HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 2)

WARNING: This post requires high amount of bandwidth! Wi-Fi connection advised.

Hello again, everyone!

This post has come earlier than planned because of the recent news about the merger of 8 secondary schools. It’s pretty sad as some of these schools were once a merging party not long ago, and now they have to face it again. Since there are many more schools that I did not cover previously, I thought I should do a follow-up post to try and include as many defunct schools as possible including the 8 latest victims.

In my previous entry, I mentioned some causes that could have led to the closure of most schools (e.g. population shift, ageing facilities etc.) but I failed to mention one crucial point. Remember the post World-War II baby boom during the late 1940s to 1950s? The sudden increase in population called for more schools to be built then (which makes sense, considering that most of these closed schools were built in the late 1950s-60s when most of the children were ready to be schooled) and some even had insufficient vacancies. Then came the 1970s-1980 when the Stop at Two programme was introduced to control the population growth in Singapore. The programme pushed for small nuclear families and penalised couples for having more than three children (no priority given in school registration to third and subsequent kids of parents who had not been sterilised before the age of 40). As the existing children got older, the number of schooling kids in the estate reduced (since no one dared to procreate anymore). Thus, the enrolment in most neighbourhood (or “estate”) schools started declining which subsequently forced them to close.

Therefore it was very common for students to keep changing schools as a result of school closures in the past, so don’t be taken aback by people who have attended numerous schools back then. They simply had no choice!

Check out PART 1, PART 3 and PART 4 if you haven’t!

Anyway, back to my topic on defunct schools. Here is the continued list in no particular order again (I try my best to rearrange them according to districts):

* * *

Monk’s Hill Secondary School (Newton)

Merged into Balestier Hill Secondary School in 2007

The school’s history began in 1958 on a plot of land that was once the site of a Chinese monastery, hence the name ‘Monk’s Hill’. It became an integrated school in 1961, offering both English- and Malay-medium education to its intake of pupils but both mediums were merge in 1976. From then on, it has established itself as an English-medium school. It became a single-session school when it shifted to its new premises at 12 Winstedt Road in 1993.

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Sec4-3 of 1991

Sec4-3 of 1991

In 1960, Monk’s Hill presented its first batch of candidates for the national School Certificate Examination. In 1964, the school song was composed and it held its first Speech and Prize-Presentation Day in 1967.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Newton Boys’ School (Newton)

Merged into Monk’s Hill Primary School in 1978

Newton Boys’ was established in 1956, right next to Monk’s Hill Primary School. It was one of the schools in Cairnhill-Newton area that was hit by declining enrolment. Due to its inability to sustain economically, it ceased operations 21 years after its opening. While students could still utilise Newton Boys’ premises, they were to be under the charge of Monk’s Hill Primary School.

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No further information can be found. I did come across “Winstedt School” (also in the vicinity but closed in 1973) while trying to gather more information about Newton Boys’ but I am not certain if these two schools were in any way related.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Monk’s Hill Primary School (Newton)

Closed after 1986 (exact year unknown)

Like Newton Boys’, Monk’s Hill Primary started out as an all-boys school. Monk’s Hill Primary and Newton Boys’ were relatively near to each other and students from both schools would come together to play the “Police and Thief” game. Otherwise, they (the boys in particular) would be “fighting” over girls from neighbouring Anthony Road Girls’ School.

The school’s year of establishment is not known, but it could have been around since 1950.

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Monk’s Hill Primary merged with Newton Boys’ School in 1978 and operated out of the latter’s campus. One block of its building was converted into a language centre for secondary and junior college students taking French, German and Japanese under a special Education Ministry scheme. Prior to that, it was used by the Vocational and Industrial Training Board.

In 1957, Hua Yi Secondary School moved to Monk’s Hill Primary’s building (probably shared) and only stayed there for a year before shifting again to its very own building at Margaret Drive.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Cairnhill Primary School (Newton)

Closed in 1980

Started as an all-girls school in 1958 (verification needed) at the present site of Raffles Girls’ Secondary School today, it shifted to Cairnhill Road a year later and possibly at the same time became co-ed. (History quoted from Hamida Pagi)

Following a steady decline in its enrolment, the Ministry of Education then decided to phase out the school by the end of 1980. Its students were given alternative places in nearby schools such as Monk’s Hill Primary and Anthony Road Girls’ School which were also plagued by poor enrolment. Both said schools are no longer existent today.

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1960

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After Cairnhill was demolished, Anglo Chinese School (Junior) took over its site for about two decades before finally shifting to its present location at Windstedt Road. The site at Cairnhill Road is now occupied by Ministry of Education Language Centre (Newton). The facade of Cairnhill Primary can still be seen today.

Local actor Adrian Pang, comedian Kumar and singer Rahima Rahim attended Cairnhill Primary School. Wow, if Rangoon Road Primary (mentioned in PART 1) was a school that groomed a generation of politicians, then Cairnhill Primary definitely was one that groomed a troupe of performers!!

Source: [1] [2]


Elling North School
Elling South School (Bartley)

Merged in 1985 to form Elling Primary School (verification needed)
Closed in 1996

Elling North School started functioning as a boys’ school in 1958 until 1960. It was renamed to Elling North Primary School in 1979 when it became a fully English-medium school. The school buildings were later converted into JAMIYAH Children’s Home (Darul Ma’wa) in 1993.

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Elling North School

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Elling Primary School – Batch 1991-1996

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Elling South School – Class of 1981

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Elling South School – Class P5B of 1981

No further information can be found for Elling South and the amalgamated school except for the fact that Singapore’s first female commercial pilot Teo Ah Hong was from Elling South School.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Maju Secondary School (Dakota)

Merged into Broadrick Secondary School in 1996

The school was established in 1968. According to a Malay teacher there, female Maju students (or “Majuans”, as they called themselves) were allowed to wear uniform in either baju kurung or blouse. Some of the Chinese students followed suit and wore baju kurung. Not sure how true that is because all the class photos I found on Maju Sec’s Facebook page had no female students in baju kurung.

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Class Sec4-5 of 1985

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Courtyard

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1995

Correct me if I’m wrong (I can’t find any supporting references), but the school gives me an impression that it was a Malay-populated school. So could it be one of the few Malay-medium schools in the early days of Singapore’s independence?

Maju Secondary was also one of the few French centres set up in 1978 to allow students to take up French as their second or third language. The centre was closed in 1983.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


Mount Vernon Secondary School (Potong Pasir/MacPherson)

Closed in 1990/1991 (verification needed)

The school was opened in 1969 but was never known to produce excellent academic results until one of its deaf pupils appeared on the news for topping the two Secondary 5 classes for GCE “O” level in 1986. Having received extra coaching from a resource teacher who could do signs and lip reading, Mount Vernon was one of the few normal schools then that accepted handicapped (or in this case, mute-deaf) students. They had as many as 50 students with such disabilities in 1986.

The school was also the first and only one then to represent Singapore in a United Nations’ peace project.

To join Mount Vernon Secondary’s Alumni Facebook page (closed group), click here.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Sang Nila Utama Secondary School (Aljunied)

Closed in 1988

The school was the first Malay-medium secondary school established in Singapore and the third secondary school built after Singapore achieved self-government in 1959. Named after Sang Nila Utama, the Prince of Palembang who was believed to be the founder of Singapura, it was officially opened in 1961. The opening of the secondary school was seen as the most significant milestone in the development of Malay education in Singapore since the establishment of the first Malay primary school at Telok Blangah in 1856.

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1978

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Following the Ministry of Education’s decision to phase out all non-English-medium pre-university centres by 1981, Sang Nila Utama Secondary School stopped accepting pre-university students at the beginning of 1979. The existing pre-university Malay stream classes were transferred to Bartley Secondary School. The school intake of Malay-stream secondary classes also suffered a decline over the years. By 1984, only two classes remained, with an enrolment of 37 students. The school building served as temporary accommodation for the nearby Cedar Girls’ Secondary School when the latter’s school building was undergoing renovation. The building currently houses the Gurkha Contingent.

(History lifted from NLB)

Source: [1]


Kallang Primary School (Mountbatten)

Closed/Merged into Guillemard West Primary School in 1987 (verification needed)

Founded in the 1960s, the school was formerly known as Kallang Integrated Primary School – a merged school between Kallang Government Chinese Primary School and Kallang English School.

Receipt for school fees payment

Receipt for school fees payment. All schools had it.

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It had a very remarkable principal (Mrs Molly Chan, transferred to Swiss Cottage Primary in 1983) who pioneered the Care, Save and Share programme “to save many innocent children from going astray”. You can read snippets of her interview here. Principals like her who tries to build rapport with staff and students are hard to come by these days..

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Beng Wan Primary School (Kallang)

Merged into Bendemeer Primary School in 2004

The school (秉文小学) started functioning in 1977 with pupils from Griffiths Primary, Beatty Primary, Balestier Boys’ School, Balestier Girls’ School, Balestier Primary and Kwong Avenue schools. At the same year, Bendemeer Secondary functioned at Beng Wan’s building for three months before it shifted to its new building. Beng Wan Primary was also where the first Hindi classes (organised by the Pro-Tem Hindi Committee to look into the study of Hindi in Singapore) were conducted.

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Aerial view in 1978

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The most-feared person in schools.. (except for me. I loved visiting the dentist. Always wished that my milk teeth would be shaky so that I could visit the school dentist LOL I’m hella weird)

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Morning assembly in the 1970s

The main Beng Wan Primary Facebook page is locked so I am unable to retrieve information from there. To join, click here.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Jaya Primary School (Bedok)

Closed in 1998

Opened in 1984 when a growing emphasis was placed upon the use of English, Jaya Primary was as an English-medium school which offered Chinese, Malay and Tamil languages just like any other schools today. However even before the school was officially opened, there were feedback about the inconvenience of the school for it was located near light industries and away from the major portion of the residential area. There were also no direct bus service to the school. Could all these be the reasons for its closure?

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Anyway, it’s quite common for primary schools in the past to have a mini “zoo” within the school compound. For Jaya, they had 2 geese named Ganda and Gandi which were, according to some ex-students, killed by some thieves who broke into the school.

Sadly, the school had a really short history. Its remaining students were received by East Coast Primary School when it closed.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Bedok North Primary School (Bedok)

Merged into East Coast Primary School in 2001

One of the many primary schools in Bedok (quite evident from this post and the last), this school was established in 1980 and was the first of the new generation schools to be built in Bedok North HDB estate. It however received poor enrolment even when registration first started, probably due to the excessive number of new schools (way too many if you ask me) built in the same area at the same time and stiff competition from other popular schools. Like Jaya Primary, it was pretty short-lived and was also absorbed by East Coast Primary upon its closure.

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Source: [1] [2] [3]


Bedok Town Primary School (Bedok)

Merged into Telok Kurau Primary School in 2001

The small school started in 1982. 19 years later, it got merged with Telok Kuraru Primary. The land that used to sit Bedok Town Primary is now an open field. Right beside that plot of land is Bedok Town Secondary, also closing by the end of 2015.

Source: [1] [2]


Bedok South Primary School
Bedok View Primary School (Bedok)

Merged in 2002 to form Bedok Green Primary School

Officially opened in 1981 (but started accepting students in 1980), Bedok South was the second (newer?) primary school built in Bedok. The school was recognised for its exemplary performance in sports – soccer in particular – as it won in an inter-school soccer match against schools from all over Singapore in the 1980s. One of their players was Nordin Khalil, who got selected to play in the national soccer team.

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Bedok South Primary School

Bedok View was opened in 1977 and was joined by students from Pin Ghee High School at Chai Chee, and Bedok Primary when both schools closed in 1976 and 1996 respectively. It shifted from the junction of New Upper Changi Road and Bedok South Avenue 3 (now Katong School run by Association for Persons with Special Needs since 2007) to Bedok South Avenue 2.

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Bedok View Primary School

Local actress Priscelia Chan attended Bedok View Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Fun fact: Including schools that were closed previously, there are more than 20 schools bearing the name “Bedok”. They include Bedok North Primary, Bedok North Secondary, Bedok Primary, Bedok South Primary, Bedok South Secondary, Bedok Town Primary, Bedok Town Secondary, Bedok View Primary, Bedok View Secondary, Bedok West Primary, Bedok Girls’ School and Bedok Boys’ School. All of these schools experienced receiving letters and calls addressed to other schools at least once. Well, you can’t really blame the postman. Being someone who rarely travels to the east, I am genuinely confused either. [Source]


Min Xin Primary School (Bedok)

Merged into Yu Neng Primary School in 2003

Located next to Yu Neng Primary (which made merging so convenient), Min Xin was started in early 1960’s by a group of Chinese businessmen to promote Chinese education in Singapore. It was originally at Jalan Bumbun Utara (also in Bedok) and called Bin Sin Chinese School. In 1982, the school was taken over by the Government and the medium language was converted to English. It was also renamed to Min Xin Primary and relocated to Bedok North Street 3.

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Then

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Now (it should be gone by now)

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The school exterior

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Min Xin Primary, I believe, is one of those schools that people can hardly remember today. This is not surprising considering that when you try Googling its name, “Xinmin Primary” shows up in the results instead. No, they are not affiliated to each other.

Today its premises are occupied by the Rumah Kebajikan Muhammadiyah (RKM) or Muhammadiyah Welfare Home for the youth and children.

(History quoted from ex-student Mohamed Ridhwan)

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Ping Yi Primary School (Bedok)

Merged into Fengshan Primary School in 2001

Did you know that prior to the construction of Ping Yi Primary (unable to find when), that land was dedicated to a cemetery? I know, everyone says something similar about their schools and there’s indeed no concrete evidence to this hearsay, but there are quite a number of spooky stories about Ping Yi Primary floating around on the net. So whether you believe it or not, it’s up to you. 😀

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Old map that shows the location of Ping Yi Primary

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The merged school is now functioning at the new school built at Bedok North Rd (former Ping Yi Primary Site). Part of the Ping Yi’s building has also been demolished and converted into Fengshan’s school field.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Telok Kurau Malay Girls’ School
Telok Kurau West School (Bedok)

Merged in 1983 to form Telok Kurau West Primary School
Merged with Telok Kurau East School in 1985 to form Telok Kurau Primary School
Merged with Bedok Town Primary School in 2001 to form Telok Kurau Primary School

As you can see, the Telok Kurau Primary we have today is actually an amalgamation of several schools – Telok Kurau Malay Girls (formed 1960), Telok Kurau West (formed 1692), Telok Kurau English School (formed 1926, later renamed to Telok Kurau East School in 1962) and lastly, Bedok Town Primary schools (read history above).  Our Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was an ex-student of Telok Kurau English School – a fact that the school today boasts about. A lot.

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Telok Kurau East School

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Telok Kurau East School

Telok Kurau Malay Girls’, as the name suggests, is a Malay medium primary school. On the other hand, Telok Kurau West and English schools had their lessons conducted mainly in English and they only admitted boys until the former changed its name and both schools merged.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Woodsville Primary School (Geylang)

Merged into MacPherson Primary School in 2002

The school was officially opened in 1979 at the junction of Jalan Kolam Ayer and Aljunied Road (near to housing estates but it was very congested) and was the second school to be opened that year.

In 1987, the school adopted an unusual programme to instill a sense of responsibility among its students, and foster goodwill among the teachers. This programme included a free-wheeling book system where students could pick up books and keep them for as long as they wanted without having to step into the library and going through any formal lending procedures. On top of that, (now here’s the interesting part) teachers were encouraged to “adopt” students from broken families by giving them pocket money, buying them books or supplying them uniforms. According to the principal, the scheme worked but whoa, if it were to be devised today, I’m pretty sure it would backfire. Haha.

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During the same period, the school also had a discipline master (Mr Clifford Oliveiro) who was also an accomplished musician. Every week when teachers were having contact time, the students had to read their storybooks until the meeting ended. To save the entire school from boredom, Mr Oliveiro would go on stage with his guitar and strum to a variety of songs (e.g. El Condor Pasa, Those Were The Days) that got the whole school singing. The school’s winning of their first SYF Gold Award was probably attributed to the frequent singing “practices” the students had.

(While writing this portion of text, I had the sudden urge to listen to songs by Simon and Garfunkel (I’m an oldie junkie, remember?). If you’re feeling the same, you can listen to them on Spotify hehe)

What an incredibly cool school!!

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Woodsville Secondary School (Geylang)

Merged into MacPherson Secondary School in 2004

A quick search on the school’s name online would reveal that the school (formed in 1977) was pretty adroit at sports. It had a swimmer (Sandy Ang) who created Singapore track history when he became the first schoolboy to smash the 22-second barrier in the 200-metre relay in 1984.  Even famous local blogger Bong Qiuqiu, also an old girl from Woodsville, was part of the school’s netball team. There are also reports of the school participating in various sports competition such as basketball, badminton and gymnastics.

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Sec 4-6 of 1983

Official Facebook page here.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Tanjong Rhu Boys’ School
Tanjong Rhu Girls’ School
Tanjong Rhu Primary School (Kallang)

Merged in 1984 to form Tanjong Rhu Primary School
Closed in 1989

Tanjong Rhu Boys’ was built in 1950 beside Tanjong Rhu Girls’, also formed in the same year. Boys would occasionally intrude into the girls’ side of the field, much to the displeasure of the staff from Tanjong Rhu Girls’.

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Tanjong Rhu Boys’ School

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Tanjong Rhu Girls’ School

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Tanjong Rhu Girls’ School

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Canteen shared by Tanjong Rhu Boys’ and Girls’

Tanjong Rhu Primary already existed before both single-sex schools merged. It was a Chinese-based school until its enrolment started falling and eventually drove the school to become integrated (by having both Chinese and English based curriculum). After the merger, the amalgamated school occupied the grounds of Tanjong Rhu Boys’ and Girls’ while the original Tanjong Rhu Primary building was leased out. The school had been demolished to make way for Dunman High School.

I won’t comment much on the history of these three schools as there are other sites that have done so. These authors had first-hand experience and me paraphrasing what they wrote would seem like I’m discrediting them and disrespecting the schools. So please, click here and here for more information 🙂 These schools also have an (combined) active Facebook group.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Norfolk Primary School (Farrer Park)

Closed in 1984

Norfolk Primary and Cambridge Primary sat side by side thus it was only economical to share the same field (which was also where the rivalry between both schools began). Norfolk’s year of establishment is not known.

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Flooding was a commonplace in the olden days of Singapore. Norfolk and Cambridge (below) were badly affected on several occasions.

When Norfolk shut its doors in 1984, students were conveniently transferred to Cambridge Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Cambridge Primary School (Farrer Park)

Closed in 1998

Cambridge Primary (est. 1963) and Norfolk Primary have similar history. There used to be a tidbit stall just opposite both schools and students usually flocked there to buy shaved ice. A room on the second level of Cambridge Primary was dedicated to caning students (that’s what one person said.. haha) while the most feared dental room was on the ground floor.  According to most people who studied there, there used to be a well-liked Eurasian principal called Mr Dragon who unfortunately passed away in the 1980s.

Cambridge was also one of the few schools in Singapore to have their school song entirely in Malay.

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Today, Cambridge Primary serves as dormitory. This is the main entrance.

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Where flag raising ceremony used to be held at

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The back gate

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The school field shared with Norfolk Primary.

In 1993, the school came first in an Art Olympiad. Beating 33 schools and 99 other pupils, the triumph brought much glory to the school. The event was even reported on a Chinese newspaper!

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Art Olympiad

The rest of its students joined May Primary School which is now known as Farrer Park Primary School. The site of Cambridge is now a foreign student dormitory.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Owen School (Farrer Park)

Closed in 1988

The school started in 1955. People who are aware of the 2 missing “McDonald’s” boys in 1986 would most probably know about this school as well, because those two boys studied there and disappeared before just their class commenced. Not a very glamorous thing to be remembered and known for, especially when the school was already on the brink of closure.

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Owen Primary’s tuckshop

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Owen School didn’t have a multi-purpose hall, so students had to sit on the grass field during assembly. When it poured, the playful ones would take the opportunity to catch earthworms and red ants on the field.

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The school was at the junction of Owen Road and Oxford Road. The ill-fated Hotel New World (collapsed in 1986) was just nearby along Owen Road.

Apart from the 2 missing Primary 6 boys, there were of course other famous alumni as well, the most well-known being Singapore Democratic Alliance Party’s Desmond Lim (you may remember him as the one who spoke at the SDA’s online rally last January).

Cambridge Primary absorbed the students of Owen Primary when the latter closed. The building of Owen School remained on the ground for decades until it was finally torn down in July this year. At one point it was converted into “Cambridge International Hostel”.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Dorset Primary School (Newton/Farrer Park)

Closed after 1980 (exact year unknown)

The last in the Farrer Park cluster of primary schools I’m going to talk about. While researching on this school, I found myself getting limited information for “Dorset Primary School” but a lot more when I removed the “Primary” from it. Dorset School, according to an article, was an all-boys school originally named Dorset Road School and established in 1954. But I actually read an ex-student’s account about it being a mixed school (plus all the Dorset Primary photos from NAS have girls in them)! Did Dorset start accepting female students along the way? I don’t know.

Anyway, there’s no reports about its official closure but it could be in 1981 when Catholic High took over the premises of Dorset School completely. Students from Dorset were given the option to transfer to CHS Primary or to other schools but I saw that a lot of Dorset kids went to Cambridge instead. Whatever it is, the facts for this school are a little contradictory so it would be good if more ex-students could come forward and verify the facts.

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The school was formed around the same time as Owen School. However, Dorset proved to be the more popular choice as it received more applicants than its vacancies. But the popularity obviously didn’t last.

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Tuckshop

Ang Mo Kio Primary housed its Primary 1 students at Dorset Primary School for the first three months of its opening in the late seventies while waiting for their own building to be completed.

Ex-students who are interested to join Dorset Primary’s Facebook group can request permission to do so here.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Parry Secondary School
Hwi Yoh Secondary School (Serangoon)

Merged in 1984 to form Peicai Secondary School

Parry Secondary was formed in 1966 and officially opened in 1968 (first batch in 1969) at Parry Avenue. The school uniform, considered “smart” at that time, comprised of a compulsory school tie where students had to pin the school badge on, a white shirt with light green skirt that had two inverted pleats in front complete with a belt made from the same cloth as the skirt. That’s for the girls, of course. For the boys, I’m not too sure, but pictures suggest that the white top could be paired with white shorts (no long pants – that’s only for prefects!).

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Parry Secondary School 1981

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Parry Secondary School 1981

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Parry Secondary School 1981

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Parry Secondary School 1981

It offered Normal and Technical subjects (students were allowed to choose between the two freely). The subjects offered in Normal stream were Geography, Literature, Maths, General Science, Biology, Chinese and Domestic Science (kind of like our present Home Economics). Domestic Science was offered as an “O” level subject. Technical subjects were purely related to carpentry working on machinery.

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Parry Secondary night view

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The school had an exhibition of creations made with paper and wood with Serangoon Garden Secondary in 1980, 3 years before its closure.

After it closed, Rosyth School moved to the site of Parry Secondary due to space constraints in its previous premises.

Hwi Yoh Secondary was completed in 1967 and it admitted its first students in 1968. It was the 103rd school built by the then-government and was judged the cleanest secondary school in the inter-school cleanliness competition in 1971. The school was a centralised workshop catering for students from nine schools due to its availability of facilities for the studies of technical and academic subjects in the English and Chinese medium.

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Hwi Yoh Secondary School 1971

Like Parry Secondary, Hwi Yoh actively participated in extramural activities.

In 1982 however, the school’s Principal Mrs Jillian Scully took her own life together with the rest of her family at their home. It was speculated that she, together with their two young children, was coerced by her husband Victor Scully, a swindler who was close to be arrested and jailed for the second time, to do so.

Both schools merged and Peicai Secondary was born, but how did the name Peicai come about? Apparently, Parry in Hanyu Pinyin was “Peili” while Hwi Yoh was “Xicai”. The new name was derived by fusing the head and the tail of the two names in Hanyu Pinyin. The merger, as expected, was a result of falling enrolment and population shifts to new town and these two schools were the only secondary schools that merged that year. Today, Peicai Secondary is located at Serangoon Avenue 4.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]


Charlton School (Kovan)

Merged into Xinghua Primary School in 2003

Charlton took in its first batch of students in 1954 and was temporarily housed at Serangoon English Afternoon School because its own building at Arazoo Avenue was not ready for occupation yet. The school was remembered by students to have a little gardening area where pupils could cultivate some flowers and plant some common vegetables. It was also there where students got to interact with one another from different classes.

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There is no Facebook group for Charlton except for this which has only 53 likes but the admin doesn’t really post much school-related stuff. Time to start reconnecting with your ex-schoolmates, Charltonians! What do you say? 🙂

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Parry Primary School (Kovan)

Merged into Xinghua Primary School in 2007

Among the primary schools in Kovan in the 1980s were Parry Avenue Boys’ School, Parry Avenue Girls’ School and Parry Ave Government Chinese Middle School (co-ed) which were set up in the mid-late 1950s. All three schools merged in 1981 to become the new Parry Primary School, using the blocks of the parent schools (thus had three canteens). They were labelled blocks A, B and C and were former Parry Avenue Boys’ School, Parry Avenue Girls’ School and Parry Chinese School respectively. Each block hosted different levels of classes – Block A housed the primary threes and sixes, Block B for the primary ones and twos and Block C for the primary fours and fives.

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Parry Primary’s oversized school field which was also shared with Rosyth School when latter took over Parry Secondary’s site until it shifted.

Think that you’ve seen the field before somewhere? Well, you had probably seen it on TV in the late 90’s/early 2000s (thanks Tammi!):

Blast to the past: check out 00:26 to 00:34 of Kit Chan’s Royal Umbrella commercial!

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The new Parry Primary became one of the first two primary schools in 1981 to go full day (meaning being lessons to function from 7.30am to 2.30pm or 3.00pm depending on the level and thereafter, students would proceed with their ECAs. Of course, homework was lessen and teaching became more laxed) but the programme wasn’t well-received and was eventually scrapped in 1983.

Students there wore blue uniform.

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Along Parry Avenue lay a Japanese cemetery, several private and abandoned houses. There were also factories nearby. The school building now is vacant. Previously it was used as a student hostel.

One of Parry’s ex-students is 97.2fm DJ Violet Fenying.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Jalan Kayu Primary School (Sengkang)

Closed in 1988

Most schools in the past were named after the street the building was built on (you should already be able to tell by now). Jalan Kayu Primary was no different. Built in 1955 and officially opened in 1958, it was named as such due to its locality. Jalan Kayu is Malay for “Wood Road” but colloquially, “Kayu” is used to describe someone stupid. Thus, Jalan Kayu Primary’s students often get teased.

… whenever I say I am from Jalan Kayu (Primary), people reply “Then you must be kayu (dimwitted).”

– 11 year-old Zhang Yijin who was the first student in the school to score 4 A stars in the 1987 PSLE

The school started with every class filled to capacity. Students generally were children of farmers shopkeepers, and technicians and labourers employed by the R.A.F. (Royal Air Force). The school first experienced a dip in enrolment in the early Seventies when people started moving out of the area to other satellite towns.

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Class of 1968

Jalan Kayu Primary (JKPS) has 2 conflicting years of cessation. According to the history of Ang Mo Kio Primary, they were joined by pupils and teachers from JKPS in 1978. However a 1989 article from The Straits Times indicated that the school was only closed in 1988. Not sure which to believe, but I’m sure a national newspaper is a more reliable source. The school is now submersed beneath the TPE (Tampines Expressway).

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Keppel School
Cantonment School (Tanjong Pagar)

Merged in 1984 to form Keppel Primary School
Closed in 1996

Keppel and Cantonment were established in 1954 and situated next to each other without a barrier separating them. Despite that, students were not allowed to cross over to other side. Prior to having their own buildings, students from both schools temporarily accommodated in Gan Eng Seng School.

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Primary 3A of 1980

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Keppel Primary School

The schools were named after the busy roads of Keppel and Cantonment. The noise of traffic using Cantonment Road was so loud that classes had to be conducted using microphone. The government even considered resitting both schools as their sites were uncondusive for learning.

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Students from Keppel Primary going on an excursion to an unknown place

The merged school had a very accomplished band having won several Gold awards. The school also used to conduct lessons at the nearby Yan Kit Swimming Complex. According to an old student, when news about the merger broke, both schools had a swimming competition to determine the name of the school. Cantonment School eventually won but they were kind enough to let Keppel keep its name. Interesting! But this arrangement looks too informal to be true. Can anyone confirm this? Haha.

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The old Cantonment School is not to be confused with the present Cantonment Primary School (established in 2011 at Cantonment Close). The merged school became offices for the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau until 2004. Now, the building is used by private businesses as offices.

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Our then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at Cantonment Primary for the Use Your Hands Campaign in 1978

By the end of 1996, Keppel Primary closed its doors and its remaining students joined Zhangde Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Labrador Primary School (Pasir Panjang)

Closed in 1988

Established in 1961 at Pasir Panjang Road, the four-storey school accommodated students of four streams – English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Most of the students seem to be of Malay descent though, judging from the pictures and conversation posted on their Facebook page.

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The Labrador Primary School today

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Class outing to what seems to be Little Guilin

The school closed because of falling enrolment and its 172 pupils were transferred to Jagoh Primary. The campus was then used by Singapore Polytechnic for its Business Administration course to meet the increased demand for places in the course. Today, it houses Bayanihan Centre (training centre for Philippines association).

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Jagoh Primary School (Telok Blangah)

Closed in 1999

The school was established in 1985, officially opened in 1987 but closed about 14 years later after not offering Primary One places since 1998. That’s a very short survival duration. I don’t get it though.. why build another school when the one nearby (Labrador Primary) was already suffering from declining enrolment?

There used to be a Kampong Jagoh Primary School in the late 1960s too. However I am not sure if both schools were related.

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Jagoh Primary School

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A Chinese class in 1988

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Gosh! Anyone remembers this? This was also implemented during my primary school days (1997-2002)! No one was allowed to exit the class without this. But after awhile, the school kinda stopped reinforcing it haha.

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After 1999, students were transferred to Blangah Rise Primary School.

The site where Jagoh Primary used to stand is now Telok Blangah MRT station.

Source: [1] [2]


Yuqun Primary School (Jurong East)

Merged into Yuhua Primary School in 2002

Formally known as Joo Koon Public School at Jurong Road, Yuqun Primary shifted to Jurong East Street 24 in 1984 and was officially opened in 1986. It was originally set up by a Chinese businessman (same history as Joo Hwa Public School – now known as Yuhua Primary) in the 1930s but was destroyed during the Japanese occupation. It was rebuilt after the war and subsequently became a government-aided school in 1950.

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I vividly remember the facade of the school because of the chimney-looking roof. The unique roof is still there but has already been painted purple.

Since its closure, its premises have been used as a holding site for schools undergoing PRIME such as Dazhong Primary and St. Anthony’s Primary (presently there until December 2014). You are still able to see the building if take the Jurong East-bound or Marina Bay-bound trains along the North-South line as its somewhere between Jurong East and Bukit Batok stations.

Source: [1] [2]


Pandan Primary School (Jurong East/Teban Gardens)

Merged into Fuhua Primary School in 2008

The school was established in 1981 at West Coast Road. It used to be a popular choice among parents living in that area because of its convenience and good teaching facilities.

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Before it got demolished

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Pandan Primary’s first batch of Primary 1 students

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Primary 2C of 1983

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The school’s canteen-cum-hall

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The school hall

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Pandan Primary’s last day

There was a drain that led to the school compound and latecomers often sneaked in through that secret passage without getting caught (oops, secret exposed!). It has now been barricaded.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Boon Lay Primary School (Jurong East)

Merged into Jurong Primary School in 2006

Boon Lay Primary started out as Boon Lay Lama Primary at Old Jurong Road in 1960 before it shifted to Jurong East in 1984.

Here’s a more detailed description of the old Boon Lay Lama Primary:

Across the school there was a row of shop houses. There were two entrances into the school. One entrance was next to the girls’ toilet and the other was the main one that leads to the administration and staff, and principal office. There were two rows of buildings that housed all classes. In between the rows, there were at least two small open fields that used for assembly and as a playground. There were three verandas with roof that connect these buildings. To the west, a large football field which was fenced with metal wire and some tall trees along its parameter. The fence separates the Chinese school and ours. The whole school was fenced, once go in there, nobody could escape or leave without authorized permission. One end of the building was the canteen (a.k.a tuckshop) to the north, the boys’ toilet, next was the girls’ toilet. The other side of building was the school keeper’s house

– Extracted from David Yon’s description on the Boon Lay Primary’s Facebook Group

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Batch 1989

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Class 7Extended2 (students were born in 1978)

The new Boon Lay Primary produced some of the best national talents such as 10-year-old Loh Xiao Wei who beat 12 other aspirant chess players to win the girls’ National Schools Junior Individual Chess Championship under-10 Championship. She also became the youngest female winner at the 1994 National Championship. Hence, the school was widely known for being strong in chess. The spotlight was shone on the school again in 2004 as Primary 6 pupil Siti Nur Alyssyah emerged as champion among primary and secondary school students in a public speaking competition.

With such exceptional performance, no one would have expected the school to close. In fact, it was also slated to be upgraded by 2007 according to a 2003 report. So what exactly happened?

Anyway, it is also worth noting that our very first Singapore Idol Taufik Batisah attended Boon Lay Primary too 🙂

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Jubilee Primary School (West Coast)

Merged into Qifa Primary School in 1996

Opened in 1967 at Bukit Timah, it was an integrated school using English and Malay as the media of instruction. It was later merged with Jubilee Malay School in 1983 when English education became more popular with parents, and the school relocated to the latter’s site at West Coast.

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In 1996, the school closed with impressive PSLE results with a pass rate of 94% and out of which, 76% of them were qualified for the Express stream. Jubilee was the first school to merge with Qifa Primary (the second was Jin Tai Primary, as mentioned in my first entry).

If you are an alumni, do join Jubilee Primary’s Facebook page that has over 900 members to date.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Buona Vista Secondary School (Commonwealth)

Merged into Queensway Secondary School in 2001

The school opened its doors to pupils in 1967 and was originally known as Chip Bee Secondary (named after the estate). However, the name was changed to what it was last known as on the eve of its official opening in 1968. It was one of the three government schools then which conducted classes in English, Chinese and Malay streams. In the 1970s, the school band joined forces with Tanglin Secondary School band and won several awards.

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Digress: As I was trying to get more information about this school, I stumbled upon at least two news reports on its students’ suicide. First was a student who plunged into Jurong Lake because she failed her GCE in 1973 while the other took poison after the school principal reproved her for playing truant in 1971.

Okay.

I mean no disrespect but sigh, why is student suicidal so common last time? It’s so depressing. But I’m glad students are more sensible today (I hope). Remember, life isn’t a joke.

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The one in this picture is Mr Chong. If you’re reading this, your student Connie Koh is looking for you!

The building of Buona Vista Secondary is now occupied by Anglo-Chinese School (International).

Queensway Secondary also absorbed Mei Chin Secondary, which closed in 2000.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Margaret Drive Primary School (Queenstown)

Closed in 1986

The school was formed at a low cost in 1958 with just 17 classrooms, an office and a tuckshop. Over the years, more new and better-equipped schools were built and parents preferred to send their schools elsewhere. With that, the enrolment of Margaret Drive Primary fell and the school closed after 28 years of service.

Photo courtesy of Yahoo News (Wong Kok Leong)

Photo courtesy of Yahoo News (Wong Kok Leong)

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Not long after Margaret Drive Primary was demolished, a new building was constructed for Margaret Drive Special School for autistic children. The special school was then renamed to Rainbow Center.

Margaret Drive Primary was legally known as Margaret Drive School, but I choose to include “Primary” to avoid confusion due to the ambiguity in its name.

Source: [1] [2]


Kebun Baru Primary School (Ang Mo Kio)

Merged into Ang Mo Kio Primary School in 2002

The school was the last primary school built for Ang Mo Kio residents in 1985. With the completion of the 188th school built by the government, no more new school were constructed for children in Kebun Baru constituency and the surrounding private residential estates around Yio Chu Kang and Thomson Hills.

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Kebun Baru Primary School

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Kebun Baru Primary School uniform – so unique!

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Primary 6B of 1988

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It started functioning with an enrolment of 320 students in eight Primary One classes and 11 teachers and lessons were originally held at the now-defunct Li Hua Primary School.

The building is now a holding site for Anderson Primary School which is also a merged school (refer to my previous entry for its history).

Midfielder Fabian Kwok was a student of Kebun Baru Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Chong Boon Primary School (Ang Mo Kio)

Merged into Da Qiao Primary School in 2000

The school was built in 1980 and used to stand side-by-side at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 with Chong Li and Anderson Primary schools. Prior to that, it was known as Chong Boon School in Lorong Kinchir at Braddell and was there since the 1940s. Not sure why it shifted in the end but the school was given an eviction notice in 1956 by the new landlord. It wouldn’t take three decades for the school to move so I guess they eventually succeeded in preventing the notice from being enforced.

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Chong Boon Primary School in 2003 (before it was demolished)

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Inside the school

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In the classroom of Primary 6N2 (1987)

The building has been refurbished to accommodate more students from Pathlight School.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Chong Li Primary School (Ang Mo Kio)

Merged into Teck Ghee Primary School in 2003

Chong Li Primary began in the late 1940s as Chong Lip Chinese School, located off Upper Thomson Road. The school catered to children living in villages that area. It became a government school later on and was officially opened again in 1983 (the school started in 1981), holding classes in the old premises of Braddell Secondary School. As its student population grew bigger, it shifted again to 4 Ang Mo Kio Street 44.

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Female students from Chong Li before the 90’s would don in sleeveless blue polka dot blouse with a blue ribbon attached to the middle of collar. But it was later phased out and replaced by a shirt with sewn-on badge to resemble the boys’ attire which remained unchanged throughout the years.

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Old uniform for girls can be seen here

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New girls’ uniform

Source: [1]


Chong De Primary School (Ang Mo Kio)

Closed in 1998

The $4.28-million school was ready for occupation in 1982 but it started accepting students in 1981, who had lessons at neighbouring Ang Mo Kio North Primary and then at Chong Shan Primary School before moving to their own building. Chong De was the 12th primary school constructed in Ang Mo Kio.

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Its remaining students joined Chong Shan Primary School again after its closure. Townsville Primary now sits on the former site of Chong De Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]

And yes, I’m equally puzzled by the number of schools in Ang Mo Kio with names beginning with “Chong”. Was it a coincidence? Schools in Ang Mo Kio bearing “Chong” in its name were: Chong Boon Primary, Chong Li Primary, Chong De Primary, Chong Shan Primary and Chong Boon Secondary.


Heng A Khe Bong School (Toa Payoh)

Closed in 1993

Heng A Khe Bong School was an amalgamation between two Chinese primary schools in the vicinity of Telok Ayer. They were Heng A School (est. 1918) and Khe Bong School (est. 1920).  As the schools were poorly equipped and the population around the area was diminishing,  the enrolments in both schools declined steadily. Thus, the management committees of both schools launched a fund-raising project for the construction of a new school in a populated area. Both schools merged and relocated to Toa Payoh New Town in 1971. It was officially opened in 1975.

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Heng A Khe Bong School

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An ex-student’s impression

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All boys

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Primary 6A of 1986

Thanks to a donation, the school was the first primary school in Singapore to own a computer.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


MacRitchie Primary School (Toa Payoh)

Closed in 1997

Founded in 1976 and officially opened in 1977, it was located at the modest town of Toa Payoh. It was situated beside an old wet market along Lorong 8, where the school’s main gate overlooked Blk 225 Toa Payoh. The school began as an integrated school comprising 38 English medium classes and 8 Chinese medium classes. The majority of the English medium students and teachers came from Whitley Primary School which closed in 1975. The other group of Chinese medium stream students were from Nam Ann Primary School which also closed in the same year.

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MacRitchie Primary School

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The school shared the same field as Braddell Primary School and typically, students from both schools would fight with one another.

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An ex-student’s impression of the school

Dr Koh Poh Koon, a PAP candidate for Punggol East in the 2013 General Election, attended MacRitchie Primary. Other alumni include music composer and singer Azmeer, national footballer Rezal Hassan, Artist-Scriptwriter-Producer Djohan ‘Bobo’ bin Abdul Rahman and Had Adnan from rock band Rancour.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Upper Serangoon Secondary School (Toa Payoh)

Merged into First Toa Payoh Secondary School in 2004

Located at 279 Upper Serangoon Road, it was previously known as Upper Serangoon Technical School (USTS). USTS officially opened in 1966 to offer technical education for the Malay-medium students. I am not sure if UTST relocated when it was renamed, but my intuition tells me that it could be.

Stamford American International School now stands on the former ground of Upper Serangoon Secondary.

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Ex-students visiting their alma mater

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Upper Serangoon Technical School

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Upper Serangoon Secondary School

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Upper Serangoon Secondary School

Yam Ah Mee (you may remember him as the one who delivered the results of the 2011 and 2013 General Elections) attended USTS.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


East Payoh Secondary School (Toa Payoh)

Closed in 1998

The school was completed in 1975 and declared open in 1976 along Lorong 7 of the Kim Keat Constituency which was part of the large Toa Payoh estate. It was the 114th school built by the government. The four-storey building offered general and technical education in the English medium for both sexes.

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Taken from a classroom

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ECA within the school compound

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East Payoh Secondary School in 1978

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After it closed, its remaining students were transferred to Pei Dao Secondary School (renamed to Punggol Secondary in 2001 when it shifted from Toa Payoh to its current site at, duh, Punggol). Pei Chun Public School now occupies the land that East Payoh Secondary once stood on.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]

And joining this list with effect from 2016 will be…

Tanglin Secondary School
Clementi Woods Secondary School (West Coast)

To merge in 2016 (name to be advised)

I have covered both schools in my previous history post. Please use ctrl+F (Windows) or cmd+F (Mac) to lead you to the relevant sections.

Source: [1]


First Toa Payoh Secondary School (Toa Payoh)
Bartley Secondary School (Bartley)

To merge in 2016 to form the new Bartley Secondary School

First Toa Payoh Secondary was the first secondary school built to cater to the secondary school population of Singapore’s first satellite town, Toa Payoh. Established in 1975 and officially opened in 1979, it was an integrated school offering both English and Chinese. In 2001, it merged with Thomson Secondary and Pei Dao Secondary, and Upper Serangoon Secondary in 2004. In 2003, it relocated to its new campus with better facilities.

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First Toa Payoh Secondary School on Google Maps

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First Toa Payoh Secondary School

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First Toa Payoh Secondary School

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First Toa Payoh Secondary School

Bartley, the first co-ed secondary school in Singapore, was formed in 1952. However it became a boys’ school in the secondary section (the school had a pre-University level until 1996) when the girls were transferred to Cedar Girls’ School to form the school. It became co-ed again in 1995. It moved to a holding site (former Mount Vernon Secondary) while waiting for its present building to be completed in 1995.

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Bartley Secondary School on Google Maps

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Bartley Secondary School students with exchange students from Indonesia (in printed uniform)

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The old Bartley Sec building

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Barley Secondary school hall

The merged school will function at the site of Bartley Secondary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Bedok Town Secondary School (Bedok)

To merge into Ping Yi Secondary School in 2016

Established in 1965 (the year Singapore gained independence) as Kaki Bukit Secondary School, it provided education in the English and Malay media to children living in what was once a rural area of Singapore. Their school song “Sekolah Menengah Kaki Bukit” was written by Mr Zubir Said, the same person that composed our national anthem. Between 1965 and 1984, the school attained the status of a top Malay medium school with good results in the Malay medium GCE ‘O’ level examination.  In addition, the school had also established a reputation for excellence in sports and games such as Sepak Takraw, football, hockey, athletics and cross country.

What an accomplished school, don’t you think? What a pity that it has to go, together with its school song that was written by a legendary person 😦

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Bedok Town Secondary School on Google Maps. This was taken in the year when Bedok Town and Chai Chee merged.

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Long before Bedok Town Secondary’s first merger

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It also merged with Chai Chee Secondary School (previously Sennett Road Secondary) in 2011. When news of the merger broke out, both schools had an online brawl. Hopefully it won’t happen again between Bedok Town and Ping Yi!

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Chestnut Drive Secondary School (Bukit Panjang)

To merge into Fajar Secondary School in 2016 

One of the first secondary schools set up after Singapore gained independence, the school catered to the education and development needs of the children in the Hillview, Woodlands, Teck Whye and Bukit Batok areas. It was established in 1968 and declared opened in 1969. It is the 105th school built by the government.

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Chestnut Drive Secondary School

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Chestnut Drive Secondary School on Google Maps.

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Chestnut Drive Secondary School on Google Maps. The school is surrounded by private houses and greenery.

In 2005, the school was reported to be a target of an unidentified sniper with six shots fired. The latest incident damaged a windowpane on the third floor of the school. The shooting was believed to have happened during non-school hours in a duration of three months thus no one was hurt. However the police later established that there was “insufficient evidence to suggest the presence of a sniper, and that no air gun pellets or projectiles had been found at the school.” Till date, the cause of the damage to the windowpane remains a mystery.

Students from Chestnut Drive Sec wore this really nice shade of blue uniform

Students from Chestnut Drive Sec wear uniform in the nicest shade of blue

Come 2016, Chestnut Drive Secondary will merge into Fajar Secondary and will operate out of the latter’s upgraded campus from 2018. In the meantime, Chestnut Drive’s compound will serve as a holding site for the newly merged school, which will also retain Chestnut Drive’s Chinese name “Li Jing”.

I came across this school while choosing my secondary schools in Primary 6 (donkey years ago) and was undoubtedly amused by its name. I’m sure many people who are not familiar with the roads in Singapore would react the same. Apparently, the place Chestnut Drive EXISTS (it’s even part of its address, duh!) and many other roads in Bukit Panjang are actually named after nuts. For example, Cashew Road, Chestnut Drive, Almond Street and Hazel(nut) Park. There are even roads that are named after fruits! Read more here. It’s super intriguing! 🙂

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

* * *

Thanks everyone for your warm support and contribution! I hope I have covered more schools this time around and help some of you trace back to your roots (like how I successfully did in my previous entry). Once again, due to the lengthiness of this post as well as time constraints, I can only cover this many. I will definitely be back with a third instalment (believe it or not, I have already compiled another list of closed and merged schools) but that won’t happen so soon as my new school term is commencing next Monday. It’ll probably be up in my next break in December. Meanwhile, if you enjoyed this post or if you find it useful in some ways, please feel free to share it with your peers! 🙂 Thanks for reading this record-breaking 9400-word essay!

Have a story to share about your decommissioned school? Let me know in the comments below! I may include that in my next write-up (in progress) 🙂 And as you can see, some schools mentioned above don’t come with pictures. That’s because I can’t find them online so if you have some pictures of your school, feel free to share them!

Main source:
Ministry of Education (2008 Archive)
The Straits Times (2 January 1988, Page 10)
The Straits Times (11 August 1983, Page  10)
National Archives of Singapore
NewspaperSG (National Library Board)
Singapore Memory Portal
Facebook Pages of Schools
(In case some of these links become inaccessible, you may retrieve them through Archives.org)

Read also:
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 1)
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 3)
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 4)

HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore

(WARNING: Image-heavy post! Best viewed on desktop or with Wi-Fi)

Hey guys!

Long time no update. I was actually working on this blog post about something which has been piquing my interest for some time now. It has got nothing to do with beauty nor lifestyle. It’s about… *drum roll* SCHOOLS!! It took me THREE weeks, but no complaints really, as I enjoyed uncovering the history of these schools. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do!

My School Uniform – the first-ever photography project that documents all the school uniforms in Singapore.

Photo book out in stores now! Read review here

Well, what prompted me to do this 6200-word entry?! It was reported on the news four months ago that six schools here will be merged into three next year and that sparked my curiosity about other schools that fell victim to declining enrolment. Yup, school closure is still happening here despite complaints about not having enough schools. Ironic, isn’t it?

Schools facing low enrolment in the past were usually ordered to close. However Ministry of Education (MOE) had decided since 2002 to merge these schools instead to “form a good size school”. This is good news to pioneer schools as they are still able to preserve their history after the merge unlike those unpopular ones before 2002, whose name and history are now only remembered by their alumni. If you are an alumnus of any of the absorbed schools, your child is still eligible to be registered in the merged school under phase 2A(2). However, if your school has been closed for good, you’d have to join the back of the queue again.

Reports showed that falling enrolment is a result of declining birth rate, but I beg to differ. Although it does play a part in the dwindling registration, it is definitely not the main cause. Schools that receive lower number of applications are usually located in more mature estates with no area for further housing development (new flats) thus lowering the number of new young families in that area. Above all, one can still see popular schools receiving more applications than its number of vacancies every year so low birth rate is certainly not the main culprit.

Unpopular schools are issued with marching orders owing to Singaporeans’ choosy nature (can’t deny that I’d rather send my kids to a well-known school too) and it’s sad to see the place where you spent 6 years of your childhood at gone with the wind. Thus I’d like to pay tribute to these unsung pioneer schools by listing them below. Do note that the list is not exhaustive and I welcome any addition in the comments below 🙂

Psst, you may even find your parents’ schools here! My Dad and Mom were from Outram Primary and Alexandra Estate Primary respectively. Both were closed to make way for new developments.

Check out PART 2, PART 3 and PART 4 if you haven’t!

In no particular order…

Alexandra Estate Primary School (Bukit Merah)

Closed in 1987

Established in 1954, it is known to be located beside Crescent Girls School previously. Female students put on their red pinafore dress with white inner blouse while the boys wore white collared top with red shorts to school. Crescent Girls School currently sits on its site. Some of its notable alumni include our Prime Minister’s wife, Ho Ching, as well as her siblings.

aeps1

Taken on the final day of AEPS

Taken on the final day of AEPS

P6C Class of 1987

P6C Class of 1987

A new school named Alexandra Primary School (ALPS) was recently built in the vicinity of where AEPS used to be and it started operations this year. It is highly plausible that its name was derived from there as ALPS is seen sharing the history of AEPS on its Facebook page. However, as ALPS is not a direct amalgamation of AEPS and other schools, parents cannot enroll their children in that school under Phase 2A(2).

Source: [1]


Jervois East Primary School
Jervois West Primary School (Bukit Merah)

Merged in 1986 to form Jervois Primary School
Closed in 1989

After Alexandra Estate Primary closed, their students were given a choice to transfer to the either the newly merged Jervois Primary or Keng Seng Primary in 1987. When Jervois Primary was closed in 1989, most of the students joined Keng Seng Primary.

Apart from knowing that they were all very near to AEPS, I can’t really find much information about these schools but it was mentioned somewhere on the net that the site of Jervois Primary is currently used by a halfway house.

Their Facebook page (to reconnect alumni) aren’t very active either so there’s absolutely no other ways to check.

(Thanks Neko Lim for the added information)

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Membina Primary School (Tiong Bahru)

Closed in 1996

Established in 1975, the 113th school built by the government was situated at the junction of Jalan Membina and Jalan Bukit Merah. It was the first school of the contemporary design built under the Education Ministry’s School Building Programme and had 1817 pupils at time of opening.

membinapri_main

membinapri-jemay-ng

 

Membina Primary took in students from Tiong Bahru Primary when the latter closed down. However Membina Primary aged with the estate and lost its appeal.

Other schools scheduled to close in 1996 were Elling, Jubilee, Keppel and MacRitchie Primary. (Will cover these schools in my next history post)

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Tiong Bahru Primary School (Tiong Bahru)

Closed in 1990

With its history dated as far back as 1930, this school came a very long way. Previously known as Kaimin Public School and Jiemin Primary School (a merged school between Quan Min Primary and Jie Gu School after the Bukit Ho Swee fire but the latter resurrected in 1985 at Yishun), it was described by Colonel Tan Peng Ann as an L-shaped building, with only a single storey on one side for the administrative office and two storeys on the other for classrooms. As not many people drove then, there wasn’t any major carpark but there was a large school field for recreational purposes.

Edit: a reader (Lee Keng Hua) had argued that the school was in fact shaped like a metal staple with a 2-storey admin block before 1980. The canteen was at the end of the school building, opposite the admin block. Are there any ex-students who can confirm this? Pictures of the school are greatly appreciated!

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Its current site is now occupied by a power station.

Psst.. sidetrack a bit, did you know Tiong Bahru means “New Cemetery” (tiong – Chinese for cemetery, bahru – Malay for new) because it was an area dotted with many cemeteries until the 1920s? How many of you actually thought it’s named Tiong Bahru because the area was populated with a lot of Chinese (“Ah Tiong”)? 😛

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Bukit Ho Swee Secondary School
Tiong Bahru Secondary School (Tiong Bahru)

Merged in 1991 to form Delta Secondary School
Merged into Bukit Merah Secondary School in 2004

Bukit Ho Swee Secondary was officially opened in 1967 at the corner of Lower Delta Road and Jalan Bukit Ho Swee while Tiong Bahru Secondary, located beside Lower Delta Road (in front of the present Tiong Bahru Plaza) was established in 1966. Both were the most popular secondary schools in the neighbourhood.

Bukit Ho Swee Secondary

Bukit Ho Swee Secondary

Bukit Ho Swee Secondary opening in 1967

Bukit Ho Swee Secondary opening in 1967

Bukit Ho Swee Secondary opening in 1967 -gmynastic performance

Bukit Ho Swee Secondary opening in 1967 – gymnastic performance

Bukit Ho Swee Secondary - before and now

Bukit Ho Swee Secondary – before and now. The “structure” of the Bukit Ho Swee Secondary School building can still be seen.

Students at "O" Level results collection in 1980

Tiong Bahru Sec Students at “O” Level results collection in 1980

Tiong Bahru Secondary was also where my wilful Mom studied for 2 years before she decided to drop out.

The first merger proved ineffective as enrolment didn’t pick up, probably due to the aging population in the estate and more young families were moving out to new towns. Delta had to merge (again) with Bukit Merah Secondary in 2004.

deltasec_2000_NAS

Delta Secondary School in 2000

The newly merged school is now functioning at the newly built Bukit Merah Secondary School site at Lengkok Bahru. Ex-pupils of Delta Secondary may wish to reconnect with their schoolmates here (restricted access).

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Tanglin Technical School (Tanglin Halt/Commonwealth)

Used to be Tanglin Integrated Secondary Technical School until 1969
Renamed to Tanglin Secondary School in 1993
To merge with Clementi Woods Secondary in 2016
(updated 26/7/2014)

Technical studies were very sought after during the 1960s which prompted the government to set up 2 main technical schools then (the other being Queenstown Technical – now Queenstown Secondary). The purpose of such schools was to educate students and prepare them for engineering and technical working sectors (industrialisation).

tanglintech_timothy-lee

I’ve chosen to feature Tanglin Tech, even though it still exists today, because it’s one of the pioneer technical schools that molded education in the present future. And most importantly, my Dad had his secondary education there.

The school started out as an all-boys school where medium of instructions was Chinese. Then it started admitting female students to its technical courses after the first renaming exercise. 50 years later, it is no longer at Tanglin Halt, but at West Coast Road.

Unfortunately, I spoke too soon. It was reported in the news on Saturday (26/7/2014) that the school will be merging with Clementi Woods Secondary School due to falling enrolment but it will still be operating on the former’s current site. Ex-students of the 50-year-old school are hoping for the merged school to be Tanglin’s namesake. To join the rally, click here. The newly merged school will be Tanglin’s namesake.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Tanglin Girls’ School
Kay Siang Primary School (Queenstown)

Merged in 1985 to form Xianglin Primary School

Established in 1957, Tanglin Girls’ was a four-storey high building on top of a slope (was it a trend in the past to place schools on higher altitude? Haha) and was also considered as one of the better schools in Singapore. Students wore white blouse and dark blue pinafore.

Ex-students of Kay Siang spoke briefly of the school being formerly known as Tanglin Boys’ School but in actual fact, Kay Siang and Tanglin Boys’ started out as two separate schools. The 3-storey Tanglin Boys’ School probably merged with Kay Siang along the way and became co-ed.

The first batch of students in Tanglin Girls’ and Boys’ were mostly from Bukit Merah South, Bukit Merah North and Redhill Schools. These three schools also have their own history documented below. Other than this, nothing much can be found about Tanglin and Kay Siang.

tanglingirls_chee-fong-bay

Class 4C of 1976

Class 4C of 1976

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Xianglin Primary School (Queenstown)

Merged with Belvedere School in 1987

The amalgamation between Tanglin Girls’ and Kay Siang Primary proved to be ineffective as the merged school still couldn’t sustain past 2 years. Probably due to dipping enrolment, it was subsequently merged with Belvedere School which was just a road away.


Belvedere School (Bukit Merah)

Closed in December 1990

belvedere1_fb belvedere2_fb belvedere4_fb

The school had a very unique location, at the top of a hill above Crescent Girls’ School. Singapore Poly started in borrowed premises at three sites, one of which was Belvedere School. The school complex was eventually demolished with all the schools under its wings erased from the national school directory forever.

Notable alumni includes Pritam Singh, a Member of Parliament from the Workers’ Party.

Source: [1] [2]


Pearl Park Primary School
Pearl’s Hill School (Outram)

Merged in 1995

Both schools have a history so rich that they have their own article on Singapore Infopedia.

Pearl’s Hill School was established in 1881 and underwent several name change and relocation before settling on its final one in 1914 and 1972 respectively. Initially located at Cross Street, it was among the first batch of government English elementary schools established by the British colonial government. It was affiliated to Outram Road School (later known as Outram Secondary) and students who had finished their Standard One education (PSLE in the olden days) would be posted there. It was finally homed in a 12-storey building on the slopes of Pearl’s Hill at Chin Swee Road, making it the tallest school building ever built in Singapore.

pearlshill_chan-chee-peng

Pearl’s Hill School. I believe it’s the canteen. Oh brings back so much memories about my school too :’)

pearlshill_chan-chee-peng2

I don’t know much about Pearl Park unfortunately, but I do know that the principal (Mr Ang Koon Tin) is actually the father of Daniel from danielfooddiary.com. 🙂

The new Pearl’s Hill School ceased operations in December 2001 due to dwindling enrolment. Hotel Re! presently occupies the building.

Source: [1] [2]


Outram Primary School (Outram Park)

Closed in 1984

Located near Pearl Hill Terrace, it was closed to make way for the construction of Outram Park MRT station. Students and staff from Outram Primary went to Zhangde Primary School (next to Singapore General Hospital) when the school ceased to function.

outrampri_kevinkeong_6Aof1982 outrampri_gatchaman-ken-washio

I’m not sure if this is considered as a merge but it could be, since Outram Primary is mentioned on Zhangde Primary’s history.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Alexandra Hill Primary School
Bukit Ho Swee Primary School
Henderson Primary School
Keng Seng Primary School (Bukit Merah)

Merged in 2002 to form Gan Eng Seng Primary School

This happened quite recently but it still deserves a mention because they had been around for a long time, at least for Alexandra Hill. Even though its year of establishment isn’t stated anywhere on the net, I reckon that it existed since the 1960s as Dr Amy Khor (Member of Parliament for Hong Kah North) was a student there from 1964 to 1969.

alexhill_bryanfang

Alexandra Hill Primary School

alexhill_mohamed-hanafie_p5Aof1987

Alexandra Hill Primary School – class P5A of 1987

Bukit Ho Swee, on the other hand, was actually a merged school between Bukit Ho Swee East School (English-medium) and Bukit Ho Swee West School (Chinese-medium) formed in January 1986. Prior to the merger, East’s uniform was white and brown while West’s was light blue. Both schools shared a common tuck shop but had two assembly grounds. After they were combined, only Bukit Ho Swee East Primary’s building was utilised. The image of the dilapidated premise is still fresh in my mind because my Dad had to drive past it after visiting my grandparents at Jalan Bukit Ho Swee during my younger days to get home. I kinda foresaw the closure of that godforsaken place. Singapore Exam and Assessment Board had since taken over its site.

Keng Seng Primary seems to get the most limelight from the merger as it even got its own book. Like Bukit Ho Swee, it was also an amalgamation of many schools – three, in fact – namely Keng Seng School, Strathmore Primary School and Friendly Hill Primary School in 1980. You can pretty much tell from here that Keng Seng Primary is an old school.

Keng Seng School came into existence in 1939 through donations from farmers who were supportive of education. These were pig farmers who lived around the area, hence pig faeces along the way school were a common sight for students in those days. Occasionally, the pigs would also break into the classrooms!

However, preference for English education grew by the mid 1970s, leading to the decline of Keng Seng’s popularity among parents. Keng Seng was down to less than 300 students by then and hence had to merge with two other schools. Although the name “Keng Seng” was retained after the merger, it had to take on Friendly Hill’s school crest and Strathmore’s school song. The amalgamated school relocated to Alexandra Road.

More information about the parents schools (Friendly Hill and Strathmore) can be found in part 3.

kengseng_tan-chuan-shin_p6Aof1987

Keng Seng Primary School – class P6A of 1987

As for Henderson Primary, it closed without a trace so I can’t really find any information about it. No one, even its ex-students, documented on its history before the merger? What a waste.

Henderson Primary

Henderson Primary

Henderson Primary

Henderson Primary

Gan Eng Seng Primary is presently located at the former site of Alexandra Hill Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Redhill School
Bukit Merah North School
Bukit Merah South School (Redhill)

Merged in 1986 to form Bukit Merah Primary School

Redhill Primary School - class P5A of 1979

Redhill Primary School – class P5A of 1979

redhillpri_josephinechua

bukitmerahnorth_FB

bukitmerahsouth_sarinetan

Bukit Merah South School

bukitmerahsouth_shaminahmad

These three schools were adjacent to one another and they shared a big field where cows and other animals roamed. Bukit Merah North School was founded on 10 January 1955, conducting classes at Crescent Girls’ School and then at Delta East School (defunct as well). It only shifted to its latest location at Redhill Close in September 1956. The other 2 schools, I believe, were also there since early 1950s.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Bukit Merah Primary School (Redhill)

Merged into Alexandra Hill Primary School in 1998

bukitmerahpri_joyceyeow

The ancient OHP projector that we all missed.

Class P5 of 1995

Class P5 of 1995

Bukit Merah Primary School shut its doors 12 years later due to falling enrolment and was subsequently merged with Alexandra Hill Primary School. The newly merged school was then shifted to Telok Blangah a year later and the old site was revamped to the current Gan Eng Seng Primary School. Gan Eng Seng School now sits on a smaller piece of land space, as some land area was cut off to Bukit Merah Secondary School.

(Thanks ‘cornflict’ for the added information)

Did you know? F4’s Ken Chu attended Bukit Merah Primary School during his 8-year stay in Singapore.

Source: [1]


Silat Primary School (Bukit Merah)

Closed in 1992

This school is a result of the merger of two primary schools in 1984 – Silat I Primary and Silat II Primary.

The six-storey white building was at Silat Road in old times. That stretch of road where the school once stood is now renamed to Bukit Merah Road. The school field was also reduced by almost a third to make way for the road that now runs in front of it. Judging from the photographs taken by ex-students (as recent as 2013) who went back to explore, the abandoned building was probably still standing on the same ground not too long ago. But Street View shows something else when I tried to look it up so it could already be gone by now.

silatpri2_christina_superrandomworld.wp

silatpri_christina_superrandomworld.wp

silatpri3_fuzz-lee_1991

The school was closed (last batch was in 1991) following a declining enrolment rate and its students joined Zhangde Primary, which is still existent today.

(Thanks Ginny for the additional input!)

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Sennett Estate School (MacPherson)

Closed in end 1999

Local actress Fann Wong was there from 1978 to 1983 before it was merged with Kwong Avenue School and renamed to Sennett Primary. After not offering primary one places for two years due to low demand, the school was closed in 1999 and students were transferred to nearby Cedar Primary School.

sennettestate_kim-song

At the same time, Jagoh Primary was also earmarked to close due to low enrolment. Its students were transferred to Blangah Rise Primary School.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Rangoon Road Primary School (Farrer Park)

Closed in the early 1980s

The school was established in 1968 when the staff and former students of McNair School moved to its premise. It’s a pity that the school is no-more as it churned out quite a number of ministers and influential people such as Devan Nair (third President of Singapore), S. Dhanabalan (former chairman of Temasek Holdings), S. Jayakumar (Senior Minister) and Wong Kan Seng (former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs). I’m pretty sure it’d be one of the most sought-after schools today if it still exists (but of course it needs a name change first…)

Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society presently sits on the former site of Rangoon Road Primary.

Source: [1]


Towner Primary School (Bendemeer)

Closed in 1998 (verification needed)

This school was form by merging two schools – Whampoe School (est. 1950) and Towner School in 1984 – and catered mainly to the population in the immediate vicinity of the school. However, it was demolished to make way for HDB flats and students moved over to May Primary School.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


May Primary School (Boon Keng)

Merged with Boon Keng Primary in 2002 to form Farrer Park Primary

This school was an amalgamation between May South (blue uniform) and May North (green uniform) Primary School and students in the newly established school wore blue and green uniform. When Cambridge Primary shut its doors in December 1998, its remaining students were also absorbed by May Primary. However the school was later vacated and renamed May Adventure Camp. Its park nearby was also converted into an expressway.

maypri3_miboy_lomotion.fr.yuku maypri1_miboy_lomotion.fr.yuku maypri2_miboy_lomotion.fr.yuku

Yam Ah Mee (think General Elections) was from May North Primary School.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Serangoon Garden North School (Serangoon)

Merged with Serangoon Garden South in 1988

Established in 1956, the school moved into its own premises at 49, Kensington Park Road. Students there used to fight (playfully) with those from Serangoon Garden South when they crossed the centre-line of the field into their territory. However, the latter was later proved to be victorious when it took over Serangoon Garden North to form to new Serangoon Garden South School (probably because it was established a year earlier).

serangoongardennorth_FB4 serangoongardennorth_the-creative-commentor serangoongardennorth_FB serangoongardennorth_FB2 serangoongardennorth_FB3

But that victory was short-lived as in January 2007, the school was merged with Zhonghua Primary School and is now located at Serangoon Ave 4.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Mattar East School (MacPherson)

Merged with Mattar Primary in 1988
Subsequently closed (year unknown)

Founded in 1963, the school was loosely associated to the police force for having a homophonic name to “mata-mata” (Malay for “Police”). Luckily for them, they had a neighbour with a similar name (Mattar Primary) and a minister named Ahmad Mattar which cushioned the teasing.

Mattar Primary

Mattar Primary

Mattar Primary

Mattar Primary

They had a very big field shared with Mattar Primary and Aljunied Primary. With 3 schools in close proximity vying for students in the fast-maturing estate, it’s no wonder none of them lived til this day. Ex-students of Mattar Primary School (merged with Mattar East) said that the school was later absorbed by MacPherson Primary but this absorption is not stated anywhere on the latter’s history.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Aljunied Primary School (MacPherson)

Closed in 1997

Rumour has it that the school was built to accommodate the dragon babies born in 1964. In other words, the school started in 1971 (officially opened in 1972) when most schools in Singapore were full. A relatively new school in that era, it had “no past successes to look back upon” as I quote the then-parliament secretary to the minister for education. 26 years went by and the school didn’t seem to gain any recognition but it did churn out a few well-known figures such as local actress Jacelyn Tay (郑秀珍), who was a vice-head prefect of the school.

aljuniedpri_FB

It was absorbed by MacPherson Primary (currently at Aljunied Primary’s site) upon its closure.

(Thanks Gurmit for confirming the school’s history)

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Chong Shan Primary School (Ang Mo Kio)

Merged with Townsville Primary in 2001

Chong Shan started functioning in 1982 and was in fact the 180th school built by the Singapore government. It had a joint official opening with Chong De Primary in 1984.

chongshanpri_lim-wei-chern-jocelyn

chongshanpri_lim-wei-chern-jocelyn1

chongshanpri_lim-wei-chern-jocelyn3

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Chong De Primary’s students were transferred to Chong Shan when it closed in 1998. More details about Chong De can be found in part 2.

(Special thanks to Lim Wei Chern Jocelyn for her contribution)

Source: [1]


Ang Mo Kio North Primary School
Li Hua Primary School
Hong Dao Primary School (Ang Mo Kio)

Merged in 2000 to form Anderson Primary School

Ang Mo Kio North was established in 1981 and Hong Dao Primary in 1982. Li Hua Primary had a longer history as it originated as a rural school in the fifties, formerly known as Lee Hua Chinese School at Yio Chu Kang Road. Students used to wear all-white before the attire changed to white and blue.

angmokionorthpri_patrick-ang

Ang Mo Kio North Primary

angmokionorthpri_danny-chaly

Li Hua Primary

Li Hua Primary

Li Hua Primary

Li Hua Primary

Li Hua Primary in 1971

Li Hua Primary in 1971

Li Hua Primary

Li Hua Primary

Li Hua Primary

Li Hua Primary

Ang Mo Kio North and Li Hua primary schools shared a field with Presbyterian High School before it moved to a bigger space.

Hong Dao Primary

Hong Dao Primary

Hong Dao Primary

Hong Dao Primary

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Sembawang Hills Estate School (Upper Thomson)

Closed in 1992

The school overlooked the forest reserve by Casuarina Road and students wore white blouse/shirt and brown skirt/shorts. Many ex-students recalled having a prata stall (now known as Casuarina Curry Restaurant) conveniently across the street.

sembawangestate_sharad-haridas

It garnered media attention in 1968 during the Gene Koh murder trial as the mentioned’s decaying body was found by one of the school’s stallholders when he went to relieve himself in the forest at night.

In 1992, the school was closed to make way for private housing development.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Seraya Primary School (Katong)

Merged with Fowlie School in 1986

Seraya Primary and Fowlie School were like sister schools to each other for they shared the same field back then before both schools were merged to form Fowlie Primary. Both schools were also opposite each other and very often, students from Seraya would go over to Fowlie’s canteen to eat.

Seraya Primary school band

Seraya Primary school band

serayapri_FB serayapri_FB2

Other schools in the vicinity were St Hilda’s, Tong Cai, Haig Boys’ and Girls’ School.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Fowlie Primary School
Mountbatten Primary School
Haig Boys’ School (Mountbatten)

Merged in 2001 to form Tanjong Katong Primary School

For a brief history of Fowlie, refer to Seraya Primary.

Unfortunately I’m unable to obtain any details of Mountbatten Primary but if you’re an ex-student, you may consider joining this members-only Facebook group here. Please feel free to provide me with the history of Mountbatten Primary if you’re familiar with the school.

Haig Boys’, on the other hand, isn’t as mysterious as its other counterparts. Founded in 1951, it was named after Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, British Commander-in-Chief during the Battle of the Somme. Its original location was at Haig Road in Katong but was later relocated to Mountbatten Road.

Haig Boys' school staff in 1968

Haig Boys’ school staff in 1968

Haig Boys'

Haig Boys’

Haig Boys' badminton team in 1968

Haig Boys’ badminton team in 1968

Today, Tanjong Katong Primary is a popular school with the expatriate community in Singapore with about 40% of its students coming from 30 over countries. Some parents even started queuing as early as 3 days before the opening of Phase 3 registration to vie for a spot in the school. Judging from its popularity, this school is definitely going to be around for a long time and this is certainly good news to Fowlie’s alumni, whose alma mater had merged twice in its history.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Guillemard East Primary School (Kallang)

Closed in 1987

Known to be located behind Singapore Badminton Hall, its remaining students were taken in by Guillemard Primary (previously known as Guillemard Road English School but merged with Guillemard West Primary in 1984) upon closure. However, Guillemard Primary also suffered from the same fate some years later.

guillemardeastpri_FB3 guillemardeastpri_FB2 guillemardeastpri_FB guillemardeastpri_tom-wu_born1969

While we’re at it, allow me to also give a special mention to affiliated schools like Kallang Primary (previously known as Kallang Integrated Primary School, closed in 1987) and Guillemard West Primary in the region. Sadly, none of these schools exists today.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Bedok Girls’ School
Bedok Boys’ School
Bedok Primary School (Bedok)

Merged in 1986 to form Bedok Primary School
Closed in 1998

Bedok Girls’ and Bedok Boys’ were built in 1952 and located along Bedok Road in the middle of a ridge. Each of them is a single-storey building with 14 classrooms. They shared a field and a canteen which was on top a flight of stairs. Students who attended both schools live in villages in that area.

Bedok Girls' - class P4A of 1975

Bedok Girls’ – class P4A of 1975

Bedok Girls' - class P6 of 1987

Bedok Girls’ – class P6 of 1987

Bedok Boys'

Bedok Boys’

Bedok Girls'

Bedok Girls’

Bedok Primary, on the other hand, was founded in the early 1960s. However due to its falling enrolment, all 3 schools mentioned were merged to form a new co-ed school. Bedok Primary has quite a number of famous alumni though, such as Vikram Nair (MP from PAP) and Clarence Lee, a renowned professional make-up artist, just to name a few.

Bedok Primary farewell ceremony

Bedok Primary farewell ceremony

Bedok Primary

Bedok Primary

Bedok Primary

Bedok Primary

Bedok Primary class P6N1 of 1989

Bedok Primary class P6N1 of 1989

Bedok Primary

Bedok Primary

The new Bedok Primary closed in 1998 and students were transferred to Bedok View Primary (which ceased operation and students moved over to Bedok South, which became Bedok Green in the end). In 2003, Bedok South Secondary School took over its former site.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Braddell Primary School
Westlake Primary School
San Shan Primary School (Toa Payoh)

Merged in 2002 with First Toa Payoh Primary to form the last

Braddell Primary started in 1976 and was also used by Mensa for its initial admission test sessions. It gained media attention when one of its student, seven-year-old Wong Chong Kum, was kidnapped by a man and a woman in January 1985 at the school (see source 4-6) who sought a random of S$30,000. All principals had to undergo an anti-kidnap briefing because of this.

Braddell Primary

Braddell Primary

Braddell Primary

Braddell Primary

Braddell Primary canteen

Braddell Primary. Not sure where this is but it looks like an assembly hall

Braddell Primary in the midst of tearing down in 2011

Braddell Primary in the midst of tearing down in 2011

The school building was demolished in 2011, about 9 years after the merge for Marymount Centre, which shifted from Thomson Road due to the construction of the North-South Expressway.

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Westlake Primary canteen

Westlake Primary canteen

Westlake Primary

Westlake Primary

Westlake Primary mural

Westlake Primary mural

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Westlake Primary had its first batch in 1977 and used to be surrounded by 2 neighbouring schools – Westlake Secondary and Braddell Secondary (read below). The premises of Westlake Primary and Secondary were used to film the 2002 movie “I Not Stupid”. There is also a mosaic mural in Westlake Primary that depicts the Singapore of the mid-1970s and the early 1980s (see picture below) and it’s probably still there.

sanshanpri_Christine-Zeng-10thannisouvenirmag

San Shan School, established in 1929, used to be a Chinese-medium school at Sophia Road but was relocated to Toa Payoh and renamed to San Shan Primary in 1982. The old building, still around today, used to be a holding site for Methodist Girls’ School for a short period and one of NAFA’s campuses. The new school building at Toa Payoh had already been torn down for Beatty Secondary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]


Braddell Secondary School
Westlake Secondary School (Braddell)

Merged in 2000 to form Braddell-Westlake Secondary School
Closed in 2005

Braddell and Westlake Secondary were founded in 1981 and 1978 respectively.

braddellwestlakesec_tan-guo-sheng2

Westlake Secondary

Westlake Secondary

Braddell Secondary

Braddell Secondary

Braddell-Westlake Secondary

Braddell-Westlake Secondary

Westlake Secondary

Westlake Secondary

Braddell-Westlake Secondary

Braddell-Westlake Secondary

In order to boost falling enrolment, both schools were merged but their premises were retained and utilised, thus making them known for being one of the few secondary schools to occupy two separate campuses. Its enrolment continued to decline, leading to its official closure in 2005 and remaining students and staff were transferred to Guangyang Secondary School. Since 2012, the area has been earmarked for the shift of Raffles Girls’ Secondary.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Swiss Cottage Primary School (Dunearn)
Moulmein Primary School (Balestier)

Merged in 2002 to form Balestier Hill Primary School

To combine two schools that were quite distant from each other.. this was certainly a very unusual merge. If you ask me, it seemed like an attempt to rid the less-popular Swiss Cottage from the plot of land populated by famous schools such as SCGS, Raffles Girls’ Primary and ACS Primary.. but of course, that’s just my opinion. MOE has a reason for everything they do, right?

swisscottagepri_pbase

Swiss Cottage Primary was, no doubt, a school which lacked publicity. Before my “research” for the purpose of this entry, I had never heard of this school despite its presence since the 1960s. Swiss Cottage SECONDARY yes, but not the primary version of it (which could be because Bukit Batok was my place of residence for 23 years and everyone there knows that Swiss Cottage Sec is the best secondary school in the neighbourhood). The school’s last enrolment was 710, paling in comparison with Moulmein Primary’s 1030 in 2001, which was one of the factors that led to the cessation of the school in name.

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Moulmein Primary

moulmeinpri_heng-seng moulmeinpri_lu-yucai

I knew about Moulmein Primary though, thanks to the TV drama “Moulmein High” on Channel 5 in the early 2000s. Trivia aside, Moulmein Primary was formed by the merger of Griffiths School when it first closed (Now Griffiths Primary School) and Balestier Girls’ School in 1983. Subsequently, it also absorbed Kim Keat Primary.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Bukit Batok East Primary School
Bukit Batok West Primary School (Jalan Jurong Kechil)

Merged in 1984 to form Bukit Timah Primary School

Bukit Batok East Primary

Bukit Batok East Primary

The unified school was actually called Bukit Batok Primary School before it changed to its current name. That’s an appropriate change as I don’t recall seeing the school at all in Bukit Batok. The principal (Mr Lim/Lee – ex-students, please verify!) then was a skinny man with black frame glasses and white hair who portrayed a rather regimental look. (Quoted from Kian Wee in the comments)

Bukit Batok East was probably founded in 1955 (reference from some MOE correspondence sheet with restricted access) but I’m clueless about the history of Bukit Batok West (not very popular I guess) except for the fact that the land is now occupied by German European School.

Source: [1] [2]


Clementi North Primary School
Clementi Town Primary School (Clementi)

Merged in 2001 to form Clementi Primary School

A Clementi North Primary student

A Clementi North Primary student

Clementi North Primary and Clementi Town Primary were established in 1980. Probably due to competition from neighbouring schools such as Nan Hua Primary and Pei Tong Primary, they saw their enrolment dwindling and were eventually made to merge.

Clementi Town Primary - primary 1 students in 1982

Clementi Town Primary – primary 1 students in 1982

To accommodate the expansion from the merge, a new school building was built on the former site of Clementi Town Primary School. While the construction took place, students from both schools occupied Clementi North Primary premises.

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Ghim Moh Primary School (Commonwealth)

Merged with New Town Primary School in 2008 to form the latter

The school was founded in 1977 and used to be at Queenstown area. The site of Ghim Moh Primary has now been converted to Singapore Chinese Language Centre.

ghimmohpri_darren-foo-mow-chien ghimmohpri_du-yue-sheng ghimmohpri_Lim-chon-kah

Source: [1] [2] [3]


Ghim Moh Secondary School
Jin Tai Secondary School (Ghim Moh)

Merged in 2007 to form Clementi Woods Secondary School

Ghim Moh Sec - alumni (of batch 1986) gathering

Ghim Moh Secondary – alumni (of batch 1986) gathering

Ghim Moh Secondary, formerly known as Alexandra English Elementary School at Portsdown Road, started in 1976 with only 8 classes of students – 6 class of boys and 2 of girls. The first batch of students had no tuckshop (otherwise known as canteen today). The school was relocated to Ghim Moh estate a year later. (History of Ghim Moh Secondary quoted from Tan Helward)

Jin Tai Secondary achievement

Jin Tai Secondary achievement

Jin Tai Secondary was established in 1982 and judging from the pictures posted by ex-student on the Facebook group, I can say that the school was adept at sports especially soccer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t widely known for its achievements but instead for an infamous incident in 1999 where a mock attack was staged as part of a Total Defence Day exercise. The mock attack, conducted by eight student-officers aged between 16 and 18 in the National Cadet Corps (NCC) to simulate the Japanese Occupation of Singapore and teach students the importance of psychological defence, turned real and fourteen students had to be treated for injuries with 3 warded (source 4).

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Jin Tai Primary School (West Coast)

Merged with Qifa Primary in 2008 to form the latter

Jin Tai was officially opened 1984 and like Jin Tai Secondary, it appeared on the news many times for its outstanding achievement in sports. However both remarkable schools bearing the same name are no longer existent. It was the second school absorbed by Qifa Primary – first was Jubilee Primary when it ceased operations in 1996.

Jin Tai was also involved in the high profile 2004 murder case of eight-year-old Huang Na as the deceased was enrolled in that school. Sidetrack a bit, oh gosh.. if Huang Na is still alive, she’d be 18 today can you believe it!?

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Yung An Primary School
Merlimau Primary School
Jurong Town Primary School (Jurong West)

Merged in 2003 to form Lakeside Primary School

Yung An, Merlimau and Jurong Town started functioning in 1977, 1966, 1968 respectively. These were the first few schools in Taman Jurong for the early settlers in that estate.

The first-mentioned was originally at Yuan Ching Road and before the school building was ready for occupation, students were housed in Boon Lay Garden Primary.

Merlimau was initially a Malay school named Pulau Merlimau Primary from Jurong Island. It was renamed to Merlimau Primary when it shifted to Taman Jurong and had an alumnus who was awarded the most coveted President’s scholarship in 1999.

Merlimau Primary in 1989

Merlimau Primary in 1989

Merlimau Primary

Merlimau Primary

Merlimau Primary in 1988

Merlimau Primary in 1988

Before the merge, Yuan Ching Secondary, Yung An Primary and Merlimau Primary shared the same football field but now it has become Yuan Ching Secondary’s property… so are both neighbouring primary school buildings.

Jurong Town Primary in 1986

Jurong Town Primary in 1986

Jurong Town Primary in 1986

Jurong Town Primary in 1986

Jurong Town Primary

Jurong Town Primary

Jurong Town was a pretty popular school when it first started due to the lack of schools in the area. The demand was so great that they had to borrow classrooms from nearby secondary schools to accommodate the large number of students. However as more schools were built and completed, the demand waned.

As of today, there are about 13 primary schools just in Boon Lay estate alone, some equipped with newer and better facilities. Thus it isn’t surprising to see the pioneering schools in Jurong losing out in competitive advantage.

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]


Outram Institute (Bartley)
Jurong Institute (Jurong West)

Merged in 2004 to form Millenia Institute

They were two of the “four original centralised institutes (CI) in Singapore and one of the pre-university centres in Singapore that offers a three-year curriculum leading to the Singapore Cambridge (UCLES) General Certificate of Education Advanced Level examination” (Wikipedia). Due to dipping enrolment, they were merged to form the nation’s only centralised institute, Millenia Institute, at Bukit Batok.

Source: [1] [2]


Seletar Institute (Thomson)
Townsville Institute (Queenstown)

Closed in 1997 and 1995 respectively

Seletar Institute started in 1988 at the old campus of Upper Thomson Secondary School (now known as North View Secondary). Similarly, Townsville was also in the same year. Like the two institutes mentioned above, they offered a three-year pre-university programme based on the students’ O-level L1R4. However they weren’t as lucky as they were closed down altogether.

According to reader Adam, local host/actor Bryan Wong is an alumnus of Townsville Institute.

Seletar Institute has a very detailed write-up (more comprehensive than the others in fact) on its history on Wikipedia and here’s one part which got me snickering:

Due to the “Kampung spirit” and small cohort, many of the students ended up in a relationship with no less than 10 couples in a student population with less than 200. The school leadership force a reshuffling of the students to ensure that those in a relationship do not end up in the same class in Year Two.

– Wikipedia (Seletar Institute)

Source: [1] [2]

Due to time constraint and the impossibility to cover every single closed/merged schools in Singapore, I’ll briefly mention some of those not discussed in detail here: Bedok Town Primary, Dorset Primary (Farrer Park), Yuqun Primary, Pandan Primary (Teban Gardens), Jalan Kayu Primary, Kebun Baru Primary (Ang Mo Kio), Tanjong Rhu Boys’ School and Tanjong Rhu Girls’ School (both merged to form the now-defunct Tanjong Rhu Primary School), Chong Boon Primary and the list goes on.. and on.. and on.

I’ll do a follow-up if time permits, probably in my next long break. Haha. PART 2 here!

And joining the list with effect from next year will be..

Qiaonan Primary School
Griffiths Primary School (Tampines)

To merge in 2015 to form Angsana Primary School

I’m shocked at the closure of Qiaonan as it’s inarguably one of the oldest schools in Singapore to have been around for 81 years. I guess it’s just not popular enough in terms of academics despite its long history. To prove this point, the school only received 30 registration out of its possible maximum intake of 120 in last year

Qiaonan Primary

Qiaonan Primary

Founded by Wenzou Clan Association in 1933, it was known as Kiau Nam School and classes then were conducted in rental units in the now-defunct Lorong Koo Chye. 7 years later, students were schooled in a donated house (by the school director of school board) at Paya Lebar Road. Then came World War II, which saw the school closed during the mayhem until it was over. During the war, the school principal and a handful of teachers stood their ground and did not flee, hence were all executed. In the late 1950s, classes were also conducted in a Chinese temple to accommodate the growing numbers.

Qiaonan Primary

Qiaonan Primary

Qiaonan Primary

Qiaonan Primary

Qiaonan Primary school uniform

Qiaonan Primary school uniform

Griffiths Primary was formerly known as Towner Road Primary due to its locality. Started in 1950, it was then renamed to Griffiths Primary in honour of Mr James Griffiths. However, the school closed down once in 1982 and its pupils were transferred to Moulmein Primary (history above) as a result. The school was subsequently resurrected in 1988 and was operating at Junyuan Primary School before the completion of its premises at Tampines 22. Who would have expected its closure again 20 over years later? 😦

griffiths_hawa-ahamad

From Griffith’s 30th Anniversary Souvenir

griffiths_googlemaps

And seriously, Angsana?? Couldn’t the naming committee think of something more modern?

Source: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Hong Kah Primary School (Bukit Gombak)

To merge with Lianhua Primary School in 2015

I used to live about 15 minutes walk away from the school, which started in 1994. Being a resident of Bukit Gombak for 20 over years, I’m pretty familiar with the schools in the neighbourhood. Moreover, two of my best friends were ex-students of Hong Kah Primary as well. From their account, I have to say that this absorption is inevitable.

There are 4 primary schools in the small housing area of Bukit Gombak alone – St. Anthony’s (my alma mater), Lianhua, Dazhong and Hong Kah – and sad to say, Hong Kah is the least popular among all. It faces very stiff competition from neighbouring schools like St Anthony’s, the most popular in the area with oversubscription in phase 2C. According to my friends, parents only enroll their kids there as a last resort when they can’t get a spot at St. Anthony’s :\ Some never even considered about Hong Kah Primary.

hongkah_googlemaps hongkah_sch hongkah_sharon-tan hongkah_uniform

With just 23 applicants for its 150 vacancies in 2014, I’m also unsure of the reason for its unpopularity. Could it be due to its less than exceptional academic performance? Nevertheless, I’m certain that it’s remote location plays a part in its closure.

Source: [1] [2]


Bedok West Primary School (Bedok)

To merge with Damai Primary School in 2015

Formerly known as Kaki Bukit Primary School, it was renamed Bedok West when it shifted to 50 Bedok Reservoir in 1984. For many years since its relocation, the school functioned as a single session school until the end of 1995 when there was a demand for more places and the school had to function both sessions. Its pupil population increased and hit 1468 in 40 classes in a particular year. The school serves pupils living in Bedok area and the neighbouring areas such as Eunos, Tampines, Pasir Ris and Changkat Changi.

bedokwest_googlemaps

kbps

kbps1

kbps11

kbps10

kbps ockestra1

kbps12

kbps8

Probably due to population shift, the school suffered a precipitous drop in enrolment in recent years. The last recorded population in 2013 was 600. During P1 registration last year, it only had 35 pupils registered out of a possible 150.

(Special thanks to Hadi Chik for the pictures)

Source: [1] [2]

* * *

Looking at these pictures made me reminisce about the past. I’m sure kids born in and before the 90’s had a much enjoyable childhood as compared to the new generation.

Have a story to share about your decommissioned school? Let me know in the comments below! I may include that in my next write-up 🙂 And as you can see, some schools mentioned above don’t come with pictures. That’s because I can’t find them online so if you have some pictures of your school, feel free to share them!

Credits go to sgschoolmemories for their very comprehensive lists of schools in mature estates which gave me a good head start in this blog entry.

Special thanks to Kuek Jinhua and Andrew for providing me with additional research for Jervois Primary, Tanglin Boy’ and Girls’ Primary, Kay Siang Primary, May Primary, Boon Keng Primary and Bukit Ho Swee Primary schools.

Read also:
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 2)
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 3)
HISTORY: Closed and Merged Schools in Singapore (PART 4)