Understanding primary one registration when buying a home in 2022

I’m sure many people will agree with the saying “I wished there was an instruction manual that came along with the baby.” As we begin our new journey into this new phase of our lives, we will encounter many challenges and will definitely have many doubts and questions along the way. One of the biggest questions is the relationship between Primary One Registration with the proximity to your home.

In a nutshell, the whole registration exercise has 3 variables namely, Phase category, distance to school, and nationality of the child.


Before jumping in, let us first understand what are the phases in the registration process. Phases are not stages of the registration process, let’s just say that they are just a way to categorise how the child’s parent affiliation with the primary school. These phases have different dates for registration and results of registration.

Different phases of Primary One Registration.


This phase is for applicants who currently have a sibling studying in the school that they are applying to enter. There is no need to consider proximity to their residential address during this scheme. All applicants are guaranteed places in the school.

Before we look at the other phases, it is important for you to know that Phase 1 will be given the top-most priority for all available vacancies in every school. Balance available vacancies are then subjected to the following phases in the order of Phase 2A(1), Phase 2A(2), Phase 2B, Phase 2C, Phase 2C(S), and finally Phase 3.


In 2021, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has combined Phase 2A(1) and 2A(2) into a single Phase 2A. In Phase 2A, the parent of the child applying under this phase will need to be a former student and also an alumni member of the school. From the history of the previous Primary One registrations, the parent must join the alumni no later than 30 June a year before the registration.

Alternatively, if the parent is a member of the School Advisory or Management Committee, their child can apply under Phase 2.

The parent of the child must be a former student or a staff member in the primary school to be able to qualify under this phase. Children with siblings that had graduated from primary school are also eligible for this Phase.

On Nov 27, 2017, there was an announcement to include children from kindergartens that share the same compound with primary schools to be given priority over Phase 2B when applying for that primary school.


A parent can join the primary school of choice as a parent volunteer. From previous Primary One registration exercises, the parent must join as a volunteer no later than 1 July a year before registration and also have committed at least 40 hours of voluntary service to the school by 30 June of the year of registration.

Primary schools that are directly connected to churches or clans can get endorsements to apply under Phase 2B as well.

Endorsed active community leaders may apply their child under this phase as well


Children with parents who have no affiliation with the school of choice will fall under Phase 2C or Phase 2C(S). The number of places reserved for Phase 2C was increased from 20 to 40 in each primary school when MOE made the announcement in 2021.


As stated in MOE website, if there are more applicants than vacancies available during Primary One registration exercise, one of the considerations for admission will be based on the applicant’s home to school distance in the following order:

  1. Singapore Citizens (SC) living within 1km of the school.
  2. SCs living between 1km and 2km of the school.
  3. SCs living outside 2km of the school.
  4. Permanent Residents (PR) living within 1km of the school.
  5. PRs living between 1km and 2km of the school.
  6. PRs living outside 2km of the school.


In September 2021, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced changes in the way it calculates the 1km distance from the Primary School. Under the old system, the distance is calculated based on the radius from a single point from within the Primary School.

1km to Primary School
From the 2022 Primary 1 Registration Exercise, the distance will be calculated using the shortest distance from a point on the boundary around the school to the applicant’s home. PHOTO: MOE.GOV.SG

The new way of calculating home-school distance will be based on the shortest possible distance between home to the boundary of the Primary School. The latest changes will increase more homes within the 1km radius of Primary Schools.


In every Primary One registration exercise, priority given to Singaporean Citizen child followed by Singapore Permanent Residents and finally to foreigners.


Remember I mentioned in the beginning that Primary One registration is an exercise with 3 variables? Let us put together different scenarios so that you can better understand how the proximity of your home to the school affects your chances.

Every primary school will have 40 places reserved for applicants of Phase 2B and Phase 2C (20 each) to ensure applicants in these 2 phases have a chance to enrol in the school. A simple example will be if a primary school has 100 places in their school, 40 places will be reserved for Phase 2B and Phase 2C (20 each) while the balance 60 is open to the other phases. Any balance places from Phase 2A(2) will be split equally with Phase 2B and Phase 2C.

During the Primary One registration, Phases will be the first consideration in the allocation of places for applicants. In the event that any of the Phases are over-subscribed, first priority will be given to Singapore Citizens. At this stage, if there are still over-subscription, the proximity from home to school will be considered. Balloting will be required if there are more applicants than places at different proximity stages if required.

The same order will be given to Singapore Permanent Resident if there are still available places from the earlier Phases. Let us have a look at the scenarios below with numbers for easy referencing only, it does not represent the real number of vacancies in the primary schools.


Primary School vacancies: 160
Phase 1: 60 SC applicants
Phase 2A(1): 30 SC applicants
Phase 2A(2): 30 SC applicants
Phase 2B: 20 SC applicants
Phase 2C: 20 SC applicants

In this Primary One registration exercise, everyone gets a place in the primary school. Phase 1 applicants took up 60 places leaving 100 places for balance Phases and they are perfectly taken up. There is no need for consideration of proximity from home to school or balloting.


Primary School vacancies: 160
Phase 1: 100 SC applicants
Phase 2A(1): 40 SC applicants (30 are within 1km and 10 more than 1km from primary school)
Phase 2A(2): 40 SC applicants
Phase 2B: 30 SC applicants
Phase 2C: 40 SC applicants

The balance places of 20 will be contested in all other Phases in this Primary One registration exercise, after deducting 40 places reserved for Phase 2B and Phase 2C.

The balance places of 20 will be contested in all other Phases in this Primary One registration exercise, after deducting 40 places reserved for Phase 2B and Phase 2C.

In Phase 2A(1), there will be 40 applicants vying for the coveted 20 places. Applicants who are within 1km to the school will be considered first. The 30 applicants who are within 1km to the school will then be balloted to see who gets the 20 places. The other 10 who are outside 1km will be deemed unsuccessful. There will be no places left for Phase 2A(2).

Looking at Phase 2B and Phase 2C, only 20 places each (allocated) are available to the 30 and 40 applicants respectively. Similarly, they will go through the same process of citizenship, proximity from home to school, and finally balloting stages.

Unsuccessful applicants in any level of the Primary One registration can apply for the next phase that the child is eligible for.


A myth to debunk here is that buying a home within 1km to school will NOT guarantee you a place in the school, it merely boosts your chances when it comes to over-subscription in whichever Phase you are using for your application.


If you are buying a resale private property near to the school, during Primary One registration you will need to email the school documental proof of the purchase. You will need to provide the Option to Purchase (OTP) and the Buyer’s Stamp Duty Certificate of the property.

You may log in to HDB Resale Portal to print out the status of your HDB flat if you have just bought the HDB flat that is near to the school.

** It is important to take note that you must reside in the resale property from 2 January of the admission year for at least 30 months from 1 July of the application year. If you are buying a tenanted private property, you must ensure that you are able to move into the property by 2 January of the admission year.


A simple rule of thumb, the new development that you are purchasing MUST officially obtain Temporary Occupation Permit (T.O.P.) within the 2 years of your child’s primary 1 admission. For example, the Primary One registration 2020 for the admission year 2021. The new development MUST T.O.P. by 31 December 2022 which coincidentally is also the end of your child’s primary 2 school term. The same timeline applies to the purchase of BTO HDB flats.

You will be required to email the school the Sales and Purchase Agreement (S&P) or print out from New Flat in My HDBPage.

By now you should be able to understand the general process of the Primary One registration exercise and how different variables such as Phases, Nationality, and Proximity from home to school affect your chances. You may visit various parent forums for a more in-depth understanding of previous registration exercises. Buying a property within 1km to the primary school is not a sure-fire method to get into the primary school but a booster if there are over-subscription among Singapore Citizens in the respective Phase you are applying under.

You may speak to me if you need more information about buying a property near your chosen primary school. I wish you all the best in your Primary One registration and may you be enrolled in your primary school of choice.

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