Primary 1 Registration and Balloting

One of the most stressful periods in a Parent’s life is Primary 1 Registration!

Unlike the common milestones of “My first words” or “My first time on a bicycle”, this Primary 1 registration thingy seems to be a major bugbear for Singaporeans growing up in a climate that stresses on academics. From Choosing a Primary School to Transition to a Primary School, these milestones seemed to pale in comparison to my balloting experience for Primary 1.

Just to give you a bit of background information, there are 2 phases in Primary 1 Registration that will simply stand out. These are Phases 2B and 2C. Personally, I have never come to this two phases before, as both my wife and I come from “Branded Schools”. Our children are in Phase 2A, which gave us the blessing of choosing from our Alma Matas, which school we wanted our kids to go to. If the school system does not change, we will be able to see that blessing pass down to our grandchildren as well.

What are these two critical Phases in the current Primary 1 Registration?

Phase 2B which is Primary 1 Registration for kids who have parents who serve as Parent Volunteers or those with school connections.  Due to volunteering in the school for up to 80 hours, or with church or clan connections, Parents are able to help their kids get into the school of their choice. However, problems arise when there are too many applicants than vacancies. This results in parents volunteering for 80 hours, with no guranteed fruits.

Phase 2C is the most competitive phase of the annual registration exercise. It is for children with no affiliation to their primary school of choice. At this phase, registration is based on home-school distance. Distances are measured within 1km and 2km. Competition is so stiff in branded schools, that if you are not within 1km and if you are not a Singapore Citizen, your child will stand zero chances of getting in. 

As at closing, 86 Primary schools are oversubscribed and require a ballot. The most oversubscribed school in 2014 goes to Rosyth School, which received 95 applications for 29 vacancies.

There is a 10 year series, where you can check Primary 1 Registration Balloting history, so that you can estimate your chances of getting into the school of your choice

p1 registration

Just to get back to our story, it has been really stressful for the both of us, as that although we have a guaranteed place for our youngest child in a branded school, we have decided to take her out. Reason being is that our youngest child is working together with a therapist to aid her development. We therefore did not want to put her into a school which is rated as one of the most competitive in Singapore.

You can imagine the stress in our minds…From a guaranteed place in a Top School, to a Non-guaranteed spot in a less stressful school, that we needed to ballot for.

The question in our minds…Should we or Should we not take her out of her guaranteed position?!?

After reporting at the center, we had to spend at least 30 mins by ourselves to ponder over this question. Uncertainly was in the air. The odds still looked quite good, but we had earlier decided that we would definitely throw our name into the ballot IF there were only less than 5 applications over the 28 vacancies. At that point, the school was over-subscribed by 7 applicants.

We were past our safety threshold, and now we were into the realm of uncertainty and faith. The uncertainly of the ballot made me feel like I was gambling with my daughter’s future…

These were the questions that raced through my mind…but after calming myself down to think about it…

She needs a less competitive environment…even if she does not get into this school, she still needs a less competitive school…and this school provided the option of giving her a better options, when she proceeds to her secondary education…

I felt peace in my heart, as I closed my eyes in the spirit and listened…

We proceeded to throw her name in the ballot…only time will tell if we made the right decision.



There were 38 applications out of 28 vacancies this morning!

They had those TOTO machines to roll the balls.

For every 2 persons that got in, 1 person was out…

At each turn of the machine, our chances got less and less.

We were down to the last 5 vacancies…

I held my breath when the last slot was left…and the LAST number was not ours…

She did not NOT into SCGs…

Did I miss God…

It took me a while to regain my composure…From a secured spot in the Top Primary School to nothing at all…

But things don’t change. My God is a good God, and he has have a great plan for Nadine.

There is another school out there for her and now we are awaiting for Phase 2C

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