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Frequently asked questions

Read frequently asked questions on applying to schools, getting an assessment and applying for deferment.

What is a school readiness assessment or school placement assessment, and where and when to get one? Is there a difference?

School readiness assessment and school placement assessments are similar assessments conducted for preschool-aged children during the transition to formal schooling. Older children already enrolled in a school might obtain a school placement assessment if their current setting does not seem to be suiting them well. These assessments are conducted by medical or allied health professionals to assess a suitable school placement for your child, and their readiness for school. The professionals would look at the child’s intellectual abilities (IQ), adaptive skills including motor, social, emotional and communication skills and provide a recommendation for school placement. These assessments are available at KKH Department of Child Development, NUH Child Development Unit, some EIPIC centers and with private practitioners.

As children have their own learning needs, each special education (SPED) school will need to assess the suitability of its curriculum for the child.

Appointments with our psychologist and medical professionals have been postponed during the circuit breaker period. How do I get a psychological assessment for SPED school application or deferment in time?

Psychological assessments and appointments with your doctor, psychologist or therapist may have been postponed during the circuit breaker period. With the extension of the circuit breaker to 1 June 2020, MOH has issued new measures for allowing the provision of some allied health services

From 8 May to 1 Jun 2020, psychologists may prioritise face-to-face services where tele-consultation is deemed unsuitable, for example, psychological assessments for children with special educational needs applying for Primary 1 or Junior 1 admission in special education (SPED) schools.

Other psychological assessments that do not adhere to MOH guidelines, including psychological assessments for deferment applications, are considered non-essential and should be suspended. You may contact your medical or allied healthcare professional to arrange for tele-consultations if possible, and check if your appointment could be prioritised after the circuit breaker period.

If you are unable to get a psychological assessment for your child in time, the following measures may be taken:

  • SPED school applications: Please check the SPED schools’ websites or call them for the latest updates on their application timelines.
  • Deferment applications: The application window for deferment applications has been extended from June 2020 to September 2020. Please contact our Compulsory Education Unit if you require more time to submit a deferment application.

Read other COVID-19 related FAQs for therapy and assessment services.

Applying to a school

When is the application for admissions to special education (SPED) schools?

Each SPED school has its own application timeline. Visit their websites for the latest information.

All applications to SPED schools should be made using the standardised SPED school application form and submitted to your child’s first choice SPED school only. You can indicate up to 3 choices of SPED schools which are suitable for your child’s profile. Learn more about applying to SPED schools.

I am waiting for a SPED school application outcome. Should I also participate in the MOE P1 registration exercise?

If your child’s professional has recommended a SPED school, then mainstream is not a suitable option for your child. Thus, it is not advisable to participate in the P1 registration exercise. There are sufficient places in SPED schools, however, not necessarily in your first-choice school. 

You may contact the school for an update of your application status.

Can I register my child in both mainstream and SPED school at the same time?

All mainstream primary schools are resourced to support students with mild special educational needs. Children with mild special educational needs, who have the cognitive ability to access national curriculum and able to learn in large group settings, can register for enrolment in mainstream schools via the MOE Primary 1 (P1) registration exercise which typically takes place from July to August annually. Learn more about P1 registration.

Children with moderate-to-severe special educational needs or have higher support needs should apply to a SPED school. You need not participate in the annual MOE P1 registration exercise if you have applied to SPED schools.

My child has mild special educational needs. What documents should I provide during registration for mainstream school?

You are encouraged to share information on your child’s special educational needs once registration in the school has been confirmed. To enable the school to plan and provide the necessary transition support for your child, it is important to inform them of your child’s needs and provide relevant documents such as medical or psychological reports as early as possible. You can contact the school at the point of admission to discuss your child’s needs.

Learn more about the P1 registration process and required documents.

My child has moderate-to-severe special educational needs or higher support needs. What documents should I provide during registration for SPED school?

To register your child for SPED school, please submit the original special education school application form along with the following documents:

  1. A photocopy of:
    • Child's birth certificate, re-entry permit or Dependant's Pass
    • Child's deed poll, if they have changed their name
    • Parents' or guardians' NRIC or passport
    • Parents' or guardians' employment pass, if applicable
  2. Report book or progress reports
  3. School report
  4. Medical or psychological reports
  5. Photocopy of certificate of legal guardianship, if applicable

Learn more about applying to SPED schools.

Can I visit schools to find out more about their provisions?

During the circuit breaker period, schools would not be open for open houses or school visits. You can learn more about the support available in mainstream schools and SPED schools. You may also visit the schools’ websites to find out more about each school, or Schoolbag to find out more about programmes and support in mainstream and SPED schools.

After your child is enrolled in the school, you may contact the school directly to discuss the plan to introduce your child to the school’s environment, programmes and relevant school personnel, if necessary.

Applying for deferment

Should I apply for deferment? What are the implications?

If you feel that your child may not be ready for P1 mainstream or SPED schooling, you should consult your child’s paediatrician, psychologist or therapist, and preschool teacher, to better understand if it would be more beneficial for your child to be deferred for 1 year or be enrolled in a SPED school.

If your child is assessed as not ready or not suitable for formal schooling due to their medical conditions, special educational needs, delayed or slower progression or other circumstances, you can apply to defer their commencement of Primary 1 or Junior 1 by one year. You will need to apply for a deferment between January and September of the year before your child is due to start, and your application must be supported by a qualified health professional. Learn more about applying for deferment.

If your application is approved, you should ensure that your child continues to receive the appropriate intervention or early education during the deferment period.

I have already submitted an application for deferment, but have not received an approval. Should I still proceed with P1 registration for my child?

Yes, if you have not received formal approval for deferment, you should still proceed with P1 registration if your child has mild special educational needs, or apply directly to a SPED school if your child has moderate-to-severe special educational needs.

If your application for deferment is subsequently approved, inform the school that your child has registered with.

If my child is already registered for P1 next year, will the school keep the place for my child if I choose to defer?

All requests for deferment must be submitted to our Compulsory Education Unit with the relevant medical or psychological assessment reports.

If you obtain approval for deferment after your child has secured a place in a mainstream or SPED school, you should inform the school that you have obtained approval for your child's deferment.

  • For mainstream schools, check with the school on the procedures for your child's eventual admission. Children who have successfully secured a school place through the P1 registration exercise are not allowed to participate in the subsequent year’s P1 registration exercise.
  • For SPED schools, your child’s place will be released upon your notification of the approval for your child's deferment. Places in SPED schools will not be retained for children who are granted deferment, and you have to re-apply towards the end of your child’s deferment.