Many families are willing to buy or rent a property to be within 1 km of the primary school they wish to enrol their children in.
This is why purchasing a property near a popular primary school is usually a good idea. Such properties often have a constant supply of buyers or tenants.
For families with young children, you can read more about Primary One Registration here:
A quick summary on the different phases of Primary One Registration:
|Phase||Eligibility / Condition|
|1||If your child has a sibling studying in the school|
You can do a happy dance, as your child will definitely get a slot in this school.
|2A||If your child has a parent or sibling who was a former student in the school. |
If the child’s parent is a member of the School Advisory or Management Committee
If the child’s parent is a staff member of the school
If the child has attended MOE Kindergarten (under and located within the same school)
Allocated slots, so if this phase is oversubscribed, balloting would be required
|2B||Parent volunteer who has committed at least 40 hours of service to the school by 30 June of the year of registration|
Parents associated/ endorsed by the church/ clan connected with the school
Parents is endorsed as an active community leader
Allocated slots, so if this phase is oversubscribed, balloting would be required. Families who register under this phase must also reside within 2km of the school, and continue to reside for the next 30 months within 2 km.
|2C||For a child who does not qualify to apply in the earlier phases or have not obtained a spot in a primary school yet|
Most children fall under this phase. Balloting would be required, if oversubscribed. Priority is given to Singaporeans/ families living closer to the school:
1. Singaporeans living within 1km
2. Singaporeans living between 1km and 2km
3. Singaporeans living more than 2km away
4. Permanent Residents living within 1km
5. Permanent Residents living between 1km and 2km
6. Permanent Residents living more than 2km away
|2C* (supplementary)||For a child who does not qualify to apply in the earlier phases or have not obtained a spot in a primary school yet|
For local families without any affiliations, and do not want to wait till phase 2C (distance and luck are usually the critical factor), another option would be to register their children at MOE kindergartens with affiliation to primary school (located in the same compound).
This will put them at phase 2A.
My top advice for families planning to buy or rent a property for primary school:
Tip #1: Start EARLY
Starting early: Some enlightened folks take this so seriously, that they ensure their first home must be near a primary school.
One couple in their late 20s shared a few years back that they wanted to purchase a HDB flat in Marine Parade to be near the husband’s parents and also for their future children to be near to his alma mater – Tao Nan Primary School.
They had no kids when they purchased their flat.
Many may think they are restricting their options.
But they felt that they would rather over-prepare than to be in a situation where they have to move just to be closer to the school when they have a kid.
Some of you may also point out that they did not have to stay within 1 km if one of the parents is an alumni.
While that is true, some schools may be so in demand, that being an alumni may not guarantee a place in the earlier phase.
In such cases, the family would still have another chance to enrol their child in the school at a later phase, which would require them to live within 1km.
This year, I’ve helped a family secure their dream home, just before the primary school registration deadline. For their little boy, they were moving from the East all the way to the West.
It was a nerve-racking experience for me, and even more so for them. The home search itself was challenging .
There were not many units for sale that fit their criteria. Prices had risen significantly over the past year.
And time was running short. I was feeling so desperate that I was also shortlisting rental units for my clients, just in case we were not able to secure a suitable place to buy in time.
Fortunately, a unit that fits the bill came on the market, two weeks before the deadline to their P1 registration exercise phase. An offer was made swiftly after two viewings. From there, things moved relatively fast.
The offer was accepted and the Option to Purchase (OTP) was issued immediately.
However, for the primary one registration exercise, my clients needed to provide both the exercised OTP, as well as the Buyer’s Stamp Duty Certificate. Exercising the option was the easy part.
Getting the Stamp Duty certificate was less straightforward.
Under normal circumstances, the representing law firm would send the cashier’s order for the stamp duty to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), and the Buyer’s Stamp Duty Certificate would be sent to the law firm within 14 days.
And there was no way IRAS can or will commit to provide the certificate any earlier.
After a few frantic moments, we learnt that we could get the certificate immediately at select SingPost outlets, if payment for the Stamp duty was made at these outlets instead of IRAS.
How to retrieve your Stamp Duty Certificate: https://www.iras.gov.sg/media/docs/default-source/uploadedfiles/pdf/how-to-download-stamp-certificate_2021v1.pdf?sfvrsn=93dda9b9_0
And with that, my clients received all the necessary documents two days before their registration deadline. And to my relief and delight, their little boy got a spot in the chosen school!
But truth be told, I wish no family would have to encounter such a harrowing experience. So if you can, please do not wait too long, start early!
Tip #2: Consider the type of school
Is it a boys’ school/ girls’ school/ Co-ed School?
This would be an important factor when you have more than one child.
Once you have a child studying in a particular school, his or her sibling would be given priority for primary one registration.
It can save families with both daughters and sons a lot of trouble to consider enrolling their first-born into a co-ed school, or of course shortlist properties that fall within 1km of schools that both sexes can attend.
At the start of my career as a realtor, I assisted a family who wanted to buy a property in Newton, Bukit Timah or Novena area.
They wanted to be within 1km of at least two to three primary schools, as they had not decided which school to enroll their son in.
They also started very early, as they knew it would have to be home for many years to come and did not want to compromise their needs in a home as a family.
We eventually found the perfect terrace house, which served them well for years.
However, we had to hunt for another property to rent when it was time for their daughter (was not born during the first purchase) to register for Primary one.
Why? The two schools within 1 km of their house were all boys’ schools.
Luckily, it was easy to rent out their house.
Another family with a young boy took on a 3-year lease, as they moved into the area to be near to their son’s primary school.
But given a second chance, this family would have done things differently to avoid the inconvenience of having to rent and lease out their own home, which they will eventually move back into after fulfilling the 30 months requirement to be within 1km of their daughter’s school.
Tip #3: Use One Map – School Query
Ever wondered how to check the primary school that is located within 1 km?
This is the most important tool to determine the distance between a particular address to the primary school of your choice.
Simply type in the address of the property and you can identify all the primary school within 1 km.
While this has never happened to me, I have heard horror stories of parents purchasing a HDB flat/ private condominium using ad portals (e.g. propertyguru) to determine distance, only to learn that their address is not within 1km to their desired school.
This would be detrimental for families applying at phase 2C, when distance gives you an edge.
Buyers and tenants should do their own checks and NOT reply on owners/ landlords or even your realtor on this
Tip #4: Address
If you are tempted to provide a false address for primary school registration, do think twice!
The penalty for falsifying one’s address for primary school registration could be a jail sentence for up to one year and/ or fined up to $5000.
This is to deter overzealous parents from lying just to secure a good school for their children.
They lied to a registration officer that their residential address was in Bishan when they were still living in Serangoon Gardens.Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, January 28, 2018
If priority has been granted based on the child’s residential address, the family must ensure they continue to stay within the same distance requirement for 30 months from the start of the Primary One registration exercise.
Some parents may not know that they can use these addresses for primary school registration:
A) Caregivers (within 2km of the school)
Families can use addresses of main-caregivers (e.g. grandparents and or parent’s siblings) for the purpose of primary school registration if both parents are working and make an online declaration that their child is being taken care of by their grandparents or parent’s siblings.
However, it is important to note that no matter how near these caregivers are to the school, children registering under their caregivers’ addresses will be considered in the same league/ priority with children of Singaporeans living between 1km and 2km from the school.
B) New property (resale/ brand new)
Like my earlier case study, parents can provide the following if they have purchased a resale flat or private property, and also commit to move into the new property by the start of their children’s primary one academic year by signing a Letter of Undertaking.
Private property: Exercised Option to purchase and buyer’s stamp duty certificate
HDB flat: Documentary proof that HDB has received Resale application
If the property purchased, has not been completed, parents can provide the school with the following documents, as long as the new developments can be completed within 2 years from the start of the children’s primary one academic year:
Private property: copy of the Sales and Purchase Agreement
HDB flat: copy of the Agreement for Lease
We have been told constantly that every school is a good school. Well that aside, some important consideration I would like to share from my experience with different clients:
Some Indian families try to choose schools that offer their mother tongue.
Yes, some primary schools have Hindi classes, and some may offer Tamil classes, but sadly some schools may offer neither Hindi nor Tamil classes.
So it is important to check beforehand on the mother tongue offered at a particular primary school.
If not, the child will have to attend separate mother tongue classes after school at another centre or school.
If your child is talented or interested in a particular sport/ club/ musical instructment, you may want to check if the school offers that particular activity as a core-curricular activity.
The most popular school was South View Primary School in Choa Chu Kang. This was followed by Northland Primary in Yishun, and Nan Hua Primary in Clementi.Posted by The Straits Times on Thursday, August 5, 2021
As you can see, every family manages primary school registration differently. There are families who are dead set on putting their child in a prestigious school.
Then there are some who value the environment and culture of a more traditional school and also many who just want their child to go to the nearest neighbourhood school.
Whatever the case, it never hurts to know your options, before making any decision.
If you have questions, you are welcome to drop me a message via Whatsapp.
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