Which is better? Good schools vs Neighbourhood schools

A few days ago, there was a newspaper report that MOE is reviewing the Primary 1 registration process as many parents are disappointed that even if they stayed near a “good” Primary school, they could not register their child in that school due to overwhelming response from the earlier phases of registration (eg alummi, siblings in the school) and thus have to enrol in another school which is further and “less popular”.Many parents perceived as going to a “good” primary school is very important as the school will focus better on academic subjects and help their child to achieve better PSLE results. Actually, this is a myth as I have seen many students who are in these “good” primary school unable to cope with the more intense academic preparation and did badly in their PSLE results. I have also seen many students who are from the neighbourhood schools which are perceived as “average” primary school do well in their PSLE exam.

Let’s look at the comparison of “Which is better?”

Advantages of a “good” primary school (eg Nanyang Primary, Ai Tong, Raffles Girls School, Henry Park, Tao Nan”). Many of these students are from middle class and upper class family, thus less issues with “gang” related activities like fighting. The schools tend to provide more enrichment type of CCAs like golf, bowling etc. as many of the students could afford these expensive CCAs. The teachers also focus a lot on academic subjects and tend to teach faster than the other schools as almost all the students have tuition outside their schools and thus they need to be stimulated by teaching more complicated lessons.

Disadvantages of these “good” primary school: If your child is not able to catch up with the lessons, he will be very stressed as the pace of learning is faster. Some of these CCAs cost even more money, some families may or may not be able to afford them.

Advantages of a neighbourhood school : If your child is a bright student, he will be put in the best class as the academic standards of these schools tend to be lower. In the best class, he gets better attention from the better teachers who are assigned. He is also likely to have the opportunity to hold leadership position like school prefect as the competition for these leadership position are less competitive than the “good” schools. It helps your child to build up his confidence and enjoy school better.

Disadvantages of neighbourhood school: There are more bad influences in these schools like gang fights and smoking. Your child has a risk of being influenced by these bad characters. I used to teach as a relief teacher for a short period of time in a neighbourhood school after my “A’ level and there are gang fights almost every day after school.

Thus, there are pros and cons going to a good school. If you cannot get your child into a good school, do not despair, as there are advantages in the neighbourhood school. As long as you monitor his progress and talk to him daily to know that he is not joining the bad crowd and able to do his work well, he will enjoy his school, sometimes even better than those who are in the good primary school.

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