Subject Based Banding to Roll-out in Pilot Schools 2024

Subject Based Banding to Roll-out in Pilot Schools 2024

What is full subject based banding

Full subject based banding places students into subjects that they are interested in based on their subject results in Secondary 1. They will be grouped into mixed form classes comprising students from different Posting Groups. This mixed class is so that they will take a common set of subjects that will amount to about a third of curriculum time. Mainly, the subjects are Art, Design and Technology, Food and Consumer Education, Music, Physical Education, Character and Citizenship Education.

In addition, students are able to offer subjects at a more demanding level, and are differentiated into G1, G2, and G3.  Mainly, the subjects for Secondary 1 are English Language, Mother Tongue Languages, Mathematics and Science.This will take up the other two-thirds of the curriculum time.  

Students who face exceptional difficulties coping with their Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) will have the option to offer G1 or G2 MTL. At the start of Secondary One, students can offer MTL at a less demanding level based on the following criteria:

Student offering Overall MTL grade after S3 end-year examination Eligible to offer:
G3 E8 or below G2 MTL
G2 Grade 6 G1 MTL

From Secondary 2, students in schools that are implementing Full SBB will also be able to offer Humanities subjects (Geography, History, and Literature in English)

From Secondary 3 and Upper Secondary, compulsory subjects are English Language, Mother Tongue Languages, Humanities, Mathematics and Science. Electives are Additional Mathematics, Art, and Design & Technology.

*More subjects will be added into the 2026 curriculum. 

Primary School

From the Primary Schools, changes have been made to the grading system through the AL scoring bands to ease the pressure of the PSLE. From 2024, upon release of the grades, students will be placed into three Posting Groups – Posting Groups 1, 2, and 3. This posting group is used for the purposes of admitting students into secondary school and to guide the initial subject levels students can offer at the start of Secondary 1.

Similarly, changes are in place for the secondary school systems in the upcoming years. 

Secondary School

Starting from the 2024 Secondary One cohort, Full SBB will be implemented in our secondary education system. Secondary One students in 120 secondary schools will benefit from the Full SBB experience, which provides greater customisation and flexibility for each student’s learning.

The introduction of this programme aims to abolish the “EM1, EM2 and EM3” streaming, it also entails that students will be graded at a more demanding level based on their PSLE Achievement Level (AL) for each subject.

While your child applies for the secondary schools, teachers have also been deployed to assess the student’s ability to cope with the rigour of taking the subject at a more demanding level, as well as the student’s demonstration of interest in that subject. This will ensure that the transition into the new programme is within the capacity of the students. 

The option of a fifth year in secondary school will continue to be available for eligible students to pace their learning and take subjects at a more demanding level to access more post-secondary pathways.

Will it affect the curriculum? 

With full SBB, students in one class will attempt subjects like English, mathematics and science at three different levels. The school will deploy sufficient teachers and venues to facilitate these lessons.

It will affect the curriculum slightly as schools will have the autonomy to decide what students can do during their own specialized lessons. Students with the relevant lessons will go for their lesson in this space while others are free within that period. 

Overall, it will be up to the school to determine how they would best reduce this free space but this could also mean longer school days for some days of the week.

Other Changes

Other programmes – Applied Learning Modules (ApLM)

ApLM are elective modules in applied areas, conducted by the Polytechnics, ITE and private vendors. Starting from the 2023 Secondary Two to Secondary Five cohorts, all students will be allowed to participate in these modules and each student is allowed to participate in up to 3 ApLM throughout their secondary education.

ApLM replaces Applied Elective Modules (AEM) by the Polytechnics for students taking the Express and N(A) streams, and the Elective Modules (EM) by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and private vendors for students taking the N(A) and N(T) streams.

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