St. Patrick's School

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Saint Patrick's School is a Lasallian Roman Catholic boys' secondary school in East Coast Road, Singapore. It is more commonly referred to as St Pat's, SPS or St Patrick's. Students and old boys call themselves Patricians or Sons of St Patrick's. The school is well known for its Military Band, which has performed internationally and won awards, and for its long-standing policy of making extensive and routine use of corporal punishment (caning). The total enrollment is about 1,500, covering levels Secondary 1 to Secondary 5 (roughly ages 13 through 17).


The school was founded in 1933 as a temporary branch school of Saint Joseph's Institution, another Catholic boys' school in Singapore. It was built on land acquired by the La Salle Brothers in 1898. The main school building was completed in 1932, and Saint Patrick's became a school in its own right in 1933.

In 1957, the primary section of the school was separated and became Saint Stephen's School.

The school went co-educational with the introduction of pre-university classes in 1969; but this was phased out in 1978, and the school became once more all-male.

The 1990s saw a drop in the standards of discipline. In 2002, former Changkat Changi vice principal and educator of 38 years, Mr Lucas Lak Pati Singh, was brought in. During his reign, he brought in several measures, particularly increased corporal punishment (see below), to raise academic standards and the conduct of Patricians, which were successful.

Mr Lak, the longest-serving principal in the history of the school, stepped down in January 2012. He was succeeded by Mr Adolphus Tan, who was seconded from Shuqun Secondary School. Mr Joseph Peterson, a senior physics master, was promoted to the post of vice-principal in charge of CCE, joining Mr Aloysius Yong, an alumni who has served in various other capacities in the school and the sole vice-principal until then.


St Patrick's School is famous for its Military Band, which has won gold medals in competitions locally and abroad. In the 2005 Singapore Youth Festival (SYF), the band won Gold with Honours, an achievement repeated in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

School icons[edit]

The shamrock is found on the student's belt, shoes and neck-tie, on the running vests and on the T-Shirts, and the school flag is a shamrock on a blue background. It is made up of three green hearts touching at the centre at an equal spacing from each other. Two of the hearts are at the lower half with one at the upper half. The shamrock represents the school's virtues of Honour, Humility & Honesty. The school's patron saint, St. Patrick's, used the shamrock to represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Uniform and discipline[edit]

The all-white school uniform is compulsory. The full uniform is a white short-sleeved shirt with the school badge pinned on the top left hand corner above the shirt pocket, white short trousers (for lower secondary students) or white long trousers (for upper secondary), white school socks with the shamrock logo, white canvas shoes, and a tie. Students wear the school tie every morning for assembly. The shirt must be tucked into the pants. Details of the uniform are set out in the school's Rules and Regulations.[1]

For physical education lessons, students change into their PE attire, which is a white vest (for lower secondary students) or a black vest (for upper secondary students) and the shorts with the shamrock logo and SPS sewn on it. The vest has I love St. Pat's printed at the back.

St Patrick's School was beset by discipline problems such as truancy in the 1990s, but these are now said to be in the past. Corporal punishment has always been a feature of the disciplinary system, whereby the offending student receives a number of vigorous strokes with a rattan cane across the seat of his thin white uniform trouser] as he bends over a desk in the detention room.[2] The current Rules and Regulations state that students found in possession of cigarettes, lighters or matches "will be caned" as well as being referred to the Smoking Control Unit of the Ministry of Health.[1] Many other offences are also punished with caning, including fighting and latecoming. The canings are usually administered by the Discipline Master, or the Vice-Principals. In some more serious cases, boys may be caned in front of their class, or even the whole school, but this is not nearly so common. A typical morning sees latecomers reporting to the office for immediate discipline (one stroke) before going to class. For smoking, fighting, pornography or other offences, the typical penalty is two or three very hard strokes, causing pain for several hours, and weals across the boy's buttocks lasting for a few days. The previous Principal, Mr Lak, also administered corporal punishment himself and would walk around with a rattan cane as a deterrent.




  • Cyril Wong - poet


  1. 1.0 1.1 Rules and Regulations, St Patrick's School, 2010.
  2. "St Pat's turns 75 and is far wiser", The Straits Times, 30 August 2008.

External links[edit]