MUM SAYS I didn’t think P1 registration would stress me out!

Judith Lee, a usually chill mother of three, details her harrowing experience enrolling her eldest child in Primary 1.


Before going through the recent Primary 1 registration exercise for my eldest son, I was determined not to be like “one of those” parents.

You know, those parents who agonise over and experience feelings of anxiety about their 6-year-olds securing that coveted spot in a Singapore Primary school? So, No parent volunteering for me! No buying a new place, just to be within 1km of that school! I’m a chill parent ― or so I thought…

First, some background facts ― I come from an all-girl’s primary school, while my husband is from a very popular, usually oversubscribed, co-ed primary school.

Obviously, my son can’t go to my alma mater, and we also decided that my husband’s former school was way too far ― we didn’t want to spend more than an hour on the school run.

As this ruled out Phase 2A for us, we looked at Phase 2B options. As Catholics, we wanted to enrol our son in a Catholic boy’s school for its religious affiliation and values.

So, we looked at those within a reasonable distance from our home ― those that did not require us to travel more than half an hour in peak hour morning traffic. We then narrowed our choices down to two schools.

I’m a chill parent ― or so I thought…

Our first choice ― let’s call it School A ― is a fairly popular school. It not only shares the same grounds as its affiliated secondary school, its academic record and school facilities impressed us.

Our second choice, School B, is a little smaller and cosier and about five minutes closer to our home. We found the teachers to be really pleasant and friendly when we visited it.

Both schools place a strong emphasis on values ― which is important to us.

However, in previous years, School A had to conduct a ballot to allocate places, which of course meant stress on the parents! On the other hand, since School B had more than enough vacancies in previous years, this meant we that we would probably have gotten in without any problems.

My husband and I had lengthy discussions at to which school we’d prefer our sons (we have three) to attend.  What tipped the scales was we preferred the Secondary school that School A is affiliated to ― since the Primary and Secondary schools are connected, it would be easier for my son to get into the Secondary school, especially if his PSLE score isn’t that high.

By this time, we started to realise that we were slowly, but surely, turning into one of those stressed out, anxious parents!