An Overview of Singapore International Schools 

An Overview of Singapore International Schools 

Singapore is a multicultural country with a sizable expat population and with over 60 international schools to choose from, you will certainly be able to find one that offers the curriculum, extracurricular activities, and culture that you want for your child. 

While we are unable able to cover every school, you will find an overview of the many types of international schools, curricula, and admission procedures.

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Types of International Schools in Singapore 

Singapore is well-known for its high quality of education, in part because it is home to a number of world-class international schools offering a variety of educational systems. 

Understanding the different types will help you determine which learning style is ideal for your child and which education system will benefit them the most in the future, whether applying to universities or relocating to another country.

* All tuition fees are quoted in SGD and based on annual rates for the 2024-2025 school year.

IB or International Curriculum Schools

Most general international schools will focus on providing an international curriculum, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) to make it easier for the children of expats to continue their education in new countries.

Examples include:

Overseas Family School

  • Grades: Pre-K1 (Pre-Kindergarten) – High School
  • Number of Students: About 3,000
  • Tuition: From $8,550 per semester for half-day pre-kindergarten students to $22,400 per semester for grade 11 to 12 students

United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA)

  • Grades: Kindergarten – High School
  • Number of Students: About 2,500 – 3,000 
  • Tuition: From $36,078 per year for kindergarten to grade one students to $46,824 per year for grade 11 to grade 12 students

XCL World Academy 

  • Grades: Nursery – Grade 12 
  • Number of Students: About 1,000
  • Tuition: From $12,248.50 per semester for nursery students to $23,573.77 per semester for grade 12 students 

National Schools

National schools are international schools that follow the curriculum and syllabus of their home country. This is a great option for students who expect to return to their native country within a few years, as well as for older students who want to apply to colleges in a particular country. For example, students who are interested in American universities will be required to take the SAT or ACT, whereas British-based curriculums require GCSE subject exams. 


Examples include:

Singapore American School

  • Grades: Preschool – Grade 12 
  • Curriculum: American
  • Number of Students: About 4,000
  • Tuition: From $25,710 per year for pre-kindergarten students to $40,870 per year for high school students

Australian International School

  • Grades: Infant Care (2 months) – Year 12 
  • Curriculum: Australian 
  • Number of Students: About 2,800
  • Tuition: From $3,016 per month for infant care to $25,092 per semester for secondary school students

Global Indian International School (GIIS)

  • Grades: Kindergarten – High School 
  • Curriculum: Indian/CBSE 
  • Number of Students: About 2,600
  • Tuition: From $2,860 per term for nursery and kindergarten students to $5,003 per term for class 12 students

Hybrid Schools 

Hybrid schools are international schools with dual curriculums. They  combine the curriculum from a particular country, like national schools, and follow one or more international curriculums. Students have the option to either pursue a hybrid curriculum or choose either of the options. 

Olympic sized swimming pool at a Singapore school with a student doing laps.
State of the art sports facilities including pools are common in Singapore schools.

This is a great option if you want to widen university options to anywhere in the world. This way, your child can follow a US or UK-based syllabus but still be able to receive an IB diploma or Cambridge IGCSE Certificate, giving them a higher chance of getting accepted to schools worldwide. 

Examples include:

Stamford American International School (SAIS) 

  • Grades: Toddler (2 years) – Year 13 
  • Curriculum: American, English IB, Advanced Placement (AP), and Business and Technical Education Council (BTEC) 
  • Number of Students: About 3,000
  • Tuition: From $18,499 per year for pre-nursery & nursery students attending three days a week to $49,561 per year for high school students

German European School Singapore (GESS)

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  • Grades: Pre-Kindergarten – High School
  • Curriculum: German and English IB
  • Number of Students: About 1,800
  • Tuition: From $26,665 per year for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students to $31,395 per year for grade 10-12 German students or $40,125 per year for grade 10-12 IB students 

GIG International School 

  • Grades: Class 1 to 10 
  • Curriculum: Cambridge and IB 
  • Number of Students: About 1,500 
  • Tuition: From $970.70 per month for class 1 and 2 students to $1,425 per month for class 9 and students

Religious Schools 

If you prefer your child to stay in a faith-based school, Singapore has international schools that combine the culture of their religion with a UK or US curriculum. The top choices include the following:

Sir Manasseh Meyer International School (SMMIS)

  • Grades: Pre-school to Secondary school
  • Curriculum: British National Curriculum Literacy, Singapore Maths, International Primary Curriculum (IPC), International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC), Cambridge, Jewish Education 
  • Number of Students: About 1,000
  • Tuition: From $17,684 per year for pre-school students to $27,958 per year for grade 6 to 10 students

St. Joseph’s Institution International (SJI)

  • Grades: Prep 1 – High School
  • Curriculum: Singaporean, British, IB, and IGCSE
  • Number of Students: About 2,000
  • Tuition: From $33,011 per year for prep 1 to grade 3 students to $36,624 per year for grade 12 students 

International Community School (ICS)

  • Grades: Pre-kindergarten to Grade 12
  • Curriculum: American with a Christian focus
  • Number of Students: About 500
  • Tuition: $25,492.50 per year for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students to $36,890 per year for high school students

Curriculum

If you or your child do not mind following a specific curriculum from the US, UK, or other countries and would rather focus on the academic programs offered when selecting an international school, Singapore offers some of the best curriculums in Asia.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum provides an internationally accepted and academically rigorous education for students aged 3 to 19 years. Most schools will have the IBDP or Diploma Program for high school students. Some schools will have an IB curriculum from the start through the IB Primary Years Program (PYP) for those ages 3-11 years old and the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) for kids ages 11-16 years old. 

According to the official IB website, there are 40 international schools in Singapore offering an IB curriculum. Here are the only 6 schools that offer the IB programs from elementary school to high school (IBPYP, IBMYP, IBDP):

  1. Canadian International School, Lakeside Campus 
  2. Chatsworth International School 
  3. German European School Singapore 
  4. Hillside World Academy
  5. ISS Singapore Stamford American International School 
  6. XCL World Academy 

Tuition for an IB curriculum is more expensive than schools with a regular curriculum. Aside from Hillside Academy, all of the institutions listed above have annual tuition rates ranging from $18,000 to $49,000, with high school tuition being on the higher end. Hillside is one of the only Chinese international schools in Singapore with a full IB program that is supported by the Singaporean government, so tuition is more affordable, between $22,800 and $38,800.

Cambridge IGCSE

The Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is a two-year program that students complete during Grades 9 and 10 to prepare for the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), which, if performed well, can lead to acceptance into top UK universities. 

Depending on the school, after finishing the IGCSE program in 10th grade, students will continue on to either the Cambridge A-Level curriculum or the IBDP.

The IGCSE is less rigorous and much more flexible than the IBDP. There are approximately 70 subjects to pick from, all of which are available in a variety of combinations. Students can customize their education and professional goals by selecting the subjects they want to study. 

However, different schools will provide various subject availability and combinations, so you can choose a school that provides a wide range of alternatives or one that best matches your child.

There are approximately 32 international schools in Singapore that offer the IGCSE program. Some of the top choices include:

Tanglin Trust School  is one of the oldest non-profit British international schools in Southeast Asia. It is also one of the few schools to offer both the IGCSE and IBDP programs. It is typically a top choice for many parents, resulting in a year-long waiting list.

EtonHouse International School is a large international education group with over 100 schools worldwide and 17 schools in Singapore, with some conveniently located downtown. Aside from their IGCSE program, they are known for providing excellent bilingual learning (English and Mandarin) programs. 

Dulwich College is one of the most expensive schools in Singapore but also highly sought after as 97% of their students receive offers to their first choice universities. Besides IGCSE, this British international school also offers the IBDP, IB Career-Related Program, and STEAM initiatives. 

Preschool and Early Childhood

Given the variety of teaching styles available today for young students, some parents may want more hands-on and independent learning over  traditional methods. Singapore also offers a number of preschool programs for parents who are particular about their children’s early education. 

EYFS

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) accepts children from a few months old to the age of five. The UK government establishes the standards, which place a heavy emphasis on developing a child’s creative, language, and critical thinking skills at an early age. 

Schools that use this curriculum generally teach subjects such as communication, emotional development, math, and others through games and play. Dover Court International School, Invictus International Preschool, and the aforementioned Tanglin Trust School are among the best schools that provide EYFS.

Montessori Approach

The Montessori and Reggio Emilia are similar methods of education that have been growing in popularity over the last few years for children ages 2-6 years old. These approaches focus heavily on hands-on and project-based group learning to develop leadership skills, independence, and self-care from a young age. 

Brighton Montessori has 6 locations in Singapore, with programs starting from pre-nursery (1.5 years old) to K-2 (6 years old) starting at $1,990 per month for full-day boarding. 

Blue House Nursery & International Preschool is a Reggio Emilia school that provides lessons and playgroups for children aged 6 months to 6 years. They also feature a co-working space for parents who want to catch up on work or network with other families while waiting for their children. Tuition ranges from $4,444 per term for pre-nursery students taking two half-day classes a week to $8,946 per term for senior kindergarten students taking five full-day classes a week. 

Fees

Without a doubt, the cost of attending an international school doesn’t come cheap in one of the most expensive cities in the world. The annual tuition fee will be the biggest cost to consider, along with registration fees and other extracurricular expenses.  

Tuition

Top-tier international schools such as the Singapore American School, Tanglin Trust, and Dulwich College will cost upwards of $35,000 per year, starting from Kindergarten, with a tuition increase of 3-8% as they move up age groups. 

As of 2024, the median tuition for international schools in Singapore is around $29,500. However, you can still find many quality schools under the median as well. Some choices include GIG International School, Middleton International School, and Ascencia International School.

Most schools will offer a 10-20% sibling discount on tuition if you have more than one child attending. Scholarships or paying in installments are also available at most schools upon request. 

Application

The majority of international schools in Singapore will charge an application fee, which ranges from $500 to $1,000 per child and is either non-refundable or partially refundable. This cost is due only after an application and necessary documents have been sent, and a spot has been confirmed by the school. 

St. Andrew's Junior College, Singapore athletics feild
St. Andrew’s Junior College, Singapore has lovely sporting facilities.

Many schools host yearly open houses or participate in education fairs, where you may be eligible for registration fee waivers or significant discounts. We suggest that you frequently check the school’s website for information on these available dates.

After accepting your offer letter, there is a non-refundable enrollment or registration fee for all new applicants. This can cost upwards of $3,000. 

Others

The cost of transportation, school lunches, uniforms, technology fees, and test fees for IB or IGCSE schools might add an additional $8,000 to $10,000 every year. 

Some schools may also require a one-time or annual facility fee for the maintenance of the school’s campus. These prices can be quite steep. For instance, the Australian International School will charge a one-time, non-refundable facility fee of $5,780 per child. 

Tips for Choosing a School

Choosing the best school for your children from among Singapore’s 60+ international schools is a difficult task. Besides tuition and fees, here are some other things to think about when comparing overseas schools. 

If you’re new to Singapore or considering coming here in the near future, here are also some resources to help you get settled.

Learn More:

Facilities

Some international schools in Singapore provide cutting-edge facilities, while others are relatively modest. You should prioritize schools with great facilities if you want your children to have a wide range of opportunities for extracurricular activities. For example, UWCSEA has a variety of sports facilities, including an Olympic-size pool, a gymnasium, and tennis courts.

Other schools, such as the Nexus International School, offer more unique extracurricular activities, like notable Introduction to Filmmaking workshop where students will learn scriptwriting, directing, and cinematography.

Location

Even though Singapore is small, it might take up to an hour to go to and from school during the morning rush hour. Moreover, depending on how far you have to send your child to school, you could spend anywhere between $875 – $1,550 SGD per term on the school bus.

A view of the Singapore skyline at sunset.
Beautiful Singapore is famously compact, but it can take time to get across town to your child’s school.

Check out our other guides on locating housing and the best neighborhoods for families to learn more about where to reside in Singapore.

Learn More:

Admission Process

Due to the large expat community in Singapore, some of the better or more popular foreign schools will have waiting lists. Some schools will also have a hierarchy system. For instance, students with US citizenship or a Green Card will be given admission priority at the Singapore American School.

Other international schools will also have quotas on the percentage of students from each country in order to maintain the school’s diversity. Therefore, if there are already too many students from your country enrolled at that school, you may be placed on a waiting list. 

You can find each school’s rules on space availability and application priorities on their website under the Admissions tab. 

Now, on to You

Singapore is lucky to have so many international school options, but it can be difficult to choose the best one for your children. 

When applying to schools, be proactive and try to attend as many open houses or campus tours as possible to learn about the school’s culture and facilities, as well as to take advantage of any registration discounts that may be offered. 

Finally, don’t worry too much because all of the international schools are pretty excellent and dedicated to giving the greatest education possible for your child, so you can’t go wrong with any school you end up choosing.

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Yanni is a freelance virtual assistant and copywriter with a side passion for developing food & snacks. She has been traveling to Asia since she was a kid and is currently residing in Thailand, where she enjoys taking occasional work-from-the-beach trips.

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