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Overview of school admissions for Returning Singaporeans

Learn about school admissions for Singapore Citizen and Permanent Resident children returning from overseas, as well as support schemes and general information.

Who are Returning Singaporeans

Returning Singaporeans refer to Singapore Citizen (SC) and Permanent Resident (PR) children who are:

  • Going overseas to live and study.
  • Currently living and studying overseas.
  • Returning home having lived and studied overseas.

Returning Singaporeans can apply to join a primary school, secondary school, junior college or Millennia Institute.

Support schemes

Leave of Absence (LOA) scheme

The LOA scheme allows your child to rejoin their school after they return from overseas.

If your child is granted LOA, they will remain as a registered student of the school. They can then be re-admitted to the school directly after returning to Singapore.

The school will provide support in the following areas to ease your child's  return:

  • Administrative: Renewal of LOA, returning arrangements, updates on important dates for admissions exercises, etc.
  • Academic: Major test and examination papers with answers, where appropriate, on a regular basis, and access to Student Learning Space (SLS) portal that enables your child to keep up-to-date with our national curriculum.
  • Relationship: Developments in the school and local education scene.
The LOA is tagged to your child's current school and cannot be transferred to another school.

Eligibility

LOA applies to all SC and PR children in primary school, secondary school, junior colleges and Millennia Institute.

To be granted LOA, your child must fulfil all 3 of the following criteria:

  • An SC or PR.
  • Presently studying in a Singapore school.
  • Accompanying you on an overseas posting with the intention of rejoining their school after returning to Singapore.

Your child also qualifies for LOA if they are already registered for Primary 1 (P1) but will be overseas at the start of the year.

Fees

Schools will charge an annual nominal fee for a child on LOA. The amount will be determined by individual schools.

At the end of each year, you will need to decide whether to renew the LOA for another year. Your child’s LOA status will expire if you choose not to renew.

Note: As a guide, the annual LOA fee will be at least:

  • $39 for primary schools.
  • $60 for secondary schools.
  • $81 for junior colleges and Millennia Institute.

How to apply

Follow these steps to apply for LOA:

  1. Complete the Application Form for Leave of Absence.
  2. Submit the application form to your child’s school. LOA application is subject to the Principal's approval, and the school will notify you of the outcome.
  3. Enclose a cheque made payable to the school (if the application is made by post) or make a cash payment at the school. Please do not send cash by post.
  4. Renew LOA in November each year by submitting the renewal application form together with the required payment.
Immersion programme

You can consider enrolling your child in an immersion programme if they are coming back for only a short while.

This allows them to attend classes for a specified period to experience school life in Singapore. This will help in easing your child’s re-entry to the system.

Enrolment in the school's immersion programme does not guarantee your child a permanent place in the school or give them priority for admission.

Details required

You may approach the schools directly to apply for the immersion programme or submit your application online within 3 months from the intended date of immersion.

Your school choice

You may indicate your preference for schools for the immersion programme, but we cannot guarantee immersion at any particular school as it is subject to the Principal’s agreement.

If your preferred school is unable to accommodate your immersion request, we would identify other schools near your local residence for your child's immersion.

Fees

You are required to pay for school fees for the period that your child is in school. Depending on the school, you may also be required to purchase school uniforms, textbooks and other necessities.

Boarding Award scheme

The Boarding Award scheme is for SC children whose parents are working or residing overseas. This gives SCs studying in Singapore mainstream schools an opportunity to live in a hostel while pursuing their education.

In this scheme, you will receive:

  • Assistance for 80% of boarding fees, if your child is studying in our mainstream secondary schools, junior colleges or Millennia Institute.
  • Full assistance on boarding fees, if your child is a recipient of the Edusave Scholarships for Independent Schools (ESIS).

The award only applies to the following hostels:

  • ACS (Independent) Boarding School (Mixed)
  • ACS Oldham Hall (Mixed)
  • Anglican House (Mixed)
  • Dunman High School Hostel (Mixed)
  • Hwa Chong Institution Boarding School (Mixed)
  • Nanyang Girls’ High Boarding School (Girls only)
  • National Junior College Boarding School (Mixed)
  • NUS High School Residence (Mixed)
  • Raffles Institution Boarding School (Mixed)
  • St. Andrew’s Hall (Mixed)
  • Victoria Hall (Mixed)

You can be assured that when living in a hostel, your child will:

  • Be in a safe and familiar environment and looked after by housemasters.
  • Learn time management, taking care of personal needs and making independent decisions.
  • Grow in maturity and become self-disciplined, independent and responsible.
  • Learn about resilience, teamwork and cooperation, caring for one another and placing the concerns of others before self.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for the Boarding Award scheme:

  • Your child and at least 1 parent must be an SC.
  • Your child must be studying in a mainstream secondary school, junior college or Millennia Institute.
  • Both you and your spouse are residing overseas, with neither of you living in Singapore for more than 90 days in a calendar year.

How to apply

Complete the online Application Form for Boarding Award Scheme within 3 months from the intended start date of boarding for your child. You will be notified of the outcome through email within 14 days.

Mother Tongue Language

Your child will need to learn a Mother Tongue Language (MTL) as a second language in school. Learn more about our MTL policy, including:

  • Understanding the MTL curriculum.
  • Keeping up with MTL while living overseas.
  • Eligibility for MTL exemptions.

Information about studying in Singapore

You can find out more about studying in Singapore through the following sections on our website:

Select your child's educational level to find details of the admissions:

Other schooling options

Privately-Funded Schools

These schools offer education at the secondary and junior college levels and adhere to our education policies on bilingualism and National Education (NE). These schools offer international curricula and standards, and may be suitable for RS who wish to continue their studies in an environment that nurtures a Singaporean spirit and character.

You can approach the schools directly for admissions:

Foreign System Schools or Private Education Institutions

If your child has been studying overseas for a substantial period of time before returning to Singapore and wishes to continue their studies in the overseas school curricula, you may apply for admission to the Foreign System Schools (FSS) in Singapore. As FSS are intended to primarily cater to the community of expatriates' children in Singapore, Singapore Citizens (SC) who wish to enrol in FSS (excluding preschool) would require our approval to do so. Any SCs' application to Private Education Institutions (PEI) would also require our approval.

To apply, you can approach and submit your application with all supporting documents directly to the school or institution. If they can offer your child a place, they will forward your application to us. We will evaluate and consider your application on a case-by-case basis and inform the school or institution of the outcome.

The processing time is typically about 2 to 4 weeks from the date that we receive the complete application. It can also take up to 8 weeks for more complex medical cases. You are encouraged to provide all the relevant documents in your application, as incomplete applications will delay the processing time.

View the full list of schools and institutions .