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Complete Guide to Primary School Transfers in Singapore

Are you considering changing primary school for your child?

If that is a yes, it isn’t a decision that you should take lightly since it will affect your children’s education in the long run.

Before your child transfer to a new primary school, here’s a short guide on how primary school transfer applications are done in Singapore and what you need to remember:

Reasons for Primary School Transfers

Parents often have different reasons on why they want to move their children to another school.

For parents who have to move into a new area in Singapore, it would be ideal to move their children to schools near their new home. If this is the case, parents can use the Student Transfer Exercise for Primary Schools (STEPS) page to sort out their child’s transfer.

When you check out this tab in the Ministry of Education’s website, you need to take note of the following:

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1) Each student signed up in the program will be considered for a transfer slot in a school close to their new home if they have vacancies.

2) If the school in question can accept these transfers, the transfer application will be accepted.

3) If there are no schools within 3 km of your new home which can accept your child’s transfer, they will need to remain in their current school.

If there is an appeal, the MOE will consider it if it falls under the following:

1) If your child has a serious medical condition like kidney problems and heart complications.

2) If they have Autism or Dyslexia

3) If they have physical disabilities that require them to use wheelchairs and prosthetics.

Down below are the other reasons why students are changing primary schools in Singapore:

1) Some parents want to move their children to single-gender schools which they believe offer more learning opportunities.

2) Others say they are moving their children because of bullying or fear their classmates are bad influences.

3) Parents see that the school does not have all the subjects necessary to help a child’s interest develop.

4) There is a belief that the school is “not enough” or “inferior”. However, if this is your belief as a parent, don’t let it colour your child’s opinion about the school. It may also cause them to have problems adapting to the school they transfer into.

Whatever your reason is for your decision in transferring your child, you need to be honest when you apply for their transfer. Schools will check with each application to see if parents are being realistic with their child’s primary school transfer. 

Key dates of Primary School Transfer Application

If you are serious in transferring your child out of their current school, you need to plan ahead to ensure their studies are not affected.  

For those transferring in December 2019, here are the dates you have to remember:

Application Period: October 21, 2019, 9:00 am to November 28, 2019 4:00 pm

Application Decision: December 10, 2019

Reporting Period: December 11 to 31, 2019

For those transferring in March 2020, here are the dates you have to remember:

Application Period: March 2, 2020, 9:00 am to March 13, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Application Decision: March 23, 2020

Reporting Period: March 24 to 27, 2020 

What you need to know before applying online

As mentioned above, you can apply for your child’s application for transfer online. But, before you apply, here are the things you need to know below.

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Your child will be given an offer to transfer to the nearest school near your home that has a vacancy. It is not a guarantee that your child will get a slot in the school they wish to join into due to availability issues.

1) To apply, you will need your SingPass account to log in.

2) Check the online guide to see how you can fill-up the form.

3) Applications will only take 10 minutes to complete

If you are a single parent, you can use the online application form if you meet one of these conditions:

1) If your name is the only one in your child’s birth certificate

2) If your spouse has passed on.

Report to School 

Once your child’s transfer is approved, make sure to report to your child’s current school to start the transfer.

You need to bring the following documents for verification:

1) The student’s birth certificate and entry or re-entry permit

2) Your Singapore NRICs and entry or a re-entry permit, as well as your spouse’s documentation.

 If you are divorced or separated with your spouse but have joint custody, you need to present the following:

1) Bring the Court Order that shows your custody arrangement

2) A signed letter of consent from your ex-spouse

3) Sign a letter of an undertaking if it is requested by the child’s school.


1) If by any chance you and your ex-spouse don’t reach an agreement regarding your child’s transfer, you can request for the assistance of the Family Justice Court or the Syariah Court. They can get a Court Order enforced before sorting your child’s transfer.

2) If you (a) started divorce proceedings in the Syariah Courts, (b) got a decree or order for divorce from the courts, or (c) registered your divorce and wish for the Family Justice Courts to get an order to support your child’s transfer, you need to check with the Syariah Courts if you need their consent and look at the time you have available to sort out the process.

3) Transfers will be processed if the application is made by the authorized parent listed in the Court Order.

If you have sole custody of the child, you need to bring the following:

1) Bring the court order that details the child’s custody arrangement

2) Sign a letter of an undertaking if necessary with the child’s current school. 


If there a certain dispute you cannot resolve during your child’s transfer, they will have to remain in the school.

Final Reminders

As a parent, we want the best for our children and education is no exception to this fact. If you intend your child transfer to another primary school, do make sure that your application is solid.

Sometimes, primary school transfer applications are not approved if the school does not have a vacancy or if your application is not strong enough to warrant its approval. Stay positive and know what you need to prepare for your child’s transfer. Schools often change their requirements every year so you also need to keep yourself informed with these changes in their education.

With the right information, attitude and application, you will be able to secure your child’s transfer and put them in a school that can help them develop their potential.

Lastly, if your child is struggling in primary school, you may want to consider engaging a private primary school tutor. A lot of young students are very shy in large groups and learn much better in more intimate settings.

To help you to choose the right primary school for your child, here are some helpful articles:

Primary Education: Elite Or Heartland School?
Local vs International Schools in Singapore: Pros and Cons

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.