The theme for our 2019 Annual Report is “Championing Joy”. It reflects NTUC First Campus’ (NFC) commitment towards achieving our goal of “Happy Staff, Happy Child and Happy Parents”. We sustained the momentum of growing our pre-school network to give every child a good start in life. We also continued to grow our people and enhance their well-being. NFC was awarded one of the “Best Companies to Work for in Asia 2019” at the HR Asia Awards. At NFC, we recognise that our success starts with the well-being and growth of our people.
Growing our Presence, Touching More Lives
Our vision is to make quality pre-school services available to Singaporeans in every neighbourhood. In 2019, we reached an enrolment of 22,000 children, up from 20,000 in the previous year. The Little Skool-House (LSH) opened a new centre at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) in January 2020. By 2021, My First Skool (MFS) would have added three more Large Childcare Centres (LCCCs) in the Northeast region of Singapore, each catering to 300 to 900 children.
Indoor playground at the Little Skool-House At-KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
Teacher and children from the Little Skool-House engaging in a storytelling session
We pay special attention to support children from low-income families and those with additional learning needs. We want to help every child start with the best possible footing. In the past year, we made significant strides in our Child Support Model and invested a total of $7 million in financial, developmental and social support programmes to support children from these families.
From 2020, we raised the household income ceiling for eligibility to NFC’s Child Support Services from $3,500 to $4,500 a month. Over the next five years, our goal is to touch the lives of more than 10,000 children from low-income families. We are grateful to companies like OCBC Bank and CapitaLand for being our partners in this journey through their generous contributions to the Bright Horizons Fund and in co-creating programmes to meet the needs of children from low-income families.
The “OCBC – NTUC First Campus Bridging Programme” supports low-income families and their children in accessing quality pre-school education
Raising the Bar, Providing Excellent Quality
In 2019, My First Skool opened its first Early Years Centre (EYC) at 2 Punggol Drive, catering to children from two months to four years old. It sets a new standard in centre design, not just in terms of scale, but also learning spaces. It even has its own fully equipped commercial kitchen, complete with automated equipment, helmed by a Head Chef – an industry first. The kitchen crew whip up delicious and healthy meals for the children every day. My First Skool at 6 Segar Road, another newly opened Large Childcare Centre (LCCC), is located within Zhenghua Nature Park. For this centre, we managed to achieve a design which gives children and teachers access to nature and outdoor learning right at their doorstep. This centre was also selected as a finalist at the World Architecture Festival 2019. This is a good achievement, considering that our team adopts a cost-conscious approach in our design and construction, constantly looking for efficiency and cost savings.
Façade of My First Skool at 6 Segar Road
Interior of My First Skool at 6 Segar Road
More than setting new standards in design, what is equally important is our “software” – our curricula, and our teachers who implement them. NFC’s Relationships-Based Curriculum (RBC) for children aged birth to three emphasizes interaction, attachment and trust between young children and their teachers. Our goal is for children to develop that “I can do it” spirit.
NFC’s Relationships-Based Curriculum gives children an overall sense of security and in turn, helps them develop into confident individuals
Research tells us that the early years is a magic window for brain development and learning, especially in language acquisition. As part of NFC’s commitment to strengthen Mother Tongue Language (MTL) acquisition, from 2020, infants and toddlers will be exposed to a 30-minutes MTL storytelling time.
Strengthening our Capabilities, Leading the Way
Our 5000-strong staff and teaching workforce are at the core of our NFC family. We strongly believe that our success begins with their well-being. To make employee well-being a priority, we mooted the HappyYay! movement in 2018. The essence of the movement is to develop the spirit of trust, respect, empowerment, mastery and purpose – elements that help us to be happy and productive.
NFC family gathered for a fun filled HappyYay! Day 2019
Thirteen awards were presented to NFC’s teaching staff during the year. These include the ECDA Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Development 2019, the Outstanding Pre-school Mother Tongue Language Teacher Awards 2019, the Pre-school Chinese Language Storytelling Aids Competition Awards 2019 as well as the SkillsFuture Fellowships Award 2019. We are very proud of their achievements.
NFC is a winner of “Best Companies to Work for in Asia” at the HR Asia Awards 2019
NFC’s teaching staff were presented awards at the ECDA Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Development 2019
In 2020, the first batch of Deputy Centre Leaders and Lead Teachers will undergo a leadership milestone programme to enable them to become more effective education leaders. The Early Childhood Educational Leadership (ECEL) programme is an exemplary Industry-University partnership between NTUC First Campus and the Singapore University of Social Services (SUSS). Participants who have completed this program are eligible for credit exemptions that will enable them to complete their degree programme in SUSS in half the time needed. This breakthrough partnership with SUSS will empower our staff in their roles as pedagogical leaders and coaches so as to raise the quality of practices at our centres.
Financial Performance in 2019
For the year ended 31 December 2019, the Group achieved total revenue and other operating income of $357.2 million, 7.9 per cent higher than the previous year.
The surplus for the Group after contributions to the Central Co-operative Fund (CCF), the Singapore Labour Foundation (SLF), and taxation, was $12.6 million, representing 3.5 per cent of total revenue and operating income. The Board is recommending a final dividend of 6 cents per share for the financial year ended 31 December 2019.
We thank the National Trades Union Congress, NTUC Enterprise, the Education Services Union, and our community and Government partners for your partnership and support.
We thank members of the NFC Board for your invaluable inputs and counsel. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr Ronald Tan Hee Huan, who has stepped down from our board. We welcome the appointment of Ms Sum Wai Fun Adeline, as our new Director.
We thank the many parents who have chosen NFC as your education partner of choice. Most of all, we thank our staff, for your dedication, hard work, and commitment to service. Through these challenging times, we will continue to do our best to support working families because it’s what we do today that will lead to a better tomorrow. We will surely overcome the current COVID-19 situation, and emerge stronger, better, with a brighter future for our children.
Teacher and children from The Caterpillar’s Cove enjoying outdoor play