04 December, 2020

Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 04/12/2020

Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 04/12/2020 - mr-sean-oneill-weekly-update-04-12-2020
Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 04/12/2020 Throughout the last year we have all become used to adaptation, and responding to changing circumstances. This week we have, of course, had to make decisions to change planned activities in light of changing Covid transmission picture here in Ho Chi Minh City.

Dear Parents,

Throughout the last year we have all become used to adaptation, and responding to changing circumstances. This week we have, of course, had to make decisions to change planned activities in light of changing Covid transmission picture here in Ho Chi Minh City. 

I would like to thank you all for your understanding and support for the difficult decision to cancel community events, most important of which of course was our Christmas BISZaar.

There are so many people - parents, students, teachers and support staff who worked so hard in preparation for our Christmas BISZaar, which really did promise to be a special community event. 

There is a special group of people who I would like to particularly thank on behalf of the whole BIS community. A team of volunteers who have been working tirelessly for recent weeks and months, meeting each Tuesday on Campus to put the BISZaar together. This our are our PTG executive team:



I would also like to thank our food vendors, raffle prize donors and everyone who bought a ticket for the event - your support is much appreciated  

Although the BISZaar is cancelled, we are still determined to raise funds for our community partners, recognise our students’ hard work and celebrate Christmas together. We will therefore be holding a smaller, student-only Christmas Fair on the last day of term with community stalls and live music performances. We will also be livestreaming our Carols & Readings Event. This will now take place on Thursday 10th 3-4pm. See details  of livestream link below


How you can still be involved:

  • The Christmas BISzaar Raffle - There are some amazing prizes to be won and all proceeds go to BIS Community Partners. Click here for the prizes.  The raffle will be drawn during the normal PTG meeting time on Tuesday and winners will be contacted by the PTG team after the draw.  Good luck to all ticket holders.  

  • Watch the Carols & Readings Livestream- New Time and Date: Thursday 10th December 3-4pm: livestream link here.

  • Take part in our student Christmas Fair by placing an online order.  The fair will take place on Tuesday 15th December and we will share more details about the online stalls soon.

Contact Control Measures Update


In response to the change in the community transmission picture, we have reverted to the measures we adopted at the start of the year 

  • School events will be BIS student only.

  • We will suspend fixtures/events with other schools

  • We have restricted access to the school campus to visitors. 

Parent entry to campus is by appointment only.  For an appointment please email sc@bisvietnam.com or phone (028) 3744 2335

Hygiene Control Measures

We have retained strict hygiene protocols throughout the year. Please re-enforce with your children the particular importance of wearing  a mask and maintaining good hand hygiene. Also please stay informed of notices from the Vietnamese authorities on areas of local transmission. Thank you for your support as we work together to maintain the health, safety and confidence of our community.


Spotlight Magazine 


At this juncture it is more important than ever we look back with pride at what has been an incredibly rich and diverse term. I am therefore delighted that our new Spotlight magazine celebrating term 1 is now published and will be coming home with your children next week.  It is a wonderful opportunity to look back and once again appreciate how fortunate we have been to hold such wonderful events this year to date  from International Day, to our Winter Concert and Wizard of Oz performance, as well as our sporting fixtures, Co-curricular Programme and Community events. I hope you enjoy keeping the magazine as a family memento of a memorable BIS term.


BIS House Sports Day: Wednesday 9th December


Our PE Team have been busy planning an amended BIS House Sports Day for 2020. This student only event will take place on Wednesday 9th December and will consist of a range of separate competitions, ‘Olympic style’. Whilst we will not be travelling to an athletics stadium as in previous years. I know the day will be full of the same friendly competition and BIS Spirit. Look out for more updates in next week’s update. 


Prefect Handover - Thank you and Congratulations


This week marks a time of change in our Sixth Form leadership.  We marked the end of this term by recognising the contribution made by our outgoing prefects in making the education and experience of our students an outstanding one.  Many congratulations to all for the efforts of the outgoing 2019-2020 BIS Prefects who leave a legacy of hard work and determination in all of their work for BIS. The 2019-2020 BIS Prefects were:

Dylan Bonner Higham, Matteo Bourgoin, Hau Wen Chang, Eugene Chang, Rose  Duong, Anne-Linh  Guettier,

Hayley Handscombe, Jon  Haugan, Linh Haugan, Minh Thu Ho, Sapphire Huynh, Yu Min Jung, Duong Lam, Victoria Le, Que Khanh Luong, Gia Khanh Luong, John Sykes, Campbell Taylor, Hung Tran, Trang Trinh, Thuy Anh  Truong, Nhu Lan Vo

Congratulations to each of our new prefects who, by virtue of their appointment have already contributed much to the school community and demonstrated their capacity to provide added leadership and support for our younger students. 

We welcome and look forward to the contributions of the new 2020-2021 BIS Prefect team, who are:

Academic Prefects: Yu Gyeong Kang, Dharani Bharathi, Joseph Kim, Bao Tran Nguyen, Tien Phong Nguyen, ChaeYeon Ryu, HyunSeo Ryu, Aryaman Saini, Emma Sauvageon, Jeanette Vo, Naomi Wheatcroft, SeoHyun Yang

Co-Curricular Prefects: YoungSun Cho, Olivia Chung, Su Do, Gemma Handscombe, Daniel Juelsbak, Teaghan Mckelvie, Rica Miyai, Brandon Long Nguyen, SoYoung Park, Mei Sato, Alexer Yap

Pastoral Prefects: Jessica Battersby, Chloe Brackenbury, Jonathan Brownrigg, Tony Bui Nguyen, Tyler Carriaga, YooMin Cho, Hannah Lee, Louise Lee, Vanessa Mautone, Moc Lan Nguyen, Jung Min Oh, SooMin Ryu, Yee Zhe Tan






Acoustic Lounge

Carol singers bringing Christmas cheer to the Secondary Campus


The Campus was filled with the sounds of Christmas this week as we were treated to a surprise visit from our Year 8 Carol Singers. It was a wonderful interlude to lessons and meetings that were taking place. It is certainly the first time I have had 20 people singing Feliz Navidad in my office! A huge thank you to Mrs Amos and her year 8 students for bringing us all some Christmas cheer.





[[\media\Xmas 1.mp4]]

KS3 Production 2020- The Wizard of Oz


There's no place like home, and there was no place quite like the hallways of our Secondary Campus last week, as it transformed into a magical land paved by a well known yellow brick road.

To find out more about this unique performance, learn from Cat Molloy, Director of Performing Arts, how the Secondary Campus was transformed into the magical land of Oz!


Year 3 Visit to DT



This has been an exciting week within the Design Technology department with all of the Year 3 students making the trip over to manufacture their own chocolate moulds. The activity was designed to supplement part of their International Primary Curriculum topic of ‘Chocolate’ and involved students working through the design process; from initial designs on paper to using a variety of workshop tools and processes.

It was fantastic to see students showing great perseverance skills while learning how to safely use new and challenging tools. Once students had cut their own shapes out using the coping saws they could then decide if they wish to vacuum form their own hand made shapes, or the laser cut shapes that they had previously designed on paper, scanned and been laser cut for them. Observing students reflecting on their designs, especially the calculations being made as to which shape once vacuumed formed would be able to contain the most chocolate, was wonderful to see.

So a huge well done to Year 3 and we look forward to more visits from Juniors and EYI later on it Term 2.

James Chandler
DT Teacher


SISAC Basketball Highlights


Whilst recent events have put a hold on our regular weekly SISAC fixtures, we thought it might be a nice moment to celebrate some of our recent games.  Here are a few match highlights from last week.





University of Sydney visit and online presentation



The Biology Department were fortunate enough to welcome The University of Sydney into school at the start of this week to work with our Year 13 IB biologists via an online workshop.  The students are currently studying genetics and were given a chance to be taught through the university’s “Kickstart Biology” programme. Lecturers from the university taught our students about how sickle cell anaemia is inherited, whilst demonstrating techniques such as DNA extraction, PCR, and gel electrophoresis directly from the university’s laboratories.  Students were fascinated to link their learning to real life and be able to see the equipment in action in a working laboratory.  The workshop was both delivered and received in an energetic and positive manner and the university staff described ours as “a dynamic group of brilliant students”.

 Ms Bee Smith

We are looking forward to similar sessions from the University of Sydney being delivered next week to Mathematics students and the Chemistry department will host a similar session in 2021.


Carols & Readings - Thursday 10th December


We are delighted to announce that our Carols and Readings livestream event will still be going ahead. We will post the link in the discussion thread of this event at the time of going live. Please find the details on the poster above.

Our Performing Arts department can't wait to show you what they've been working on!

Event details

Date: Thursday 10th December

Time: 3pm to 4pm

Livestream link can be found at the Facebook event: BIS HCMC Christmas Raffle & Carols Livestream 2020



Tet Gift Box Collection 2020 Begins



The Year of the Buffalo will be welcomed on the 12th February 2021, heralding one of the most significant holiday celebrations in Vietnam; the Vietnamese Lunar New Year!

The characteristics symbolised by the Buffalo/Ox are those of leadership, determination, hard work and dependability; all of which aptly reflected by the trait of “perseverance” in our school Aide Memoir and for which we strive. Likewise at that time, as we reflect on the past year and look with optimism to the future, we will continue to strive to act with integrity, to treat one another with respect and to care for our community.

The Tet Gift Box Collection 2020 begins across all campuses next week and we hope that as many students as possible join in this opportunity to share this lovely Vietnamese custom with our Community Partners.

Headteachers Coffee Morning - Postponed 



We were very much looking forward to welcoming over 50 parents to the Headtacher’s Coffee Morning and Study Skills Workshop this week.  A huge thank you to everyone who signed up for the event which was unfortunately postponed. We plan to schedule a new date for January. Look out for further details to come.



Monday 7th December: Year 10 Parent Teacher Student Conference, online and by appointment 

Thursday 10th December: Carols & Readings, 3pm - 4pm, livestream

Tuesday 15th December Last Day of Term 1, school ends at 11.30am

Wednesday 6th January Term 2 begins

Monday 11th January to Friday 15th January Mock Examinations Week, Secondary Campus, Year 11 & Year 13 students

Monday 11th January to Friday 15th January Expeditions Week, Secondary Campus

Monday 25th to Friday 29th January Secondary Campus School Photos


Have a wonderful weekend,

Kind regards,

Sean O’Neill
Head Teacher, Secondary Campus