Having a child enter the Integrated Programme in secondary school is good news, but for many parents who studied during a time when IP had not yet existed, it comes with a lot of uncertainty. For example, what’s the best way to support your child in their studies? Would you be able to find resources (e.g. assessment books and tutors) to help them?
The Integrated Programme in Singapore
IP began in 2004 in Dunman High School, Chinese High School (now Hwa Chong Institution), Nanyang Girls’ High School, Raffles Girls’ School, Raffles Institution, and River Valley High School. In the programme, students would not need to take the O Levels, and instead will proceed straight to the affiliated Junior College (JC) to study for the A Levels in the 6th year of the IP.
The programme is targeted at top-performing students based on their PSLE results. Due to the removal of one major exam from the curriculum, the programme allows for more time for enrichment activities, such as varied learning experiences in class, co-curricular activities, as well as talent development programmes.
However, IP marks a deviation from the standard O Level curriculum that most people in Singapore are used to. As such, parents with kids in the IP may not know what to expect from the programme, and may not understand what their child is going through. We have touched upon the differences between IP and O Level in another blog post, which parents of a newly-minted IP student may find helpful.
As for this article, we would like to offer our best suggestions and recommendations for parents on what they can do to support their child in the IP, keeping in mind the different challenges and learning environment they face.
Embrace holistic learning
The entire premise of the IP is to avail time and opportunities for students to explore different interests and activities in school, without having to study for the O Levels. Apart from talent programmes, overseas immersion trips, and more, do expect that students in IP schools will be assigned very different kinds of homework and projects, apart from just worksheets and quizzes.
If you focus only on the examinable portions, you’ll find that a lot of the things they do in IP seem ‘useless’. But if you think of them as holistic learning, everything can be a valuable learning experience!
For example, presentations and panel discussions in class will do good in honing their public speaking skills, while CCA and other programmes can nurture their passions in a broad array of areas, as well as develop leadership skills.
As a parent, you should be encouraging your child to view all these activities as useful in some way or another. The worst thing you can do is to instigate a feeling of being jaded or pessimistic, which will erode their motivation quickly and cause them to be bitter.
On this note, it is also recommended to allow your child to pursue what they are really interested in. The IP curriculum is demanding, after all, and you want them to be selective about what they put on their plates.
Find them suitable academic help
Due to the expectation that IP students are already the cream of the crop in terms of academics, most IP school teachers don’t do ‘hand-holding’ for their students. The pace of teaching is usually faster, and they usually cover deeper or more topics as compared to the O Level syllabus.
Hence, it is important to recognise when your child needs extra academic help, and help them source for appropriate tutoring assistance. Beware – not all tutors are equipped to teach the IP syllabus due to its differences from the mainstream syllabus.
One way to find reliable tutors is to filter through tutors from top tuition centres in Singapore who have gone through the IP syllabus themselves, or those who have a strong track record of teaching IP students. For example, our Future Academy team comprises expert IP tutors in Singapore, like IP Math tuition teachers who have teaching experience in established IP schools like Hwa Chong Institution, Nanyang Girl’s High School, Raffles Girls’ School, and Raffles Institution. As such, they are familiar with the syllabus and demands of the IP curriculum, and are in the best position to help students go through the IP system.
Below are some parent testimonials and student achievements from our IP classes recently: