15 October, 2021

Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 15/10/2021

Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 15/10/2021 - mr-sean-oneill-weekly-update-15-10-2021
Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 15/10/2021 I am sure we can all agree this has been a half term like no other. As we come through such a challenging time together we can feel proud that our students, with the support of their parents and teachers have managed despite the difficulties of lockdown and virtual school - to keep going, and to keep learning, together.

Dear BIS Community,


I am sure we can all agree this has been a half term like no other. 


As we come through such a challenging time together we can feel proud that our students, with  the support of their parents and teachers have managed despite the difficulties of lockdown and virtual school -  to keep going, and to keep learning, together.


When we have had a tough  experience like the last half term, it can be easy to feel a little sorry for ourselves and lament the situation.


Whilst we can recognise our difficulties, I spoke to our students today about the importance of feeling grateful at this current moment.


Grateful to you, our BIS families- our students’ parents and siblings. We have all found ourselves in a situation where we have spent much more time together. And that can be tough- but also I believe this period has made us appreciate our families that little bit more. I have said to all of our students today that sometimes it is the people closest to us that we can take for granted.  Appreciating family  support is crucial. From all of the teaching team- thank you. 


I equally feel extremely grateful to have such  incredible teachers at our school who have all worked so hard to adapt to Virtual learning, who like you have been working from their homes with all the difficulties that brings. Talking to students this week, I know they feel gratitude for their guidance and support, and yes their willingness to try something new along the way.


And, I believe we can all feel grateful to have been here in Vietnam at this time. It might not always feel this way, but when we reflect on the global experience of this time and we talk to friends around the world where schools have been closed for over a year and a half-  we can feel glad that despite the significant challenges, our host country and our community has faced, we can already look forward to a  time in the not too distant future when we will be back to more normal life and back in school again. 


As we end this half term, I would like to say a special congratulations today to our Year 7 students, our new students in other years, our overseas students and our new teachers for whom this half- term was their first experience of life at BIS Secondary. Thank you for the incredible perseverance and positivity you have shown - we know it has been particularly challenging for you and please be assured we are all very excited to meet you in person as soon as we are able, and show you the energy and warmth of a proper face-to-face BIS welcome. 


I hope this half term break is a chance for our students to connect with  friends and family, take a break from screens, and get a good rest in the week ahead. They have earned it.


With my very best wishes to you all,

Sean O’Neill

PTG Virtual Community Quiz


On behalf of the Primary and Secondary PTGs as well as the Year 12 students responsible for the  “Parcels of Hope” CAS Project, we would like to thank everyone for their participation in the Virtual Community Quiz yesterday evening! It was a tremendous amount of fun and really good to see the faces of so many from our BIS community supporting this event.

We are thrilled to let you know that we have reached the target amount of VND 118,000,000!  Thank you for your generosity and care which has enabled us to purchase 236x food parcels for distribution to the Friends For Street Children families, this truly is a life impacting gift.

We are planning to do the lucky draw shortly so do be on the lookout for a possible winning message!

Wishing you a restful mid-term holiday.

The Community Service Team 

And from our Secondary PTG…

I could not feel more proud to be a part of such a great Community event last night.  The PTG Virtual Community Quiz was a wonderful success in so many ways. 

Parents, teachers, students and community all enjoying a social event together and raising funds for a charity in need. 

People stepping outside of their comfort zone to write quiz questions, host, ask for donations, write letters and collaborate despite still home teaching, homeschooling and terrible internet connections. 

Together we have been able to raise enough funds to donate nearly 240 hampers for the ‘Parcels for Hope - Friends for Street Children’ Charity. 

I hope you enjoyed the quiz as much as our family did. Congratulations to the winning team! A group of students no less! 

Watch this space for more events coming soon.

Mel Rowe, Secondary PTG Chair

Y10 and Y11 IG Art work from this half term


Building on the amazing work seen at the start of the assembly, we would like to showcase some of the marvellous work from out IG students.

Parent Partnership Workshop - Digital Safety with Mr Jon Taylor of BeSafe-online.co.uk 

Following our recent Parent Partnership Workshop on Digital Wellbeing, we are delighted to invite you to our forthcoming session led by a recognised expert in digital safety, Mr Jon Taylor. Please join us on Thursday 28th October at 3pm, where Mr Taylor will share his 30 years  experience in the UK Metropolitan Police Force, specialising in child safeguarding and online safety. This promises to be a thought-provoking and relevant session for all of our BIS community.

NAE Global Campus 5k Virtual Run

NAE Global Campus Virtual Swimming Gala


The next instalment of our global campus competition is the NAE Global Campus Virtual Swimming Gala. This event is due to take place from 6th-14th November 2021. The event is available to all students from Y1-Y13. 

There are 4 swimming races that competitors can participate in; 2 individual races and 2 relay races:

Individual races: 

  • 25m Freestyle 

  • 100m Freestyle

Relay races:

  •  4x25m Freestyle relay 

  • 4x100m Freestyle relay 

If you would like to enter this competition, please complete the SIGN UP form before the 5th November 2021. 

Once you have signed up, you can complete the race/races anytime between 6th- 14th November and submit the RESULTS to me before 16th November 2021. 

I hope to see lots of you being ambitious and competing against other students from Nord Anglia schools around the world.

Sophie Roberts, Aquatics Leader.



Sixth Form Peer2Peer Conversations 



Wellbeing lessons for Year 12 students last week, and for Year 13 this week, offered the opportunity for students to talk with each other, and their Wellbeing teacher, in small groups, about this half term. Conversations revolved around what has gone well over the last few weeks, what changes could be made, and how their university applications are proceeding.


One important part of the discussion was to focus on who has supported them since August, and how grateful they are for this. Gratitude plays a large part in everyone’s wellbeing so this part of each conversation was particularly enjoyable. One message from the participants was crystal clear: that parents play a key role in the smooth running of our students’ lives, and so we thank you for your support, which makes the learning environment so much more productive.

Jane Hall

Head of Sixth Form


The Earth Prize 

This year two teams of #BISHCMC students are joining the Earth Prize, an environmental sustainability competition for students all over the world. They’ll be designing solutions to tackle some of the most significant climate change issues that we currently face and will be judged by The Earth Prize Adjudicating Panel, one of whom is a familiar face – BIS HCMC Alumnus, Kisum Chan.

We’ll share more information about our teams in later posts!

Meet the New Teacher

Charlotte Crabtree - Art Teacher


Charlotte joined BIS in August 2021 from the International School of Brunei. She has taught Art for 14 years, 10 of which have been internationally as a head of department. Charlotte's career has given her the opportunity to teach in Malaysia, Dubai, and Brunei. Charlotte is joined by her husband and two young children Tomás and Sophia. In her spare time, Charlotte will be pursuing her cake decorating business and children's fashion line. She is also a keen runner and often takes part in international long distance competitions.

Where have you moved to BIS from?


Why did you move to BIS?

To join a fantastic team of art teachers in an culturally engaging environment.

What has been the best experience for you since arriving in Vietnam?

Aeroplane spotting with my young children.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

I am a cake decorator/baker with my own business.

Michael Mara - English Teacher 

BA American and English Literature, University of East Anglia, First Class.

PGCE English, Goldsmiths University, UK

Michael qualified as a teacher of English in 2018, after spending the previous year working as a TA in London. Prior to teaching in Vietnam, he spent 3 years at a large, multicultural academy in Bristol, where he quickly became a valued member of the English department. He is deeply passionate about his subject,and can often be found reading in his spare time. Michael is a keen sportsman and believes that his enthusiasm more than makes up for his lack of technical ability on the football field.

Where have you moved to BIS from?

Bristol, UK

Why did you move to BIS?

I love Vietnamese people, food and culture! I saw that BIS is an excellent school, which shares many of my personal values.

What has been the best experience for you since arriving in Vietnam?

I've seen some pretty dramatic thunderstorms since moving. Definitely my favourite type of weather, and I'm looking forward to seeing many more!

Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

I went to the same school as Shakespeare, in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Makes sense that I would go on to become an English teacher.

Sophie Yu - Chinese Language Assistant


MA English Language Teaching, University of Essex, UK

BA Spanish Language and Literature, Providence University, Taiwan

Sophie obtained a Master’s Degree of English Language teaching at the University of Essex. She had many working experiences as an ESL teacher in Taiwan and an educational consultant in the UK.

Because of her husband's family business, she moved to Vietnam and settled until now. Sophie loves to play the piano and share testimony to friends.

Where have you moved to BIS from?


Why did you move to BIS?

My husband’s business in Vietnam.

What has been the best experience for you since arriving in Vietnam?

It is pretty good weather and cheap in terms of living cost.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

I like to listen to classical music.

PTG Catch-Up Save the Date - Thursday 4th November



Save the date! Thursday 4th November, 3pm.

We will be holding our second Coffee and Catch up online parent event. These are small online gatherings where PTG will share some information and parents can chat and ask questions.  

More details will be and the registration email will be arriving in your inbox when we return from the break.  Don’t miss it, we look forward to seeing you.

Event Details

Date: Thursday 4th November

Time: 3pm

Registration: via email.

Friday 15th to Monday 25th October: Half Term Break

Thursday 28th October: Digital Safety with Mr Jon Taylor of BeSafe-online.co.uk, 3pm, online Parent Partnership Workshop

Thursday 4th November: PTG Virtual Catch-Up, 3pm.


Have a wonderful half term break,

Kind regards,


Sean O’Neill

Head Teacher Secondary Campus