I was from an elite primary school. Much thanks to my parents who decided to register me in what was then a Pure Chinese School. You see, my parents don’t speak Mandarin, and they figured they had better enrol me in a Chinese environment to boost my chances to pass this compulsory subject.
Well, the decision my parents made naturally gave my own kids the option to register in this what-is-now, one of the TOP primary schools in the island. (It really wasn’t so top during my time!)
Nicole and Nathan are in this school, and I must say it has been very enriching. They get to try different sports and cultural activities as part of their curriculum. The Chinese immersion is also very impressive with them reciting stuff I’ve zero understanding of.
This year, it’s Nadine’s turn to register for Primary 1. We got her a place in this school successfully simply cos she has older siblings there. Easy peasy, no worries at all. BUT we weren’t so sure if this is the school for her. Because of her learning difficulties, I’m not confident she can cope with the academic focus in this school. Plus the fact that affiliation to the secondary school is not guaranteed as there’s a super high t-score to hit to qualify.
As with all parents, I want to be able to give her a place in a school of MY choice at least for the first 10 years of formal education. That would ease a lot of worries, stress and pressure.
So last Friday, we went to check out another school. I did take into consideration what I considered is the most important criteria in choosing a Primary School! Definitely one with much lesser academic focus, and with a secondary school too! Alas, this school is also very popular! There’s no guaranteed space for us. We have to go thru balloting to register our girl.
The odds? 28 vacancies for 39 applicants. Thus we were hit with one of the most difficult questions ever.
Do we give up our spot in an elite top school so that we can register her for a spot that is not guaranteed?
(For the uninitiated, this means if she doesn’t get a spot during the ballot she is NOT registered in any school, and has to go to any other school which still has vacancies.)
It was tough. A dear friend was with us yesterday. Look at her photos of us. The emotions that we went through!
In the end, we realised the top school was simply not the school for her. There was no way she could survive there. So no matter what, we just couldn’t put her there.
It seemed simple enough. I was tasked to drive to my alma mater to do the withdrawal of Nadine’s application. While the husband stayed on in the new school to await the confirmation of the withdrawal so that he can put in her new registration.
I thought it would be easy. Go to the school, smile and say no thank you, I’m withdrawing. Oh man. It was tough!! I teared as I walked through the gates, up the stairs and into the building. Many thoughts flashed across my mind.
- Nadine won’t get to attend this top school like her siblings, like me. Are you sure you want that?
- Nadine won’t get to experience this school’s culture, school song, strict rules and Chinese discipline. Are you sure?
- And of course, this is the school so many parents are trying to get their kids in, and you are withdrawing??? Are you sure???
It was really tough. But I’m so thankful we prayed, we had the peace and faith to know that God is in control. Strangely, I felt happy that I gave a bit of hope to those anxious parents waiting at the elite school, cos with my withdrawal, there’s one more spot available!
And so we withdrew from one of Singapore’s top primary school. Any regrets? A little, just a little. That Nadine won’t get to learn that super high pitch school song! =)
But now we move on. 6 Aug. 9 a.m. The ballot for 28 spots starts. My girl will start a new legacy based on this decision we made.
Praying hard now!
– UPDATE –
We sat through the ballot session this morning. The room was really quiet with all parents’ eyes on the ‘roulette machine’.
They called 28 numbers, and none was our number. We sat there and honestly we had no reaction. We did the logical Singaporean thing, walked up to the staff in front, asked about appealing and wait list, and we walked out.
Oh man.. my girl is now without a school. We went from Phase 1 to Phase 2C Supplementary.
Very quickly, we searched the vacancy list for schools which we can register. That’s priority #1.
Thoughts of Why? Did we hear wrong? Was it wrong decision? and even Ahhhhhhh!!! hit us. But we realised this is quite an obvious no from God, esp when odds were supposedly quite good! So now, it’s a faith walk as we decide on our next course of action. It’s most assuring now that God is in control. We know best plans are in His hands.