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IB Diploma News

23 November 2017

I am always extremely impressed when students get up on stage to present and give speeches to their parents and peers. This was especially true on Tuesday evening during the IGCSE presentation of certificates.

The clarity of speeches were a fine example to old and young in the audience. From my own personal experience it is difficult to get from start to finish of a talk without using ‘like’, ‘OK’ or ‘umm’ repeatedly to the detriment of the listener.

There were a couple of jokes aimed at relief of finishing IGCSEs followed by the heavy workload associated with the IB Diploma Programme. This can be true if students spend the majority of their time working close to each deadline instead of spreading the work out and starting early. This week students have continued to explore the Extended Essay and have begun to look at the criteria by which it is marked. Students focussed on criteria A (focus and method) and applied this to an example Extended Essay on moodle. All these examples come with a mark sheet so they can compare their understanding of criteria A with an examiner’s opinion of it. This is the link to a section of the Extended Essay with the criteria explained.

Students also had an assembly on Friday about choosing a topic for the Extended Essay. This introduces the first deadline for students in the Extended Essay process. For the 30th November students must upload, to ManageBac, three different topics they are interested in that could produce a research question for an Extended Essay. Students must upload these ideas in a word document; the topics can be from a range of subjects (usually subjects studied at higher level) and examples are again on the Extended Essay website. Students topics must be different from this.

Year 13

For Year 13 students, next week is of course mock exam week. I have been impressed with the focus of students both inside the classroom as well as in the study area as they prepare for these assessments. I hope this is also true at home and it was heart-warming to hear of a students’ nervousness about these exams and how much they care about them. Of course we hope that these exams go well for all but teachers will be there to help students reflect in subjects, or possibly individual papers, that didn’t go the way they were hoping for.

Thomas Housham, Head of IB Academy


Diploma Programme Deadlines

Each week we will publish the deadlines for students so you can help support them at home. Below are the deadlines for this week and next. It is extremely important students stick to these as they have been carefully arranged to make the Diploma Programme manageable. Year 12 deadlines will start after the Christmas holiday.


Description of Work

Date due


Collaborative Project final submission


Creativity, Activity, Service News

Reflection is what enables students to think critically about experiences and to learn independently.  Here are the first and final reflections from Year 13 student Paul Li on his CAS experience of organising the BISS TEDx, which demonstrates how reflection transforms CAS into a true learning experience.

September reflection:

The preparation of the TEDxYouth event has been underway for several months. I, along with around half a dozen others, are collaborating together to organise and host a TEDx event on the 20th of October. TED itself is already a very inspiring brand and we would like to extend its power to inspire more in our school as well as in the local community. The theme for our event is: 'Hello, future!' I am very excited about the theme as it diverges into many other exciting fields such as sustainability through recycling and future space explorations just to name a few. Besides looking at future developments, looking at the ethics of the functional real world is also important to ensure a future where all of the human species can live in harmony and peace. With this event, I'm hoping that I can spread new and exciting ideas from the forefront of technological development to inspire the students of the school.

Throughout the months, we have set clear goals and objectives on what to do. For me, I have to set up TED email, and an official Wechat account with payment capabilities (via Yoopay) and upload blogs regularly onto the Wechat account. This is quite a new challenge for me. Despite that I take computing science and ICT back in KS4 and consider myself to be quite proficient with a computer, I've never taken on the responsibility of managing and creating a complete user platform and it will be quite the new experience for me. Although I've set up a TED email without too much problems, I've been quite frustrated with the set-up of an official Wechat account which requires a Chinese ID card which I do not possess. That will be my next step, setting up a Wechat official account with payment abilities.

October final reflection:

It is now the end of the TEDx event. To be honest, it was quite tiresome especially that I rushed to the event straight after my university interview. However, I am quite pleased that our efforts paid off. The form time promotion, done collaboratively by our team, really worked as it boosted our ticket sales by nearly a half. We had more audience than we expected. It was also quite an experience for me being part of the team to host something this grand and looking back, it has nearly been a year since we've began organising TEDx.

I hope that our event will inspire more people, particularly the future generation, to become better. We've presented some concepts that can potentially revolutionise the world for the better. Should we host another TEDx event, I hope we can host a public event rather than a private event restricted to only the school community. And with that, I will really need to promote heavily using social media via Wechat.

Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator


Higher Education News

University Offers and University Application Deadlines

It’s a busy time for Year 13 students, with mock exams coming up, and Extended Essay and IA deadlines to meet. But, just a reminder to students and parents that all applications due to be submitted before the start or middle of January must be completed by the end of this term, and that the HE team must be notified of any deadlines in good time, to enable them to work most effectively with students, prepare transcripts and complete recommendation letters (as necessary).

More offers from around the world are being made to students who have already completed their applications, and several students have been called for interview by institutions such as the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and Imperial College London.

Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance