At NTUC First Campus (NFC), we believe that children’s well-being and development are at the core of everything we do. To achieve the best outcomes for them, we are committed to building strong ties with parents and supporting our staff in meeting their aspirations. For these reasons, we have chosen “Nurturing Relationships” as our annual report theme for 2018.
The recent years have seen improvements in the overall quality and capabilities of pre-school operators in Singapore. The Government has delivered on its promises to uplift the sector and bring quality childcare places to families. NFC is proud to be its strong partner in delivering these objectives.
Serving more families
NFC crossed the enrolment landmark of 20,000 children in 2018, up from 18,000 just a year prior. This strong growth was achieved through the expansion of our network of neighbourhood centres as well as the introduction of new pre-school formats, such as the Early Years Centre (EYC).
Our first My First Skool (MFS) EYC at Punggol Drive, which caters to children between the ages of two months to four years, started operations in May 2018. The centre is able to cater to 1,000 children, and will significantly ease the pressing demand for reliable pre-school education in the Northeast.
In the next two years, NFC will continue to respond swiftly to the growing population of young families who need childcare services. MFS is setting up three more large childcare centres in the Punggol, Sengkang and Pasir Ris areas. Each will be able to take in 600 to 900 children from two months through to six years old.
The Little Skool-House (LSH) has opened four new centres in the past year and now operates 20 pre-schools. These include three new workplace centres in Temasek Polytechnic, The Ministry of Education and OCBC at Tampines.
Since afterschool by NTUC First Campus was set up in 2016, its student care enrolment has grown sharply from just over 100 children in one school to 1,000 in eight primary schools today. Its deliberate and thoughtful programme, catered to children from seven to 12 years old, is well-received by parents and this has in part led to afterschool extending its partnership with MOE schools to offer K-Care services to MOE Kindergartens for children aged five and six.
Leaving No Child Behind
As a social enterprise, NFC is unwavering in our role to help Singaporeans manage their cost of living and promote social mobility. We have continually made investments in our Child Support Services (CSS), ensuring that low-income families have the support they need to break out of the poverty cycle.
NFC’s Child Support Model (CSM) sits on a solid foundation of a high quality and accessible pre-school network offered through MFS. Through the model, we provide financial, social and developmental support to children from needy backgrounds. In the last 10 years, NFC has served over 15,000 beneficiaries.
To better meet the diverse needs of these vulnerable families, we are in talks with partners ranging from hospitals, government agencies and commercial companies to widen the range of services and solutions.
Advancing Thought and Practice Leadership
By 2019, NFC would have completed the transformation of its curriculum in MFS. The Relationships-Based Curriculum (RBC) launched in 2015 has been instrumental in helping children from birth to three years-old feel at ease with themselves and grow. To ensure NFC stays ahead of the curve, we will undertake a three-year research on RBC involving 100 children to assess its effects on their well-being, engagement, and cognitive development.
Developing and Care for Our Staff
In September, NFC and the Singapore University of Social Services (SUSS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding granting selected NFC educators credit recognition when pursuing SUSS part-time early childhood care and education degree programmes.
We are also pleased to have successfully concluded negotiations with the Education Services Union (ESU) on the Collective Agreement, meaning that staff can look forward to better benefits. A strong partnership between a social enterprise and its union is highly beneficial for both employees and the organisation and we look forward to working together to reach 100 per cent union participation rate in NFC.
Turning the Page
From 2019, SEED Institute’s role in the training of new pre-school teachers has been absorbed under the larger umbrella of the National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC). SEED Institute has been transformed to be the training arm of NFC and will offer its expertise to the local community and internationally.
Financial Performance in 2018
For the year ended 31 December 2018, the Group achieved total revenue and other operating income of $331.8 million, which was 22.3 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 $24.4 million, representing 7.4 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 2018.
A Word of Gratitude
We would like to congratulate Mr Ng Chee Yuen on his appointment as our Deputy Chairman and welcome the appointment of two new directors – Ms Ng Lai Leng, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice-President, Changi Airport Group; and Mr Wong Toon King, Managing Partner, FarSight Capital Pte Ltd. With their leadership and diverse experience, they will bring valuable contributions to the Group.
Lastly, our achievements would not have been possible without the unstinting support of our Board of Directors, all staff of NFC, associates from the National Trades Union Congress, NTUC Enterprise, and the many community and Government partners.
Thank you for sharing in our belief that every child matters and deserves a good start in life.