With so much to consider when it comes to choosing the right school for our children here in Singapore, it’s easy to be bamboozled with choice and bogged down with indecision. Curriculum, teaching staff, location, facilities and extracurricular activities are all things to ponder when looking for the right fit for our keen learners, and getting real opinions from real people – the parents of students – can make all the difference when making that all important final decision. We’ve been speaking to mum-of-three, Kerry Allen, about why she chose Tanglin Trust School and how this friendly and well-loved international school ticked all the boxes when it came to picking a learning environment that suited the whole family.
Tell us about the children you have attending the school?
Our three children attend Tanglin Trust School – Gracie, aged 12, is in Year 7, Matthew, aged 10, is in Year 5 and William, our youngest at eight years, is in Year 4. We started Tanglin in the August of 2017.
What were the most important factors for you in selecting a school?
Our children were all born in Singapore and after a local pre-school they went to another international primary school that was excellent for the primary years. However, we weren’t convinced that the senior school would be the best fit for our children. We visited several schools and were impressed with Tanglin Trust School for its academic results, pastoral care and facilities. Tanglin has been around for over 90 years, so has extensive experience in providing international education here in Singapore. We also like the fact that Tanglin offers the choice of A Levels or the International Baccalaureate Diploma in the Sixth Form.
How has the school lived up to your expectations?
All three children have settled in really well. I put this down to an excellent ‘buddy system’, whereby time was spent to buddy the children up with like minded students. Gracie was able to attend the Year 7 transition day in the June before she started in August, which provided an opportunity to meet her classmates and to familiarise herself with the Senior School. I have been impressed with the teaching to-date and all other aspects of the curriculum, management and extra curricular activities that I have come in contact with, including but not limited to, trips away and communication. It is also commendable how well the teachers know my children after a relatively short time.
What do your children like most about attending this school?
My boys love the sport available and the wide range of activities covered in P.E. Gracie was most excited about taking French and Latin, both of which she is thoroughly enjoying. She also loved the drama co-curricular activity which culminated in a Senior School performance. Matthew headed to Malacca as part of the school’s outdoor education philosophy in his first month. This was a great opportunity to form deeper friendships with the children both in his class and in his year group outside of the school environment.
What sort of curriculum does this school offer?
Tanglin offers GCSEs and then in the Sixth Form the option of either A Levels or the IB Diploma. The school follows the UK curriculum predominantly, which is adapted to include flavours of Singapore and Asia. I am especially impressed by how the curriculum is enhanced through out of class learning opportunities. As I write this, William is getting ready for a two-night trip to Sentosa and Pulau Ubin to compare the two islands. He is so excited about this trip and has had his bag packed for two weeks already!
What advice would you give other parents trying to choose a school?
Choosing a school for your child is often an emotive subject and one that parents feel very strongly about. My advice is to work out what you are looking for in a curriculum, go for a school tour and then trust your feelings. In addition, try not to listen to all the ‘noise’ about which school you should be sending your child to. It has to be the right fit for your child, and for you. I’m delighted that Tanglin Trust School has worked out so well for Gracie, Matthew and William.
What do you value most about the school?
I value Tanglin’s strong ethos to ensure the children graduate as global citizens of the world with respect and a sense of responsibility. There are many opportunities for philanthropy and to get involved in sustainability projects. I value the 90-year history of the school and how it has grown and developed in Singapore over this time, always striving to deliver excellence across all aspects of the curriculum.
Does your child participate in any extra co-curricular activities at the school?
Gracie has played netball for the Athletic Conference of Singapore International Schools (ACSIS) and has been part of the Senior School Drama CCA which culminated in a production. Matthew plays in the ACSIS cricket team and has taken the Master Chef CCA. William did chess and was also in the cross country team. This term he is doing athletics and playing touch rugby. There is a wide range of CCAs covering sport, academics, music, art and drama – my children have embraced the opportunity to try many of these!
Are you satisfied with the level of communication you receive from the school and how they engage parents?
There are two communications per week in the form an ‘E Flyer’ on Tuesday and ‘In Touch’ on Friday – both include a good amount of information to digest on a weekly basis. The Parent Portal is also an excellent source for finding answers to questions or queries about the individual year groups. In the first six weeks of term we had the opportunity to meet teachers and discuss how the children had settled in. A more formal Parent Teacher Conference then took place later in the term after reports had been issued.
How much homework is expected of your children?
The boys do about 60 minutes per week and this is divided fortnightly into Mathematics and English. Gracie has more homework, but she manages her time very well and enjoys her homework, while still finding balance to do her CCAs. Matthew also has a larger project set each term to complete, in addition to weekly homework.
This post is sponsored by Tanglin Trust School
Get more inside stories on Tanglin Trust School:
You’re invited: Tanglin Trust School – Introduction to Nursery
Why Tanglin Trust School is teaching kids to ride a bike
Expert advice on teaching your kids to read by Tanglin Trust School
Nursery at Tanglin Trust School and how to pick the right preschool