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IB Diploma News

06 September 2017

Last week we launched to the students the redesign of the IB Academy. This is an exciting opportunity that has just been approved by the school to be completed this year. We are excited to improve the facilities we have for students and to transform the area into a 21st century learning environment.

Emma Nolan is leading students to be creative and giving them ownership of a space that is very important for them. Below she explains more.

IB students have an incredible opportunity this term to actively engage with an Architect Alan Wang from the firm EVA Architects to design a new, transformative and student focused learning environment. Dr Hopkin shared this possibility with IB students last week and set the challenge to create an environment, which will fuse the elements of study, socialising and relaxation, whilst also developing an area that inspires, innovates and energizes students to engage in the learning process; embodying the characteristics of a growth mind set we endeavour to develop in our students. This new and dynamic environment will cultivate an atmosphere that utilises collaborative learning and encourages the growth of student responsibility; initiative, decision-making in preparation for their journey towards university.

Students have been asked this week to ‘get inspired’ ‘be ambitious’ and think about their ‘gotta have it items!’ in readiness for the Architects visit in a few weeks’ time – a great opportunity to make the BISS PUXI IB Academy an exceptional facilitator of learning.

As included in the last newsletter, each week I will outline a way you, as parents, can support your children in achieving well on the IB Diploma Programme.

Year 13

It has been great to walk around the IB study area this week and discuss with students what they are working on. They are showing great independence in study which refers back to having a growth mind set. I have been reading through the Mathematics IAs that students have produced this week with some great topics being chosen and a good focus on the criteria. I have spoken in the previous two weeks regarding the criteria for the Extended Essay being important but the same is true of tasks in other subjects. The SPTC next Tuesday is a great opportunity to discuss the criteria with teachers to get an idea of what students need to do to improve on the non examination aspect of the course.

Year 12

I spoke last week about Year 12 getting into a routine with their work and also their CAS. I would like to highlight that CAS is an opportunity in a students’ routine to do something for enjoyment and to improve the balance between work and creative, active and service experiences. These should be seen as an opportunity to refresh the mind so students come back to their studies with energy and passion. It is important students don’t see CAS as another thing ‘to do’ like homework or any revision.

Thomas Housham, Head of IB Academy


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

Extended Essay

Group 4 1st draft hand in

4th September


Independent study 2nd draft

4th September


IA2 final submission

6th September

Dutch A


8th September

Spanish A

Written task 3 (part 2) 1st draft

8th September

English A Lang and Lit HL

Written task 1/2 final submission based on part 4

11th September

English A Lang and Lit SL

Written task 1 final submission based on part 4

11th September

Spanish A

Written task 3 (part 2) final draft

15th September

Dutch A

Written task 1 first draft

15th September

Dutch B

Written assignment starts



Creativity, Activity, Service News


Along with Activity and Service, Creativity is one of the strands of CAS.  Creativity in CAS provides students with the opportunity to explore their own sense of original thinking and expression.  Our students have undergone a wide variety of Creativity experiences ranging from making computer games to creating their own YouTube channels.  Experiences that students choose to do often stem from personal interests and passions. Others have discovered their passion whilst challenging themselves to new experiences.  I encourage students to take inspiration and try something new; you never know you might discover a new passion or future career.  Here are some ideas for Creativity experiences that link to different subjects and some also have Service and Activity elements to them.    


  1. Write a script for a play.
  2. Participate in a community-based theatre group.
  3. Design or participate in awareness-raising performances for NGOs.
  4. Form a performance group.
  5. Run a children’s theatre group in the local community.
  6. Organise an improvisation theatre troupe.
  7. Learn how to perform magic and put on a magic show.


  1. Join a choir or participate in a musical.
  2. Play a musical instrument in a band or orchestra.
  3. Learn to play a musical instrument or take vocal lessons.
  4. Form a music group.
  5. Perform for clients in aged care homes.
  6. Conduct a choir or a band.
  7.  Host a musical event at school.

Visual art

  1. Produce personal artworks.
  2. Paint a mural for the walls of a local primary school or childcare centre.
  3. Design posters for school advertising particular events.
  4. Curate the school art gallery.
  5. Organize or participate in craft activities.
  6. Do photo shoots for NGOs or for senior citizens.
  7. Enter a local art or photography competition.
  8. Teach art for early childhood or primary school.


  1. Join a ballet or jazz class.
  2. Choreograph a school production.
  3.  Run a school-based dance class.
  4. Perform as a dancer in a school production.
  5.  Participate in annual school performers’ showcase.
  6. Teach a junior dance class.
  7. Organize a dance flash mob

Design technology

  1. Participate in design projects to improve the local community.
  2. Oversee a project for school.
  3. Participate in council competitions.
  4. Design and create furniture.
  5. Assist an NGO with designing a website or provide content for its website.
  6. Help a local hospital or clinic with a redesign.


  1. Produce items for a school fair.
  2. Support a group that raises money for small business loans for undeveloped countries.
  3. Run workshops for NGOs to give them ideas for creative awareness-raising or more efficient business practices.
  4. Run business-type events to train students in running a business.
  5. Help a local start-up develop a business plan.

Information technology

  1. Teach basic ICT skills.
  2. Join the technology support group at school.
  3. Design digital books.
  4. Design and maintain a website for an NGO.


  1. Join a mathematics group and participate in school competitions.
  2. Run a problem-solving group at school.
  3. Tutor other students in mathematics.
  4. Design mathematical/logic puzzles for junior students.


  1. Coach a junior sports team.
  2. Design a training schedule for a sports team.
  3. Design individual training programs for specific junior players on a team.
  4. Incorporate skills from other sports into training, for example, rugby circuits into netball training

Environmental systems and societies

  1. Design a recycling project for the school.
  2. Investigate the use of energy in the school and provide a proposal for more efficient energy usage
  3. Create a school-based eco-garden.
  4. Participate in designing a community garden.
  5. Investigate ways to limit water consumption at school.

Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator


Higher Education News

On Tuesday 5 September our Year 12 Business Studies students had a presentation from Les Roches/Gillon School of Business and Hospitality Management, where they learnt more about the careers that can lead on from Business & Management and Hospitality degrees (encompassing,  amongst others, general management, finance, luxury branding, marketing and events & sports management) and the skills needed to succeed in these areas.

Upcoming university events/visits:

Friday 8 September – Boston University – 1pm in Room 350.

Tuesday 12 September – University of British Columbia – 3:30pm in Room 350. Year 13 students can attend this session before STPC meetings.

Thursday 14 September – Allegheny College  – 1pm in Room 350.

Tuesday 19 September - Singapore University of Social Sciences –  breaktime session in Room 350.

Tuesday 19 September - ‘Mini’ US University Fair – Lunchtime Session:

  • The College Board (The SAT People)
  • The University of Alabama
  • The University of California, Riverside
  • The University of Houston
  • Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
  • The University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Bellevue College (Washington)

Friday 22 September 2017  presentation from HULT business school to Year 13 Business students during P4

Monday 16 October – Imperial College London – 1pm in Room 350

Wednesday 19 October – The New School (Parson’s School of Design) – presentation to Year 12 & 13 Art Students – P1 in S335

Saturday March 10 – BISS University Fair

Important Dates and Deadlines for Year 13 students applying to University
➢  August 16 2017: All new Y13 students to have compiled a shortlist of universities, completed first draft of personal statements/college essays and researched entry requirements.
➢  1 September – Registration opens for University Admissions Tests (BMAT, HAT, LNAT, TSA, ELAT etc.)

➢  15 Sept 2017: Applications for Cambridge (for those wishing to be interviewed in China) must be completed and submitted on UCAS.
➢  19 Sept – Registration closes for UKCAT (last testing date Oct 3rd)

➢  2 October  2017: Applications for Cambridge, Oxford, and UK medicine, UK dentistry, and UK veterinary science must be completed and submitted on UCAS.
➢  20 October 2017: All applications for Early Decision, Early Action, or Restrictive Early Action applications to the US and “fast track” Hong Kong must be completed and submitted.
➢ 30 October 2017: All remaining UK, US, Canada, Hong Kong applications must be completed and submitted.
➢  2 November 2017 – Test date for BMAT, MLAT, CAT, HAT, MAT, OLAT, ELAT, TSA
➢  8 November 207  ‘Test of Mathematics for University Admission’ test date
➢ 4 December 2017: Applications to KAIST to be completed.   
➢ 19 March 2018: All European applications due (some universities may have earlier deadlines) but students are strongly encouraged to complete these in term 1.
➢  1 May 2018: confirm intent to apply to Korea, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.

Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance


Pastoral News

Last week the year 12 students were introduced to peer mentoring during registration time.  The aim of peer mentoring in the IB Diploma Programme is to have students serve as a resource for each other and to open up discussions about coursework, study skills and time management.  This helps provide students with an extra level of support during their two years of the programme in which they strive to succeed.  Furthermore, it is to help the students become more proactive towards their studies and recognise through their discussions when they should seek help and who to seek help from.  Although peer mentoring is a new concept for many of the year 12 students, we do hope they can begin to see the benefits from these discussions and words of advice from their peers. 

Angela Sharrock, KS5 Coordinator