Autonomous and Independent Schools in Singapore: Everything You Need to Know


To address the growing need for education in Singapore, the Ministry of Education has allowed different types of schools to operate. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, but they are geared towards giving our children a brighter future.

Aside from the usual government schools, parents can pick from Autonomous, Specialised Independent, Specialised, and Independent Schools. The Ministry of Education believes that it should be up to the parents to decide where they want to put their children, that’s why we have these different kinds of schools.

In this article, we will focus on autonomous schools and independent schools in Singapore. We will also briefly touch upon the other types of schools, and we will provide you with a list of schools belonging to each type.

Autonomous and Independent Schools in Singapore

While the most widespread type of school in Singapore is the government schools, there are also schools considered to be autonomous, and some are independent altogether. So what exactly are autonomous and independent schools?

Autonomous Schools

CHIJ Katong Convent


Autonomous schools pertain to schools that are still under the Ministry of Education’s syllabus but are more free to add to the curriculum and activities for the students. As a result, there is a slight bump in school fees compared to government schools, but the advantage is the extra learning materials and subjects these schools provide.

Some autonomous schools may also have a Special Assistance Plan (SAP) included in their curriculum. SAP aims to cater to multilingual and multicultural students in Singapore by incorporating Chinese language and culture lessons in their curriculum.

Independent Schools

SJI International High School


Unlike Autonomous Schools, which follow the curriculum of government schools, Independent Schools in Singapore are free to make their curriculum and non-academic programmes. Being independent, these schools are also free to set the fees for their services.

The edge Independent Schools have over other types of schools is that they can tailor the lessons to your children. This power to custom fit the curriculum affects the books they are going to use, the staff they are going to hire, and essentially how they will mould the children’s minds.

Some Independent Schools also have the Special Assistance Plan to accommodate children who want to learn Chinese language and culture. Some schools belong to another type of school in Singapore called Specialised Independent Schools.

Specialised Independent Schools

Hwa Chong Institution


Specialised Independent Schools are essentially Independent Schools, but with the added focus on various fields like science, math, sports, and arts. There are schools dedicated explicitly to cultivating each of these fields, and students who show interest or are talented in one of those fields can opt to enter one of these schools.

The advantage of Specialised Independent Schools is the specialised learning they will receive from these schools. In terms of future careers, their skills in any these fields will be greatly bolstered through the help of the curriculum.

Those looking to get the edge over other students when it comes to a specific field might want to try enrolling in one of these Specialised Independent Schools in Singapore.

Related: Pathfinder English

List of SAP, Autonomous, and Independent Schools in Singapore

Researching about a school can be difficult, especially if you’re not sure what type of school it is. You might be favouring a specific school due to its proximity to your location, but you also have a preference on what kind of school you want your child or children to go to.

We have compiled a list of different schools that belong to a specific type of school. They are categorised under SAP, Autonomous, and Independent Schools. These schools are:

Special Assistance Plan (SAP) Schools in Singapore

Anglican High School
Catholic High School
CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ Secondary School
Chung Cheng High School ( Main)
Dunman High School
Hwa Chong Institution
Maris Stella High School
Nan Hua High School
Nanyang Girls’ High School
River Valley High School


Autonomous Schools in Singapore

Anderson Secondary School
Anglican High School
Bukit Panjang Government High School
Catholic High School
Cedar Girls’ School
CHIJ Katong Convent
CHIJ Saint Nicholas Girls’ School
CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh)
Chung Cheng High School
Commonwealth Secondary School
Crescent Girls’ School
Dunman High School
Dunman Secondary School
Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary)
Geylang Methodist Secondary School
Nan Hua High School
Ngee Ann Secondary School
Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary)
River Valley High School, Singapore
Saint Anthony’s Canossian Secondary School
St. Margaret’s Secondary School
Tanjong Katong Girls’ School
Tanjong Katong Secondary School
Temasek Secondary School
Victoria School
Xinmin Secondary School
Yishun Town Secondary School
Zhonghua Secondary School


Independent Schools in Singapore

Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)
The Chinese High School (Singapore)
Hwa Chong Institution
Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah
Methodist Girls’ School, Singapore
Nanyang Girls’ High School
Northlight School
Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary)
Raffles Institution
Raffles Junior College
SJI International School
St. Joseph’s Institution, Singapore
School of Science and Technology, Singapore
School of the Arts, Singapore
Singapore Chinese Girls’ School
Singapore Sports School


Specialised Independent Schools in Singapore

NUS High School of Mathematics and Science
School of Science and Technology
School of the Arts
Singapore Sports School


Related: Unfamiliar Territory: 15 Survival Tips for Junior College in Singapore


When it all comes down to it, schools are there to teach our children different life skills. It is still up to the parents where they want their children to learn these things. Some parents might prefer a more specialised way of learning, while some are confident in what government schools offer.

The child’s skill is also a significant factor in deciding where you should let them study. Every student has a different way of learning things. Knowing the skills of your children will also help you decide what type of education you want them to receive.

Whether SAP, Autonomous, or Independent Schools in Singapore, the most important thing is to secure your child’s future, and you can do so by paying close attention to their learning styles and where they’re good at.

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