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Secondary School Updates (21 January 2022)

Weekly update from Head of Secondary

Dear Parents,

It’s an exciting time in Vietnam as we approach the most significant and sacred festival in Vietnam - Tết. It is a milestone at the end of the lunar new year and a celebration of the coming of spring. At BIS Hanoi we are celebrating the occasion with the annual Tết Assembly, which this year will be streamed live at 9 am on Wednesday 26th January. I would like to personally thank Ms Hai Nguyen for leading the preparation of the assembly, and all those involved in its delivery. You are welcome to tune in, and we look forward to seeing you there.
I know that Tết will give our students the chance to spend quality time with their family and friends, enabling them to return with a rejuvenated spirit and positive frame of mind. We hope that there will be good news coming from the Hanoi government so that we can welcome students back to campus for in-person learning.

Let me take this opportunity to say Happy New Year to you all. I wish the best of fortune to you for the year ahead.

Yours sincerely, 

Chris Newman 

Head of Secondary 

Key Dates
  • Wednesday 26 January: Tet Assembly, 9 AM

  • Thursday 27 January - Friday 11 February: Tet Holiday 

  • Monday 14 February: School resumes after Tet Holiday 

Pastoral Update 

As we find ourselves nestled between the New Year celebrations of two cultures, we have a great opportunity to reflect upon the year that has passed.

2021 wasn’t exactly what any of us had in mind. We have had to adapt our learning model from in-person learning to the Virtual School. But from those difficult times, we can take away so many positives.

“All success is successful adaptation.”

Our students have demonstrated their adaptability throughout the year, and I am constantly reminded how much they are flourishing despite the circumstances, and I could not be more proud of them.

In our wellbeing lessons, students are given opportunities to reflect, a valuable skill of being able to look back on events and emotions and using that to grow going forward. 2022 is going to be a vital year of reflection, where students will look back at what we have overcome throughout 2020/21, and use that as a foundation to accelerate their progression, success and development in 2022 and beyond!

I wish you all the best Tet celebrations, chúc mừng năm mới

Mr Alex Hooley

Head of Year 8

Borrowing Library Books 

Between now and Monday, 24th January, students can request up to 4 library books to be prepared for them to borrow over the Tet break. 

  • If you request books BEFORE 6 PM Sunday 23 January, you can collect the next day (Monday 24 January) AFTER 2 PM
  • If you request books BEFORE 6 PM Monday 24 January, you can collect the next day (Tuesday 25 January) AFTER 2 PM

The books will be available in the main BIS Guard House. The student’s name will be on a paper on the books. 


But how do you request books? 

  1. Go to the BIS Library site 
  2. Enter a title into the FIND A BOOK box in the top left and hit ENTER.  
  3. This will take you to Destiny Discover, where you need to click on the Login button in the top right.  
  4. Click on the blue SAMS-SSO button on the left, enter the student’s school email and password.  
  5. Click on a wanted title to see details of the book, including if it is available or not (IN or OUT).  
  6. Click on the Hold button if you would like that book.  

Here is a screencast showing exactly what you need to do.    

Nerilee Hall  



As we approach the Tet holiday we have begun to conduct the second round of our Star reader tests. This gives us the opportunity to measure the progress students have made in their reading level during Term 1. It also provides a very useful guide for students themselves as to the levels of the books they should be reading. They can use this information to choose books from the library, or to check the level of the books they have at home, or find on the internet, or in bookshops. Students can arrange to collect books from the library following the instructions from Ms Hall.
We will also be using the Star reader quizzes to help form new reading groups for the advanced readers in Term 2. The information will also be used to provide targeted support for students who need additional help with their reading. Excitingly, Term 2 will see the first formation of the Key Stage 4 reading club, aimed at promoting students reading for fun and relaxation, whilst students complete their IGCSE program. It has frequently been shown that students reading regularly for recreation on a regular basis has tremendous benefits, both academically and for personal wellbeing. 


Miss Cooper’s Year 7 Maths class has recently started a new unit on Probability. Probability can be a very exciting topic as it has so many links to real life, from the weather to sports, so we built our understanding by doing a real probability experiment. Students worked in pairs to throw a 6-sided die 60 times and record the results. Then, they calculated the experimental probability based on their results, and compared it to the theoretical probability (the prediction based on what we would expect to happen). Students produced some very high-quality investigations and analysed their results in a very mature way.
Students developed many skills during this task, including teamwork, communication, and inquiry skills. It was really pleasing to see some excellent team connections being formed, despite working online. Having opportunities in class to speak to and collaborate with peers gives students a bit more of a sense of normality – so it was lovely to see so many students really throw themselves into this task! Please see some examples of excellent work completed in this investigation. Well done Year 7s! 

220121 Secondary Maths

This term is one of our favourites in the Key Stage 3 History curriculum. The students have been delving into some profound issues and important topics. In Year 8, our students are studying ‘Enslaved Peoples’, where they study both the historic trans-Atlantic slave trade and the modern slave trade. They examine the ways people are captured into slavery and the sheer number of those involved. This is a demanding topic that requires maturity from our students. We have once again been impressed with the sensitivity they have brought to the topic, which involved examining the extent of the slave trade in South East Asia and what we, as individuals and a community, can do to bring this atrocity to an end.  

220121 Secondary History
Theory of Knowledge (ToK) 

The Year 13s have been working hard to complete their first draft of their ToK essay for Tuesday. After two weeks of mocks they had periods 1 – 4 on Wednesday for their essays where they could talk to their teachers and write their essays. After two weeks of mocks this was an important task. Well done to Year 13 ToK and best of luck for the draft on Tuesday! 

Meanwhile, the Year 12s have been studying a new unit where we explore how our values shape our understanding of the world. This week we asked the question ‘Can the arts help us to understand ethical issues?’ Students explored some famous examples such as Hamiliton as well as books, plays and films they loved to consider how these arts reveal and ethical issues, as well as how they have impacted us.  

220121 Secondary TOK

Outstanding projects in Key Stage 3 

This half term, our Key Stage 3 students have been working incredibly hard to produce the most successful artworks in lessons. Our Year 7s have impressed the entire Art department through their tone and form exploration and have created outstanding still life drawings. They were given the opportunity to challenge themselves by choosing one of the following media and improving their technical skills: pencils, colouring pencils or charcoal. Meanwhile, our Year 9s kept on working on the topic of Architecture and could either create a traditional or a digital collage on this topic. They could decide to create a composition on the style of an artist or to use the principles of design studied in Term 1 to create a successful final outcome. We are proud of all our wonderful artists at BIS Hanoi and are looking forward to seeing their next artworks. 

220121 Secondary Art