A glimpse of what happens in a P1 registration balloting exercise

A Personal Account of P1 Registration Balloting Exercise

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I thought this day will never come. 3 days before the balloting exercise, when the 32nd mummy stepped into the school to request for a registration form for her child and told us she is a Singaporean residing 1km from the school, our hearts dropped, knowing that we will all be seeing each other again in the ‘battle field’ very soon, since there were only 31 seats at phase 2B. We confirmed that we had to ballot with a call to the school at registration closing time (Tip: Calling the school is the fastest way to find out if your application is subject to balloting. Remember to get the number to call from the school staff during registration).

I am not a blogger and have never written an article in my life. But since I had a roller coaster ride for the love of my kids (like all parents) and thought I should share this unique experience with all parents out there, I will put up my virgin piece. If you ever read this post and have the ‘opportunity’ to go through P1 balloting exercise in the near future, I hope I have equipped you with a useful sneak peek into the experience and most importantly I want to let you know– ‘my heart will be with you’.

Now here goes:

On the fateful morning of 21 July 2017, my husband and I took a slow drive to Methodist Girls School with a heavy heart. It was 8:50am, we were too early as the balloting would only start at 9:30am. We pulled over at the side of the road outside the school and strolled in, dragging our feet. I have never entered a primary school with such lousy feeling (except when I needed to collect my PSLE results xx years ago…). In fact it felt more like attending a funeral.

It was easy to spot the direction sign that was supposed to guide parents to the balloting room (which unfortunately contributed to the suspense building). The security uncle asked us have a bite in the canteen first as we were too early…Where got appetite? The canteen was crowded and we bought coffee, only to gulp it down in the end.

At 9:20am, we made our way to the conference (balloting) room. Another direction sign on level 2. When we reached the door, we were told to check our child’s number and name on the board. Yes, they have allocated a number for every child for the balloting. No. 25...Ok this would be the number of our life for the next 30 mins. We were told no photography from this point onwards. The contenders parents gave us serious looks as we went in to quickly get our seats.

At 9:30am, the vice principal began speaking into the mic introducing the witnesses to the balloting exercise and how the staffs are carefully trained by MOE to spin the TOTO lookalike spinner wheel. There was a camera videoing the entire process and a projector that showed every numbered ball that dropped out of the spinner.

After about 5 mins of explanation, she announced the start of balloting. All 32 balls were dropped into the spinner and the staff started to turn the wheel of fate. Some parents were unable to hold their excitement and cheered when their numbers were called while most just kept quiet. Balls after balls dropped from the spinner but none was ours. Then they announced: ‘We are now drawing the last 11 balls…’ Our hearts stopped. I looked at my husband with desperation. His face paled. I don't think I looked good either.

‘Last 3 seats…’ tears started to well up in my eyes. Some mummies (who already got in) seated around me looked at me with pity/ anxiety. My hands went numbed.

‘This will be the 31st and the last ball we are drawing…’ I covered my mouth as 2 balls were spinning in the wheel. The suspense was killing us. ALAS a ball finally dropped out of the wheel and the announcer picked it up...in slowwwww mo…the room was dead quiet. I stopped breathing...

‘No. 25…’


The Primary school registration game  excercise is cruel and heart-breaking. We did not make any sound after the last number was called. The emotion was mixed, feeling both a relief but at the same time, sorry for the family whose ball did not come out. I hope the little girl eventually gets in at the next phase. Here’s wishing all parents all the very best in their P1 registrations this year or years to come. For those balloting, may the odds be in your favour….


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