Selecting a secondary school can be extremely stressful. What are some of the things that we should look out for?

#1 – Should my child go to express? I think my child is more suitable for NA.

To be honest, no one can tell the future. But I have seen a great number of students who became so much more motivated as to make up for lost time in their secondary school.


#2- I want to choose xx secondary school instead of yy secondary school….

Let your child choose. No matter how tempting it is, don’t choose for them. Reason being I have seen some students becoming disengaged or resenting the school because their parents chose it instead of them. It becomes worse when they act up (for many reasons, puberty, friends, etc) and they will go through this period of “I will not end up that way if I was allowed to choose my own school back then.”.


#3 -Trying to enter a school above cut off point

Silent elitism exists in many schools. The wide gap between the various classes (even the express classes) does have children competing and comparing among themselves. They do make the distinctions because they will be banded and may be treated differently (not by teachers but by pure non-verbal labelling) due to the combination of subjects and formed perception.

As the number of subjects increase and broad of scope widens, the child also cannot solely depend on tuition anymore. Competition among the peers will be so much higher. What is the ultimate aim for your child? To define success as in studies or to be an all-rounder in all fields? I have conducted workshops in top schools and my heart breaks when students confess they feel they are losers in life and cannot see or appreciate their strengths.

Seen 17-year-old students in IP programs cry because they fear they will get a B? I did.


#4 – What is the culture of the school?

Look at the Principals of the school. They will dictate the culture if the school focus on a lot of academic, in sports or both. If they are new Principals, find out where they used to be from (if possible) as they will most likely be trained in thoughts and words by the school they were trained in. If they are current Principals and are rotating every five years, find out what happened to their previous school and what is the main focus of that school. Track their cop over the years if they increase (good sign) or decrease (bad sign).


Talk to your child. Your child knows best of how much stress they can take and the pace they may do well in. Check with them how much are they willing to travel, how to analyze situations within friends of various backgrounds and always keep their self-esteem up.

As a teenager, will they tell their parents how they are feeling? You will find they are not very forthcoming. Social media has also become a huge part and parcel of their life. This is the period where friends and strangers are easier to talk and confide in than parents. This is also the time where they may take stressĀ on themselves (aka self harm).

No matter what, our tweens to teens still need your routine and your unconditional love even as they navigate the whole new phase of life…even as they complain otherwise. It is a period where risk-taking becomes much higher due to chemicals in the brain taking a backseat.

Hope you will find these points useful.