1. Primary School Education System in Singapore

Primary School Education System in Singapore

Published on 07 Mar 2023

What Is Primary School?

A primary school is defined as an elementary school, junior school or grade school where children receive primary or elementary education. Typically, children enter primary school after completing preschool. Primary education prepares children to transition to secondary school. 


What is the Best Age to Start Primary School in Singapore?

It is compulsory for students to be enrolled in primary schools in Singapore from the age of seven until 12. Primary school education in Singapore lasts for six years (Primary 1 to 6). For international schools in Singapore, primary school enrolment depends on the type of curriculum offered by the school. For example, schools that follow the British Curriculum will accept children aged four or five to enter Reception, which marks the first year of primary education. They will then progress to Year 1 as part of Key Stage 1 at age five or six. For the American Curriculum, children begin their primary education at elementary school at age four until 11. 


Singapore Primary School Curriculum 

The Singapore primary school syllabus focuses on three aspects — subject-based learning, knowledge skills and character development. Students will learn the following subjects during their primary school years — English Language, Mother Tongue Language (MTL), Mathematics, Science, Art, Music, Physical Education, Social Studies and Character and Citizenship Education. Based on students’ examination results in Primary 4, the school will offer suitable subject combinations for them to take in Primary 5 and 6. Students will sit for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) during Primary 6. In addition, all primary school students in Singapore need to participate in Project Work, Co-curricular Activities and Programmes for Active Learning.


Types of Primary Schools in Singapore

In Singapore, there are several types of primary schools including: 

  1. Government primary schools: These are public schools that are founded and operated by the government. They follow the Singaporean national curriculum and are open to all Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.
  2. Government-aided primary schools: these schools are also publicly funded but may receive additional support from private organisations or religious groups. They follow the Singaporean national curriculum and are open to all Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.
  3. Independent schools: These are private schools that are not government-funded but are registered with the Singaporean government and follow the Singaporean national curriculum. They are open to both Singaporean citizens and non-citizens.
  4. International schools: These are private schools that offer a curriculum based on the educational system of another country. They are open to both Singaporeans and non-citizens.


How Do You Apply to Primary Schools in Singapore?

1. Public schools

Registration for primary schools needs to be done online here whereby parents must fill in an online application which encompasses three phases. The results will then be notified through SMS or the parent could contact the applied school.

Please visit the link here for further details on registering your child for a primary school in Singapore. 

2. International schools

Parents who are interested in enrolling their children in international schools can contact the school directly for application purposes. Generally, the international school application process involves payment of a registration fee and assessment test. If the child meets all requirements, parents must pay an admission fee and deposit for successful enrolment.


What are the Average Fees for Primary Schools in Singapore?

Public schools in Singapore are heavily subsidised by the government with tuition fees typically ranging from SGD 6 to SGD 888 per month depending on the type of student. However, parents are subjected to small “miscellaneous” fees which are determined by the Ministry of Education. These fees are in addition to costs for uniforms, transport and school materials.

School fees of International schools on the other hand vary depending on factors such as the school’s location. Facilities, curriculum and more. Parents can expect to pay SDG 20,000 to SGD 40,000 per year for tuition fees. International school fee structures also include registration fees, deposits, technology and maintenance costs. 

It is important to note that these fees are only estimated and may change over time. Additionally, some schools may offer financial assistance or scholarships to eligible students, so it is best to contact the school to find out more about what is available.


  1. https://beta.moe.gov.sg/education-in-SG/
  2. https://ncee.org/what-we-do/center-on-international-education-benchmarking/top-performing-countries/singapore-overview-2/singapore-learning-systems/
  3. https://beta.moe.gov.sg/primary/curriculum/
  4. https://www.moe.gov.sg/primary/p1-registration/how-to-register 
  5. https://www.moe.gov.sg/education-in-sg/our-schools/types-of-schools 

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