Anglo-Chinese School

From Academic Kids

Anglo-Chinese School
Missing image
Anglo-Chinese School crest, with motto The Best Is Yet To Be

Anglo-Chinese School






March 1,1886




Christian (Methodist)


Boys (Except ACS (International), ACJC and ACS(I) IB students (2006))


Pri 1-JC2/IB Year 6


Red, Gold, Blue


The Best Is Yet To Be


ECHO Magazine

The Anglo-Chinese School is a family of six schools in Singapore, namely Anglo-Chinese School (Junior), Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), Anglo-Chinese School (International) and Anglo-Chinese Junior College. With the exception of Anglo-Chinese Junior College and Anglo-Chinese School (International), all of the ACS family of schools are single-gender schools that have only male students. The school is also affiliated with other Methodist schools in Singapore, including Methodist Girls' School (an all-girls institution) and Fairfield Methodist School (co-educational). The name is usually abbreviated as ACS, with the Junior college as ACJC, and its students and alumni referred to as ACSians (pronounced ack-sians), or ACS boys (and girls, for ACJC and ACS (International)). In recent years, there have also been plans to expand to set up campuses overseas, namely China.


School history

ACS was founded on March 1, 1886 by Bishop William F. Oldham, as an extension of the Methodist Church. Its first location was a dilapidated shophouse at 70 Amoy Street with a total of 13 pupils. The name of the school came from the fact that it conducted lessons in English in the mornings and Chinese in the afternoons. By the following year, enrollment had increased to 104, and the school moved to Coleman Street. Within the next three years, its student population increased to 300.

Between 1914 and 1920, under the leadership of the Reverend J S Nagel, the school introduced regular religious (or "chapel") services and physical education classes. Afternoon classes were also established for academically-weaker pupils. In a bid to ensure continuity in school life and keep the school adequately staffed, Nagel encouraged ex-students, known as old boys, to return to the school as teachers. To this day, many old boys continue to keep close ties to the school, both as returning teachers, and through the Anglo-Chinese School Old Boys' Association. The Anglo-Chinese Continuation School was started by the new principal, the Reverend P L Peach, in 1925, for students who had to leave the school due to the newly imposed age limits on school-going boys by the government. Eventually, ACCS was renamed the Oldham Methodist School. A Secondary School was opened at Cairnhill.

Between 1942 and 1945, the Japanese occupied Singapore during World War II. During the Occupation, lessons were suspended, and the school only re-opened its doors in 1946, a year after the Japanese surrender and once the buildings at Cairnhill and Coleman Street were made safe from damage sustained during the war. The pre-war principal, T W Hinch, who had been interned by the Japanese during the Occupation and had been sent back to England to recover, returned to the school in June. Among his first priorities was to set up "X" and "Y" classes, each with different levels of difficulty, for students who had missed years of their education due to the Occupation. In September, 1950, the Secondary School relocated from Cairnhill to Barker Road.

Also in 1950, Post School Certificate Classes, later known as Pre-University Classes because they were supposed to prepare students for tertiary education, were set up, and the first batch of girl students were enrolled in ACS. However, students in the lower grades continued to be all male, a practice which persists to this day. Dr Thio Chan Bee, the first Asian principal of ACS, took the reins in 1952. During his tenure, both the Cairnhill and Barker Road premises saw expansion, the latter with the building of the Lee Hall, a three-storey building housing 12 classrooms and 4 laboratories.

In January, 1961, the Oldham Methodist Secondary School merged with the Secondary School at Barker Road. The school completed the construction of the sports complex at Barker Road in 1970, with an Olympic-sized swimming pool (a first in a Singapore school) and a sports hall. In 1977, the Pre-University classes moved to the newly constructed Anglo-Chinese Junior College at 25 Dover Close East , off North Buona Vista Road, leaving the Barker Road site to the Secondary and Junior schools. The Junior School eventually relocated to new premises in its old neighborhood at Cairnhill, in 1985.

In 1986, ACS celebrated its centenary with the publication of a hardback history of the school detailing its rich student and teacher life over the years, titled, Hearts, Hopes and Aims.

1993 saw another reorganization of the school. The Ministry of Education started its Independent School program that year. Independent schools are allowed to be privately funded and subject to less government regulation in setting out their curriculum. ACS (Independent) was set up as a separate institution while ACS (Barker Road) remained fully government-aided. At the same time, Anglo-Chinese Primary School abandoned Coleman Street (the old building now housing the government National Archives) to move next to the Secondary School at Barker Road, now named simply ACS (Barker Road).

The Barker Road campus was completely rebuilt in the late 1990s, with ACS (Barker Road) temporarily relocating during the project and ultimately split into primary and secondary school sections, the latter retaining the Barker Road suffix and the former becoming ACS (Primary). On 4 December 2002, the two schools, ACS Oldham Hall, the Methodist Church in Singapore and the Barker Road Methodist Church moved back to the newly built campus at Barker Road with a state-of-the-art arts centre, a sports complex, church building with, Methodist centre building and ACS Oldham Hall building, all new. It was officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Tony Tan on July 15 2003.

In January 2005, ACS (International) opened its doors. A completely private school, it recruits students both locally and from aboard. Its students will take the International General Certificate of Secondary Education in their fourth year, then go on to take a two-year International Baccalaureate diploma from 2007. Before 2007, they will take the International A-Levels. ACS (I) has been officially authorised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation to offer the IB Diploma Programme commencing in January 2006. and is recognised as an IB World School. In 2007, ACS (Junior) will move to a new school building located at Winstedt Road.

Today there are six schools under the Anglo-Chinese School umbrella. ACS (Junior) and ACS (Primary) are the primary schools while ACS (Barker Road), ACS (Independent), ACS (International) and ACJC provide secondary and post-secondary education. In addition, there is a hostel, known as ACS Oldham Hall, and boarding facilities are provided as part of the ACS (Independent) Boarding School.

Aims, characteristics and reputation

The school's stated mission is to be a world-class institution in nurturing the holistic development of their students, and to have every student be "A Scholar, an Officer and a Gentleman." This is reflected in the school motto, "The Best Is Yet To Be." The phrase is taken from the first line of the Robert Browning poem, Rabbi Bin Ezra (1864), "Grow old along with me! / The best is yet to be...", and is supposed to encourage students to greater heights by reminding them that their best achievements are yet to come.

The so-called "ACS spirit" is particularly strong because of close ties with alumni, who frequently donate funds to the school and send their children to be educated there, similar to the public school tradition in England. Students who attend the primary or secondary schools (including affiliated schools) are usually given priority when awarded places in the next higher institution.

Although morally conservative due to its religious roots, the school has a reputation for producing students who are, if not brighter, then possessing sharp and inquisitive minds. The literary, debating and drama societies are particularly well-supported. ACS boys also have a reputation for possessing a quirky sense of humor, with pranks being a long-established part of the school history.

ACS is considered among the more prestigious schools in Singapore. This is because of its long history and also because many of its graduates have gone on to be successful in business as well as professional fields such as law and medicine. Despite occasional lapses in academic standards over the years, the perception that ACS boys are more confident and outspoken than students from other schools continues to persist.

The school's students have also been accused of being arrogant and snobbish, and ACS itself has often been charged as being a school only for children of the rich and elite. In the 1970s, there was a minor flap in the local press about ACS students flaunting their wealth to other less privileged students and the world at large, and the term "snob" began being applied to them. As a result, the school initiated strict policies on how much money a student was allowed to bring to school, and even what kinds of watches or shoes would be permitted as part of the school attire.

The dress code has been relaxed slightly over the years, but the myth of the rich and elitist ACS boy still survives to a degree, despite the fact that students from all income levels were and continue to be admitted to the school. Admittedly, the presence of the Independent School, with its high school fees and free-ranging curriculum, has not helped to dispel this idea. Curiously, other schools in Singapore, even Independent ones, do not suffer from the same reputation.

School anthem and crest

The school's anthem, memorized and sung by generations of ACS students, was written by teacher Henry Martyn Hoisington in 1926. It is a close re-write of the Canadian unofficial National Anthem, The Maple Leaf Forever and has served over the years as a means of bonding between students and alumni, evoking as it does memories of attending the institution.

Drawing inspiration from the anthem, Dr Yap Pheng Geck designed the coat-of-arms like school crest in 1930. Placed above the three letters of the school name is a creature with a lion's head, eagle's wings and a dragon's body with claws, representing that fact that the School was founded when Singapore was a British colony, by an American Methodist mission and during the Manchu Dynasty in China.

The lower part of the crest consists of two panels, blue and gold, which represent heaven and earth. The letters "ACS," symbolize life forming a bridge between both and in addition to the school name are also meant to spell out Academic achievements, Christian Character, and Sportsmanship and Service beyond self. Finally, the overall shield shape represents the knightly values of chivalry, honour, valour, loyalty and manliness.

Recent achievements

In March, 2002, ACS became the first school in Singapore to have a flower named after it, the Ascocenda Anglo-Chinese School orchid, a hybrid created by the school to mark its 116th Founder's Day. [1] (

Recent international achievements by ACS (Independent) include those at the Odyssey of the Mind (OM) international competition. In 2002, it emerged as champions at the OM World Finals. In 2003, ACS (Junior) also won the Ranatra Fusca award in the OM World Finals. In 2004, ACS (Independent) achieved three National Champion and three International titles, with one second placing and two third placings in the OM World Finals. In 2005, the ACS (Independent) OM teams further consolidated their position by obtaining a record five Champion titles at the National Finals.

ACS, in its various incarnations over the years, has also won the "B" Division (Under-17) Schools' Swimming Championships for 43 consecutive years since the start of the competition in 1960. Their long reign was ended in 2003 by Raffles Institution, their traditional academic and sports rivals. In 2004, the school took back the title from Raffles Institution. ACS has the tradition of producing numerous national-level competition swimmers like Ang Peng Siong, and more recently Mark Chay.

ACS (Independent) has also dominated school Rugby in Singapore. From 1997 to 2003, they have won both the "B" and "C" Divisions of the National School Championships. This ended in 2004 when Saint Andrew's Secondary School (SASS) defeated them with a score of 10-7 in the "B" Division. They also failed to pick up lost ground in 2005, and again lost to Saint Andrew's Secondary School (SASS) by a score of 6-0. They were also champions in the International Festival of Youth Rugby 2000 in Wales and the World Minis Under-13 and Under-14 Championships 2001 in South Africa. The "A" Division (Under-19) championship was held by ACJC from 2000 until they lost to archrivals Raffles Junior College in 2004 by a narrow margin.

Since 2000, the ACS (Independent) Sailing Team has consistently won gold medals in the annual Sailing Inter Schools Championship, having won the B and C Division titles for a number of years. It has also produced many internationally recognized sailors. Although Anglo Chinese Junior College's (ACJC) sailing programme has been discontinued, ACS (Barker), ACS (Junior) and ACS (Primary) have always been one of the top few Secondary or Primary Schools in the field.

ACS (Independent)'s debating team won the inaugural Youth-14 Debate Championships in 2004, with ACS (Barker) winning the Julia Gabriels Secondary School Debating Championships' lower division title. ACJC has also won various debating titles, including the Junior College Nationals. The ACS (Independent) Chess team is also one of the top school teams in Asia, having won numerous national titles, including those in the open-age categories. and Gold awards at the 2004 South-East Asian (SEA) Games.

The ACJC Band has achieved Gold awards and was judged the top band for several Singapore Youth Festival Competitions. The ACS (Independent) Band finished in the top three in both the 2003 and 2005 Singapore Youth Festivals, with the ACS(I) Band obtaining Gold with Honours. Both bands have also attained Gold in overseas competitions and play for both formal school events and external functions. The bands combine once every year to provide an evening of music at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. They are conducted by Dr Lee Tian Tee.

The ACS (Independent) Chamber Orchestra achieved Gold as well in the SYF competitions for 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005.The Orchestra is currently being conducted by the music director of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Mr. Chan Tze Law. The ACJC String Ensemble also emerged with a gold award at the 2003 and 2005 Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging, and is currently being conducted by Singapore Symphony Orchestra violinist Mr. Tan Kang Ming. The ACS (Independent) Choir is part of the Singapore Choral Excellence Scheme and also toured Perth in 2004 with the Chamber Orchestra. It has won many accolades for the school including a Gold Award at the Singapore Youth Festival in 2005.

ACS (Independent) has achieved the Singapore Quality Award, all four Best Practice Awards (BPA) awarded by the Ministry Of Education and also recently the School Distinction Award (SDA) and the School Excellence Award (SEA). In addition, ACS (Independent) has also won many Sustained Achievement Awards.

Co-Curricular Activities

CCAs (Co-Curricular Activities) are meant to provide a well-rounded education to the school's students. They include sports, clubs and socities, uniformed youth organisations and departments that provide services to the school, like information technology support or the library. Listed here are some of these CCAs in ACS (I) ( that have individual web pages.

Clubs and Societies

Performing Arts



Anglo-Chinese School (Junior)

Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) is one of the two ACS primary schools in Singapore, established in 1951 at the old Coleman Street campus. It moved to its current premises at 25 Peck Hay Road in 1985. The students take the local PSLE in Primary 6 like all other government or government aided primary schools. In 2007, it will be moving to a new building at Winstedt Road. It has an ongoing fund raising project called NOMAD, which started in January 2005 and will end on 16 July 2005 with a carnival and an ACSian Superstar competition. Its current principal is Peter Tan Chong Tze.

Anglo-Chinese School (Primary)

Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) is the other primary school of the ACS family, located at the Barker Road campus adjacent to the ACS (Barker Road) block. It opened in 1887 with the secondary school at Coleman Street, moving to a newly upgraded Coleman Street campus in 1961, leaving the Barker Road campus to be used for secondary and pre-university classes. In 1985, the Junior School moved to 25 Peck Hay Road, while the Primary school continued lessons at Canning Rise until 1994. It merged with the Barker Road school in that year, but in December 1998 was relocated temporarily to 9 Ah Hood Road while wating for the completion of the Barker Road campus rebuilding project. It moved back to Barker Road on 4 December 2002. The principal is Richard Lim Chew Hiong.

Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)

Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) was opened in 1886 and was given independent status in 1986. It is also the flagship of all the six ACS schools, located at 121 Dover Road since 1992. The campus is being expanded to accommodate pupils for the International Baccalaureate program which will begin in 2006. It was recongnised as an IB World School in 2005 and also houses a sports complex and a boarding school. Its current principal is Dr Ong Teck Chin.

Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road)

Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) was opened in 1994 is located at the Barker Road campus. It moved to the former Swiss Cottage Primary School while waiting for the Barker Road rebuilding project to be completed. The school ultimately divided into primary and secondary school sections, the latter retaining the Barker Road suffix and the former becoming ACS (Primary). The current principal is Ng Eng Chin.

Anglo-Chinese School (International)

Anglo-Chinese School (International) Pte Ltd is a private school. Students take a 6-year course, with the IGCSE in the fourth year and the International Baccalaureate (commencing 2007) in the sixth year. Before 2007, students will take the International A-Levels. The school opened its doors on January 2005 with 150 students, located in Holland Village on the former premises of the now defunct Buona Vista Secondary School at 61 Jalan Hitam Manis. The current principal is the Rev Dr John Barrett, who used to be the principal at The Leys School, Cambridge and the vice chairman of the World Methodist Council. The executive director is a renowned Singapore educationist Mrs Goh Chi Lan.

Anglo-Chinese Junior College

Anglo-Chinese Junior College opened in 1977 and offers the standard two-year pre-university program of other junior colleges, with students taking the GCE A-Levels in their second year. The school is located at 25 Dover Close East. In the late 1990s, the campus was upgraded and extended and a sports complex was built. It was the first junior college in Singapore to have a sports field and a running track (built in 1977). The current principal is Mrs Kelvyna Chan is the current principal.

Prominent old boys of ACS

See also

External links


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