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Principal Weekly Update 18/05/2018 from Mr Mark Sayer

18 May 2018

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Much ink has been spilt in public forums on the use of Learning Technologies.  Technology, we hear, is designed to make our lives easier and better informed.  Often, however, we can feel that there is a deluge of information – a myriad of apps, social media platforms, websites etc, that vie for our attention and our time.  At BVIS, we do in spite of the ever-changing backdrop, seek to comprehend these pressures and provide parents with what we think they need to be well-informed about events, news and feedback on students.  Some feel there is too much information on this in their busy lives.  A few feel that there is not enough.  The vast majority feel that we are getting it about right.  An impressive 98% of parents in the recent Nord Anglia Parental Survey stated that they felt well informed by the school.

Every busy, successful school battles with balancing student or teacher activity and then the reporting on it.   Student progress is measured within school, but a reliance on over-reporting is similar in a way to a gardener pulling a plant up to examine if the roots of that plant are growing.  It can be counter-productive. In short periods, growth is not always clearly discernible but there is always growth when school, parent and student are working in equal partnership and collaboration.

Advances to aid communication have already been introduced with a new reporting structure in Secondary, and parents should be aware of the open arrangements we have for dialogue between teachers and parents.  Technology can further enhance this, as we move from a pushing of information by the school towards parents to more helpful situations where parents can draw down the information that they wish to see – the pull of information.  A new information management system is being embedded this year since its implementation in January.  Further work is being undertaken on the website as well as further work on a discreet password-protected platform for teaching staff, students and parents.  S ever, these things take investment in both time and money but the direction of travel is an important one.

I wanted to take this opportunity also to praise some staff members so that parents are aware of the quality of staff we have here.  Within the Language Learning Department, both Erin Wright and Sam Lane have come in for special mention: Erin has been co-opted to run the first ELLSA Chapter in Hanoi, voted into this role by the members themselves.  Click here for more information on ELLSA and here for the Chapter Coordinators.

Sam Lane is one of our key EAL staff and has a particular leaning towards how technology can be harnessed to support deeper learning.  At a recent conference for the ELLSA Chapter held at another school in Hanoi, Sam’s vision, dedication and creativity was extremely well received by other teachers from Hanoi.  We are indeed very fortunate to have both of these teachers within school helping our students daily.

On the Wellbeing side, Emma Corkery, our Secondary Art Teacher, has become the Nord Anglia Education Teaching Fellow for Mindfulness and Wellbeing, a role that she exercises both personally and professionally, offering student and staff sessions on a regular and frequent basis.

On the Sports front, our Head of PE and our University Guidance Counsellor participated in the Vietnam Jungle Marathon in Sapa – a grueling mountainous race.  Alicia Smith was the first lady through to win the competition Photos can be found here for Alicia crossing the finish line and flying the flag!  Berni Widemann came in 3rd for the men which is also an amazing achievement. 

Our congratulations to all of these staff for their special mentions but indeed to all of our staff who contribute in some many ways to the lives of your children – often in quiet and unseen ways.  They are truly a great team.