First look: Secondary schools in Singapore

It’s that time again for parents – deciding your child’s next step in education.

We’re talking secondary schools! (secondary education in Singapore is applicable to children aged 12-18 years)

Ever the friendly helper, we’ve made parents’ work that much easier by doing a round-up of Singapore’s most prominent secondary schools.

Secondary school education in Singapore


First of all, the majority of these schools offer the 6-year Integrated Programme (IP) leading to either the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) or the A-levels.

Others offer dual-track programmes offering the 4-year O-level curriculum accompanied with the option to pursue the IBDP in the 5th and 6th year of study.

The schools also differ in terms of Independent or Autonomous status that is granted by the Ministry of Education.

Generally, schools with Independent and Autonomous status are given higher autonomy to manage their programmes and schemes to suit their academic objectives.

What is the difference between the GCE A-levels and IB you ask?

Well, simply put, the GCE “A” Level curriculum emphasizes depth within each subject discipline while the IB focuses on breadth across a range of subjects. IB subjects are subject to continual assessment. As such, IB students have to divide their time between a broad range of different subjects and produce consistent work throughout.When considering the best school for their child, parents should look at their child’s personality and learning style.


Read on if any of these secondary/high schools made it to your list:

  • Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)
  • Cedar Girls Secondary School
  • Hwa Chong Institution
  • Methodist Girls’ School
  • NUS High School of Mathematics and Science
  • Raffles Institution
  • St Joseph’s Institution




Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)

Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) or ACS is the pioneer national International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, paving the way for other schools to follow.

37 of the 41 IB Singapore candidates attaining perfect scores are from ACS.

Considered a leading school in Singapore, ACS offers up a variety of enrichment and scholarship programmes such as the Humanities Scholarship Programme, Music Elective Programme, Industry and Business attachment and the Overseas Education Programme.

These serve to build a holistic development for students and give them the confidence to pursue their diverse interests.

At ACS, students of varying intellectual talents get a fulfilling education with the implementation of the Gifted Education Programme.

Students from the school have also been granted many accolades including the top honour of President’s Scholar, awarded to Shaun Lim Yung Shen.

Cedar Girls Secondary School

Cedar Girls’ Secondary School

Cedar Girls’ Secondary is an autonomous school and a Singapore Quality Class and People Developer Standard institution that is dedicated to nurturing the full potential in people – both students and staff.

The school is a recipient of numerous best academic practices awards and has an excellent track record in sports and athletics.

In addition, Cedar Girls’ is one of the schools selected to offer both O-level and Integrated Programme (IP) tracks.

IP approaches will also be integrated into the O-level teaching programme so students will benefit from the open-ended and self-directed stye of learning,

Hwa Chong Institution

Hwa Chong Institution

Hwa Chong Institution is one of Singapore’s most prestigious schools selected to provide the Integrated Programme with links to the international world.

Forwarding the push towards internationalization, HCI is the pioneer of [email protected] which envisions learning in a borderless environment.

HCI’s other approach strives to enhance its students’ cultural quotient through events and exchange programmes that allow them to explore different cultures.

A unique feature of the school’s Integrated Programme is the Hwa Chong Sabbatical Programme

The programme gives students the opportunity to forgo formal lessons for a week each term from Term 1 to Term 3  and attend enrichment programmes based on the following subjects – Arts & Aesthetics, Chinese Studies, Humanities, English & Literature, Leadership, Technology, Science and Math – outside of the classroom.

Camps and student exchanges are other common features of the programme.

The campus also fronts a top-notch sporting complex, Olympic-standard swimming pool and other sports facilities.

It is also the first school in Singapore to build a Science Research Centre.

In testimony to it’s scholastic mettle, HCI has also been awarded acclaimed titles in educational championships such as the World Scholar’s Cup.

Methodist Girls' School

Methodist Girls’ School

Methodist Girls’ School is an Independent school offering a through-train programme leading up to the IBDP. Methodist Girls’ School strives to produce ‘Godly Women of Excellence with a Heart of Love’.

The strong Christian ethos of the institution help nurture students of principle that will make valued contributions to society.

Some awards presented to Methodist Girls’ School include the School Distinction Award, the Singapore Quality Class and the Best Practice Award in teaching and learning.

ACS Independent

NUS High School of Mathematics and Science

NUS High School of Mathematics and Science is a specialized school with a focus on research in Math and Science.

At the end of the 6-year curriculum, graduating students will receive a NUS High School Diploma that is accepted by both local and acclaimed overseas universities.

Having acquired Independent status, the school aims to offer a holistic education and equip students with new age competencies through its differentiated programmes such as ACE (Affective Character Education).

Under the wing of NUS High School, students will be groomed into Pioneers, Achievers, Thinkers and Humanitarians. Notably, it is the first to organize and hold the first local annual high school research congress.

Raffles Institution

Raffles Institution

Raffles Institution is an independent school offering a 6-year through-train programme leading up to the A-levels.

The Raffles Programme sets itself apart from others due to its intensive academic curriculum that encourages inquisitive minds and critical thinking while maintaining real-world practicality.

Subject experts offer insights to students seeking practical advice.

In addition to the standard curriculum, the Raffles Programme offers students access to The Raffles Academy, The Raffles Philosophy Course and Research Education.

Students with diverse talents can choose to pursue Art and Music under the Raffles Art Elective Programme and the Music Elective Programme or take up languages like Japanese, French and German.

Raffles Institution has produced a succession of notable alumni including Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew.

St Joseph's Institution

St Joseph’s Institution

St Joseph’s Institution is a Catholic Independent school that gives students the dual-track option of either the 6-year Integrated Programme leading to the IBDP or the 4-year O-levels.

The Catholic mission school upholds values rooted in faith, service, culture and community that bring meaning to students’ lives beyond academics.

St Joseph’s Institution has received many national awards in the aspects of academic excellence and character development.

Some examples of noteworthy Josephians include President Tony Tan and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

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