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IB Diploma News

15 december 2016

We recently marked the end of the term for Year 12 with some ‘Learner Profile Awards’. All students in the year group were invited to vote for the peer who most exemplified each learner profile attribute.

  • Secondary

It was nice to see how spread out the voting was indicating that so many students are doing a great job of developing these attributes.

The students who were chosen were Leo Michel-Grosjean (Inquirer), Chelsea Ngan (Knowledgeable), Laura Kelly (Thinker and Reflective), Vivian Graf (Communicator and Balanced), Alena Heise (Principled), Sarah Ryan (Open Minded), Yvonne Huang (Caring) and Tyler Preininger (Risk Taking).

Over the three week vacation we would recommend that students keep in mind the learner profile attribute, Balanced. This would imply making sure that there is time for relaxation, time for catching up with friends and family as well as time to keep on top of school work. As noted in last week’s bulletin, Year 13 students have been given vacation homework tasks which can be accessed through the school moodle (Year 13, Holiday Homework, Christmas Holiday Homework)

I wish all our students, and their parents, a very pleasant winter vacation and look forward to welcoming them back to school on January 10th.

Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy


Creativity, Activity, Service

Thank you to all the parents and staff that made this year’s Christmas Fair so successful.  It would not have been possible without the collective effort from all.  Our PTA made the event bigger and better than ever this year and also supported our students to secure raffle prizes and run the event on the day.  A ‘Big thank you’, to our sponsors for the event – Jump 360, Kingdom Park, Pure Smile and Parkway Health and all the businesses who donated raffle prizes.  It was definitely an enjoyable community event which helped get us all into the Christmas spirit!  In the spirit of Christmas and giving the event manage to raise over the target of 100,000RMB!  This will go towards sponsoring children in the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) schools and also towards the rural community projects which Year 12 students will carry out during Activity Week.  As well as visiting the ISF schools in Cambodia, our students will be working in a rural community in Kampong Thom Province, a community our Year 12 students have visited for the past 5 years.  The projects that students have carried out in previous years include, building houses, building toilets, restoration of the local school and planting trees to combat deforestation.  We look forward to returning again and continuing this great work and ensuring that our support and work for the community and ISF is sustainable and long-term.    

As with all CAS experiences, it is time for students to reflect on the experience, here is an excerpt from one of the CAS leaders, Sarah Ryan who has been involved in organising the raffle prizes for the Christmas Fair:

‘Yesterday was the Christmas Fair.  And to put it shortly, I thoroughly enjoyed being involved and helping out. I came at 9:50 and left at around 3:45. I first went to check on the other CAS leaders to see how they were getting on as I received numerous texts saying they all came a little early to help out - which was amazing as it showed all our commitment to the fair!... I would like to note that during the Fair some people came up to me and asked me who was this all for and what charity we were supporting and as we had assemblies with Miss Coong (our CAS Coordinator) about ISF (our supported charity) I could give them all the details about this and after I begun to understand the importance of what we were doing and although it was lovely and Christmassy to have such a Fair, the less advertised reason for having the Fair made it more special.’

The letters regarding the CAS trip to Cambodia went home to Year 12 parents this week.  I hope this allows families to plan ahead with any required vaccinations or any necessary passport renewals.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!     

Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator


Pastoral News

In the newsletter last week I wrote about how we could help young people to understand the importance of social and emotional health. This, of course, is directly related to the mental health and wellbeing of people. In such a fast paced society with so many deadlines and stresses, it seems as if students are having to continuously multi-task in order to keep up. The problem with this however; is that it can become overwhelming, unmanageable and increase the anxiety in students. This can lead to mental health issues in the short or long term. At BISS we are increasing the awareness of practising mindfulness and how to keep a good state of wellbeing through talks by professional groups as well as introducing free online courses run by Futurelearn. However, students need to start seeing the importance of mindfulness and taking on board some of the practices that are presented to them.  With exams not far around the corner for the year 13 students, now would be a good time for them to engage in techniques to help them cope through stressful situations. Whether this be breathing techniques or actively utilising positive thinking strategies, it could make a world of a difference come 5 months’ time. 

Angela Sharrock, KS5 Coordinator & Head of Year 12


Higher Education

Summer Schools  

Summer schools are a great opportunity for students (often in Year 12) to gain an insight into university life, explore a subject in more depth, work on a project, develop new skills and improve their IB grades.

Some summer schools focus particularly on the IB, some focus on particular subject and career areas (either familiar or unfamiliar), and some will give a broader introduction to university life and study.

Many summer schools are run by universities, but other summer schools, run by private institutions, are also available.

Some general online resources are available, which give information about summer schools around the world (more details attached) but please remember, if searching online for summer schools, you should check whether they are suitable for students still at school (some are for school leavers or students already at university), whether they accept International students, and whether they are suited to your interests, requirements and finances.

Attached is a document with details of selection of a summer schools offered by universities and other institutions. If there is a university that you are interested in that is not on this list, you should go to their website to see if they offer a summer school.

The World’s Required Reading List - The books that students read in 28 countries

For those of you reading this newsletter in the holidays, you may be interested to know what books students around the world are required to read during their time at school. From ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ in the US, to ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ in Germany, this compilation of reading assigned to students everywhere will ‘expand your horizons – and your bookshelves’.

Enjoy the holiday, and happy reading!

Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance


Coursework and examinations

IB Diploma Programme Exams

Year 13 students have just submitted their final drafts with edited formats signalling the end of their Extended Essay journey. We hope that they have learnt skills they will then go on to use at university when they are carrying out other research tasks. With the workload that students face at this point in the year it can be difficult to find the positives but they are there and having read half of the essays myself there is some really good, interesting work produced by students. They should be proud of the effort they have put in.

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 winter holiday are below:

Date Due


Work Due


Extended Essay

Final deadline after feedback


Korean A

Written task 3


Spanish A

Written task 3


English Lang and Lit

P3 written task due



Process Portfolio final submission



Final draft of IA


Dutch A

Interactive Oral


Korean A

Written task 1st draft of Creative


Spanish A

Written task 1st draft of Creative


Spanish ab initio

Final draft of written assignment


French B

Written assignment final draft



2nd cut screening


Mandarin ab initio

Written assignment 1st draft submission

IB Learner Profile

It is important for students to have a focus for the winter holiday. For year 13 it will be their holiday homework which will mostly consist of past papers. However, students should focus on the most efficient method of completing these papers which should be to do so with little help followed by reflecting on what they struggled with in order to set targets. For year 12 they should be thinking about what topics they are interested in pursuing as part of their Extended Essay. Study skills will begin to be taught after Christmas and thoughts about the topic already will put students at an advantage.

Thomas Housham, IB Diploma Programme Coordinator