When I first arrived in Hanoi in March 2012 when I mentioned I was here to help set up BVIS most people hadn’t heard of us. Fast forward 4 years and I’m at a meeting with Ms Airdrie to plan inter school events and I realise we are now the second biggest premium international school in the city.
I have too many proud moments to list here but I’ve taken the liberty of listing a few memories below.
Meeting our first staff: Mr Rowlands and I spent a week at the airport meeting our new staff off their planes and settling them into their apartments. The enthusiasm after a long flight was incredible and continued through 2 weeks of planning and our opening year. Meeting new staff each August has remained one of the highlights of my professional year. We have had some phenomenal staff over the last four years, some of whom also move on this year and they have been the driver of our race to excellence.
Our first induction day: The 150 secondary students who started on that first Saturday showed equal enthusiasm and drive. I will never forget coming onto the secondary corridor to see huge numbers of parents, siblings and grandparents peering into the 6 inaugural classrooms to see the welcome activities going on. I don’t know how our teachers carried on regardless!
Our first set of results: Education isn’t all about exams but it was still great to deliver on our early promises in August 2013. Mr Byrne and I had a spontaneous dance around his office as we downloaded the results from Cambridge. To smash the UK averages in our first year (and second year) and to match our high performing cousins in Ho Chi Minh with our Maths results was a very pleasing affirmation of our student and teachers’ hard work. These have led onto great AS results with 4 students gaining all A grades and 2 students receiving the highest marks in subjects in Vietnam. The same will be repeated in 2018 with our IB results.
Our first residential expedition: Our first Year 9 led the way with our trip to Sapa. A very successful few days back in November 2012 has led to expeditions from Year 3 to Year 10 as well as sporting, cultural and adventurous journeys to Asia, Africa and Europe. In the last three years we have become the leading Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award provider in Vietnam, again surpassing other more established schools in the region.
Our first sporting events: I remember our first sporting weekend event at a local stadium where we competed as guests of MARISA. We gained a great deal of experience on those two days which we have now built into a set of highly competitive teams who play with upmost sportspersonship.
Our first production. Our very first production was aired in June 2013. Ms Meakin led a group of drama ECA enthusiasts to produce Blood Brothers. As well as being my favourite musical of all time it is extremely challenging to perform and the group did a brilliant job. In 2014 we produced our first large scale production of Aladdin, the sets of which live on to this day. It was brilliant seeing so many students perform so well. These productions have gone on to be the backbone of a wide variety of small and large music and drama productions. Having Julliard here in August will be a crowning achievement of all this hard work.
Being around the school: I try to be round the school as much as I can. This has been getting more difficult as the school grows so rapidly but I do really enjoy talking to students and teachers about their day. There is many a Key stage 3 student wondering how to answer my question about ‘what they learnt today?’
Our first Graduation: I’ve spent 4 ½ years promising prospective parents that we would get their children into the World’s best universities and our graduation 2 weeks ago showed that we are doing this.
This list could go on and the yearbook will contain a few more memories. Suffice to say I will sorely miss BIS and Hanoi. I feel privileged to have led the Secondary section through its important first four years. The journey continues and I know Mr Webb will continue our success.
I’ve been at schools longer and lived in countries far longer but (As we say in English) BIS and Vietnam has really got under my skin. I’m pleased to be staying in the region and with Nord Anglia so I can follow closely the next chapter of the growth and development of BIS.
Mr Christopher Short, Head of Secondary