Registering a Private School
Private schools conducting education and training such as tuition and enrichment are to register with the Ministry of Education (MOE).
Definition of a ‘school’
A ‘school’ is defined in the statute relating to education and registration of schools as an organisation for the provision of education for 10 or more persons; or a place where 10 or more persons are being or are habitually taught, whether in one or more classes.
A facility or an establishment offering instruction deemed to be of a ‘non-academic’ nature, eg. brain/memory training, beauty care, dressmaking, cooking, sports, games, driving, recreation-related, etc, is however not brought under the ambit of this statute. An establishment offering education-related services and not conducting lessons or running classes in its premises/principal place of business is not deemed a ‘school’ and hence is also similarly not brought under the ambit of the statute.
Name of School
A school name should denote a place of learning. If abbreviations are used in the name proposed, applicants are to state what the abbreviations stand for. The name proposed ought to reflect the curriculum and type of courses to be offered by the proposed school (eg. language school named as “----- Language School”).
Words such as ‘Singapore’, ‘National’, etc. would indicate ownership, links with Government. Hence, private schools should not be so named/styled, e.g. “Singapore -------- ------”, “National -------- ------”, etc.
Where the proposed school is/will be registered as a sole-proprietorship/partnership business with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), both the name of the school and the business have to be exactly the same.
MOE reserves the right to refuse registration of any name proposed for a school, which is deemed unsuitable or misleading.
There are certain restrictions in the type of curriculum that a private school may adopt. For instance, private schools are not permitted to operate/function as full-fledged ‘alternative’ primary/secondary schools.
University education requires extensive resources beyond the ability of private schools to provide. Private schools are thus not universities and are not to function as institutions of higher education operating as an university. Hence the word “University” is not to be used by private schools in the proposed school name.
To indicate clearly the type of ownership, name and particulars of owner(s), e.g. Sole-proprietorship/partnership business, limited liabilities partnership (LLP), company, society, registration no. assigned by Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)/Registry of Societies (ROS), etc.
Committee of Management
Every private school has to be administered by a Committee of Management comprising a minimum of one and a maximum of 9 members. The Committee is responsible for running the school, and in ensuring that the provisions of the Education Act, the Schools Regulations and the terms of its school constitution are complied with.
Private school operators/managers (members of the committee of management) are expected to be persons of good character and possessing knowledge in educational matters, management skill, experience, interest in managing a school, etc.
Members of a Committee of Management should not be teachers or staff to be employed by the proposed school unless they are also ‘owners’ of the school. This is to prevent ‘employer-employee’ conflict of interest situations.
The Committee of Management of a school will have one of their members as the Supervisor of the school. If a school has only one member in its Committee of Management, the duties to be discharged by the Committee will be discharged by that member as the Supervisor.
A private school seeking registration has to submit a constitution for approval.
Courses & Teachers
Course duration and weekly curriculum (teaching) hours are matters decided by the school. Course duration and weekly teaching hours have to be realistically set to ensure adequacy of time for effective delivery.
The teacher’s application for permission to teach (at least two teachers required for each private school) in a private school must meet the minimum educational qualification and relevant working/teaching experience required by the school. The supervisor has to state clearly the modules/courses/subjects and the levels that the teacher is proposed to teach.
In general, applicants should have educational qualifications beyond the levels they are proposed to teach. Their qualifications and knowledge should be related to the subject areas to be taught. Teachers must be able to provide documentary evidence of their qualifications, work experience, etc, to support their applications. If the documents are in a language other than English, teachers are required to have them translated into English by a notary public or a registered translator.
Premises & Facilities
Applicants are advised to exercise care when selecting and deciding on the premises to house the proposed private school before entering into any firm commitment to purchase/lease/rent it. Things to look out for include prospects of the premises being granted the Written Permission for ‘Change of Use’ by the planning authorities (URA); that any alteration/renovation works planned are likely to be approved/cleared by the relevant authorities (HDB or FSSD/BCA). The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is the authority for matters related to this, e.g. application for ‘Change-of-Use’ of a shop unit for use as a private school.
Private schools ought to be located in environments conducive for teaching and learning. An example would be premises away from busy and noisy establishments, e.g. shops selling audio/video products, karaoke lounges, hairdressing salons, etc. The URA would normally turn down applications for ‘Change-of-Use’ in respect of residential and industrial buildings/premises.
In gereral, private schools ought to have premises of an acceptable and reasonable size, and in addition to having classroom(s), should have space for an office/administration area/reception-cum-waiting area for students/clients, etc.
The guideline for classroom accommodation is 1.5 m2 per student and 2 m2 per student for music, computer schools, etc. (lessons requiring use of equipment).
Appropriate furnishing for a school would depend on the type of courses to be conducted and whether the students are children or adults. Furniture has to be proper writing tables and chairs for ordinary classrooms, custom-built computer desks (where the wiring could be neatly tucked away for safety reasons) for computer rooms, etc.
Written Permission for `Change-of-Use'
Applicants are to apply for the Written Permission for `Change-of-Use' of the premises to ‘school’ use at the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Fire Safety & Shelter Department (FSSD)
With regard to alteration/renovation works carried to the proposed school premises, applicants are to submit building floor plans for alteration/renovation works to the FSSD (commercial buildings/complexes/HDB buildings).
All renovation works done in a HDB premise have to seek fire safety clearance from the Fire Safety & Shelter Department (FSSD).
Submission of Documents
After the submission of the online application, you are required to submit to MOE the following documents via despatch or postal mail:
§ A1-sized Approved floor plan by the Fire Safety and Shelter Department (FSSD)
§ Fire Safety Certificate & Notice of Approval
§ Grant of Written Permission from URA / HDB
§ Latest ACRA BIZFILE printout
§ Committee of Management Forms, i.e. Form CM
§ Appointment Note (for sole-proprietorship/partnership/LLP) or Directors’ Resolution (for private limited company) to appoint the members of the Committee of Management
§ Course Registration (Summary of Course Particulars) Forms, i.e. Form RC.
§ Course Write-up (if it is not a tuition course or following MOE-syllabus)
§ Teacher Registration Forms, i.e. Form RT.
§ School Constitution
§ Memorandum & Articles of Association of Private Limited Company (for company only)
MOE Grants Full Registration
Once all the submitted documents are submitted and found to be in order, the MOE officers will arrange for an inspection of the premises of the private school.
A complete application with all the necessary documents will be processed by 14 working days from the date of receipt of correct and completed documents that are deemed acceptable by the MOE officer.
Upon approval of registration and the successful completion of all necessary administrative procedures (including payment of registration fees), the school registration certificate and classroom accommodation certificate(s) will be issued. Renewal of this certificate is not required as there is no expiry date. However, new application is needed if a branch or new centre is to be established.
Payment of registration fee should be made within the grace period of 90 days upon licence approval.
Private school operators who wish to indicate the registration status of their schools, courses and teachers with MOE, should only use the term “Registered with the Ministry of Education” and not otherwise.
$420 (inclusive of GST)
For more information on the private school registration a
nd application process, please contact Bestar.