Last Friday we had a super first enrichment day of the year, based around the theme of remembrance. The day culminated in a debate by the Year 12 students on the theme “is it ever right to resist authority?” argued in front of our very special guest, Mr Giles Lever, the UK ambassador. The debate showed off the in depth research that the students had done during the day, and in the final vote from the rest of the student body narrowly voted in favour of the motion.
The year 9 students produced an amazing piece of installation art that depicted both the ‘glory’ and the devastation of war. The year 7 and 8s, who had been put through their paces in military training during the day wrote letters home expressing their thoughts on going to war. The Year 10 and 11 students were set the challenge of constructing a machine that would send food and medical supplies to stranded soldiers in the frontline.
All of these products of the day, which were completed to a very high standard remain on display this week in the reception area of the school auditorium. I invite you to pop in and have a look at this great work if you get the chance.
We will be holding two more enrichment days this year, and I am already looking forward to them, following the success of this first one. My thanks to all the staff for producing such an excellent learning opportunity for our students, but particularly to Mr Lincoln for coordinating the day.
The Duke of Edinburgh silver students completed their practice expedition this week. In the week when Prince William, the grandson of the Duke of Edinburgh, is visiting Hanoi our second cohort of Silver Duke of Edinburgh participants were out of school looking to repeat the success of our first raft expedition. Once again our pupils were on Thac Ba lake. They were pushed to their mental and physical limits in order to achieve everything they had planned for, completing a specular journey over land and water. Some participants found the challenge more difficult than others, but the BVIS staff were very proud of how they coped with the cold, the distances, the insects, the terrain and the heavy rain. They designed, built and navigated rafts across great distances and then faced long hikes with their equipment and food in order to be totally self-sufficient. Many mistakes were made but that is why we do a practice trip. Over the next few weeks we will reflect on what went well and what can be improved. Then in March we will return to Thac Ba lake even wiser, even stronger and even more prepared. I believe every child has the right to have an adventure and it is an absolute pleasure and honour to be part of something as wonderful as the Duke of Edinburgh program at BVIS.
Also on the weekend Mr Anderson and Mr Murray-Smith took a team of students to UNIS for their annual science debating competition. Our brilliant team debated their way to the final, demonstrating an ability to think quickly under pressure and carefully craft precise ideas. This was our first entry into the competition and the fact that our students achieved so highly can only bode well for the future.Well done to all concerned!
This week our Year 12 students will be starting an online course on Ethical Cities (https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/ethical-cities). This course, offered through RMIT university will explore the challenges that cities face today as they face up to increased populations, environmental pressures and increased demands on goods and services. The course will look at some of the solutions that cities all over the world are finding and the students will be asked to apply their learning to the city they live in, to reflect on possible solutions to the challenges that Hanoi faces. This will all be done through an ethical lens - exploring how values and ethics can help shape future planning.
This course will be completed over the next five weeks and will act as a precursor to the students studying one other course of their choice from January, which will help them with their university applications.
There are hundreds of online courses available through the FutureLearn website and I encourage all students and parents to explore it - you might find something you want to have a go at!
We are all learners, and I hope we can develop the notion of lifelong learning within our whole community.
I hope you all have a great week ahead.
Mr. Nick Lee - Head of Secondary