Forward SG – changes in secondary school education and what you must know as a parent about Full Subject-based Banding

The Singapore Dream, a term that seems to bear semblance to the Great American Dream, stands in intriguing juxtaposition to the American Dream. While the American Dream emphasises the idea of “rags to riches” and individualism, our Singapore Dream is woven into the fabric of a small island nation with a diverse population and places a greater emphasis on community, collective progress, and societal harmony.

What is Forward SG?

Forward SG is an important roadmap spearheaded by the government to carve out the next chapter of Singapore’s development in this increasingly polarised world. In the planning of the Forward SG exercise, the government took an active effort to seek out the opinions of 200,000 Singaporeans, particularly voices of youths, engaging them in dialogues in 275 engagement sessions. 

One of the particular focus of Forward SG is in the education policies will be the introduction of Full Subject-based Banding in School in 2024 .

What is Full Subject-based Banding (FULL SBB)?

According to MOE, Full SBB is part of their efforts to inculcate the joy of learning and provide multiple pathways to cater to the different strengths and interests of our students. It was first introduced in 2020 to only 28 schools and by 2024, it will be rolled out to 120 mainstream schools in Singapore. This means that students will no longer be streamed according to Express, Normal Academic or Normal Technical. Instead they will be grouped into mixed form classes, with each form class comprising students taking different courses. 

How will it affect your child? 

If your child or children is entering Secondary One in 2024, this will make them the first batch of students under the Full SBB system. Depending on their PSLE results, your child can be offered English, Mother Tongue, Mathematics and Science at a more demanding level.  (See table below for details, source: MOE Website).

At Secondary One, your child will be enter a form class with students of mixed abilities. In their mixed form classes, students will take a set of subjects (like CCE PE, Art, Music, FCE) at a common level, which will constitute to about one-third of curriculum time. This would allow students in mixed form classes to spend curriculum time together in these subjects.


On an individual basis, your child will be offered different subject levels would be labelled G3 (General Level 3 similar to Express), G2 (General Level 2 similar to NA) and G1 (General Level 1 similar to NT), mapped from today’s Express, N(A) and N(T) standards. 

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions from Parents

Would my child be forever “stuck” in G1 for (some/all) their subjects? 

The answer is no. Students may also offer these subjects at a more demanding level based on their performance in secondary school. 

Will my child still take the GCE O’levels or N-Levels? 

If your child is Sec 1 in 2024, he will not be taking the GCE O-and N-Level, instead he or she will be taking the Singapore-Cambridge Secondary Education Certificate (SEC Exam) which will take effect from 2027. 


The 2026 graduating cohort will be the last batch to take the GCE O- and N-Level examinations. 

Does the Full SBB apply to “better schools” like Crescent Girls? 

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing announced in 2022 that three schools Crescent Girls’ School, Tanjong Katong Girls’ School and Tanjong Katong Secondary School will start taking in students taking mainly G2 subjects. This means that traditionally better reputed mainstream secondary schools like Crescent Girls will also have Full SBB and students will have the opportunities to mixed with students of different academic abilities. 

How does the Full SBB benefit my child? 

Your child will gain a wider understanding of the definition of success, one that goes beyond academic merit. In the words of our Education Minister, “(your child will) make more friends across courses, gain new perspectives and learnt how to relate to peers of different backgrounds, and they have become more confident in themselves and their abilities,” 

How can I help my child in their secondary school? What can parents do to help? 

Some students may feel like a fish out of water in secondary schools. Secondary One students in particular will be taking more subjects up from the familiar four core subjects in primary school, CCA will be compulsory and they will need to learn to organise their time and schedule better. Academic pressure will still be a reality that students will face, parents would need to give their support both emotionally like lending your young ones a listening ear and observe them if they face any forms of anxiety (both social or academic).


With an avalanche of new subjects in schools coupled with a new environment, tuition can be a way to help your child navigate through this daunting but exciting secondary school life.

To help parents provide support to their children especially lower-income families, Parents can download free testpapers here at The Learning Space or engage our MOE teachers (ex or current) tutors to help your child succeed academically. We also provide affordable online group or 1 to 1 online tuition for secondary school students in Singapore. Contact us via whatsapp 9364 6977 or email us.

With a strong team of former and current MOE teachers / tutors, your child can enjoy the professional guidance of teachers tutors, helping them to be more prepared to meet the myriad of changes in this VUCA world. Contact us today and experience how our highly experienced tutors and teachers can help better support your children and ease the anxiety of academic stress in the Singapore-Cambridge Secondary Education Certificate (SEC Exam) which will take effect from 2027.


What other changes are there in education under the new Forward-SG report

  1. An increase in DSA (Direct School Admission), up from about 10 per cent now, this means more students can go to secondary schools based on non academic abilities. More places in junior colleges (JCs) will be made available for students entering with talents apart from their grades through the direct school admission (DSA) exercise from this year.The number of DSA places for non-Integrated Programme students will go up from 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the yearly cohorts at government and government-aided JCs. These include Anderson Serangoon JC, Eunoia JC and Victoria JC.
  2. Mental health literacy and support in schools and higher education institutions. Amid growing concern over youth mental health, schools have been taking steps to increase awareness and support. Other than including mental health awareness and education in CCE, schools also have PSL where student Peer Support Leaders (PSLs) are selected to take on a more active role to look out for their peers. This will allow students look out for one another and encourage those in distress to seek help from trusted adults, such as their parents, teachers or school counsellors. 

The vision of Forward SG in terms of education is to embrace learning beyond grades, let us work together towards a better and fulfilling Singapore Dream.

Looking for more tips on how to do well for O’levels examinations? Want more oral notes and English oral practice questions? Subscribe to our channel for quality free videos to help you succeed in you/your child’s secondary school education. 



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