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School History

History of NTSS Principalship - 1965- Present
Principal Duration
Ms Yeo Lai Cheng January 1965 to February 1970
Mr J. Doray February 1970 to March 1970
Mr John Tseng March 1970 to December 1970
Mr John Yip Soon Kwong January 1971 to August 1973
Mr Ng Soo Boon September 1973 to December 1974
Mr Wee Teck Yam January 1975 to August 1983
Mr Chiu Hock Seng January 1984 to March 1988
Mr Kiat Jun Ngin March 1988 to December 1994
Mr Ong Soo Kiong January 1995 to December 1997
Mdm Oen Siew Yock June 1998 to December 2004
Mdm Neo Lay Wah December 2004 to December 2010
Mdm Wong Yu Yuh December 2010 to January 2016
Mrs Sng Siew Hong January 2016 to present

The 1960s and 1970s - Forging a Better Life
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Providing a Place for Every Child.

Building National Loyalty.

Fostering Social Cohesion.

Preparing for Economic Development.



New Town Secondary School was founded on 2 January 1965, the same year Singapore gained its independence. It was the 68th Secondary School to be opened by the Singapore government. The School was set up to meet the needs of the residents staying in the Queenstown district, many of whom comprised school-going children who were about to embark on secondary education. It was tentatively known as Queensway’s Third Secondary School then.

In its first year there were 45 classes, 1819 pupils and 73 teachers. New Town’s first batch of pupils were made up of 2 classes of Secondary One pupils, 20 classes of Secondary Two and Three Chinese Stream pupils from Hwa Yi Secondary School and Tanglin Technical Secondary School, and 13 classes of Secondary Two, Three and Four English Stream pupils from Queensway Secondary School.

On 7th January 1965, Mrs. Yeo Lai Cheng was appointed by the Ministry Of Education as the School’s first principal. A few months later, the School came to be officially known as New Town Secondary School.

To make the school distinctive, Mrs. Yeo crafted the School’s motto, “To Forge A Better Life”. It was her vision that all New Towners will forge ahead for a better life for the country, their loved ones and themselves after undergoing a holistic education in New Town Secondary School. Mr See Chin Chuang, her Senior Assistant, designed the School’s uniform, flag and badge based on Mrs. Yeo’s vision.

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The First Batch of Teaching Staff (1966)

On 17 September 1966, New Town Secondary School had its official opening ceremony. The Member of Parliament for Queenstown, Mr Jek Yuen Tong, was the Guest-of-Honour for the ceremony.

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The founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew visited our school on 25 May 1967.

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By 1968, the School was well-established. It was one of the first schools in Singapore to provide bilingual education to its pupils, as advocated by the government in 1966.

Technical education was introduced in 1969. Its purpose was to prepare the pupils for an important role in the industrialisation programmes of Singapore, an option whichthe young Republic had to take to ensure her economic survival.

To generate a sense of pride and a sense of belonging among the pupils, Mrs. Yeo Lai Cheng penned the lyrics of the School Song which expressed the aspirations she had for the School. It was completed with the contribution of Miss Koh Wai Choo who composed the School Song. The lyrics were also translated into Chinese by Professor Jao Yu Wei.

1969 saw a structural change in the development of New Town Secondary School. It was the year when neighboring Baharuddin Vocational School was merged with the school to create the largest bi-lateral integrated school in Singapore with an enrolment of 3027 pupils. There were 81 classes and 148 teachers. To cope with the increase in the size of the School, the post of Vice-Principal was created. The first Vice-Principal of the School was Mr. Adrian De Silva.

In May 1971, the School Advisory Committee decided on the construction of a sports track. President Benjamin Sheares came to the School on 20 July 1971 to plant a tree to commemorate the building of the sports track.

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In 1974, the construction of the School’s track and grandstand commenced and was completed a year later. On 2 May 1975, Mr. Ahmad Mattar, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education, officiated the opening ceremony of the School’s athletics track. In 1975, New Town Secondary School was the largest secondary school in Singapore with an enrolment of 3540 pupils in 92 classes and 163 staff

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The 1980s – Improving the Quality of Education and Enriching the Education Experience

Teaching moral values
Encouraging creativity

In 1982, a tennis court was built to encourage students to take part in more sports activities. Subsequently, another tennis court was built adjacent to the basketball court and a fitness corner was constructed. In July 1983, nine terrazzo tables and chairs, 11 long benches and 13 round stools were added around the school for the students to rest and study. The School took its first step to promote the use of technology in teaching and learning by installing an overhead projector in every classroom.

In 1987, the School started its first Pre-University classes with 4 classes of 120 students in total. Three intakes of students were accepted in 1987, 1988 and 1989; but the classes were subsequently closed down in 1991 to focus on providing secondary education.

Over the years in the 1980s, the air-conditioning of special rooms and general renovation and refurbishment of the School’s facilities took place. A computer laboratory was set up in 1988. The Staff Welfare Committee was also formed in the same year.

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The 1990s – Diversifying the Education Landscape

Holistic Education
Developing the Individual Pupil

In 1992, the School went single-session to provide an academic environment which would be beneficial to the pupils. Staffs were better able to provide enrichment, supplementary and remediation classes because of this major change. It also permitted co-curricular activities to be carried out over the whole week.

Constant improvements were made to the School’s physical structure even after 1988. However, the Queenstown campus was eventually not big enough to accommodate all the pupils and staff of the School. A decision was made for New Town Secondary School to be relocated to Dover Road. The new campus is certainly a more conducive teaching and learning environment because it is further away from traffic and is located along an educational belt of learning institutions and schools. It provided more opportunities for collaboration with these educational institutions like Singapore Polytechnic and United World College.

The construction of the new campus took place from December 1996 to October 1998. All pupils from the school gathered in the Queenstown campus for the last time on 8 November 1998 and made the symbolic move to the new Dover campus. A tree was also symbolically uprooted from the Queenstown premise and replanted at the Dover premise. The new New Town Secondary School was officially declared open on 22 July 2000 by Mr S Iswaran, Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC.

1999 was the year that the School undertook a major overhaul of its IT system. The School was the first neighbourhood school to be equipped with the Singapore One Broadband Network linking our Intranet system. Teachers and pupils could log in from the numerous LAN points in the School as well as gain access from home. This provided the opportunity for all teachers to teach and the pupils to learn in an IT-supported Environment. The aim was to make the pupils more IT savvy and to possess problem solving, critical thinking and researching skills, which were essential competencies for the 21st century.

2000 and Beyond – Appreciate our past, Understand our present, Envision our future

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Newtowners Prepared for life

The vision of Nurturing Talents and Sharing Success continues to guide the school in preparing our students to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Over the years, the school has offered a myriad of programmes, often engaging the expertise of our partners to develop Newtowners holistically in the cognitive, aesthetics, moral, physical and social (CAMPS) domains.

Appreciate our past

New Town Secondary School started in 1965 and sharing a common history with our country is a distinction that our school is very proud of. In so many ways, our school’s development over the years reflects the changing education landscape of Singapore. In 2009, our school’s NE gallery was officially launched. It was named Light @ Dover to signify its importance of not only preserving our proud history, but to promote a spirit of gratitude towards our forefathers who laid a strong foundation for us. Light @ Dover represented many years of hard work and research by a team of teacher volunteers who believed in championing the appreciation of our past. The centre piece of the gallery was this display of photographs capturing the icons and memories of the original school site as well as quotes from former principals. Many other features including write-ups of our past and present presidents also helped viewers learn about our national leaders and their contributions to our nation-building.

Understand our present

In many sense, 2015 was a watershed year. On March 23, Singapore mourned the passing of our founding father, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Like fellow Singaporeans, staff and students of New Town Secondary paid tribute in writing, through lesson packages and in persons. Newtowners, led by the school leaders paid their respect at the West Coast GRC tribute site. Through the experience, students gained a greater understanding of our present, knowing that we have a strong foundation to build upon, due to the effort and hardwork of our forefathers.

In the same year, our school celebrated NTSS50, our 50th anniversary, alongside Singapore’s SG50. A series of celebrations helped forge a stronger sense of school pride and bonding amongst the students and staff.

Flash-mob on 10 April 2015 Funfair on 18 April 2015
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A partnership with our Alumni ended on a high A platform to display creativity and hone resourcefulness
Gala Dinner on 30 May 2015 Time Capsule on 6 August 2015
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A homecoming and fund-raising event Giving a thumbs up to the last major NTSS 50 celebration

In 2013, our school initiated a Niche Programme in Uniformed Groups, building on the rich history and successes achieved by our Uniformed Groups. Our goal was to nurture our cadets into confident and resilient leaders by providing them with a robust and all-rounded curriculum.

To enhance the learning experience, the school transited the Niche Programme into the Learning for Life Programme (LLP) in 2015. The LLP aims to develop all Newtowners into confident and compassionate leaders with strong character. This programme harnesses the strengths and training opportunities of the Uniformed Groups as the cadet leaders guide and lead their peers and juniors during school camps. The LLP also leverages on the CCE curriculum as well as the student leadership framework to provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their compassion and leadership capabilities.

Envision our future

The school envisions our students to be resilient learners who are equipped with critical and inventive thinking skills to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities in a fast-changing world. The school has applied for the Applied Learning Programme (ALP) in Visual Communication to be implemented in 2016, Term 3. The programme aims to develop students’ visual expression and language as well as stimulate their creativity through photography. The infusion of photography in various subjects such as Science and English enhances their learning experiences as they will be able to appreciate the inter-connectedness between various disciplines and their applications in the real world.

With the emerging emphasis on skillsfuture and the notion of “Beyond Learning for work, to Learning for Life”, the school expand its efforts to build character, develop 21st Century Competencies so as to enable our students to live life with confidence and purpose, to be active contributors and concerned citizens. Our school has an ECG Counsellor to help our students make better informed education and career choices in school and beyond graduation. With the many opportunities they offer for authentic and experiential learning, schools leverages on CCA for the development of values, social-emotional learning (SEL) and emerging 21CC in students.

Riding on its rich history and heritage and its past and present achievements, the school will continue its next phase of its journey confidently, in partnership with its stakeholders, to make New Town Secondary School a school of excellence.