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School History

From 1987 to 1996

Riverside Secondary School had its humble beginnings in 1987 at the site of Fuchun Secondary School under the charge of its principal, Mrs Ngiam Geak Kim. There were nine teachers and two non-academic staff members with the first batch of Secondary One students.

Mr Oliver J. Balasingam was the pioneer principal when Riverside Secondary moved into its present premises at 3, Woodlands Street 81 in December 1987. The school was officially opened by Mr Lee Yiok Seng, MP for Bukit Panjang on 14th July 1990.

Mr Balasingam led the staff to craft the school motto, design the school crest and uniform and raise funds through walkathons to build a conducive learning environment. The lyrics to the school song, My Best and More, was co-written by him.

From 1996 to 2000

In December 1996, Mrs Lu Kheng Lui took over as the second principal. With added facilities and resources, Riverside Secondary operated as a single session school from 1999.

With the staff, Mrs Lu crafted the first vision statement, Every educated Riversidian is a respected and resilient individual of our society. She also led the school in piloting the home-grown Interdisciplinary Project Work and propelled Riverside Secondary to the forefront of technology with IT Master Plan Phase 2A.

The school continued to achieve Academic Value-Added Awards, accolades at the Singapore Youth Festival and the annual Uniformed Groups’ Unit Assessments. GCE ‘O’ Level Music was introduced, and the musical, ‘The Rat Race’, a ground-up initiative by a group of talented teachers, was a milestone event.

From 2000 to 2005

In December 2000, Mrs Stella Tan took over as the third principal.

Under Mrs Tan’s leadership, new vision and mission statements were crafted. The revised school directions focussed the staff on the holistic development of the students using the LAM2PS (Leadership, Aesthetics, Moral, Metacognitive, Physical, and Social-emotional) framework. The school goals were encapsulated by the RSP2ACT (People, Partnership, Academic, Co-curricular, School Tone), the school’s strategic thrusts. RSp2Irit represented the school’s core values of Passion, Professionalism, Responsibility, Integrity and Team Spirit.

In 2004, the school embarked on a whole-school approach to character development and national education. Its efforts were recognised when the school was awarded the Development Award in Character Development and Outstanding Development Award in National Education in 2006.

From end 2002 to end 2004, the school underwent upgrading work under PRIME and operated in a holding site in Sembawang Drive. A milestone event was Fiesta Riverside, a food and fun fair which raised funds to build non-standard facilities, such as a dance studio. To complement the new campus which Riverside Secondary returned to in 2004, a new school crest and a new school uniform were designed.

From 2005 to 2007

In December 2005, Mrs Serene Pang became the fourth principal of the school. Passionate about partnerships with local and overseas organisations, Mrs Pang initiated collaborations with the polytechnics and an overseas school in Chennai, which planted the seeds of various internationalisation programmes the school continues till today.

Riverside Secondary also enhanced its character development programme through building platforms for service learning for upper secondary students, including an overseas trip to Yunnan, China.

In 2006, the school held its 19th Anniversary-cum-Opening-Ceremony of the new school campus.

From 2007 to 2013

Mrs Sng Siew Hong became Riverside’s fifth principal in May 2007. Under her leadership, Riverside Secondary continued to make headway in both academic and co-curricular achievements.

In October 2007, the school was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew National Education Award. The school also received the Sustained Achievement Award for Aesthetics (1st Award) in 2008, and was accorded the niche status for Direct School Admission in Dance. A second niche for DSA, National Education, was accorded in 2009.

Riverside Secondary received the prestigious School Distinction Award at the 2009 MOE Work Plan Seminar in September. Such an award aimed to recognise high-achieving schools with well-defined processes that lead to sustained achievements in student outcomes. At the same time, it also received the Best Practice Award (Staff Well-Being).

The school continued to excel in co-curricular areas, receiving Sustained Achievement Awards in Uniformed Groups (9th Award) and Aesthetics (3rd Award) in 2012. Riverside Secondary also received the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Innovations in the Normal Course.

2013 to 2015

The sixth principal, Mrs Tan-Kong Yin Yee, joined the school on 16 December.

In the school's continuous efforts to provide a student-centric holistic learning experience, the dance niche was re-established as its Learning for Life Programme (LLP), "Arts for Life", and the NE niche was re-worked as its Applied Learning Programme (ALP), "Developing Problem-Solvers Through the Analysis of NE issues".

Riverside Secondary received the prestigious School Distinction Award for a second time in 2015, as well as Best Practice Awards in ‘Teaching and Learning’, ‘Character and Citizenship Education’, ‘Student All-Round Development’, ‘Partnership’ and ‘Staff Well-Being and Development’. This validation bears testament to the school’s extensive achievements in all aspects.

2015 to 2020

Mdm Shanti Devi became the seventh principal in December 2015.

The strategic thrusts were reviewed and distilled into Mastery in Learning; Life-Worthy Learning and Supporting Learning. In 2016, the ALP was revised to provide more authentic learning opportunities with current issues, and renamed “Global Citizenship Education through Critical Social Inquiry”. In 2017, the Riverside Integrated Skills Experience was launched to steer experiential learning to new heights.

Riverside Secondary also celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017 and the event was graced by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development. The first homecoming dinner for alumni was also hosted in conjunction with its 30th anniversary.

The school received the prestigious Lee Hsien Loong Award for Innovations in the Normal Course for a second time in 2018. In 2020, Riverside Secondary piloted Full Subject-Based Banding, which entails the reorganisation of form classes and students offering Humanities subjects at more demanding levels. It is also one of the three schools offering the Tamil Language Elective Programme at the secondary level.

As the school moves into this new phase of development, the school values were reviewed in 2020, and are now also names of the FSBB form classes – Respect, Service, Synergy, Passion, Integrity, Responsibility, Innovation and Tenacity (RS SPIRIT).


In December 2020, Miss Tham Yoke Chun, the eighth principal, joined the school.