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IB Diploma News

20 september 2017

This week, Ms Nolan and I again spoke to Year 13 students about the Extended Essay to outline the support we will be offering to students struggling with the process.

  • Mini US University Fair
  • Mini US University Fair

Each student will receive an Extended Essay grade from A-D on the upcoming tracker. These grades will focus on where students are in the process rather than reflecting the amount of effort a student is putting in. Below is a brief description of what each tracker grades refer to.

A – A student handed in a good standard first draft after the summer holiday which addressed the research question that was formed before the summer holiday. The student and supervisor are working through improvements and are on course for the November 6th Deadline.

B – The student handed in a first draft after the summer holiday but this did not fully address the agreed research question. Student and supervisor are working to make changes with the student on course for the November 6th deadline.

C – The student is struggling to complete a first draft and needs extra support in order to reach the November 6th deadline although they do have a research question formed to address. Specific targets will be formed for the October holiday with October 11th for a first draft that addresses the research question.

D – The student is struggling with both research question and first draft. Again targeted intervention will be put in place to support with specific targets for the October holiday with a view to producing a first draft by October 11th.

We will run sessions for students who have been identified as C/D students by running sessions on the research question, the introduction and the main body. We will let parents know which sessions students need to attend. They will run after school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week.

Year 13

With the Extended Essay in mind I want to highlight that we will be working with students who have been given a C or a D for their tracker. We will set targets for students over the October holiday which we will then relay to parents so you can help to support. We will review what the student has completed over the time given and relay an update to parents regarding this. We appreciate the support you give the students at home and are working hard to back that up in school.

Year 12

This week students have been completing mind set activities in form time. I read an article about mind-set which explained that most people see there as being two types of mind-set, a fixed mind-set and a growth mind-set. In reality mind-set is more of a continuum, a sliding scale with people working towards the growth mind-set ‘end’ of the scale. I encourage all students to reflect with their children on where they are on that scale. This is something important for students but also teachers. In school, teachers are working to improve their practice in the classroom by reflecting on their methods in order to think how to improve. As a Mathematics teacher I constantly reflect on how I teach different topics, striving to reach that perfect way to explain a particular concept. The key point is what we are asking students to do, we as teachers and parents are also doing.

I appreciate the emails I have received from parents this year who have been open about any feedback they have. I am enjoying working together with you all.

Thomas Housham, Head of IB Academy


Diploma Programme Deadlines

Each week we will publish the deadlines for students so you can help support them at home. Below are the deadlines for this week and next. It is extremely important students stick to these as they have been carefully arranged to make the Diploma Programme manageable. Year 12 deadlines will start after the Christmas holiday.


Description of Work

Date due

Chinese B SL

Interactive Oral

18th September

Dutch A

Written task 1 final submission

22nd September

Dutch B

Written assignment finished

22nd September

Korean A


25th-28th September


IA 1st draft due

26th September

Spanish A

Written task 3 (part 2) final submission

28th September


Creativity, Activity, Service News

CAS Stages

As Year 12 and Year 13 students embark on new challenges for their CAS this year, I would like to remind our students of the five stages of CAS – investigation, preparation, action, demonstration and reflection. The CAS stages are a framework which helps students when they are considering and carrying out their CAS experiences, allowing them to make considered choices rather than jumping straight into an experience.  These CAS stages represent a process that can assist students in many aspects of their life.   The process includes investigating an interest that raises questions and curiosity, prepare by learning more about it, take some form of action, reflect on what they have done throughout the experience and demonstrate what they have learnt through the experience.     By following the five CAS stages we hope that students are able to take ownership of their own CAS programme whilst promoting and aiding the achievement of the CAS learning outcomes.  For each CAS experience students are required to have personal goals and also to demonstrate that they have achieved some of the CAS learning outcomes, which are:

  • Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
  • Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
  • Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
  • Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
  • Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
  • Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
  • Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions

Completion of CAS requires a balanced programme of Creativity, Activity and Service experiences with at least one CAS project and demonstration of the achievement of the learning outcomes of CAS. 

Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator


Higher Education News

Higher Education Events and Information- Getting the Message Across

It’s a busy time for Year 12 and 13 students, with lots of events and activities - covering all manner of interests and subject areas - taking place around school.

An up-to-date list of university visits, relevant to students in Years 12 & 13, along with a list of important dates and deadlines is available for all students on the student IB Daily Bulletin, which is emailed to them every day.

Moodle is also an excellent resource for students, with advice, guidance and resources to refer to when making decisions on applying to university.  To access this information, students should login to the Moodle portal, click on ‘IB’ and then ‘Higher Education’.

Mini USA University Fair

On Tuesday 19 September the IB Academy hosted a ‘Mini’ US University Fair, which gave students the opportunity to speak to representatives from six US colleges and universities. Some photos from the event are included in this newsletter item. University visits will continue throughout the term (more details below) and a full-scale University Fair is planned to take place on Saturday 10th March 2018.

Visit from City University Hong Kong

On  27th September we will be welcoming City University Hong Kong to BISS Puxi.

CityU offers over 130 programs in 7 colleges and schools, including Business, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Science and Engineering, Veterinary Medicine and Life Science, Creative Media, Energy and Environment and Law. Of particular interest to IB students are the following course offerings:

  • CityU offer a Joint Bachelor’s Degree program with Columbia University, New York. Students can spend 2 years in Hong Kong and 2 years in USA, and graduate with two degrees.
  • CityU are the first and only university in Hong Kong that offers Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine. The program adopts the Cornell University curriculum, and is delivered over six years of intensive study and emphasizes the acquisition and development of the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council’s standards and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon’s competencies.

Updated List of University Visits

Friday 13th OctoberUniversity of Leeds – 1pm in Room 350

Monday 16th OctoberImperial College London – 1pm in Room 350

Tuesday 17th OctoberUniversity College London – 1pm … venue TBC

Wednesday 19th October – The New School (Parson’s School of Design) – presentation to Year 12 & 13 Art Students – P1 in S335

Monday 30th OctoberHong Kong University of Science & Tecnology – 1pm in 350

Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance


Pastoral News

The other week Mr Housham presented a Mind-set assembly to the year 12 students and highlighted the difference between a fixed and a growth mind-set.  This week during the year 12 form time the students explored this idea of growth mind-set through a series of activities and short videos. Firstly students took a quiz to help them start to think about their current mind-set and then used an online resource to help them interpret the results. Students engaged in a video about famous failures and an interesting TEDx talk about ‘The Power of Belief’.  Following this, students then took time to think about a past event where they felt they didn’t succeed at something and to discuss how they dealt with this.  So you might be asking the question, why is mind-set such an important topic for our students to understand?  As all the year 12 students are coming to grips with the demanding nature of the IB Diploma course, there will be many ups and downs throughout their two years and it is important that they have the knowledge and skills of how to deal with a variety of events, which includes sometimes being unsuccessful the first time round. Giving students knowledge of the ability to have a growth mind-set will hopefully help them make these challenging times more like a small speed bump rather than mountain to climb over.     

Angela Sharrock,  Key Stage 5 coordinator