Q: What nationalities are represented by the students?
A: Our school community comprises students from over 55 different nationalities.
The full extent of cultural diversity within our community is highlighted by the cultural background within our Australian community. Over 37% of Australian students have either one or both parents with a country of birth other than Australia. Over 21% of Australian students have a parent from a non-English speaking background and over 16% have a parent from an Asia-Pacific country.
Q: How long do students stay at the school?
A: As with all international schools, we have a regular turnover of students as parents complete 2 - 3 year contracts. We have many strategies in place to help students with their transition to and from life at AIS and in Singapore and as such, our community is very accepting of newcomers.
Q: How do school and parents communicate with each other?
A: The relationship between home and school plays a very important part in a child’s education. This makes two-way communication a critical factor in the partnership between parents and the school. This makes it easier for parents to solve problems and to feel confident about the teaching and learning taking place in the classroom.
Connect AIS is our school’s online learning and communication portal. This password protected website is a place for parents students and teachers to engage with the learning that is happening at AIS every day. Connect AIS allows parents immediate access to information an communication with the School as and when they would like to access it. From Connect AIS, parents have access to general school life information, newsletters updates from the Principal and Leadership teams and contact details for all staff. Parents are also able to view pages linked to their child’s classes, which include homework tasks and work conducted in each subject class. Parents can also access curriculum information, resources and welfare information relevant to their child’s year level.
In addition to Connect AIS, communication from school to parent takes many forms and varies according to the sub-school a child attends. These include, but are not limited to:
- Written reports on student progress issued in the last week of Terms 1 and 2
- Parent-teacher interviews held formally in Term 1 each year
- Student-led conferences held in Term 3 each year
- Displays of children’s work
- Special events and celebrations
- Specialised learning programs
- Parent information booklets
- Parent information sessions
- Learning journals
The school produces a weekly online newsletter which is considered essential reading. This is broken down into sub-school levels, as well as including a weekly message from the Principal and updated from the Sport, CCAs and Music Departments.
The school also has an official Facebook page and Twitter account, which serve to keep the wider online community informed of AIS news and events.
Further details on communication methods can be found in the Elementary and Secondary School Handbooks.
Q: What time do classes start and finish?
A: The different sub-schools at AIS have slightly different start and finish times to aid with flow in and out of the campus.
- Playground supervision begins at 8:00am
- Preschool starts at 8:45am and finishes at 2:55pm
- Junior School and Primary School start at 8:30am and finish at 3:10pm
- Secondary School starts at 8:30am and finishes at 3:30pm
All students are encouraged to arrive at school with time to spare so that they can organise their belongings and prepare themselves for the day.
Q: Why does AIS start earlier in the year than schools in Australia?
A: The break between school years (at the end of Term 4) is approximately five weeks long. This is to allow for a longer mid-year break. Our school year is divided into four terms, with a two-week break at the end of Term 1 and Term 3. The break between Term 2 and Term 3, which falls mid-year, is generally four weeks long.
The reason for adopting this timetable, which is different from that in Australia, is that many companies and families take leave in the middle of the year and often travel to the Northern Hemisphere in the summer. It also helps to align AIS more closely with other international schools in Singapore who follow a Northern Hemisphere school timetable for sporting and enrichment opportunities.
Q: What is the Smart Card, and how does it work?
A: The Smart Card system used at the school acts as a form of identification for staff as well as for students. It also acts as a library card, and allows parents to order children’s lunches online as well as to pay for food at the canteen, items in the Uniform Shop and a number of other expenses.
Students in the Junior School are not permitted to have their own card. However, their parents are entitled to use the Smart Card system for online ordering and payment. Smart Card account details are automatically emailed to all families when their child starts at the school.
Students from Year 3 – Year 12 are issued with a physically-activated Smart Card after their photo has been taken at the Central Library on Level 4. They cannot use it until their parents have created an account and added money.
Q: Is technology used in the classroom?
A: Our students operate in an increasingly digital and global world. Most teenagers today are very active in social networks, to the point of adopting relatively new and unknown networks and platforms very quickly.
To prepare our students as effective 21st century citizens, we need to equip them with the relevant technology skills and teach them how to use them responsibly. We achieve this by developing what are known as the “Seven Cs”, which include:
- Critical thinking
- Creativity and innovation
- Cross-cultural understanding
There are evident links between these skills and the ten attributes of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner Profile and Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills that we strive to develop in students through the IB Programmes at AIS.
Q: Is religious education taught?
A: We do not teach religious education as part of our formal curriculum, but we respect and cater for all religions, and encourage religious tolerance and racial harmony. Our students learn about all cultures and religions as events occur in Singapore.
Q: What languages are taught?
A: As a community of learners, we acknowledge and promote the opportunity to become multilingual and celebrate cultures other than our own native culture. Because learning additional language(s) facilitates cognitive development and encourages internationalism, additional language learning is an essential and integral element of the curriculum.
All students from Preschool to Year 5 study Mandarin daily. In Preschool this is conducted by teachers’ assistants under the guidance of the Preschool Mandarin Coordinator. From Prep onwards, students study Mandarin three times a week with specialists from the Elementary School Mandarin Department.
Students in Year 6 and Year 10 can choose to continue studying Mandarin or have the option of studying French or Indonesian as an alternative.
Year 11 and 12 HSC students may study Mandarin, French or Indonesian if they wish, or they can choose to drop language studies altogether.
IB DP students in Year 11 and 12 must study an additional (non-native) language as their Language B option – again, students have the option of Mandarin, French or Indonesian.
We support students who are non-native English speakers through our English as an Additional Language (EAL) Program. This plays a valuable role in supporting their first experiences of life in a new school where English is the language of teaching. The EAL Curriculum Leader meets all families and tests non-mother tongue English students when they come to the school for their initial enrolment interview.
We also value the importance of mother tongue development as it benefits students’ emotional well-being, enhances their academic success and helps in learning other languages. Our academic program recognises the need to maintain mother tongue for personal, social and professional benefits in our global society. A Mother Tongue Coordinator (MTC) assists students in the development of this area. Students in the Secondary School have the opportunity to study their mother tongue in or outside school.
Equally, students have the opportunity to study their mother tongue as their Language A for the IBDP, but they should also take English as their Language B subject.
Q: Can parents help in their children’s classes, and if so, how?
A: AIS has a very strong sense of community and welcomes parents into the classroom in a wider variety of capacities. Parent volunteers in the Elementary School are part of both learn to read and gross motor programs. Classroom teachers reach out each term for support from within their respective parent communities and training is provided to parents by the school for these purposes.
Our Preschool encourages parent involvement in the classroom, albeit on a more informal basis in the form of reading to class, cooking and other practical activities.
Parents in the Secondary School are also encouraged to share their expertise with the students, either related to curriculum areas or through our careers and resource centre. Parents who would like to help in this regard should contact their child’s classroom or homeroom teacher.
Q: What festivals are observed at the school?
A: AIS recognises the diversity of cultures in Singapore and even in each child’s own class –and provides opportunities for all children to learn about and respect other cultures.
This is introduced in the Elementary School program by using a large variety of books, music, cooking, crafts, clothing, singing, posters, assembly activities, excursions and by the celebration of special days and festivals (for example National Day, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali).
Parents and staff are from a diverse variety of cultural backgrounds, and are encouraged to contribute their knowledge and culture to enhance the overall program.
Q: How are co-curricular activities signed up for?
A: Our Co-Curricular Activities Programs (CCAs) run on a termly basis for all students in Year 3 – Year 12. The activities on offer vary per term.
Parents are emailed with details of the programs on offer for the forthcoming term, and then encouraged to sign up for activities via the school Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
Q: How are private music lessons signed up for?
A: Many of our students choose to learn an instrument or develop their voices during the school week.
The school offers the services of professionally qualified and experienced Instrumental Teachers who teach in an age appropriate and encouraging environment.
To begin lessons, a completed Application Form should be returned to Reception or the Music Assistant. An Instrumental Teacher will contact you to arrange a mutually agreeable lesson time.
Q: Is after school child care provided?
A: No, we do not have an after school care program. Playground care is provided before school from 8.00am but there is no supervision on the campus following the end of classes. Therefore, all children who remain on school grounds should be supervised by an adult.
Q: Are camps available during holidays?
A: Camp Asia – whose parent company is also Cognita – provides a wide range of camp activities on the AIS campus during school holidays.
Full details of the Camp Asia program can be found at www.campasia.asia
Q: How do most students travel to and from school every day?
A: Students travel to and from school via a variety of travel options:
We have a door-to-door bus service which covers the majority of the island and is managed by an independent bus company for the school [click here for more details]. Students from Preschool – Year 5 travel on different buses from those in Year 6 – 12. All buses are accompanied by a Bus Amah (Aunty) to ensure the children are seated safely.
We are located close to the Lorong Chuan MRT station and buses 73, 105 and 159 stop outside the School.
Bicycle / Scooter
Many students cycle or use scooters to travel to school and cycle racks are provided for the safe storage of these while at school. Students in Year 3 and below must be accompanied by a parent if they cycle or scoot to school.
Car / Taxi
Many children are dropped off at school and / or collect by their parents or in a taxi. The campus has two car parks for parents, and Lower Elementary and Preschool staff also operate a drive thru for registered parents who do not wish to park.
Students who live close by also walk to school.
Q: Do AIS students perform well compared with those in Australia?
A: AIS students are academically in the high ability range and experience superior average growth compared with the best performing Australian state or territory – the ACT.
Details of our recent NAPLAN, NSW HSC and IB DP results can be found here.
Q: How well do students assimilate when they return to Australia?
A: AIS is the only school in Singapore that offers an Australian curriculum-based education for students from the age of 3 to 18.
The Australian Curriculum (AC) underpins our entire curriculum from Prep through to Year 8. By benchmarking to the AC content and standards, we can ease the transition between Singapore and Australia – the home country of the majority of our students – and also enable parents to understand more clearly how their children are performing relative to the national average.
Q: At what age can children join the Early Years Centre?
A: Children can join our Early Years Centre on the day they turn 2 years of age.
Q: Are children expected to bring a personal laptop to school?
A: All Secondary School students are required to have their own laptop either a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. The school will provide students with a laptop or they may bring their own device, reflected in the fees.
What is the average floor area of your class rooms?
The floor area of a general classroom is between 70m2 and 85m2 and for a specialist classroom the average floor area is 100m2. For more information on our school click here.
Q: Is there a school canteen?
A:We have two canteens: one caters for Preschool and Lower Elementary, the other for Upper Elementary and Secondary Schools. Parents can pre-order lunches for their children via an online ordering system. Students in Year 3 and above can use their Smart Card to purchase food at the canteen at lunch and recess, providing it has sufficient funds.
Q: Where are teachers recruited from?
A: Our teaching staff are recruited from some of the top independent schools in Australia and from other International Schools throughout the world. The staffing body includes teachers from Australia, Great Britain, the US, Canada and South Africa, amongst others. Teacher’s Assistants may be recruited locally and there is a diverse mix of cultures within locally hired staff. The school receives a large number of applications for teaching positions and teachers are appointed on merit.
Q: How long do staff stay at the school?
A: Teachers sign a 3 year contract, a term which is extended by many. The average length of stay is 5.8 years.