Singaporeans) were creaming off for themselves. She then opened up Chatsworth. The Canadian school may be another school to consider - it was well-regarded for the infant and junior levels.

Okay, I've been rabbitting for far too long here! One thing I would definitely take into account though when choosing schools is the vacation times; TTS and UWC have the traditional UK style terms (long breaks at Christmas, Easter and the Summer with a couple of half-term breaks eg. in October). We were then able to take advantage of this to go on some fabulous holidays in South East Asia and Down Under. SAS has the long Summer break (everyone goes to their home countries for most of the Summer) and a week at Christmas, Spring break etc.....basically as they do here so your opportunities to go on short trips in the region would be severely limited which would be such a shame.

Links - (I still recognize some of the teaching staff!):

http://www.tts.edu.sg

http://www.uwcsea.edu.sg

http://www.sas.edu.sg

I can post more info on other stuff but let me know if you would like me to do so.

Best Regards
EM
Englishmum is online now  
Old Dec 3rd 2004, 3:54 am   #7
Emm 
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 346
Emm is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Relocating US to Singapore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Englishmum
Emm......You lucky, lucky woman!

I lived in Singapore from Jan 1995 to July 2000 before my husband took a new expat posting in NYC. We're an English family and as Singapore is a former British colony you will find it a very easy place to live. I would go back there in a heartbeat!

Do you think you will return to the US after your posting in Singapore? I guess you need to decide if you prefer to keep your children in the American school system or if you would prefer a British or International curriculum for them. Most of the schools which expats attend are of a very high standard, but the most favoured and considered "la creme de la creme" are the Trust schools which are not run for profit and all income is ploughed back into the school. Some of the other schools eg. 'Overseas Family School' and "ISS" are profit-making enterprises and the directors take a large cut of them for themselves. All the schools offer a bus service door-to-door - be sure to get this included in your package. Cars are heavily taxed and the most expensive in the world to put on the road, some families prefer not to buy or lease because of this!!!!

The three Trust schools are: the United World College of South East Asia, Tanglin Trust School and Singapore American School.

If you want a traditional British education for your children which follows the UK National Curriculum (although adapted to an Asian perspective) then you should consider Tanglin Trust School, which both of my children attended - my son had all of his schooling there.and has fine facilities. My daughter had to leave at the end of Year 6 as at that time TTS was a primary school only; parents then had basically two options; sending their children to boarding school in the home country or the majority of them going on to United World College. (Sod's Law was that the following year, TTS began having a Senior school...) Many Tanglin children return to UK schools and are up to a year ahead of their peers. My son loved going to TTS and I was a Class Mum one year (liaising between the teacher and parents, arranging coffee mornings and our event for the school fete!) and mums are welcomed to help out at the school. The majority of pupils are from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and some other mainly Commonwealth countries - as are the staff and they do have regular in-service courses and school inspections carried out regularly from a team sent out from England. School trips are amazing; both of my children in Year 6 went to Borneo for a week including staying in a longhouse with an Iban tribe (former headhunters!) and learning how to use (poisoned) blowpipes and tribal games and dances. My son also went to Perth (Oz) with the school for an adventure week. Pupils can also go to the Snowy Mountains in Oz for skiing with the school.

'UWC' used to be a secondary school for the British Army and became an International school when the British Forces left. It is a superb school - my daughter attended it at secondary level until she took her IGCSE's. It also takes boarders and has the highest results in the world for the 'International Baccalaureate' exams (not that it would apply to your young ones I'm sure!). However, it now takes children from 'reception'/kindergarten age. What happened is that the Singapore govt. decided that some of the 'foreign' schools (including Tanglin and UWC) had too much space/land for each pupil....land is scarce in Singapore. UWC and Tanglin were told to increase the land/pupil ratio or give up some of its land...UWC lost some of their cricket field and where the original boarding houses were (and allocated to the Anglo-Chinese school next door). The only way the schools could increase pupils quickly was to expand the age-range of the pupils and at the same time add more floors to their buildings. Hence, Tanglin started a secondary section (Senior school) and UWC took little ones. UWC now follows the Early Years IB programme which is for a truly International education in flavour. I only know about the secondary section but the school has wonderful facilities (even had a mixing room for kids making their own musical recordings). I still recall Mike Millichamp taking us on a tour of the school and saying to us that "some of the students leaving this school will one day become world leaders". There are over 50 nationalities at the school - and it is part of the United World College movement with schools in other countries - the original one began in Wales....the whole philosophy and ethos of the UWCs are listed on the school website (link to follow). I do know that there are Class Mums for the younger years and class coffee mornings with parents, plus coffee mornings for parents and senior school staff. However, as my daughter was at secondary level it was more 'hands off' as regards to having so much contact with the school. Similarly to Tanglin, most of the UWC teachers are British with others from Commonwealth countries eg. New Zealand, Canada, South Africa but also a small number from other countries. Again, school trips are amazing - visits to Southern Africa, trekking in Nepal, trips to New Zealand and Oz, Thailand etc.

I know very little about SAS (Singapore American School) but the American parents have a high regard for it. I was informed by an Indian expat that SAS has fewer American pupils directly from the US than one would think.....many Asian parents eg. many Taiwanese with US passports or wealthy Chinese Indonesians (this is common in all US schools throughout in Asia). I did go to a school fete at SAS one day....in the canteen they have a Starbucks, MacDonalds and a Dominos Pizza The school is a long way out, just across the causeway to/from Malaysia l...hence an American enclave with American styled houses has been built adjacent to the school but most Americans still prefer to live closer to the city centre but of course longer bus journey times for the kids.

Beware that the 'top three' may have waiting lists for certain age groups....but they usually clear pretty quickly due to the high turnover of expats. If I couldn't get mine into TTS or UWC I would consider Chatsworth International School, located in the old Australian school just off Orchard Rd in the city centre. It's a small school with dated facilities but well-liked by most parents whom send their kids there. There is (if she is still there) a British headteacher who was sacked from Overseas Family School along with a few other teachers for asking too many probing questions about the amount of money the directors (Singaporeans) were creaming off for themselves. She then opened up Chatsworth. The Canadian school may be another school to consider - it was well-regarded for the infant and junior levels.

Okay, I've been rabbitting for far too long here! One thing I would definitely take into account though when choosing schools is the vacation times; TTS and UWC have the traditional UK style terms (long breaks at Christmas, Easter and the Summer with a couple of half-term breaks eg. in October). We were then able to take advantage of this to go on some fabulous holidays in South East Asia and Down Under. SAS has the long Summer break (everyone goes to their home countries for most of the Summer) and a week at Christmas, Spring break etc.....basically as they do here so your opportunities to go on short trips in the region would be severely limited which would be such a shame.

Links - (I still recognize some of the teaching staff!):

http://www.tts.edu.sg

http://www.uwcsea.edu.sg

http://www.sas.edu.sg

I can post more info on other stuff but let me know if you would like me to do so.

Best Regards
EM

Wow!

Thanks English Mum this is exactly what I was looking for. It does not look likely that we will be returning to the US so an English style education is really what we are looking for. I want to ensure that my girls will be able to fit back into an English school if we ever manage to get back there

This was a great help and I will have a look at the links.

If you can think of anything else that might be useful I would appreciate it. Right now is the start of the planning phase and it looks like we will have about 6 or 7 months to get from here to there, so there is a lot to do and I'm sure that time will fly by. It helps that we have made a big move like this before but I really don't know very much about Singapore and probably will not get the chance to visit before we move there (if we do), so I may be asking you a few questions over the coming months if you don't mind. It's always good to have someone who's been there and done it, if you know what I mean.

Thanks again,

Emm.
Emm is offline  
Old Dec 3rd 2004, 1:35 pm   #8
Premium Member
 
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 6,741
Englishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond repute
Post Re: Relocating US to Singapore

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptlabs
Emm

Why don't you give them a ring or email the schools? They should respond quickly.

School term dates for 2004 is here:
http://www1.moe.edu.sg/schapp/frames3.htm

I'm not sure if these term dates apply to international schools, as my kid isn't of schooling age yet

HTH

Peter
Peter;

The link to the school term dates only applies to the local Singaporean schools. All of the international schools have different term dates which they list on their websites.

Very few expat children attend them; even fewer do if they're caucasian (Westerners). Expat children are not exactly encouraged to attend local schools - the Singaporeans themselves are desperately keen to get their children into the 'top' local schools and there is a quota system for enrollment. This includes such things as whether or not the parents used to attend the school, how much 'voluntary' work the parents have done at the school, distance from home to school etc. and at secondary level, the PSLE (primary school leaving exam) results. There are different 'phases' when cohorts of students can apply and are selected for admission...it's on the MOE site but not easy to understand if one has no experience of the local school system.....but expats are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to the application process - unless one becomes a Permanent Resident.

The local school system is not really favoured by expat families; class sizes are typically numbering 40 pupils and a lot of learning is still by 'rote'...the govt. is trying to encourage schools to apply more creative learning but progress is very slow - there is an obsession from both parents and teachers for pupils to get consistently high marks and children are under a lot of pressure to get almost perfect scores or 'lose face'. The exam results are published in "The Straits Times" .

The consensus is that the local kids become 'exam smart' but can't apply what they've learned outside the classroom (and later in the work environment). It's a strange sight to see the local kids doing their homework and studying in MacDonalds and in the public areas at Changi airport (in the aircon). Parents are very competitive and schoolkids are constantly being sent to 'enrichment lessons' after school and during the school holidays the students are usually expected to go in more yet more ECAs (extra curricular activities) and the poor things still have to wear their school uniforms! You do find some expat kids in the local schools but it's mainly because the international school fees were not included in the package when the family relocated to Singapore. The Ministry of Education does not even allow Singaporean children to attend international schools (so wealthy parents send their children to boarding schools in Oz, NZ or the UK if their kids can't cope in the local highly pressurised system).

Emm:

Here's the link to Chatsworth school....

http://www.chatsworth-international.com/
Englishmum is online now  
Old Dec 4th 2004, 1:04 pm   #9
BE Forum Addict
 
helinuk's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2003
Location: latitude 37
Posts: 2,389
helinuk has a reputation beyond reputehelinuk has a reputation beyond reputehelinuk has a reputation beyond reputehelinuk has a reputation beyond reputehelinuk has a reputation beyond reputehelinuk has a reputation beyond reputehelinuk has a reputation beyond reputehelinuk has a reputation beyond reputehelinuk has a reputation beyond reputehelinuk has a reputation beyond reputehelinuk has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Relocating US to Singapore

Emm
Englishmum has given you an excellent overall view of the school system and puts my reply in your other thread to shame.


There is a good community feel to TTS. both my kids are still in touch with some of their friends. Both have returned to visit because they missed it so much! And the school my daughter now goes to in uk has 4 families from TTS so we still have friends from TTS

gossip - hearsay only !! I heard recently UWC has undergone changes because the head has left- or was asked to leave?

Good luck with the research. Made me realise that when we went to Singapore we didn't have a PC and couldn't do any research before we went- talk about going blind!!! We managed, but its so much easier doing my research on OZ with sites like this
Helen
helinuk is offline  
Closed Thread

Go Back   British Expats / Living & Moving Abroad / Far East and Asia / Singapore


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT. The time now is 1:41 am.


Powered by vBulletin: ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 1999-2010 BritishExpats.com