Raffles Girls' School (Secondary)

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Raffles Girls' School (Secondary)
Sekolah Perempuan Raffles (Menengah)
20 Anderson Road
Singapore 259978[1]
Type Independent
Motto Filiae Melioris Aevi[2]
(Daughters of a Better Age)
Established 1879[2]
Sister school Raffles Institution
Session Single
School code 3008
Chairman Hon Justice Judith E J Prakash [3]
Principal Mrs Poh Mun See
Gender Female
Enrolment Approx. 1800
Colour(s)  Green   White   Black 

Raffles Girls' School (RGS) is an independent girls' school providing pre-tertiary education in Singapore, established in 1879, making it one of the oldest secondary schools in the country. Today, its educational and co-curricular excellence have made it one of the top secondary schools in Singapore. It provides students with a 6-year Raffles Program[4] which cumulates in the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate in Education (GCE) 'Advanced' Level Examination.

The school was recognised by the Ministry of Education in 2006 by being awarded the School Excellence Award (recognising schools with 'exemplary school processes and practices'), among other awards.[5]


Before RGS became a school in its own right, it existed as a part of Raffles Institution (RI).[6]

The department for girls was opened in the RI campus of Bras Basah Road on 4 March 1844 with 11 students, 5 day-scholars and six boarders, who were clothed, fed and instructed by the institution itself. The demand for education grew and in 1847, the school moved to RI's eastern wing, extending towards Bras Basah Road. Governor of the Straits Settlement, E.A. Blundell described RGS as "a female school designed for the education and religious training of the children of poor Protestant parents" in 1855.[7] In 1871, the school moved into a house, the George Family's Old Mansion at the corner of Bras Basah Road. In 1879, the school separated from RI and Miss Nelson was appointed the school's first headmistress. Together with three assistants, she ran the school which had an enrolment of 77. Since then, 1879 has been officially regarded as the year of the founding of RGS.[8]

From 1882 onwards, English speaking boys were admitted to the lower, middle and primary classes. This was discontinued in 1927 due to the increasing demand for accommodation for girls. The Raffles Old Girls' association was formed on 7 July 1950. The school motto was introduced in 1953, with the school's first annual Speech Day held on the same year.

RGS became a government school in 1903. In 1928, the school moved to Queen Street but was forced to vacate the premises during the Japanese Occupation in World War II. The building was occupied by the Kempeitai as its headquarters during the war years. After the war ended in 1945, the school was re-opened and temporarily housed in St. Anthony's Convent. In 1946, it returned to its Queen Street building. In 1959, the primary and secondary sections of the school were separated and the secondary section moved to Anderson Road, while the primary section was renamed Raffles Girls' Primary School (RGPS) and remained in Queen Street till 1979 when it too moved to larger premises on Holland Grove Road. The secondary school stopped offering 'A' level courses in 1983, and the Gifted Education Programme started in 1984. The school later moved to a holding school located at Jalan Kuala in 1988 and moved back to a new building at Anderson Road on 1 November 1992, becoming independent on 1 January 1993. In 1994, the RGS chapter was formed, to replace the Women's Rafflesian Chapter.

The curriculum when the school first started was confined to basic skills like reading, writing, needlework and cookery, as the focus of the school in the past was to equip girls with the tools to become an educated wife. The curriculum now comprises the sciences, humanities and aesthetics. All students are also required to have lessons in Philosophy, one of the notable features of the Raffles Programme.

RGS currently has 1,800 students and staff. It will be moving to a new campus on Bradell Road, opposite Raffles Institution, by end-2019.[9]

School culture and identity[edit]


Semi-formal RGS uniform with school tie
Formal school attire

The usual school uniform is a belted, deep blue pinafore and a white collared blouse.[10] Students customarily fold their sleeves on most shirts (except Physical Education Shirt), which also requires a colour-coded nametag (colours Blue, Red, Yellow and Black inherited by first-year batch to graduating batch respectively), along with the school badge, on the top left of the uniform, right below the name tag. During semi-formal events and weekly assemblies, students wear the semi-formal attire - the usual uniform with green ties striped with black and white tucked underneath their pinafores.[citation needed]

All prefects should wear school socks. Lower secondary prefects (Prefects-in-Training) wear the same pinafore with the addition of the leadership badge and the school tie. Upper secondary prefects wear the prefect uniform- white blouse (different from that of the normal school uniform), dark blue skirt, and school tie, along with the leadership badge.[citation needed]

House clothing with culottes

Events such as Founder's Day and formal events out of school require participating students to wear the formal uniform, which consists of a black vest, dark blue skirt, a long-sleeved blouse, court shoes, and the school tie.[citation needed]

On House Days, students are encouraged to wear their house shirts (which come in red, green, blue, yellow, purple to symbolise the five houses, Tarbet, Buckle, Richardson, Waddle, and Hadley respectively) with culottes to ignite the house spirit throughout the whole school.[citation needed]

House system[edit]

House banners

The House system in RGS was started by the late Miss M.M. Hadley, the post-war principal of the school. The principal after Miss Hadley, Miss Evelyn Norris, added the last house in honor of her contributions to the school. There are five houses, named after five past principals of the school:

  • Tarbet (Red, Bull mascot)
  • Buckle (Green, Elf mascot)
  • Richardson (Blue, Genie mascot)
  • Waddle (Yellow, Duck mascot)
  • Hadley (Purple, Monkey mascot)

The five houses take part in competitions throughout the school year, with several major events pivotal in deciding the overall champion house. These include the Swim Carnival and the Sportsfest, held annually. Netball Carnival is also held for all levels, and is an interclass competition. Throughout the rest of the year, Inter-House Games (IHGs) are organized by CCAs like netball and photography. These IHGs contribute to the Overall Champion House and Best Organised House.[citation needed]

The RGS House system is one of the oldest in Singapore, and has been ongoing for almost 64 years now.

The Raffles Institution Year 5-6 houses consists of the RGS houses combined with their RI (Year 1-4) counterparts, resulting in 5 houses, [BW] Bayley-Waddle (Yellow), [BB] Buckle-Buckley (Green), [HH] Hadley-Hullet (Purple and Black), [MT] Moor-Tarbet (Red), and [MR] Morrison-Richardson (Blue).


The school adheres to a unique tradition of cheering in deep voices, unusual for female cheers. The school also shares some of its cheers with RI, its brother school.

Affiliation and admission[edit]

It is not affiliated with Raffles Girls' Primary School, despite having a common history.

Academic information[edit]

RGS-International Convention for Youth Leaders[edit]

The RGS-International Convention for Youth Leaders (RGS-ICYL) is a prestigious biennial gathering of female student leaders from local and international institutions, first organised in 2006 intended as a platform for female youth leaders with diverse backgrounds to exchange ideas and experiences, and thus gain a better understanding of how they can contribute to society as a female leader. Prominent guest speakers from the corporate sector, politics and humanitarian groups are invited to provide a wide range of perspectives. In addition, RGS-ICYL offers opportunities for fellow youth leaders to be ambassadors of their respective countries in the context of an exchange of ideas across cultures.

Leadership roles[edit]

RGS has a total of 4 leadership boards: the Prefectorial Board (PB), the Peer Support Board (PSB), the Student Congress and the House Committee. PB is considered to be the pinnacle lead board of the school, taking charge of discipline, school spirit as well as the execution of many events (Open House, Speech Day, Founder's Day). Members of PSB help with the assimilation of the new Year 1s into the RGS culture, and promote kindness and care. They organize the annual Year 1 Orientation and hold fun sessions with the Year 1s throughout their first year to help ensure that they are coping and adjusting well to secondary school. RGS is one of the few schools in Singapore with a student congress. Student Congress aims to act as a voice for the general student population, putting in ideas and suggestions and advocating for change. The House Committee members help to foster a sense of house spirit in the girls, often leading in the combined house cheers and facilitating in the organization of IHGs.

Most student leaders are recognized with badges. PSB members wear a unique collar pin, while Congress members pin on a badge above their name tags. Prefects are recognized in their different uniforms of the RJC blouse, skirt and prefect badge, together with the tiepin. CCA chairpersons or captains, as well as Class Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons also wear a badge. House EXCO members wear a collar pin of the colour of their House. House Captains and Vice Captains have to pin their house-coloured badge above their name tags.

Co-curricular Activities[edit]

In RGS, it is compulsory for students to participate in co-curricular activities (CCAs). As of 2017, RGS offers 42 Co-curricular Activities, ranging from sports, performing arts, uniformed groups and clubs & societies.[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Campus Address".
  2. ^ a b "Vision Mission Values". www.rgs.edu.sg.
  3. ^ "Board of Governors". www.rgs.edu.sg.
  4. ^ "Historical Milestones". www.rgs.edu.sg.
  5. ^ "SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2006" (PDF). Ministry of Education. Ministry of Education. 19 September 2006. Retrieved 2018-09-22.
  6. ^ "A CENTURY OF EDUCATION IN SINGAPORE". The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser. 8 October 1935.
  7. ^ Chandy, Gloria (17 March 1980). "Rise and rough times of RGS". New Nation.
  8. ^ Zhu, Melissa (20 October 2016). "New RGS campus expected to be ready earliest 2019". Channel NewsAsia.
  9. ^ "New RGS campus to be ready by end-2019". The Straits Times. 10 April 2017.
  10. ^ "A-Z guide to the top school". (20 August 1994). Straits Times.
  11. ^ "Amy Khor's profile on the Singapore Parliament website".
  12. ^ "SingTel Organisation Chart". Archived from the original on 23 September 2014.
  13. ^ Singam, Rani. "RANI SINGAM".