Are high international school fees stressing you out? Here’s a list of affordable, low cost school options in Singapore
With international school fees on the rise (many upwards of $40,000 per year) and a limited number of spots available for expat kids in local primary schools, parents in Singapore can often feel the financial pinch, particularly if you’ve got more than one child!
If you’re feeling frustrated by your options or unsure of what to do, an enterprising group of parents has formed the Facebook group Singapore Expat Schooling Forum to cover the full range of schooling options for kids in Singapore. Here you’ll find candid discussions about schools around the island, along with an in-depth look at the distinction between different types of student passes and school requirements. Read on for their comprehensive guide to lower cost international schools in Singapore.
– Fees listed are for grade 1 and exclude uniforms, transport, exams and ad-hoc fees. As this is only a guide, be sure to check and confirm fees and whether fees are inclusive or exclusive of GST (7%).
– You can also consider international schools that bill monthly or ask if monthly billing is an option.
– Schools denoted with an asterisk (*) can sponsor a student pass, important for children holding a LTVP.
– Jump to explanations for the terms: EduTrust, Cambridge curriculum, DP, LTVP, SP, SC, PR and Tourist Visa.
Lower cost international schools in Singapore:
GIIS offers premium education at a fee that’s 40% lower than other international schools in Singapore. Their premium academic offerings include international curricula like the IB PYP, Cambridge, IBDP, and Chinese-English Bilingual Programme. Offering moderate-range fees doesn’t mean they compromise on the quality of education – students get an opportunity to study in Asia’s first SMART Campus with 21st-century infrastructure. Features include digital classrooms, a student lounge, learning commons, Data Analytics in Sports (SPEDAS), multiple seminar halls and a top-notch safety infrastructure. The campus also boasts 40 skill-based studios, including a Radio Studio, TV Studio, Culinary Lab, and Design & Technology Studio, exposing students to futuristic skills like recording podcasts, TV Shows, designing prototypes, and learning culinary art. There is a wide range of scholarships available, providing equal opportunities to students from every background. Did we mention GIIS boasts great academic results? The school has produced 17 IB World Toppers (45/45 points) and 28 near-perfect scorers (44/45 points) in the last 10 years. For IGCSE, 84% of their students receive A+ or A grades!
Location: Punggol and East Coast
Fees start at approximately $16,808 per year for Year 1 ($5,603 per term/3 terms, plus $2,946 application fee), not inclusive of bus, camps, exams, and uniforms.
Grange offers a well-balanced curriculum, with a strong foundation in literacy, numeracy and science which will be supported by the Cambridge International Primary Curriculum. These are further enhanced by the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) which engages students through multidisciplinary Units of Learning designed to help them to learn more about the world around them through different subject perspectives. The school encourages students to develop self-identity, self-expression, and creativity through Personal, Social, and Physical Education; Art; Music; and Technology curriculum. Students have the opportunity to take an additional language within school hours, and those who are beginner English learners are offered extra support in an immersive environment. Launched in January 2020, The Grange Institution now has a future-focused curriculum to support their unique “Cre8tors-in-Action” educational philosophy. Along with new curriculum enhancements, students are now able to enjoy learning through Virtual Reality (VR), and also participate in future “arKIDtect”, “Green Grangers” and “Young Entrepreneurs” initiatives that further support the development of 8 core competencies for aspiring ‘Cre8tors’. This what is known as their “Grange Advantage”.
Coming Up: Look out for The Grange’s International Preschool extension in January 2021!
Location: Yio Chu Kang
Fees start at $19,900 payable through 2 semesters each school year, plus a one-time application and enrolment fee of $2,500. Prices are exclusive of GST.
Read more: Alternative schools in Singapore
LEAD Centre for Education offers a cost-effective alternative to education at the primary school level. They also offer Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS) intensive classes, where international students can practise to take the exam to be enrolled in a local school. At LEAD Centre for Education, diversity amongst learners and teachers are recognised and valued. Students get an individualised learning program and are taught useful concepts, skills, character building, and technological skills, while having their limitations respected and addressed. There’s a focus on honing concepts, character building, and technology skills, and limitations are respected and addressed. They currently offer the choice of online or face to face learning, with options for language development in Chinese, Filipino, Tamil, and Hindu, tuition on Reading and Mathematics, after-school student care, and creative holiday programmes available. The school is now accepting enrollees for Academic Year 2021!
Fees: $6,800+ to be paid in 11 months.
LEAD Centre for Education, 929 Tampines Street 91, #01-439, Singapore 520929, Tel: (+65) 6908 2962, www.leadcfe.com
An EduTrust certified school with three fully-fledged campuses across Singapore, DIMENSIONS offers a rigorous Cambridge curriculum for primary and high school students. The dedicated teachers and tailored approach equip students to move up to the local or overseas institutions of their choice.
Locations: Kovan, Bukit Timah and River Valley
Fees start at $17,355 per year for Year 1.
HFSE, an international school for all, uses a self-developed integrated curriculum combining syllabus from Singapore, the Philippines, and other countries. Courses on Languages, Social Studies, Arts, Values Education, Christian Living are integrated into the academic programme for students from Primary 1 to 6. A comprehensive holistic curriculum is also offered for Secondary 1 including Future Skills courses from EtonX, a British education technology company founded in 2015 by one of the UK’s most prestigious schools, Eton College.
Location: Mountbatten Centre
Fees are monthly payments of $625+GST, paid in 12 instalments + $1,490 enrolment fee.
Heritage Academy is a private international school offering the American High School Diploma – School of Tomorrow curriculum for Grade 1 to Grade 12. The school focuses on an individualised mastery-based learning where students master each fundamental tool at their own pace before proceeding on to new material. In the process students will build confidence as they gain an understanding of sequential foundational skills. Heritage Academy combines a holistic accelerated Christian education with academic excellence, allowing children to acquire valuable skills and inculcate positive values – all while offering pocket-friendly school fees! They’ve also earned an EduTrust Award from the Committee for Private Education and Quality Status awards from School of Tomorrow. Heritage Academy has 4 years Edutrust and are able to sponsor Student Pass and accept LTVP plus accept Students who are on Social Visit pass, Dependent Pass, Student Pass, Singapore PR, Singapore citizen (with MOE approval). Plus, their campuses are conveniently located in the heartlands!
Locations: Bukit Gombak, Hougang, Khatib and Thomson
Fees are $6,600 (Grade 1-6) and $8,100 (Grade 7-12), paid in 10 instalments.
Heritage Academy, Tel: (+65) 9382 5753 / 6203 0700, www.heritageacademy.com.sg
Invictus International School is one of the pioneers in the affordable international education market. The school has grown substantially since its incorporation in 2016, now with two campuses in Singapore (Dempsey Hill and Farrer Park) offering both English and primary school Bilingual English-Chinese curriculum. The school has also expanded overseas with campuses offering kindergarten, primary and secondary education in Hong Kong and Cambodia. Invictus’ newest addition is its Centrium campus near Farrer Park MRT, which will cater to students from Grade 1 Prep to Grade 12 and offer the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC), International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and the Cambridge A-levels. Invictus is an accredited Cambridge International School and is currently undergoing the EduTrust Certification Process which will open up the opportunity to attract foreign students. The school ensures affordability for parents by focusing on outstanding staff and partnering with external providers to get access to world-class extra-curricular facilities. “Our strategy is not to invest in an Olympic-sized swimming pool but instead make sure our children have access to one only when we need one – and this keeps costs down for our parents.” – Dr Nicholas Duggan, Founding Principal of Centrium Campus at Invictus.
Location: Dempsey Hill and Farrer Park
Fees include a $2,700 registration and assessment fee, average annual tuition fee of $18,190 (paid over 5 instalments), plus fees for extracurricular events (optional), books, IT fee (optional), field trips (up to $2,000). There are no development or facility fees.
Two Singapore mamas, Elena and Marina, came together to create an alternative schooling option, Razum International School, which offers a focused four-hour school day. Conveniently located in Tanglin, Razum provides quality and affordable education for students from 5 to 12 years of age. The academically rigorous, individualized core curriculum teaches Singapore Maths and English within the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). There’s also a wide variety of ECAs available! Classes are small (capped at 12-18 students per class), and the qualified teaching team consists of IPC-trained teachers from Australia, the UK, South Africa, New Zealand and Singapore. Make sure you check out their exciting upcoming holiday camps!
Fees are $14,900 a year, and they are offering a monthly payment plan – just $1,490 per month – to support parents during this challenging time due to COVID-19. Razum is also offering up to 50% discount on the $1,700 admission fee till the end of 2020.
As a not-for-profit school, SMMIS is committed to offering an affordable international education and is delighted to announce that it has just received EduTrust accreditation. Established in 1996, SMMIS is a small child-centred school which allows for individualised learning paths, enabling children to flourish and reach their full potential. Imbued with the vibrancy of Jewish values, tradition, and culture, SMMIS is a diverse community that welcomes students of all denominations and those of other faiths or none. An intimate Reggio Emilia inspired preschool leads into Primary and Secondary school where the IPC and IMYC are blended with the rigorous Singapore Maths Curriculum and the UK National Curriculum for Literacy. This paves the way for the globally recognised IGCSE exams in Grade 10. Mandarin and Hebrew are also offered as modern foreign languages.
Fees range from $14,850 to $23,480. This includes a daily nutritious hot lunch and a shuttle bus to Yishun MRT station. A 15% sibling discount applies for the second and subsequent children. SMMIS invoices per semester but has the flexibility to offer a 10-monthly payment plan.
SMMIS, 3 Jalan Ulu Sembawang, Singapore 758932, Tel: (+65) 6331 4633, www.smmis.edu.sg
Catering to students from Grades 1 to 12, TLS Academy is a private international school with an individualised, student-centered approach to learning. The Bible-based, American curriculum from Accelerated Christian Ministries, ACE School of Tomorrow, is holistic in style with an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills and building character. They’ve got a knack for providing a balanced education that develops skills for academic and non-academic success to train students to be independent learners. Through mastery-based learning, students master each fundamental tool at their own pace before proceeding on to new material, in the process building confidence as they gain an understanding of sequential foundational skills.
Fees are $12,960, paid in 6 instalments.
TLS Academy, 10 Winstedt Road #02-04 Singapore 227977, Tel: (+65) 68360061 / 91992579, www.tlsacademy.org
This is an EduTrust certified school that operates a self-developed curriculum for grades 1 to 10 School hours are 10am to 2pm for Primary students.
Location: Tanjong Pagar, East Coast
Fees start at $18,000 per year for Year 1.
Offers Cambridge exam preparation courses for primary and secondary school. EduTrust certified for students on LTVP.
Fees for the Primary 1 program are $15,100 annually.
Offers exam preparation courses for GCE N/O/A levels for secondary school — but is not recognized as an official school by Cambridge.org. EduTrust certified for students on LTVP.
Location: Jurong, Ang Mo Kio
Fees for A-Level exam prep course are $6,602.
Offers exam preparation courses for IPC curriculum exams, grades P3-6, and additional exam prep courses for secondary. EduTrust certified for students on LTVP.
Location: Bukit Merah
Fees for their P3 program are $17,794.10, paid in a single instalment.
This school prepares children for Indian School Certificate exams and offers Cambridge options for secondary as well. Offers kindergarten, primary and secondary options.
Fees start at $11,363.40 (GST inclusive) per year for Year 1 ($2,840.85 per term/4 terms) not inclusive of bus, camps, exams, and uniforms.
A private education institution offering courses to prepare students for Cambridge exams for grades 1-8. They offer a wide range of ECA/CCA activities within school hours.
Fees start at $1,050 per month for Year 1 (paid bi-monthly), plus a $2,000 application fee not inclusive of bus, camps, exams, and uniforms.
Offers exam preparation courses for GCSE N/O/A levels for secondary school — but is not recognized as an official school by Cambridge.org. EduTrust certified for students on LTVP.
Location: Beach Road
Fees start at $6,500 per term (3 months).
This school teaches a self-developed, “Cambridge inspired” curriculum and offers a “Kindle Kids certificate.” Opened March 2018. Licensed to teach grade 1.
Fees: $1,605 registration fee, annual tuition fee $10,272 (paid over 12 instalments).
This mixed-aged Montessori school, with AMI certified teachers, is for students in Grade 1 to Grade 6.
Fees: $500 registration fee, plus annual tuition fee of $18,000 (+GST), paid over 6 instalments, plus fees for extracurricular events.
Newly certified in 2019, Lotus Bridge teaches to the Cambridge Curriculum for Primary grades 1-6, and then offers IGCSE certification for grades 7 through 10. The school year runs from August through July.
Location: Jalan Besar
Fees: $3,000-$3,490 per term. for primary; $5,330 per term for secondary
Formerly Lycée Français de Singapour, IFS has rebranded and offers a single fee for all nationalities, with tiered prices for kindergarten, primary and secondary. They also offer sibling discounts. Can sponsor students on LTVP for student pass.
Location: Serangoon Gardens
Fees: Classic section (French) $18,570; English section $20,005, plus $5,350 registration fee first year; $1,605 re-enrolment fee subsequent years. Canteen fees mandatory but not included in rates stated.
Offers Cambridge certificate preparation courses for secondary school students to take O and A-level exams. EduTrust certified for students on LTVP.
Fees: For budget purposes the fees are about $10,000 annually. Local student rates are about $8,000 for 10-month program and about $13,000 for 16 months.
With locations in Upper Bukit Timah and Tampines, this lower cost international school operated by EtonHouse offers a self-developed curriculum that is Cambridge inspired, but not recognized. Currently offering grades 1- 5.
Locations: Upper Bukit Timah and Tampines
Fees are $19,536.89 paid in 4 instalments, plus miscellaneous fees.
Currently offering grades 1 to 6, this relatively new international school employs the popular International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme. The school calendar runs from January through November.
Location: Paya Lebar
Fees: $9,000 annually, plus a monthly $100-$120 lunch fee
With a brand new campus, this school offers an inquiry led IB curriculum with offerings for kindergarten, primary and secondary students.
Location: Jurong, East Coast
Fees start at $17,793 a year for grade 1 (plus application fee of $1,046 + GST).
This is a network that creates and matches private classes of 6-9 Singapore resident primary level international students with ex-MOE teachers of a Singapore curriculum in a dedicated class centre (options islandwide), with access to recreational courts. Classes commenced in January 2017.
Location: All over the island
Fees start from $8,550 annually.
Offers Cambridge certificate preparation courses for secondary school students to take O- and A-Level exams. EduTrust certified for students on LTVP.
Location: Marina Square
Fees are $9,630 annually for local students and $19,260 for international students
Follows a direct instruction method using Singapore local school textbooks and a self-developed curriculum and daily religious instruction in the 7th Day Adventist faith. Currently offer primary and secondary grades. EduTrust certified for students on LTVP.
Fees Primary school fees for international students are about $14,090 (plus a $650 registration fee) for the first year.
This is a school licensed by CPE to prepare students ages 6 to 17 for the AEIS exam for 6-month terms starting in 2018. The license is valid for 1 year.
Location: Yishun, Hougang, Kembangan, Tampines
Fees are $4,200 for 6 months
Offers Cambridge certificate preparation courses for primary and secondary. EduTrust certified for students on LTVP.
Location: Little India
Fees $19,914.41 annually for Primary 1 to 3.
This is a private primary and secondary school with the same syllabus as local schools that offers a variety of diplomas relating to Cambridge and Australian curricula, as well as the IBDP in the senior years. As of 2019 they also offer a primary school option.
Location: Upper Bukit Timah
Fees from $19,848 for Primary.
This school offers Cambridge exam prep courses for secondary school age students to take GCE O-levels.
Location: Middle Road
Fees for local students are about $6,500 per year, but do not include exam fees.
Offers Cambridge exam prep courses for secondary school age students to take GCE O-levels. EduTrust certified for students on LTVP.
Location: River Valley
Fees are $14,810 per year.
This self-directed learning school uses the biblical based, A.C.E. School of Tomorrow – Evangelical Christian curriculum.
Fees from $8,988 for a year term, paid bi-monthly, plus a first time registration from $3,852.
This school for grades 1-8 utilizes the Waldorf education philosophy (creative play through arts and nature) and offers lots of outdoor time, small class sizes, and teachers who stay with the same class for multiple years to foster a close, trusting relationship. Waldorf Singapore also offers early years programs and playgroups.
Fees are $16,800 a year, paid monthly.
This school’s curriculum prepares students for Indian Central Board exams. Offers kindergarten, primary and secondary grades. EduTrust certified for students on LTVP.
Fees are approximately $8,040 per for Year 1 (split in 6 payments), plus registration fee of $2,600.
Some key terms to bear in mind (along with their educational implications):
EduTrust: A quality assurance scheme administered by the Committee for Private Education (CPE) in Singapore to distinguish private schools that “consistently maintain a high standard of quality in the overall provision of education services and make continual improvements that lead to positive outcomes”. Read more about EduTrust certification criteria here.
Cambridge curriculum: Many of the schools listed below employ the Cambridge International Curriculum, which is recognised by universities and employers worldwide, and is followed by over 10,000 schools in 160 countries. Part of what makes it so popular is its international philosophy and approach that can be tailored to local contexts.
DP (Dependant Pass): The pass issued to the dependants (spouse and child) of an Employment Pass or S work pass holder earning over 6,000 SGD monthly. Children on DP may attend any Private Educational Institution of their family’s choice and will not require the sponsorship of a student pass.
LTVP (Long Term Visitor Pass): A pass issued to children of Permanent Residents and the step-children of Employment Pass holders. To attend school beyond preschool, children on a LTVP must enroll in a private educational institution that can sponsor a Student Pass. Please verify with your school of choice if they can sponsor a student pass if your child holds a LTVP.
SP (Student Pass): A visa sponsored for a student who is attending a private educational institution (international school), that holds EduTrust status. Some larger international schools, such as Singapore American School and Lycée Français, are exempt from the EduTrust certification. Student passes are designed for foreign students who come to Singapore (alone or with a guardian) to study, but who are not necessarily accompanied by a working adult.
SC (Singapore Citizen): Singapore citizens are required by the Compulsory Education Act to attend local primary school and will require special permission from the government to attend a Private Educational Institution (international school).
PR (Permanent Resident): Children who are permanent residents (PR) are eligible to enroll in local school and will be granted a spot. PR children are given preference of school choice behind Singapore Citizen children. PR children may also attend a private educational institution and do not require a student pass to attend any school.
Tourist Visa: A Tourist visa (sometimes referred to as a short term visit pass) is issued to tourists in Singapore for leisure. A child on a tourist visa will require a long term pass (for example, student pass) to attend school full time. Alternatively, they can be issued a dependant pass if they are eligible.
In all cases, the immigration status of the child decides the rules of enrolment — NOT the immigration status of their parent.