The school opened its doors on 11 January 1960 to the children of the rural folk comprising manual workers, small traders, and pig, vegetable and poultry farmers who lived in Bukit Panjang and the surrounding areas of Bukit Gombak, Mandai and Woodlands. It made history as the first integrated government secondary school in Singapore. The challenge for the school was to foster integration between the English and Chinese educated students – something it did with panache and imagination through extra-curricular activities such as folk dancing.
Underlining the importance of the school in the nation’s educational landscape, BPGHS hosted visits by three prominent national leaders: President Yusok Ishak on 23 June 1961, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on 25 July 1965 and SM Goh Chok Tong on the occasion of its 45th anniversary on 16 July 2005.
In the Seventies, as the first generation of Housing Board estates were being built across the island, bricks and mortar issues also dominated the agenda at BPGHS. The school worked tirelessly to raise funds to upgrade its facilities to offer students learning opportunities outside the classroom. Academically, the school became well known for producing sterling results in the Chinese Language at ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels.
In the Eighties, education in Singapore went through a sea change with the phasing out of vernacular schools. BPGHS showed its mettle when students and teachers from the Chinese stream persevered in overcoming the difficulties of adjusting to English as the main medium of instruction. Not content to rest on its laurels, the school then set its sights on improving its results in English Language – a feat that was achieved in 1985 following a rigorous English Language programme. BPGHS’ track record of sustained progress led to its being accorded autonomous status in 1994.
In the mid-Nineties, the school embarked on a new chapter in its history when it moved from its Teck Whye campus to a new location at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4. The new campus, officially opened in 1995, presented a nurturing environment that supported holistic learning. At the turn of the century, the school archive was set up to trace the school’s history and to reaffirm the ideals on which it was founded. The school underwent PRIME redevelopment between 2007 and 2008 and moved back to its refurbished campus after two years at a holding site.
The 21 st Century
Today, BPGHS has consistently produced value-added academic results and is recognized for its organisational excellence and student development beyond the academic arena. The school continues to excel in its niche areas such as Science and Elective Malay Language Programme (EMAS), even as new peaks of excellence are charted by our sporting, aesthetics and uniformed groups. The school offers the Art Elective Programme (AEP) which provides greater opportunities for academically able and artistically talented students to further develop their interests and hone their skills in Visual Art. As a Centre of Excellence, BPGHS leads in the professional development of Mathematics and Science teachers in the West Zone.
In 2014, the school was conferred the School Distinction Award and Best Practice Awards in the following areas: Teaching and Learning; Student All-Round Development; Character and Citizenship Education; and Staff Development and Well-being. The school was also awarded the Singapore Quality Class.