With two classes in the mornings and one play-group in the afternoon Jenny’s parents were pleasantly surprised when 60 children had registered by the end of the first week and another 50 were on the waiting list. Tiny Tots quickly became a highly sort after pre-school for expatriates living in Ho Chi Minh City. Building on this success, a second pre-school called Fundino was established in District 3 in 1998. Again the places on offer in the extra classes were rapidly filled taking the school enrolment to 120 children within just a few weeks of its opening day.
As these two pre-schools grew rapidly, so did Jenny, and her parents decided in 2000 to extend the original Tiny Tots villa on Nguyen Van Thu street to accommodate an additional 10 primary classrooms bringing the total school roll to 300 children. This was the first year the school was officially called the British International School HCMC, with Mrs. Marjorie Hunt being the first Head Teacher. The founders enlisted the professional services of the UK based education company, Nord Anglia Education, to assist them in the establishment of BIS HCMC and to provide quality control of the education provision at the school.
Two years later a new purpose built campus was established in the residential An Phu area of the city. The whole school with its three campuses then had around 560 children on roll including the first secondary pupils who at that time were sharing the facilities and resources of what is known now as AP1. Mr. Alun Thomas was appointed Principal of the whole school.
Within just a few years after its humble beginnings, BIS HCMC quickly established itself as the international school of choice to expatriate and local parents with pre and primary school aged children. In order to provide the same type of high quality education to secondary pupils, the school opened a separate purpose built secondary campus on land across from AP1 in August of 2005. The number of students on roll had now risen to more than 1,000.
2006 saw the first Year 13 students graduate from BIS HCMC. It was only a small group of students, but they symbolised another significant landmark for the school that had developed from a small pre-school just 9 years earlier. For the first time ever students from BIS HCMC were going to university!
In August 2007 another new primary school was built on Tu Xuong Street in District 3, combining the Nguyen Van Thu campus and the Fundino campus into one new school. Mr. Shaun Williams was appointed as Principal and the school roll had risen to 1,350 children.
Over the ensuing years various extensions were built in AP1 and AP2 to provide additional classrooms and specialist facilities allowing BIS HCMC to grow towards its projected target maximum capacity of about 2,000 students.
As BIS HCMC developed over the years, its founders came to realise that the nature of the school’s international curriculum delivered exclusively in English was not necessarily appropriate for some Vietnamese families who wanted their children to learn their mother tongue and nurture their Vietnamese culture in a school that would nonetheless prepare them well to go to universities abroad. In 2010 Mr. Shaun Williams was appointed CEO of the BIS Group of Schools and tasked to develop a dual language curriculum school. The first British Vietnamese International School (BVIS) opened in the Binh Chanh District of Ho Chi Minh City in August 2011 with approximately 350 students on roll and with Mr. Michael Deveney as its first Principal.
Building on more than a decade of successful school development in Ho Chi Minh City, the BIS Group of Schools decided to extend its model of international and dual language schools in Hanoi with BIS Hanoi and BVIS Royal City established in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The first appointed Principal at BIS Hanoi was Mr. Anthony Rowlands and the Founding Principal for BVIS Royal City was Mr. Mark Sayer.
In March 2015 the BIS and BVIS schools merged with Nord Anglia Education (NAE), a world leading premium schools organisation located across China, Europe, the Middle East, North America and Southeast Asia. Being part of a large and established education company with 44 international schools around the world will enable BIS HCMC to further develop, and consolidate, its status as a provider of high quality education to students.
Twenty years since we opened our doors for the first time, it seems fitting that we should be building a new campus that takes us back to where it all started; Early Years and Infants. Located in the residential area of Thao Dien, the opening of our new EY & IC will unite our whole school community in one central location in District 2.
BIS HCMC continues to grow from strength to strength enabling individuals to develop as learners and leaders in a dynamic and challenging environment with a strong focus on "learning together as responsible global citizens."
20 years since we first opened, 2017 marks a very significant year for British International School, HCMC.
- We have started building a brand new specialist Early Years and Infant campus
- Jenny Nguyen (inspiration for the first ever BIS pre-school) Graduated from New York University
- Johnny Nguyen Graduated from BIS HCMC, and will go on to study at University of Southern California.