“They need to really enjoy the activity they choose as they will be the ones going through it for the next few years, not us,” says mum-of-three Janet Chin. She shares the decision points and their journey so far.
To apply for the Direct School Admissions (DSA) or not? Mrs Janet Chin, mother of three, left the decision to her children.
“I encourage them to talk to me, but I trust them to make good decisions,” she said.
“Around 12 years ago, when my eldest was preparing for the PSLE, DSA was quite new. I heard about it and asked my daughter if she wanted to give it a try. Although she was in her primary school band, she wasn’t sure it was something that she really wanted to be committed to in the long term. So, we left it at that.”
Making the choice
Now, DSA is a lot more common. Mrs Chin found that her two younger children are a lot more aware about this alternative route to secondary school. She didn’t have to introduce them to it. They had already heard about it from their teachers and friends.
“From what they shared, I could see that they were quite aware of their own abilities. The schools they suggested were roughly, or just slightly above the ballpark of their current results. I think they also would not want to struggle in a school where the cut-off point is too far off from their results!”
Her younger daughter was keen on taking up DSA as she had been playing netball as part of her CCA since primary school. The training hours were long, but she persevered and grew better in the sport over the years. It was through her seniors that she first heard about the netball programme in Cedar Girls’ Secondary School.
“She heard good things about the netball team and read up more about the school on their website,” Mrs Chin explained. “I was happy for her to try. She handled the application herself, and there wasn’t need for any extra training. I think her primary school CCA sessions were rigorous enough!”
Bridging the gap
Her daughter’s PSLE score missed Cedar Girls’ cut-off point by a little.
“She told me that her secondary school friends were very helpful,” said a grateful Mrs Chin. “In the first term, there were extra lessons offered to the DSA students to help them bridge any learning gaps they may have. I think, overall, these helped my girl stay motivated to do well in both her studies and her sport.”
Mrs Chin’s daughter is currently in Secondary 4. Even with additional duties as Captain of the Lower Secondary Netball team in 2019, she has been able to cope academically. Mrs Chin also believes she has grown to be a lot more confident because of her experiences in secondary school.
Her son, too, chose to take the DSA route and got into his secondary school through his talents in volleyball.
Looking back on the past three years, Mrs Chin reflected, “In secondary school, sport CCAs are very demanding and the students have to be mentally prepared for the intensity and effort required. Sometimes, the children will come home feeling really tired or even have minor injuries because of how hard they are training. As parents, we can only support them on the side and show that we care.”
Having witnessed how committed her children are to their sport, Mrs Chin firmly believes she was right to leave the choice of DSA up to them.
“Children really need to enjoy the activity they chose for DSA and take ownership of their decision. They can’t be forced, or they will resent it. After all, they are the ones who will have to go through the whole journey - not us!”
Another parent shares her experience with the DSA at Parent's Take on DSA: “It’s about their self-confidence”
Find out more about DSA at our official site: https://www.moe.gov.sg/secondary/dsa