FAQ

1. Okay, so what’s the Singapore primary school curriculum like? 

The Singapore primary school curriculum consists of four core subject domains: English Language, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Physical Education, a second language, Music and Arts & Craft are also part of the Singapore primary school curriculum. The private teachers will cover the curriculum with the following allocations:

English Based Programme

English Language          : 25% – 33%

Mathematics                 : 25% – 28%

Social Studies/Arts        : 10% – 15%

Science                        : 0% [P1-P2], 10% – 15% [P3-P6]

Physical Education        : 7.5% – 10%

Recess                         : 10% – 12.5%

Mandarin Programme

Foundation Mandarin     : 100%

Private Teachers registered with The Open Primary will conduct classes according to the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) syllabus. Parents may view the MOE teaching syllabuses at the MOE’s official website.

2. Is the academic programme offered by The Open Primary accredited and/or affiliated with MOE? 

No, we’re an independent platform connecting families with independent, experienced teachers. However, our teachers have all worked within the MOE based, Singapore primary school system.

3. You offer English and Mandarin based programmes, can I choose only one programme?

Of course – you can elect in to either one or both of the programmes, however selecting only one may reduce your opportunities to secure a best-fit class. We prioritise class formations that use both programmes and make the most efficient use of our campuses.

4. If there are no standardised assessments, how do I monitor my child’s academic performance? 

Your child’s teachers will provide regular parent feedback on your child’s academic performance, including a written report each term. Throughout the year, your teacher may also conduct assessments to measure student’s academic development. Teacher on The Open Primary have at least four years of teaching experience in Singapore primary schools and understand MOE’s standards very well. Teachers, students, and parents in each class group will also have access to a dedicated forum for conducting class discussions, completing group work, and sharing updates.

5. But I’d still really like an external exam for my child.

No problems. There is nothing to stop parents from independently registering their Primary 6 level child for the iPSLE or any other external examination.

6.  The AEIS is conducted in September annually. Will the teacher prepare my child for the AEIS examination? 

Classes are aimed at educating your children and not at preparing them for any external examination such as the AEIS, PSLE or any other local or international examinations. The private teacher aims to educate your child under the MOE’s primary school curriculum, therefore your child should not have a problem adjusting to the standard academic requirements should they be offered a place at a local primary school.

7. Who will be in my child’s class?

Each class group has a maximum of nine students, made up of non-Singapore nationals resident in Singapore (it is compulsory under the law for Singaporean children to attend public schools).

8. Will my child learn anything about Singapore?

Of course. Your child’s private teacher will be Singaporean or a Singapore Permanent Resident and they’ll introduce students to many aspects of Singaporean culture. All students will take Social Studies, which focuses on Singapore’s culture, traditions, and historical past. If you’d like more information about this, check out the official Social Studies primary school syllabus at the MOE’s website. The close-knit, multi-cultural classroom environments will add an international flavour to class discussions, encouraging students to share their cultural practices from their home countries.

9. I love the academic focus, but I’d really like my child to have a well-rounded education. What about non-academic subjects like music, art and PE?

The Open Primary’s private teachers do focus on academic subjects but this doesn’t have to mean a less rounded education. The significantly smaller class sizes facilitate student-centred learning and encourage class discussion and group work. Throughout the school day, teachers are expected to organise a range of non-academic activities based on their unique experience and the specific campus environment.

All families are encouraged to pursue extra enrichment courses or give their children non-academic skills. We expect that the total fees and class timings provide the opportunity for children to access external classes in sport, arts or other pursuits where child’s interests may lie.

10. The Open Primary teaching hours are much shorter than at a mainstream Singapore primary school. Will the curriculum be covered? 

Yes, the curriculum will be covered thoroughly. In mainstream schools, class sizes can be up to 35 students for one teacher. Students in mainstream schools also have to take part in compulsory school rituals such as morning assembly, and other organised talks and programmes. Much time is also spent on preparing students for standardised examinations at the end of the academic year.

The Open Primary’s model boasts a significantly smaller student-teacher ratio of 9:1.  The smaller class size and dedicated teachers provide conducive environments for alternative forms of assessments (e.g. formative assessments) that encourage learning through reflection. Parents may read about the benefits of formative assessments here.

11. My child loves his teachers and his classmates. He would like to remain in the same class and with the same teacher the next academic year. Is this possible? 

Yes, we hope so. The Open Primary encourages class groups to continue together throughout their primary education. The engagement of the private teacher is for one year at a time and retaining the same teacher would depend on their availability and more importantly their experience in teaching at the next primary year level.

1. How are your teachers selected? 

We verify certifications and teaching experience for all teachers who register with The Open Primary. We select only highly trained teachers who are familiar with Singapore’s primary school syllabus. All of our teachers hold a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from Singapore’s National Institute of Education (NIE) or an equivalent qualification, plus over four years of teaching experience in MOE primary schools. Following all verifications, each teacher selected will be interviewed to ensure that they’re aligned to the values of The Open Primary.

(Singapore’s NIE has a strong global reputation. It is one of the world’s top 10 universities in Education.)

2. Can we choose a preferred private teacher? 

We do prefer that the class teacher be selected by The Open Primary’s algorithm, as it takes into account the collective preferences of each parent within the class. Some examples of these preferences are: number of years of teaching experience or how recently they taught within the MOE system. You’ll be asked to update your user account with your own preferences when you become a ‘Fully Committed’ member.

3. Will all teachers deliver the same Singapore school curriculum? 

Yes, for the particular primary level they’re teaching. But they will be individually responsible for developing and creating the scheme of work. The small class sizes will allow teachers to create individual exercises that are best suited to the needs of their own class group.

4. I understand that the teachers are qualified and experienced but who monitors them without a principal?

Good question. The Open Primary offers parents the option of engaging a Consultant Reviewer to perform the role of principal or head of year and report back to parents. For a minimum of six hours engagement, the Consultant Reviewer will assess the teacher’s plan prior to the start of the term and look at progress or plan adjustments at regular intervals (eg every 5 to 8 weeks). We do however recommend that the Consultant Reviewer be engaged for at least 10 hours.

1. Classes are held at each assigned campus, and these are located throughout the island. Will classes be held at the same location for the whole year? 

Yes. A class will attend the same campus for an entire academic year.

2. We live in Bukit Timah but we’re moving to the East Coast next month. Can we switch to another class group in the East Coast?

We’ll post a swap offer to students in other classes on your behalf, but unfortunately a switch is not guaranteed. Once allocated, class groups are fixed for the duration of the academic year. A class cannot go beyond the size of nine students, but a transfer is possible if there is a vacancy in another group, for example if a student has left Singapore during the academic year.

If you’re planning on moving soon, you may want to use a reference postal code for your likely new place of residence.

3. My child is in Singapore on a long-term visit pass. Do they need a student pass to be part of a private teacher’s class through The Open Primary?

No your child does not need a student pass to be accepted into a private teacher led class. Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore processes Student Pass applications from primary school level applicants intending to study a full time course at an MOE school or a Council for Private Education (CPE) registered institution that is Edu-Trust certified.

The Open Primary teachers provide education services that do not fall under the CPE’s definition of a private education full-time course which inter alia means that our private teachers are not required to register with the CPE. Students must however have a valid pass for Singapore (PR, DP or LTVP).

For details specific to your circumstances, please check the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority’s webpage for the most updated information or send us an email enquiry at askus@theopenprimary.sg.

1. You’re a fairly new company. How can I be sure that my fees will be paid to the private teacher throughout my child’s academic year?

Our company is registered in Singapore with directors who have been Singapore residents for over a decade. Our directors have set up The Open Primary to help families maximise the opportunities of living in Singapore. It’s certainly not their intention to put their own Singapore residency or their freedom at risk by misappropriating parents’ funds. Parents pay fees into a Singapore bank in the name of the Company and the fees are controlled through a stored value facility operated with the full the knowledge of the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore).

2. To register as ‘Fully Committed’, I have to place a refundable deposit of $500.00 Why? 

We require deposits from all fully committed students (and teachers as well). This deposit indicates your commitment, gives richer information on the class formation and helps accelerate the process of forming a class and engaging a private teacher. Families (and teachers) can then plan for the coming academic year with certainty.

Your deposit will be refunded:

– if there is no conveniently located class for your child acceptable to you;

– if there is no private teacher match for your child’s best-fit class; or

– at the end of your child’s last academic year through The Open Primary

3. How much do we have to pay per academic year? 

The total cost per student will average out to less than $730.00 per month. This includes the services of two private teachers, relief teachers, a Consultant Reviewer for each programme and access to an appropriate campus.

4. You require each 12 week semester’s in advance and paid fees are only refundable under specific circumstances. Why?

Fees will be refunded if a contracted private teacher stops providing education services and The Open Primary is unable to find an appropriate replacement teacher, or if all nine class parents give notice of withdrawal within the same calendar week. Under no other circumstances are the fees paid refundable. Our high quality teachers require just as much certainty around continuation as our families do.

Mainstream schools have the critical mass allowing for refunds upon withdrawal – these are either state subsidised for MOE schools or priced into the fees of most private schools.

5. When exactly am I required to pay the Education Services Fees?

Parents are required to pay the Education Services Fees into their RedPak accounts upon the assignment of a Private Teacher to their child’s class group of ‘Fully Committed’ students. The process is as follows:

  1. The Open Primary offers a class group and campus to nine ‘fully committed’ families.
  2. All families accept the class offer.
  3. The Open Primary matches the class to a Private Teacher, then requests families to make fee payments into the company’s bank account. Paid fees will credit each family’s RedPak account.
  4. Once all class families have completed payment, The Open Primary will release the Education Services Agreements for parents and teachers to sign electronically.