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What Makes Us Athlete-Friendly?

The life of a student-athlete is widely recognised to be unique and routine-oriented to manage both academic and athletic goals. Though an extremely rewarding experience, being a student-athlete can be challenging and overwhelming.

Over the years, Singapore Sports School has set itself apart by being a conducive and comfortable “home” that caters to and accommodates the demands of being both a student and an athlete. The term “athlete-friendly” is synonymously used to describe the school as the needs of student-athletes are considered as the main priority when formulating policies, academic structures and support services for them.

One of the key reasons student-athletes make Singapore Sports School their choice institution is because of its athlete-friendly academic pathways. There are multiple through-train pathways offered within the school’s campus that allows student-athletes to bypass their GCE N- or O-Levels to move on to a post-secondary programme. Depending on their academic goals, student-athletes can pursue their post-secondary education through the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, Diploma in Business Studies (DBS) programme offered in collaboration with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and the Diploma in Business (DBIZ), a joint programme with Republic Polytechnic.

17-year-old Sunny Tia Yang Guang (read story), for example, transferred from Kranji Secondary School to Sports School at Secondary 3 as he believed that bypassing the GCE O-Level to do the through-train DBIZ would enable him to grow professionally faster and further in his football career. The move proved to be a good decision for his long-term development as he was recently inducted into Albirex Niigata FC (Singapore).

Within the academic programmes, strong academic support structures have been put in place so that student-athletes do not compromise their studies while pursuing sport excellence. For those who travel overseas for training and competitions, academic make-up support is given to them. Our dedicated teachers, who understand the struggles and demands of being a student-athlete, go above and beyond their classroom-time to guide and help student-athletes who miss lessons or require additional support. Student-athletes can also do e-learning or home-based learning to keep pace with their schoolwork when abroad. In addition, greater flexibility is exercised for student-athletes to customise their academic schedule according to their sporting obligations.

They can also extend the completion of their programme to focus on their sports training during key sporting periods. Singapore Sports School is the only local institution accredited by IB Organisation and World Academy of Sport to offer the extended pathway for high-performing student-athletes. This allows them to take extend their programme beyond the usual two years. Likewise, student-athletes on the polytechnic diploma programmes can also defer their modules to make time for sport training, allowing them to extend their studies up to five years, instead of completing the course within the usual three years.

This academic support benefitted national swimmer Maximillan Ang Wei (read story) who is currently in Year 3 of the Diploma in Sports and Leisure Management course (now changed to DBIZ). Due to the bite-sized module structure which allows student-athletes to take one to two modules at a time, he was able to defer his studies easily to accommodate his sporting training and competitions. The course’s flexible curriculum model enabled him to travel overseas for competitions like the 2017 and 2019 SEA Games, 2018 Youth Olympic Games, and training stints in Australia. Impressed by the athlete-friendly structure in the school, his brother Mitchell Ang Li (Swimming, IBDP Year 6) followed his brother’s footsteps to join Sports School too.

Student-athletes also enjoy a holistic athlete-life programme to maximise their performance and well-being in sport and life. Behind every student-athlete is a dedicated mentor, coaches, General Manager of the sport, teachers, and professionals who make them the centre of their decision-making. They provide personalised attention by looking into the individual needs and goals of the student-athletes, and plan their academic schedule, sports training, and competitions so that they maximise their athletic and academic performance. The assigned mentor, who will follow-through with the student-athlete till the completion of their academic programmes provide guidance, motivation, and emotional support.

An array of programmes are also integrated within the curriculum to support character and citizenship education. Student-athletes also benefit from education and career guidance, counselling, sport science support and boarding facilities with nutritional food. These services provided on-site in the Sports School campus allow national athletes to receive professional and timely support that would benefit their sports career and future.

Golfer Brandon Han Zhen Guang (read story), a Year 2 student-athlete from DBS, continued his post-secondary education at Sports School after doing his GCE O-Levels in St. Gabriel’s Secondary School. Having struggled balancing between studies and sports in secondary school, Brandon felt that Sports School is a “breathe of fresh air” for national athletes like him. Besides the compacted lesson hours which gives him sufficient training time, he appreciates the mentorship, staff support, and partnership with stakeholders that looks into his overall development.

Being an athlete-friendly institution is Sports School’s unique value proposition to student-athletes. The school cares about every single student-athlete, and gives them the best chance to achieve a balance between education and sporting commitments, and be a Champion In Sports, Champion For Sports and Champion In Life.

For more information, join us at our e-Open House on 27 March 2021.