The Smooth Primary to Secondary School Transition at OWIS

Jasween Gill
Published on
July 6, 2021

In a recent webinar, Mrs. Luna Deller, Head of Academic Operations, and Mr. Anthony Hacking, Senior Coordinator - Secondary, talked our Grade 5 students through what they can expect in the transition to Grade 6. While the children were excited to move up into “big” secondary school, they admitted to feeling a bit nervous as well. 

Here’s a quick synopsis of some of the things that are different between Grade 5 and Grade 6 at OWIS and a few things that don’t change a bit. We thought it would be helpful for new students who will be coming to our secondary school as well.

What’s the difference between Grade 5 and Grade 6 at OWIS?

The Grade 6 class of 2020-21 enjoys an interesting Maths morning
The Grade 6 class of 2020-21 enjoys an interesting Maths morning


  1. Location - Grade 5 is in the primary block and Grade 6 in the secondary block. Students who have been at OWIS would mostly know the lay of the land in our campus. Covid restrictions may decide whether students move from one room to another for different subjects, or whether the teachers will come to their rooms instead. For new students, you can rest assured that everyone from classmates to senior secondary students to teachers will be happy to help for anything you ask.

  2. Form tutors - Each section is assigned a form tutor, who children will meet first thing in the morning every day. The tutor is like a mentor, guide and friend, who will help students to settle into their new secondary school life, keep a ear out for any worries they may have and plan interesting activities during the tutor group time. They are also the first point of contact for parents to reach out to.

  3. Subjects - Moving up from the IB PYP in Grades 1-5, students in Grade 6 will follow the Modified Cambridge IGCSE curriculum. This means they will have five-period days, with five subjects of one hour each and two breaks as usual for snack and lunch. All these subjects will be taught by subject specialists. While they might be new faces for the children since they teach in secondary school, they’re just as friendly, kind and supportive as all the Primary School teachers.

  4. Communication - While we use Toddle to communicate with parents in Primary, we use Satchel in secondary school for Grade 6. It’s a fairly easy-to-use app and parents and students get the hang of it quite quickly.

  5. Homework - So many questions about homework in the webinar - it’s quite the top concern of our fifth-graders. As Mrs. Deller and Mr. Hacking assured everyone, the amount of homework is set at an age-appropriate level, so it isn’t too hard or too easy, too stressful or too boring. We’re sure students will be able to manage it very easily and will still have plenty of time at home to enjoy their hobbies and pastimes.

  6. Secondary Six - OWIS nurtures kindness and respect as our core values. Moving up from primary school, Grade 6 students will learn about the “Secondary Six”, our value system for our older learners. They will earn reward points for effort and these will cumulatively become points for the house they’re in. 

What Stays the Same in OWIS’s Primary School and Secondary School?

OWIS secondary students enjoy collaborative, inquiry-led learning, similar to IB PYP students
OWIS secondary students enjoy collaborative, inquiry-led learning, similar to IB PYP students

At the end of the day, whether children are in Grade 5 or 6, they are still at OWIS and our philosophy doesn't change at all. Here are some ways in which our primary school and secondary school are the same in principle:

  • Our style of learning - collaborative, inquiry-based, hands-on.
  • Fun school events.
  • Our value system of kindness and respect for diversity.
  • The school day ends at 3.30pm, unless students go for CCAs.
  • Everyone will greet you with a smile - the warmth and pastoral care stays the same in any grade at OWIS.

We look forward to welcoming all our Primary-turned-Secondary Grade 6 students back in August 2021. It will be an exciting step forward and we will make it a smooth primary to secondary school transition for students and parents. 

And if you think OWIS is a good fit for your child going from primary or elementary school to middle or secondary school, please email us or schedule a virtual tour and we’ll be happy to tell you all about our warm and welcoming international school in Singapore. 

About Author

Jasween Gill

Admissions & Communications Director

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