Established in 2007, NorthLight is a specialised school for students who are less academically inclined and favour vocational studies.1 The school’s mission is to provide an engaging education for youth, while preparing them for lifelong learning and employability.2 NorthLight admits students who have attempted the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) at least once, and takes in about 200 new students each year. It admitted 228 students in its first intake at its original campus at Dunman Road in 2007.3
Before NorthLight School was formed, most students who failed their PSLE were enrolled in Vocational Training Centres (VTCs). However, attrition at the VTCs was high: 60 percent of students dropped out of the programme, and less than half of the remaining 40 percent progressed to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). NorthLight was established as a specialised school to address the educational needs of this group of students and prepare them for further education in ITE or industry apprenticeships.4
Comprising character education, foundation education and vocational education, NorthLight’s curriculum is focused on values, socio-emotional development and employability.5
Character education instils qualities and values in students to help them lead fulfilling lives. This curriculum component comprises the character and citizenship education programme, sports and wellness programme, and the arts appreciation programme. Foundation education is made up of language, literacy, numeracy, and information communication and technology literacy programmes. Vocational education prepares students for entry-level jobs in the technical, services and creative industries, with the vocational training, pre-employment skills training and industrial experiential programmes.6
10th anniversary celebrations
NorthLight’s 10th anniversary celebrations in 2017 was attended by more than 400 guests, including students and alumni. This event also marked the official opening of the school’s new campus at Towner Road, a location it has moved to since December 2014. The new campus boasts special learning rooms, extensive sports facilities and state-of-the-art vocational training facilities.7
1. Elizabeth Lie, “NorthLight School - Giving Less Academically Inclined Students Hope,” World Scientific, 2016.
2. “Mission, Vision & Values,” NorthLight School, accessed 27 April 2018.
3. Calvin Yang, “NorthLight School Influenced Singapore's Education System: PM Lee,” Straits Times, 21 September 2016. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
4. Sandra Davie and Maria Almenoar, “New School To Give Students Fresh Chance,” Straits Times, 9 March 2006, 4; Maria Almenoar, “Failed PSLE on First Try? NorthLight Offers Place,” Straits Times, 13 July 2007, 42. (From NewspaperSG)
5. “Purpose,” NorthLight School, accessed 27 April 2018.
6. “Curriculum – Framework & Objectives,” NorthLight School, accessed 27 April 2018.
7. Yang, “NorthLight School Influenced Singapore's Education System.”
The information in this article is valid as at 2018 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.