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A ‘School’ Within Singapore Sports School

In August 2010, Temasek Holdings announced the establishment of the Temasek Education Foundation to support education opportunities in Singapore, particularly to develop the next generation of pioneers and leaders.

Among the endowments, named after Singapore pioneers to honour and recognise their contributions in nation building, is the $35 million EW Barker Endowment, which focusses on nurturing talented Singaporeans and Asians aspiring to be athletes, coaches, therapists and specialists through scholarships in sports development, academic studies and related programmes.

Singapore Sports School is the recipient of the EW Barker Endowment.

The first initiative to stem from the EW Barker Endowment is a highly customised "School Within A School" programme, a further enhancement to the School's integrated academic and sports programme for selected talented student-athletes.

Singapore Sports School was established in 2004. During this short time, the School has produced 176 Singapore representatives in the Open category, among them, five world champions who have won six world championship titles. While the School continues to be a pipeline for national teams in several sports, particularly badminton and table tennis, it has yet to produce players who can achieve breakthroughs on the international stage.

On the morning of 27 June 2011, 7 badminton, 5 table tennis and 6 golf student-athletes started in this new "school" which allows them to train with their respective national teams during the day and attend classes from early evening.

An academic coordinator and the respective sport academy general managers will coordinate and track the progress of the student-athletes in both their sports and studies, while their National Sports Associations will provide detailed annual and long-term plans for student-athletes to facilitate their time-table.
Singapore Sports School's current day class size is kept small to a maximum of 25 student-athletes. The "School Within A School" class size is even smaller - just three to five student-athletes, so that teachers can give them greater attention, like private tuition.

When student-athletes are overseas on training and competition stints, they can still keep up with their lessons via e-learning. When they return to Singapore, they will be given make-up lessons. The teachers for the "School Within A School" are experienced, specially engaged for this group of student-athletes they will provide close monitoring of the student-athletes.

The total annual curriculum hours per annum will not differ significantly from the main school. The academic curriculum will follow closely with that of the main school and national standards.

The student-athletes will complete their secondary and post-secondary education via the School's through-train pathway, that is, the Republic Polytechnic-Singapore Sports School Diploma for Sports and Leisure Management programme, a customised diploma programme that allows student-athletes to take up to five years, if necessary, to complete their course.

The longer training sessions effected by the "School Within A School" are aimed at optimising training and eventually narrow the gap with the international playing standards.

Singapore Badminton Association selected the student-athletes as part of its National Intermediate Squad. SBA will have two NIS squads distinguished by the different training times - the SBA-SSP NIS will train in the mornings and afternoons at SSP the SBA-NIS which comprises players from the mainstream schools will train in the evenings and weekends.

Singapore Table Tennis Association's choice student-athletes for this programme are in Secondary 1 and Secondary 2.

For golf, the student-athletes must at least be in the National Development Squad or if younger, like say 14 years old, must be in the National Ranking Game and endorsed by Singapore Golf Association as having excellent potential.

This pilot project hopes to see its student-athletes reach top-100 world ranking standards from 2015.

As not all sports and student-athletes develop at the same pace and have the same needs, Singapore Sports School's sports academy general managers and head coaches are exploring other ways to bring up the sports performance of their student-athletes.

The School will announce the new initiatives when they are ready to roll off.