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IB Diploma News

28 September 2016

It seems astonishing that we have already reached our October holiday – the first few weeks of term have flown by.

  • RAG Week
  • RAG
  • RAG

For both Year 12 and Year 13, it is recommended that during the holiday itself, there is a balance between relaxation and school work. Year 13 students will be facing a very busy second half of the term with Extended Essay final submission, Internal Assessment in many subjects, mock examinations and university applications. So using the week to get ahead on some of these things could make a big difference. It is equally important to have a little bit of down-time to come back refreshed and ready for these challenges.

I often emphasise to Year 12 students how important it is to be really on-top of the subject work at this point, before they face the sort of pressures that our second year students are facing. With that in mind, they should spend some time over the holiday reviewing notes, reading ahead and making sure CAS reflections are fully up to date.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy


Higher Education

University Visits to BISS Puxi

Last week, we welcomed a representative from the University of Nottingham to BISS Puxi. The University of Nottingham is a member of the Russell Group of Universities. The Russell group is comprised of amongst the UK’s most highly regarded research-intensive universities. For more information, please see the linked document at the end of this newsletter section.

For those who were unable to attend, the presentation is available to students in the Higher Education Section of Moodle. Just click on the section entitled ‘Applying to UK Universities’, and then ‘University Presentations’. Also in this section are presentations for students specifically interested in applying to study Law or Economics at the university, alongside presentations from previous university visits to BISS from universities such as UCL, Imperial College and King’s College London.

Many more presentations, and a wealth of information about other universities around the world, can be found in other areas of the Higher Education section on Moodle.


University Visits to BISS Puxi in September & October 2016

The following Universities will be visiting BISS Puxi in September & October. Students interested in finding out more are encouraged to attend!

  • Wednesday 28th September - HULT Business School -  1pm in Room 350
  • Friday 30th September - UCLA - 1pm in Room 350            
  • Thursday 13th October - University of British Columbia (UBC) - 1pm in Room 350
  • Wednesday 19th October - George Washington University -  1pm in Room 350
  • Friday 21st October - Imperial College London - 1pm in Room 350
  • Monday 24th October - City University, Royal Holloway, Goldsmith’s College, University of London - 1pm in Drama Studio, followed by Q&A in the Library
  • Wednesday 26th October - Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - 1pm in Room 350
  • Monday 31st October - Hochschule Rhein-Waal (Germany) - 1pm in Room 350

Mark Weston, Head of Higher Education Guidance


Creativity, Activity, Service

Follow up Interview with Alena Heise (12) on RAG Week by Lucile Perrot:

RAG week just concluded, and I joined with Alena for a follow-up interview on her experience advocating for the Giving Tree.

How was your RAG week experience?

RAG week went really well, surprisingly! It was perfectly organized, and Ms.Coong contributed a lot in ensuring that everyone was on the right track and knew what they were doing. It started quite well – we went to a lot of forms and it was nice seeing that so many students knew about The Giving Tree, and had previously contributed to it. When we went to the primary school, the enthusiasm was great, and they participated with a lot of energy, which was quite refreshing. We truly felt like we achieved our goal of raising awareness.

Did everything go as planned? If not, what did you do?

Everything went according to plan, and all the group members collaborated in order to do so. We managed to get a tree, which was my biggest worry, and even had enough hearts for everyone to hang up on it. Perhaps the only thing that did not go as planned was that we didn’t manage to do as much in secondary school as we would have liked to. Other than talking in forms, there were some complications with schedules and the times for when we could get students to put notes on the tree. However, other groups that chose the Giving Tree as their charity managed to do so, which means we weren’t alone in raising awareness, which is great!

What did you learn from RAG Week?

I learned that organization is key – everything must be planned in order for things to go smoothly. Also, communication is very important among the group, and that everyone has specific roles and understands them. Working as a team and with people I haven’t ever collaborated with was a great learning experience. I just really enjoyed the whole experience and getting to know my group members better!

If you were to do it again, would you do anything differently?

I think I would come up with two specific activities, one for primary and another for secondary. It seems that our activity was more geared towards primary, and they understood the project really well and felt that they could actually make a change. However, it appealed less to the secondary, which is understandable – secondary will not necessarily like what the primary does, and vice versa. So, that is definitely one thing I would change if I were to do it again.

Will you be doing any further work on your charity?

I don’t think I will continue with The Giving Tree as of now, because I already have a CAS project running from now until October, which is a dance activity with migrant students. Nonetheless, I will definitely donate some bags to The Giving Tree and perhaps go to the ceremony in Year 13 as a nice conclusion to my overall CAS experience.


Coursework and examinations

IB Diploma Programme Exams

The October holiday is a great time for students to think about this first half term and what has gone well and what subjects have not gone so well. In order to be prepared for the week long break it is important students sit down with parents in order to make a list of deadlines they have after the holiday as well as be honest with parents about any work they have fallen a little bit behind on. For students who are well organised it is also a time to be proactive and begin revision for the November mock exams for year 13 students and strengthen any weaknesses for year 12 students.

IB Diploma Programme Deadlines

All deadlines for year 13 students are accessible through their Managebac account and by looking at the calendar. We encourage parents to ask students in year 13 to show them this calendar so they can help their children to plan their work.

The Year 13 deadlines for this week and the week following the October holiday are below:

Date Due


Work Due



IA2 First draft deadline



Independent Study final draft deadline


Chinese A

Formative Oral Assessment



IA2 final deadline

IB Learner Profile

In a world dominated by technology, focus is becoming an ever increasing issue for young people. Distractions from mobile phones, facebook etc is a challenge awaiting all IB Diploma Programme students as they prepare for their IA tasks and final exams. Living a balanced life will counteract this and understanding when a time for study is and when it is time for recreational activities. Students in year 12 and 13 face a relatively new skill of needing to work independently during study periods. They must motivate themselves to make the most of this time and not waste it on distractions.

Thomas Housham,   DP Coordinator


Pastoral News

As we approach the first main holiday for the year it is important students make a schedule to complete the holiday work they will be given. During peer mentoring time on Wednesday morning students were given time to prioritise their workload and make a detailed schedule of what they would be doing over the holidays. Some of the key steps students should take when planning their time are:

  1. Collecting a list of all tasks that need to be completed.
  2. Identifying urgent vs. important tasks.
  3. Assessing approximately how much time will be needed for each task. It is generally better to complete the lengthier tasks first. 
  4. Set the times you will complete tasks depending on when you work best, eg. morning or afternoon.

Angela Sharrock,  Key Stage 5 coordinator