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School History

Background and History of School

Bukit Batok Secondary School began operations in 1986 to serve the new Bukit Batok estate. It has grown from strength to strength under the leadership of 7 principals, including Mr Phua Huat Chuan, the current principal. The school has been part of Cluster W7 since 2015.


BBSS completed PRIME and moved back from its holding school at Toh Tuck Terrace in Dec 2008. The school was rebuilt on a PRIME budget of $25.48 million. School Advisory Committee members and parents raised another $661,220 in 2 years for non-standard items such as an air-conditioned multi-purpose hall and a viewing gallery for the Indoor Sports Hall.

BBSS Organisation Structure

BBSS started the Year Head system way back in 2003, with the organisation structure comprising Deans (Year Heads and Assistant Year Heads), Programme Directors (PDs - non-IP HODs/SHs) and Curriculum Consultants (CCs - IP HODs/SHs). From 2018, taking cognisance to the organisation structure with MOE nomenclature, this structure continues to serve to ensure that the variety of customised programmes offered to BBSSians help achieve the DOE. The Student Development Team (SDT) comprises of the YHs and AYHs who take charge of levels or faculties and look into the holistic development of each student together with the HOD/CCE and HOD/Discipline in consultation with the LT/Learning Needs (Educational Support).

Key Programmes

HOM was introduced in 2003 and developing HOM dispositions is one of the key approaches to achieve the school mission – Self Directed Learners with Abundance Mentality. HOM builds the dispositions in students to ably deal positively with challenging situations and equips them holistically for the challenges of the 21st century. BBSS was the Cluster W2 Centre of Excellence (COE) for Habits of Mind (HOM) from Nov 2007 to Dec 2008 and W2’s Centre of Learning (COL) till Dec 2014 before becoming part of Cluster W7. In 2013, BBSS was awarded a niche status for PETS (Promoting Effective Thinking Strategies). The school believes in Activity-Based Learning in which students go through the learning cycle of Taught, Caught and Practice. Thus, HOM lessons are explicitly taught and practiced every day – in class, at CCA, during Values in Action (VIA) activities, on overseas trips and reflected frequently through platforms like reflection logs post-activity, using the disposition of “Thinking About Your Thinking”.

Multi-Level Activities (MLA), an innovation introduced in 2006, is a 3-day series of activities organised annually by the YHs, AYHs and HOD/NT. This is the signature programme of the Student Development Team (SDT) for students during the first term of school. The programmes are carefully designed to cover the various aspects of the development of the students as captured in the framework for ST1. By streamlining the programmes, the school ensures that each child will learn new life skills and ICT skills as well as develop skills in the leadership, aesthetics and physical domains. MLA provide good opportunities for the form teachers to build teacher student relationship (TSR) when they participate actively in outdoor activities, team building activities, learning journeys and other engaging activities with their students.

The BBSS Arts Education Programme (AEP) aims to enrich the students’ learning through exposure, experience and excursion. A spiral progressive learning structure is adopted where students are exposed to the arts such as poetry, drama, ceramics, watching live performances at theatres, dance and even caricature to achieve the following outcomes:

  • to be empowered to be confident poets, speakers, actors and artists;
  • to nurture talents in the arts and enhance artistic inclinations;
  • to be able to demonstrate being confident audience of the arts; and
  •  to be empowered to acquire leadership skills and the confidence to pursue your passion for the arts beyond the school. 

There are platforms such as lunch time concerts and the biennial Metamorphosis public performance besides major school and community events for students to showcase their talents with the inaugural “BBSS’ Got Talent” show in 2017 which was well-received by the students.

Overseas educational trips to Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, amongst others, aim to make the learning of classroom concepts and knowledge applicable to everyday life. BBSS is also active in STEP (Singapore-Thailand Enhanced Partnership), an annual student exchange programme that started in 1998 where BBSS and our twinning school, Nakprasith School in Thailand will host each other on alternate years. BBSS has also forged good relationships with schools in China. Through the SINO-SIN educational programme in Chongqing Nankai Middle School in 2016, BBSS has established another school partnership in China and we have been actively involved in annual overseas exchange programmes in Chongqing since 2018.

Aligned to the school mission, the school has identified Community Youth Leadership (CYL) as the Learning for Life Programme (LLP) based on the school’s strengths with the aims of nurturing RESPECTful Leaders. Beginning in 2016, the CYL Programme encompasses the twin components of Youth Leadership and VIA via two tiers and three developmental stages, undergirded by the HOM Programme. Tier 1 experience provides broad-based opportunities for all students, such as the NYAA Bronze for Sec 2, Class VIA, HOM IPW. Tier 2 experience caters to a specific group of student with higher interest ability, such as the Youth Leadership Stretch Programme and Overseas VIA (Project Heartwork). Key platforms include:

  • Project Mi (Initiated in 2012), an annual student-led VIA initiative organised by the NPCC supported by the school’s Youth Leadership Executive Council (YLEC) and volunteers including PSG members, staff, alumni and community partners to collect rice donations from the public and sending them to one-room flat residents in the Bukit Batok area and to charity organisations Lotus Light and Willing Hearts;
  • Blood Donation Drive (Initiated in 2003), a partnership with the Bukit Batok Community Club Women’s Executive Committee and the Singapore Red Cross Society, whereby the YLEC and Prefect EXCO promotes the event to the school and public as well as manage the registration of donors at the venue.
  • No Shoe Day (Initiated in 2012)), a charity project organised by the student leaders in YLEC in collaboration with World Vision, whereby the school staff and students would remove their footwear and walk barefooted through a planned route around the school to raise funds in aid of unfortunate children.

In Jun 2016, the school embarked on a four year Applied Learning Programme (ALP) in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) module on embedded electronics at Lower Secondary levels and hobbyist electronics at Upper Secondary levels. Through ALP, the school hopes to:

  • Connect academic knowledge and skills with the real world;
  • Apply thinking skills and connect knowledge across subject disciplines in authentic settings; and
  • Motivate students as they appreciate the relevance and value of what they are learning in the academic curriculum.

In Sec 1, students learn about e-water sensing through building portable devices embedded with sensors using the Arduino software, which is also in their Geography syllabus on water testing. It becomes more exciting for Sec 2 students when they are next exposed to many more sensors and platforms to help them solve self-identified problems and having fun figuring out many possibilities. At upper secondary, interested students collaborate with school partners such as Infineon Technologies to design solutions for real-life issues, participate in engineering competitions, job shadowing and attend STEM-related elective modules. Upon completion of the programme, students will attain Young Engineer Award (Silver) awarded by Singapore Polytechnic.

BBSS NT Programme caters resources to ensure that the NT students are positively and actively engaged. In ECG areas for example, Elective Modules were mounted for NT and selected NA students to experience the career clusters of hospitality, F1, 3D design, photography, sports and wellness, beauty and wellness and F&B. These will help the students make more informed choices about the ITE courses and future careers that they intend to pursue. Another programme that BBSS has for the NT and less engaged NA students is to get them to join the One Earth Club programmes. Through caring for the environment, the club aims to provide hands-on authentic learning experiences that stimulate all senses. Educational learning journeys local and overseas (Malaysia/Indonesia) provide these less privileged students the experience and the opportunity to appreciate what they have and know that they are still a fortunate group. The One Earth Club are also involved in about 3-4 Pasir Ris Park coastal clean-up projects annually. The NT curriculum has also been enhanced since 2019 with the introduction of a “Power Hour” within curriculum time for co-curricular activities such as bowling and drama for the Sec 2NTs to build positive psychology and teambuilding, and a year-long Financial Literacy programme for the Sec 3NTs in partnership with Halogen Foundation who runs the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Programme.

School Focus

In 2019, the school shared on balancing between rigour and joy and looking at 3 areas that would enhance the future readiness of our students. We have embarked on initiatives in those areas to enrich and deepen the learning experiences of our students and would seek to continue to improve our efforts:

  • Every BBSSian an Effective Communicator – With the EL Department taking the lead, the school has rolled out the Effective Communication Programme (ECP) for the whole school. We aim to nurture BBSSians to become effective communicators across all subject disciplines and contexts, envisioning that every BBSSian can think and speak with confidence and eloquence at the end of their secondary school years. While all students would learn communication skills across levels, in the classrooms and in their CCAs, talented students would be guided and trained further, such as being emcees at school and grassroots events, to representing school at national debates or international presentations. A common rubric has been created as a guide to facilitate students’ learning process and is available for reference by all in the student handbook.
  • Culture of Innovation – The impetus for change in this era is technology. We have started an interest group for robotics in 2019 and would be recruiting members for the new Robotics Club CCA in 2020. We would incorporate robotics in our Applied Learning for Life Programme (ALP) and will look into incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into supporting teaching and learning (T&L), and exposing students to applications of AI. An Innovation Education committee was formed to catalyse innovation among staff and students.
  • Environmental Education – With various teams working with the Environmental Education committee, the school has sought out ways to grow a green environment and build on our sustainable school initiative as a T&L platform. Our school building has been awarded the Building & Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark Goldplus Award. The school has installed High Volume Low Speed (HVLS) fans in the school hall and Indoor Sports Hall (ISH) to minimise the use of the hall air-conditioners and has bought food digesters to reduce food waste from the school canteen and food laboratories by converting leftovers into compost for fertilising the school flora. The school is in the midst of installing solar panels through participating in the SolarNova Programme to harness solar energy to further reduce electricity usage. Through continuous efforts, we hope to reduce water and electricity usage as well as the carbon footprint in school.

Future Directions

BBSS will continue to leverage on the cohesiveness of its professional staff and its positive school culture. With continuing positive work ethics and the support of its stakeholders, the school will be able to forge ahead in its journey of progress. Its aim is to be renowned for providing quality holistic education and nurturing self-directed learners with abundance mentality.

Principals of BBSS

Mrs Belinda Charles MRS BELINDA CHARLES  
  1986 - 1990
1990 - 1997
1998 - 2002
Mr Tan Soon Yong
2003 - 2004
Mrs Lysia Kee
2005 - 2013
Ms Chamb Cherk Ing
2014 - 2016
Mr Phua Huat Chuan
2017 - PRESENT