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IB Diploma News

01 december 2016

By the time you read this, our Year 13 students will have completed a week of mock examinations. Although the experience of doing real IB papers in exam conditions is in itself very valuable, the most important aspect of the mock exams is the feedback that comes afterwards.

  • IB

Throughout next week, students will have their papers returned to them and work will be done in class to analyse what can be done to improve performance ahead of the real examinations in May.

Year 12 students have also been working exceptionally hard in preparation for the Christmas Fair on Saturday 3rd December. This promises to be one of the highlights of the school year, featuring various games, vendors, food and drink and other entertainment.

Earlier this week, we also had a visit from Kingdom Education, who run summer programmes in the US, the UK and Canada and who delivered a presentation for our students on Monday lunchtime.

Trackers for Year 12 and Year 13 will be issued on Thursday 15th December. These will contain short written comments from subject teachers and form tutors as well as effort grades and predicted grades. For Year 12 students, these will be the first trackers which contain predicted grades so this is an important opportunity for students to get feedback on their progress.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy


Creativity, Activity, Service

All students who undertake CAS must also take part in at least one CAS project. A CAS project is a collaborative project which gives students the opportunity to work with others for a substantial amount of time to complete sequential experiences.  Students will use the five steps of CAS through out, Investigation, Planning, Action, Demonstration and Reflection.  This allows students to really engage in a project which they are really interested in and work with like-minded people.  Some past projects completed by our students include making a documentary to interview the older generation comparing life in Shanghai before and now, creating graduation hoodies for charity and organising charity concerts.  Our Year 12 students are in the process of investigating and planning their projects and I look forward to seeing their work.  We will see the work of some of our Year 12 projects this Saturday at our Christmas Fair.

Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator


Higher Education

Higher Education Visits

During the week beginning 21st November, BISS held two Higher Education events for IB Diploma students.

On Thursday 24th November, Year 13 Business & Management Students attended a mini-lecture on the topic of “The Future Manager: How to learn essential leadership skills at an international business school.” The lecture was delivered by professor Warwick John Fahy from HULT Business School and explored how students can use to use role models to develop their leadership skills. Any students or parents interested in this topic are encouraged to follow this link to an interesting article in the Harvard Busines Review”

On Friday 25th November, BISS Puxi welcomed a representative from the University of St Andrews, a World Top 100 university, which is ranked third in the UK, after Oxford and Cambridge in the Guardian’s 2016 university rankings tables. It is the third oldest university in the English speaking world, and the oldest of the four ancient universities in Scotland.

The university is running International Summer Programmes in 2017, in the fields of Science, Creative Writing and Scottish Studies. The programme will also involve Social and Cultural Activities such as visiting Glamis and Stirling Castles, hiking in the Lomond Hills and an evening out at the Byre Theatre.

Applications are now open, and interested students should visit


University Offers and University Application Deadlines

A quick reminder that all applications due to be submitted before the start or middle of January must be completed by the end of this term, and that the HE team must be notified of any deadlines in good time, to enable them to work most effectively with students, prepare transcripts and complete recommendation letters (as necessary).

Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance


Pastoral News

Last Friday and Saturday I was fortunate enough to attend a conference focused on well being and positive education. Through guest speakers and workshops the conference provided information and strategies on a range of well being and education related topics. During the two days two themes emerged, young people's social and emotional health and mental health. The guest speakers were from a range of fields from education to psychology and spoke passionately and informatively about young people and the importance of health education in preparing them for life. Studies show that there is a significant increase in mental health problems throughout the world. It was highlighted that helping students to gain a better understanding of themselves through the building of relationships and the practice of well being is of utmost importance if we, in the school community, are to improve mental health for the future. Over the next two weeks, I will be discussing in this article, the two key themes of this conference and how we can work together to ensure we are giving young people the best hope of living a happy and healthy life.

Angela Sharrock, Head of Year 12


Coursework and examinations

IB Diploma Programme Exams

Students in year 13 have been taking their mock exams this week. This is great practice to get the little things right like bringing the correct equipment to an exam as well as gaining experience of full IB exams under exam conditions. Students should understand that they won’t be the finished article right now and should take their time on papers. With experience will come speed and added accuracy. This is a message for year 12 also as when they do class tests they should concentrate on completing questions with accuracy rather than speedily getting through the test while making several errors.

IB Diploma Programme Deadlines

All deadlines for year 13 students are accessible through their Managebac account and by looking at the calendar. We encourage parents to ask students in year 13 to show them this calendar so they can help their children to plan their work. Year 12 deadlines will feature in this section after the winter holiday – be prepared!

The Year 13 deadlines for this week and the week following the October holiday are below:

Date Due


Work Due


Dutch A

Formative Oral Assessment


Chinese B SL

1st draft of written assignment


Computer Science

Program due


Chinese B HL

Interactive Oral


Spanish ab initio

1st draft of written assignment

IB Learner Profile

Now is a time for reflection and caring for all. That could be reflecting on exams, tests, homeworks or normal classwork. It could also be reflecting on those less fortunate than ourselves as year 12 students strive to raise money for the work that the charity ISF does in Cambodia. We hope to see you at the Christmas fair encouraging our year 12 students as they show their care for others.

Thomas Housham, IB Diploma Programme Coordinator


Explaining the Diploma Programme

Each week, we shall be focusing on one particular aspect of the Diploma Programme. This week I shall write about the Theory of Knowledge presentation, which follows on nicely from last week’s topic: the TOK essay.

The presentation comprises one third of the total TOK grade with the other two thirds coming from the essay. Overall, this results in a final grade from A to E.

Presentations are generally done at the very end of Year 12 and this year we have scheduled them for the final two days of term (28th and 29th June). This, of course, means that it is very important that students are here for those last two days. The presentation is used to apply TOK thinking to a real life situation  which they will analyse in depth and from different perspectives.  In the long term, this will encourage students to take a more balanced, reflective and thoughtful approach to social, political, environmental or ethical issues.

Unlike the TOK essay, for which titles are selected from a prescribed list, the presentation gives students a free choice for their topic though TOK teachers advise them about which topics best fit the assessment requirements. The presentation is assessed in school by our TOK teachers using a marking instrument provided by the IBO. Students who are not happy with their initial grade may attempt a second presentation in Year 13.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy