Although Toa Payoh was the second satellite town in Singapore after Queenstown, it was the first to be built solely by the Housing and Development Board (HDB).
In 1968, First Toa Payoh Secondary School (FTPSS) became Toa Payoh’s first secondary school, located at Toa Payoh Lorong 1. Initially made up of students from the nearby Kim Keat Vocational School and Thomson Secondary School, FTPSS was officially opened in May 1969 by Eric Cheong Yuen Chee, Member of Parliament (MP) for Toa Payoh, as an English and Chinese fully-integrated school.
FTPSS was an active participant in the inter-district track and field, cross country, badminton, football and hockey tournaments in the seventies. In 1971, the secondary school also held the two-day Festival of Music and Dance, where as many as 49 schools in Singapore participated in the events of cultural and folk dances performed in artistic and coordinated moves.
In the seventies, the FTPSS campus was also one of the schools in Singapore used by the Adult Education Board (AEB) to conduct a series of skill-learning courses for the public, such as tailoring, interior designing, dressmaking, photography and copper tooling.
In 1980, FTPSS, along with Jurong Secondary School, became two of the nation’s many pre-university centres to offer 3-year commerce courses for students with acceptable GCE ‘O’ level results. Pre-universities, together with junior colleges and polytechnics, were part of Singapore’s educational system for students to further their studies after secondary education. The pre-university classes at FTPSS lasted until 1991, when the school adopted the single-session schedules.
FTPSS had been actively involved in the campaigns that emphasized on social contributions and environmental protection. In the late seventies, its students were encouraged to participate in the “Use Your Hands” campaigns, beach cleaning activities and old newspapers’ collection for charitable events.
The new millennium saw FTPSS underwent a series of mergers due to falling enrolment of students in the vicinity. In 2001, it merged with Thomson Secondary School and Pei Dao Secondary School.
Another merger followed three years later, as FTPSS merged with Upper Serangoon Secondary School in 2004. In the same year, the secondary school was relocated to a new campus at Toa Payoh East, where the site is now temporarily occupied by Pei Chun Public School. FTPSS had its last merger in 2016, this time with Bartley Secondary School at the latter’s campus at Jalan Bunga Rampai.
In September 2017, hoardings have been erected around the former premises of FTPSS, together with the old school buildings of First Toa Payoh Primary School (FTPPS), at Toa Payoh Lorong 1. Demolition has commenced and is expected to be completed by early 2018. Located beside FTPSS, FTPPS was also started in 1968, and was shifted to Toa Payoh Lorong 8 in 2002 after merging with Braddell, Westlake and San Shan Primary Schools.
Although the name First Toa Payoh Secondary School and its original school campus have officially walked into history, its 48-year history, legacy and spirit shall be continued to be well-remembered by its many generations of former students.
Published: 08 October 2017