To ensure a child’s transition from primary to secondary school to be a happy and positive experience, it is important to choose a school that will best benefit your child’s learning, development and most importantly, their interest and needs.
A journey through music
Asyura Bte Ramlan, a Secondary One student from Swiss Cottage Secondary School, developed a love for music when she was in Yuhua Primary School. She grew to be a proficient euphonium player with the school’s brass band and by Primary Four, she had decided to opt for a secondary school that had a military band.
“I did some research on my own for schools that offered music. My other criteria was that the school had to be near my home so that I could save on traveling time,” said Asyura.
She found Swiss Cottage Secondary School to be a good fit for her learning development and intention to pursue music. Asyura felt that Swiss Cottage’s Swiss Winds Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) was perfect for her. Her sister, who used to be in the National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) was her role model and Asyura wanted to be in a uniform group just like her. As a military band, Swiss Winds integrated the marching drills of a uniform group CCA while allowing her to pursue her passion for music.
She applied to the school via the Direct School Admission (DSA) Exercise.
The DSA Exercise was introduced by the Ministry of Education to promote holistic education as well as to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate a variety of achievements and talents when seeking admission to a secondary school. It also provides students like Asyura with more opportunities through different pathways.
Apart from being a prefect and Sectional Leader in the brass band, Asyura, represented the school in many brass band competitions, as well as community and public performances such as the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF). Her avid participation in her CCA and leadership capabilities were strongly considered during her application to Swiss Cottage’s DSA Leadership programme.
Asyura has a supportive family. Her three older sisters helped by sharing their own experiences, which guided her decision to choose the school. They would advise her and help her prepare for school life. She also credits her parents for fostering her independence. With her elder sister’s support, she took the initiative to apply for the DSA Exercise. Even her mother was surprised when she heard about Asyura’s successful DSA application.
Asyura enjoys school and her CCA, Swiss Winds. The CCA has helped her improve her sight-reading and the exposure to a wide range of musical pieces has enabled her to become a more versatile euphonium player. Asyura has also grown to be more confident and she is not afraid to ask for guidance from teachers and friends when she needs it.
“In primary school, I would bottle up and keep things to myself when something bothered me because I was too shy to ask for help from my teachers. Now, things are different. I am confident to speak up, seek help and clarify my uncertainties with my teachers,” said Asyura.
“Despite the challenges she faced with sight-reading during band practices, her positive outlook helped her to stay confident and persevere in learning the skill,” said Miss Sarah Lee, the teacher-in-charge of Swiss Winds.
“I hope to be a leader in Swiss Winds so that I can guide my juniors to be confident leaders and encourage them to pursue their interests,” says Asyura.
For the love of sports
Just like Asyura, Claris Sim Rui Yan entered Anglican High School (AHS) through the DSA Exercise. She chose AHS because of the strong table tennis team.
“I was certain that AHS would nurture me into a better individual and the table tennis player that I envision to be. I found out about AHS through my seniors when I was in primary school when they spoke highly of the school's environment and table tennis team,” said Claris.
Her passion for table tennis was sparked by her dad whom she looks up to as her role model. He used to take her to community centres every weekend for a game of table tennis. She recalled the experience as a fun activity that created a healthy bond between father and daughter.
“I really enjoyed playing with dad. He taught me the basics as well as tips and tricks about the game,” said Claris.
Claris represented her school in various sporting events such as the East Zone championships and the Crocodile’s Cup challenge organised by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) in 2016. Her competition experience was considered when she applied for the DSA.
After completing the online application for the DSA, Claris underwent a selection process. Together with other DSA applicants, she played a few rounds of table tennis with other students. They were assessed based on skills and potential capabilities. Their Primary 5 and Primary 6 academic results considered as part of the criteria.
Her table tennis teacher, Mr Lim Ee Chiew, commended Claris for being a passionate player who would give nothing but her best. So far, she has grown to be more resilient and is mentally stronger when playing under pressure during matches. Claris had also demonstrated adaptability as she was able to switch between a doubles play and singles play after she joined AHS despite having played mostly singles play in primary school.
“The DSA Exercise provides talented students, like Claris, an opportunity to be enrolled in their desired school where they can develop holistically, take their skill to a higher level and pursue their passion in areas such as the arts or sports,” said Mr Lim.
By 2018, all Secondary schools will be able to admit up to 20% of their non-Integrated Programme Secondary One intake through DSA. With an increase in the number of DSA places, students will have more opportunities to access secondary schools with distinctive programmes that match their areas of strengths and interests through direct entry. For more information, click here.