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Q+A: UWCSEA, Singapore

Q+A: UWCSEA, Singapore

UWC South East Asia International School, Singapore, is an IB World School consisting of two campuses, UWCSEA East Campus and UWCSEA Dover Campus. Here the school answers our questions and takes us on a guided tour...

What happens when parents visit the school?

Campus visits are a great way to find out more about UWCSEA and the unique characteristics of each campus. Each tour is guided by our experienced admission officers who will be able to answer any questions you may have. We visit the classrooms and see students in action and tailor the visit to the age group and interests of the family.

Because the school is best viewed with students in it, we try not to run tours during the holiday period, although we understand your schedule may not permit you to come at another time.

How far in advance should I apply?

We operate an annual application cycle with applications opening one year ahead of each new academic year. It is not a first-come first-served system; all applicants who meet our entrance criteria (and so are ‘eligible’) are placed in the application ‘pool’ to be considered for available places in the upcoming academic year. 

You can sign up on our ‘register of interest’ if you are interested in applying in future, and we will email you when applications open.

How old is the school?

Dover Campus opened in the St John’s Army School premises in 1971 and the East Campus opened in 2008. Extensive modern facilities are a feature of both campuses.

How many students do you have?

Over 5,500 students on two campuses are organised into eight different schools, each with their own support structure to ensure our students receive an individualised education. Students are in classes of up to 22 in Primary and Middle School, with an average class size of 16 in the IB Diploma.

What assessments are required to enrol?

We assess each application on more than academics, looking at the holistic profile of each applicant and how they will contribute to the diversity of our community.

What facilities do you offer? E.g. sports, music, arts.

Extensive modern facilities are a feature of both campuses.

Can you give me a breakdown of where your students come from? (nationality)

We don’t have a flag above our door, and our mission is grounded in inter-cultural understanding. As a result, we have over 100 nationalities enrolled, with no one nationality group making up more than 20% of our roll. A breakdown is available on our website.

What curriculum do you follow?

UWCSEA is an IB World School, offering the IB Diploma Programme in Grades 11 and 12. Our K–12 academic curriculum is shaped by our mission and educational goal and guided by the UWCSEA profile and learning principles. Learning goals in languages, mathematics, sciences, the arts, humanities, technology and physical education build logically through each grade, preparing students for the next academic challenge.

Our curriculum was developed following extensive research examining best educational practice across the world, and our educational leaders continue to refine our unique curriculum across all five elements – academics, activities, outdoor education, personal and social education and service.

UWCSEA Dover has been authorised to offer the IB Diploma since 1977 and UWCSEA East since 2012. Both campuses offer the (I)GCSE as preparation for the IB Diploma.

How do you teach reading?

We have implemented the Reading and Writing Workshop from Columbia University throughout the Primary School and extended the programme into the Middle School with great success.

How have your pupils performed in examinations in recent years?

The 572 students in the Class of 2017 achieved an average IB point score of 37.7 and a 98.4% pass rate.

What links do you have with other schools?

UWC South East Asia is a member of the UWC movement – a global collective of 15 schools and colleges who share a common mission. We share a strong commitment to the educational principles of Kurt Hahn, the German educationalist who founded the movement, as well as to Round Square, Outward Bound and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Do you offer expeditions and school camps?

Our Outdoor Education Programme is one of the five key elements in our learning programme and students from Grade 1 to Grade 11 all participate in these grade-level trips each year as part of the curriculum. Our location in Singapore provides a unique opportunity to explore Southeast Asia – last year our students travelled to 22 different countries as part of our expedition programme.

How are pupils with English as an additional language supported?

We welcome and support EAL learners from Kindergarten all the way to Grade 11 when they enter the IB Diploma. We offer classes for EAL from Grade 2.

Is a ‘second language’ a part of the programme?

Yes, almost all students study a second language. This is usually a language other than English (such as Chinese, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, German, Indonesian, Hindi, Russian, German), although some students receive EAL support as English is their second (or third, or fourth…) language.

What about mother tongue? Do you support it?

In the High School, we have a course called ‘school supported self taught language’ to provide for students who want to remain fluent in their mother tongue in order to study it at IB level or return home to university. We also have some after-school classes for native speakers of several languages, for example French, German, Japanese and Dutch.

How often are parents invited to parents’ evenings and workshops?

Often! Starting from orientation we invite parents into the school to learn more and be involved in their child’s schooling. The parent events provide an overview of the year, details on our expedition programme, support in delivery of the pastoral programme, as well as a wide range of specialist sessions on topics as varied as university choice, digital safety, reading and writing support and more.

How often do parents receive written reports?

Reports are provided twice a year, covering both academic progress and student engagement.

How important is music and the arts in your school?

These are embedded into the curriculum, with all Primary and Middle School students involved in music, visual and performing arts, and we also offer extensive opportunities as part of our after-school and lunchtime programme. Every year there are dedicated annual productions run via the activities programme, for example, for Junior, Middle, Grades 9 and 10 and IB Diploma students which include music, drama, dance and visual art.

What musical instruments can children learn at your school?

All students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 have weekly music lessons. In the Junior school all students have the opportunity to learn brass, woodwind and a stringed instrument (depending on the grade they are enrolled in) as well as receiving voice lessons. Our instrumental teaching programme, which also offers instrument hire, provides access to music lessons for all students from Grade 2 and above. Our musicians have numerous opportunities to perform each year, the pinnacle being the annual OPUS concert at Singapore’s Esplanade Theatre.

Do you offer the Duke of Edinburgh's Award?

In Singapore, these are called the National Youth Achievement Awards and from Grade 9 students can enrol directly into Silver Level as part of the Grade 9 Adventure expedition programme. We also offer an annual Gold Award trip for Grade 11 and 12 students.

Do students have the opportunity to participate in Model United Nations?

East Campus students host an annual MUN conference on campus and our students participate in several MUN conferences in Singapore and in The Hague.

What sort of extra-curricular activities does the school provide?

We have extensive activity offerings after school which include sports and fitness, special interests and clubs, music, visual and performing arts, leadership, service, academic support and enrichment. Over 2,200 different activities are offered over the two campuses each year.

Do you have a swimming pool on site?

Both campuses have a learn-to-swim and a 50m swimming pool on site, with successful swim teams as well as development and learn-to-swim programmes.

Is there a school bus service?

Yes, a door-to-door service is operated by Yeap Transport, a contractor-provider who arranges services to most parts of the island. Singapore also has an exceptionally efficient public transport network.

Do you have a cafeteria and what are your range of food options?

We have several food outlets on each campus. The Indian counter, with its fresh naan bread, and the soup stall are just two examples. Our canteen provider, Sodexo, offers a wide range of fresh-cooked food on campus each day. East Campus catering is Halal.

All images: UWCSEA

To view the Winter's profiles for UWCSEA, please go to the following links:

UWCSEA East Campus

UWCSEA Dover Campus 

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