Got sports talent? Check out Singapore Sports School


THE world watched in amazement as American swimmer Michael Phelps scooped up a record eight gold medals at the BeijingSS_6_Phelps.jpg Summer Olympic Games in 2008. Many who followed this phenomenal swimmer's races would have read about how his mother had got a young Michael swimming to work off his excess energy, especially since he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Closer to home, Singapore swimmer Tao Li made an impressive showing too. But behind those glorious wins is a very structured life that is demanding and requires a specialised programme.

SS_1.jpgThe Singapore Sports School (SSS) provides just the kind of environment aspiring sports stars need. The school boasts over 360 sports athletes who not only have the chance to pursue their sporting ambitions intensively - they also get an education while at it.

Some frequently asked questions (FAQs)


FAQ 1:  What sports are offered by Sports School?

At present, the Sports School focuses on eight core sports: track and field, badminton, bowling, soccer, netball, sailing, swimming and table tennis. The school also has a golf-training programme which is run by the Singapore Golf Association. At present, the SSS also offer other sports that include wakeboarding, gymnastics, triathlon, silat, shooting and fencing.

FAQ 2:  What if my child wishes to take up other sports apart from these?

The school also admits talented individual students from other sports on a case-by-case basis. In such instances, the school will provide a flexible academic programme for these students while the respective National Sports Associations will look after the/SS_8_Usain_clear.jpg students' training.

FAQ 3:   What is the academic curriculum like?

The academic programme is based on the educational objectives set out by the Ministry of Education and prepares the students to sit for the GCE 'O' Level examinations in either four or five years. Students can take up to nine subjects in the Upper Secondary levels, depending on their sports schedule and academic ability.

FAQ 4:   Is the term the same as mainstream schools?

The Sports School terms differ slightly from that of mainstream schools. It follows a modular system, with each module lasting five weeks. There is a common period four times each year where the holiday overlaps with that of mainstream schools (with 10-week terms). This allows families with children in both schools to have a common vacation.

FAQ 5:   Can my child return to a mainstream school if he/she opts out?

Yes, the child will be able to do so. The Ministry of Education assures parents that a place will be available in the mainstream school, which your child was posted to after Primary 6 Leaving Examinations (PSLE).

FAQ 6:   What post-secondary options does my child have?

There are a number of options available to students at Secondary 4:

Option 1 - 'A' levels

Students who wish to pursue their 'A' levels after Secondary 4 must sit for their 'O' levels at the end of Secondary 4.

Option 2 - Local Polytechnic / University Through-Train Pathway

The Sports School has a partnership with Republic Polytechnic (RP) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Students need not need sit for the 'O' levels and 'A' levels to qualify for entry into RP and eventual admission into NTU. Instead, RP will accept Sports School students based on the School's recommendations and academic performance. RP, which offers a sports diploma, will also conduct an entrance English Proficiency Test and a Life-Skills Interview.

Option 3 - Foreign University Through-Train Pathway

The Sports School also has tie-ups with two foreign universities, Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC), which have strong traditions in sports excellence. Students who wish to embark on this foreign university pathway can enrol in a two-year AUT diploma programme in Exercise Science and Sports Management, which is conducted at the Sports School. Upon completion of this diploma, students can pursue a degree in sports science or other disciplines at AUT. Degree programmes in sports and other related disciplines are also offered at UWIC.

FAQ 7:   What will my child's routine be like?

SS_thumb2.jpgThe school sits on a sprawling seven-hectare campus, equipped with world-class sporting facilities. Students stay in school for five days a week. A typical day starts at 6 am. There will be two 2-hour training sessions each day, once in the early morning and the other in the late afternoon. Academic lessons will be conducted after breakfast. Since diet is closely linked to training, all meals are healthy (no fried or fatty food). Afternoon lessons continue after lunch. The students also get a 2-hour break to rest, catch up with remedial and friends. In the evening, the students do supervised study with teachers on duty. Students head home every Friday after their afternoon training and are back in school by 10pm on Sunday night.

FAQ 8:   How can my child enrol in the Sports School?

Your child must apply to take part in the school's selection trials. The school will post information on these selection trials on their website at least two months before they are held. The trials this year (2010) are held on 22 May which is SSS Open House Day.

FAQ 9:  What is the criterion for selecting the students?

SS_5.jpgAll students are selected based on their technical skills, fitness and potential for future development of their talent.SS_4.jpg They will also need to pass a written psychological test to assess their mental strength and aptitude. Finally, they will be interviewed by the School's senior management before being considered for admittance.

FAQ 10:   What is the age limit?

The school usually admits students between the ages of 12-15. Older students will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

FAQ 11:   Does the Sports School accept permanent residents and foreigners?

Foreign students who are talented in sports can apply to join the Sports School. They have to submit an application form accompanied with relevant documents stating their competitive achievements and experience in sports.


Other questions?

You may also email If you think your child is prepared to take on academic challenges while pursuing their passion and gift in sports, head down to SSS for a selection trial. Who knows, a sporting star may be waiting to be born!


Fast Facts on Singapore Sports School

SS_thumb.jpgSingapore Sports School's sports athletes have been trail blazing the sports scene since the early days with their first hit at breaking a national record at the National Junior Championships 2004. Since then, they have broken:

  • 11 National Records
  • 29 National Age-Group Records
  • 12 National Schools Records
  • 21 School Championship Records, and the
  • Under 17 Triple Jump record at Birmingham Indoor Games 2006.

The school has also produced some of Singapore's top athletes who have represented Singapore at the international sports arena and won top accolades. Of course to date, the recent Olympics saw 18-year-old Tao Li finish fifth in the women's 100-metre butterfly finals. Besides this proud standing in the Olympics, there are also three World Champions, two Asian Gold Medalists, one Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, two SEA Games Gold Medalists, one World Youth Champion, three Asian Youth Champions and two National Champions. 

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