SmartParents has the easy guide to getting your child registered for Primary 1. *Information updated for 2021 enrolment*

Your little one is ready to take the next step and be a big kid — he’ll enter Primary school next year! Indeed, from June to September each year, parents of K2 kids gear up for the Primary One Registration Exercise. If this is your first child, you’re probably panicking about how to get your child into a choice school.

Sure, you might have heard buzzwords like “phase 2A” or “balloting” before, and suddenly, it really matters. We break it down for you:

1) Choose the best school

This doesn’t mean a school that produces the top grades — but a school that meets your family’s needs: Distance from home, religious affiliation and values. If, for example, you want to enrol both children in the same Primary school eventually, you can’t pick an all-girls school for jie jie, since her little bro can’t join her in that school when it’s his turn.

Choosing the best school means a school that meets your family’s needs: distance from home, religious affiliation and values.

A school that’s not too far from home not only reduces transport costs, it also cuts down on the commute. Plus, if you stay within 1km of it, you get priority — as long as you stay at this address for a minimum of two-and-a-half years from the start of the registration exercise.

You might also get a foot into your choice of school earlier, through your affiliations with religious groups or clans, or if your school of choice has a parent-volunteer scheme (more details on the next page).

2) Registration day necessities

Usually, on the day of the relevant registration phase, you’ll need to turn up in person from 8 to 11am or 2.30 to 4.30pm at the Primary school of your choice. However, this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, registration for children starting Primary 1 next year will be completely online, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced. 

The exercise, which started on 1 July and ends on 30 Oct, will be conducted over seven phases. The changes affect Phases 2A1, 2A2 and 2B, while the other stages, Phases 1, 2C and 2C Supplementary — which are already conducted online — will largely remain the same.

This year, instead of in-person registration for Phases 2A1, 2A2 and 2B, parents will need to use their SingPass to complete an online application form to register their child. Do set up your SingPass 2-Step Verification early, and ensure that this SingPass account is valid before the Primary 1 registration exercise starts. If you require assistance during registration, do contact the school of your choice via e-mail or telephone on the days of registration between 9am and 4.30pm. Find MOE's updated list of primary schools and vacancies available here.



Phases of registration

“Phases” refers to the varying degrees of priority your child enjoys during Primary One Registration Exercise. Phases 1 and 2 are reserved for Singapore citizens and Singapore permanent residents. If your child is neither, he can register under Phase 3.

Phase 1 Your child is eligible to register at this stage if he or she has a sibling who is studying in the same Primary school, which basically means that he has already secured entry to the school. You’ll submit the registration form and relevant documents through the elder sibling. Registration date: 1 to 2 July 2020

Phase 2A(1) You can enrol junior during this period if you’re a former student of the school and part of the school’s alumni association (joining no later than June of the year before), or are part of the school’s advisory committee. Registration date: 7 July 2020

Phase 2A(2) You are eligible if you or your child’s older sibling was formerly from this Primary school, or if you are a member of the school’s staff. Registration date: 14 to 15 July 2020 

Phase 2B This applies to parents who have given at least 40 hours of voluntary service over at least a year to the school (that is, from 1 July the year before). But do note that several schools, including Ai Tong, Tao Nan and St Anthony’s Canossian Primary schools have scrapped the parent volunteer scheme. Other schools, like Nanyang Primary, have upped the minimum number of volunteer hours to 80. So, check with the school of your choice. Volunteering can include being traffic wardens or librarians in the school, or even coaching a particular sport or teaching music. Besides volunteering, your child can also qualify for phase 2B if you are a member of the church or clan connected with the Primary school, or if you are an active community leader. Registration date: 23 to 24 July 2020

Phase 2C Applies to remaining children who have yet to register in a Primary school. Registration date: 3 to 5 August 2020 (via Primary 1 Internet System); 4 to 6 August 2020 (online form)

Phase 2C Supplementary and Phase 3 are basically for all other children trying to enter our school system, which includes foreign students. Registration dates for Phase 2C Supplementary: 19 to 20 August 2020 (via Primary 1 Internet System); 20 to 21 August 2020 (online form). Registration date for Phase 3: October 2020

The number of vacancies available for each phase is made available on the MOE website a month before registration begins. From Phase 2A(1) onwards, balloting will be conducted if the number of applicants exceeds the number of vacancies.

For the MOE website on the registration exercise, click here.

Photos: iStock

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