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School History

From 1987 to 1996

Riverside Secondary School had its humble beginnings in 1987 at 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 O. J. Balasingam was its pioneer principal when Riverside Secondary moved into its present premises at 3, Woodlands Street 81 on 21 December 1987. It began operations on 4 January 1988. At that time, it was the third school built under Phase Two of the S100 Secondary School Type; it had the most modern facilities, including an underground rifle range, and air-conditioned library and self-study facilities. 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. Our school song was co-written by him.

From 1996 to 2000

In December 1996, Mrs Lu Kheng Lui took over as the second principal and in April 1997, Mr Hoon Tien Ghun became the first vice-principal. The extension block was built at the end of 1998. With the added facilities and resources, Riverside operated as a single session school from 1999.

With the staff, Mrs Lu crafted the first vision statement and led the school in piloting the home-grown Interdisciplinary Project Work, propelling Riverside to the forefront of technology with IT Master Plan Phase 2A.

The school continued to achieve Academic Value-Added Awards and accolades at the Singapore Youth Festival and the annual uniformed group unit assessments. While maintaining these achievements, the students were also developed holistically through the introduction of GCE ‘O’ Level Music into the curriculum and the introduction of new CCAs such as the Robotics Club and the Creative Media Club. 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; Mrs Mohinder Singh became the new vice-principal.

Under Mrs Tan’s leadership, new vision and mission statement were crafted. The revised school directions focussed the staff on the holistic development of the students using the LAM2P (Leadership, Aesthetics appreciation, inculcation of Moral values, and the development of Mental-cognitive capacities, Physical capabilities, and Social-emotional skills) framework. The school goals were encapsulated by the RSP2ACT (People, Partnership, Academic, Co-Curricular, School Tone), our strategic thrusts. RSp2Irit signified the school core values of Passion, Professionalism, Responsibility, Integrity and Team Spirit.

To augment the professional development and well-being of the staff, the school adopted the People Developer Standard (PDS) system in 2005 and first became PDS-certified in 2006.

In 2004, the school embarked on a whole-school approach to Character Development and National Education. Their efforts were recognised when they were awarded the Development Award in Character Development 2006, Development Award in National Education (2005) and Outstanding Development Award in National Education (2006).

In addition to the Academic Value-Added Awards at the national examinations, the school was also awarded the Sustained Achievement Award for Uniformed Groups in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and the Sustained Academic Achievement Award (Normal stream) in 2005 and 2006.

In 2005, the school signed a memorandum of understanding with Nan Huan Middle School in Suzhou, China. In the few years after that, staff and students benefited from the school exchange programmes.

From end 2002 to end 2004, Riverside underwent upgrading work under PRIME. A milestone event was Fiesta Riverside, a food and fun fair held to raise $200,000 to build non-standard facilities, such as the dance studio.

To complement all these new developments in Riverside, a new school crest and a new school uniform were designed.

From 2005 to 14 May 2007

In December 2005, Mrs Serene Pang became the fourth principal of the school. Mrs Pang was Passionate about partnerships with local and overseas organisations. Mrs Pang initiated collaborations with the polytechnics and an overseas school in Chennai.

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

In December 2006, the Head of English Department, Mrs Hilda Thong, was appointed as vice-principal.

From 15 May to Dec 2007

On 15 May 2007, Mrs Sng Siew Hong became Riverside’s fifth principal. In Oct 2007, the school was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew National Education Award.

The school also received the SAA for UG (4th Award) and Academic Value-Added Achievement Award for Express Course (Silver).

The performing arts CCAs also excelled at the Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging, clinching three gold, three silver and one bronze awards. In addition, the school received the Green Audit (Orchid) Award.


The school received the SAA for UG (5th Award) and Academic Value-Added Achievement Award for Normal Course (Bronze). The school was re-certified and accorded the Development Award for Character Development Award (2nd Award).

For its excellent performance at SYF, the school received the Sustained Achievement Award for Aesthetics (1st Award). At the same time, it was accorded the status of niche school in dance by MOE, allowing it to admit 5% of the Sec 1 cohort under the Direct Schools Admission Exercise.

Riverside achieved the Green Audit Award (Lotus), the highest award for its efforts in practising and encouraging its students to conserve the environment. The school also achieved the Trim and Fit Award (Silver) as well as the CHERISH Award (Silver) for promoting physical and mental health and well-being.

In recognition of the school's programmes and initiatives to promote work-life harmony, Riverside was awarded the Work-Life Achiever Award presented by the Ministry of Manpower. It was also accorded the Singapore Quality Class (SQC) by SPRING Singapore.

On 15 Dec 2008, Mr Chen Fook Pang, Remington joined Riverside as vice-principal.


The school received the SAA for UG (6th Award) and Academic Value-Added Achievement Awards for Express Course (Silver) and Normal Course (Bronze). Its performing arts CCAs also excelled at the Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging, clinching one gold with honours (modern dance), three gold (Malay dance, Indian dance and Chinese dance), two silver (symphonic band and choir) and one bronze (English drama) awards. All UG groups continue to do well with gold awards for NPCC, SJAB and silver awards for BB, NCC (Sea) and a bronze award for GB. Besides dance as its first niche, the school was also accorded a second niche school status for Direct School Admission - National Education.

In April 2009, Riverside Secondary was re-certified for the People Developer Standard by SPRING Singapore; in September, it was accorded the Best Practice Award (Staff Well-Being) by MOE.

On 15 May 2009, Mrs Catherine Ang joined Riverside as vice-principal.
On 15 December 2009, Mr Jayakumar Navaretnam joined Riverside as vice-principal of school administration.

Riverside received the prestigious School Distinction Award from MOE 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.


Riverside Secondary received the 7th Sustained Achievement Award (SAA) for Uniformed Groups (UG and the 2nd SAA for Aesthetics, the Academic Value-Added (Bronze), the 2nd Development Award for Character Development, the CHERISH (Gold) Award and the PARTNERS (Merit) Award.


In 2011, our Performing Arts groups put in another strong performance at the Singapore Youth Festival, with the Malay dance CCA securing gold with honours, Indian dance securing a gold, and silvers for Chinese dance, international dance, choir and band.

Our English drama group picked up a bronze. Our uniformed groups achieved four gold and one silver awards; we thus also received our 8th SAA for UG.

In December 2011, Mr Kenneth Quek joined Riverside as vice-principal.


The strong showing by our performing arts groups continued as we received our 3rd SAA for Aesthetics. Our uniformed groups continued to excel, maintaining their overall haul of four golds and one silver to capture our 9th SAA for UG.

On the academic front, we received the Academic Value-Added Award (Bronze).  In addition, the school was also affirmed by MOE with the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Innovations in the Normal Course. The school also received the CHERISH (Silver) Award.

Our commitment to staff work-life practices was affirmed when Riverside received the Work-Life Achievement Award given out by the Ministry of Manpower. Similarly, our commitment to Total Defence and support of our National Servicemen were recognised when we were awarded the 2nd highest tier of the Total Defence Award, the Distinguished Defence Partner Award.

In December 2012, Mr Wong Mun Wah joined Riverside as vice-principal.


The school received the Woodlands Community Partnership Award, the 3rd Distinguished Defence Partner Award and the 10th SAA (UG). 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), entitled "Developing Problem-Solvers Through the Analysis of NE issues". The school also achieved three environment-friendly and community awards: the Lotus Sustained Achievement Award (School Green Award), the Water Efficiency Building (WEB) Gold Award, and the Community in Bloom (Gold) Award.


Riverside Secondary School is affirmed in 2015 by the Ministry of Education with the School Distinction Award, as well as recognised for Best Practices 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.

Mr Derick Wong joined the school in October as vice-principal. Mdm Shanti Devi became the seventh principal in December.