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Mr Simon Higham: Weekly Update 10/02/17

10 February 2017

Before the TET holiday, Michael Walsh – a trainer from the UK - spent over a week in school developing our teachers’ pedagogy regarding the teaching of higher order thinking skills (thinking deeply and differently) and the ability to verbalise ideas.

  • An Phu Primary Weekly Update with Mr Simon Higham, British International School HCMC

I would like to wish all children and parents, both existing and new to our school a warm welcome back after the TET holiday.

Before the TET holiday, Michael Walsh – a trainer from the UK - spent over a week in school developing our teachers’ pedagogy regarding the teaching of higher order thinking skills (thinking deeply and differently) and the ability to verbalise ideas. His training, using the methodology called ‘Let’s Think in English’, reinforced the message regarding ‘the value of words’. Educational research shows the following:

'...the size of a young child’s vocabulary is a strong predictor of reading—preschoolers with large vocabularies tend to become proficient readers (National Research Council, 1998). Children’s vocabulary can be greatly enhanced by talking and reading with parents. In fact, the vocabulary of the average children’s book is greater than that found on prime-time television.'

(Hayes & Ahrens, 1988).


Here are just 5 practical things that you can do to help further your child’s education, in partnership with our school:

1. Value Placed on Literacy: Parents show their own interest in reading by reading in front of their children and encouraging them to read, too.

2. Press for Achievement: Parents let children know that they are expected to achieve and help them develop reading skills.

3. Availability and Use of Reading Material: Homes with reading and writing materials for children—such as books, newspapers, writing paper, pencils, and crayons create more opportunities to develop literacy.

4. Reading with Children: Parents who read to preschoolers and listen as older children read aloud help children become readers.

5. Opportunities for Verbal Interaction: The quantity and content of conversation between parents and children influence language and vocabulary development, both building blocks for later reading success.

(Hess & Holloway, 1984. Family and School as Educational Institutions)

If you would like to read more about this topic, the full article can be read here.

BIS HCMC Parent Satisfaction Survey 2017

Parent Survey

We were very pleased to launch the Parent Satisfaction Survey for 2017 earlier this week.  As a school we rely on parent feedback to better understand how we are performing in key areas, so that we can continue to improve our school and provide the best possible educational experience for your child.

Thank you to those parents who have already completed this survey.  To-date we have had an impressive response rate.  We are very keen to receive feedback from all our parents. The online survey will only take fifteen minutes and is available in 18 languages.  Your answers will be treated in the strictest of confidence. 

We look forward to your participation. 

You can access the survey HERE

Year 2 at the Circus

BIS Year 2 Circus Trip (2)

Year 2 enjoyed a very exciting Entry Point to their new IPC unit ‘The Circus is Coming’. Along with our friends at TX, we were wowed and amazed by the strength and agility of the performers who came from all over the world. Read more about this event and see the pictures from the visit in this post by Ms Clare Lowson, Year 2 Teacher and Milepost 1 Leader.

Music Mentoring Programme

Music Mentor 2

Peer learning is a very effective way to develop understanding, skillset and leadership capabilities. The music mentoring programme is designed to allow younger students work with their older peers and develop their musical skills. Our Year 4 student, Caitlin Chau takes part in this programme and wrote:

“I have learned a lot about singing, being a student of Thuy Linh. We covered aspects of singing such as breathing, singing at the correct pitch and shaping my mouth correctly so that I can pronounce my words well. My lessons with Thuy Linh were packed with fun and interesting facts and I always looked forward to having my lessons with her.

Read more about this whole school initiative in this post by Celine Nguyen, Year 12 Student (Founder of the Music Performance Mentoring Program).

For further information about Instrumental lessons in school, please refer to this post by Ms Frances Amos, Music Teacher and Instrumental Leader or contact her directly at the following email address: francesamos@bisvietnam.com

School Photographs

BIS Ho Chi Minh Mr Simon Higham's Weekly Update - Reminder

On Monday, all parents received an email from school regarding this year’s school photographs. As a reminder, please refer to the information below regarding dates and sibling photograph options.


Mr Woo will be at APP from Friday 17th February to Friday 24th February 2017. Please check your children’s diaries / learning letters next week which state which day your child’s class and individual photograph will be taken.

Sibling Photographs

We are delighted to offer parents the opportunity to have group photographs of siblings taken. Due to the number of pupils this will be an optional extra. Mr. Woo will be available on Monday 20th to Thursday 23rd from 4:00pm - 5:00pm and on Friday 24th from 2:30pm - 4:00pm. We anticipate that 15 separate sibling photos can be taken per day (up to 25 on Friday). If you wish to participate in this extra service, please email Ms Thanh in the Main Office (ThanhNguyenThiPhuong@bisvietnam.com) who will endeavour to allocate you a time on your preferred day. Please note that all allocations will be made on a first come, first served basis. On the day, please bring your children to the Multi-Purpose Room 5 minutes before the time you have been allocated to fill in an order form and then get the group photo taken. Please note that sibling photographs are an additional service and any orders during this time will require payment on the day. If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s class teacher directly.

Headteacher Coffee Morning

BIS Ho Chi Minh Mr Simon Higham's Weekly Update - Reminder

I would like to invite you to attend the coffee morning on Wednesday 15th February in the Multi-Purpose Room from 8.15am. This meeting will include an overview of recent initiatives across AP1 and a presentation that gives:

  • an overview of our current primary MFL procedures at BIS, HCMC
  • information that outlines the importance of language learning
  • future developments and changes for the teaching of primary MFL from August 2017

After this, there will be time set aside in the Multi-Purpose Room for parents to talk to myself and Ms Dee Grimshaw, Deputy Headteacher about any other school related issues and possible topics for future Headteacher Coffee Mornings.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Annual Whole School Concert

The British International School HCMC Music Department presents our annual whole school concert on Thursday 2nd March at 6.30pm. For more details at this time, please click on this post.

Summer Performing Arts with Julliard


Next summer, give your child the chance to explore their creative talents and work with renowned artists in one of the most beautiful cities in the world—Geneva, Switzerland. Applications for Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard 2017 opened in December.

All interested parents should read this post which will guide you on how to register interest and receive the latest details.

Staying Safe and Healthy in School

Safeguarding poster

If, during your visit to school, you have any reason to be concerned about the safety of a young person, please contact the Designated Safeguarding Person (Ms Dee Grimshaw) or the Head teacher (Mr Simon Higham)


Fundinotots Friday

It was great to see that our first ever Friday Fundinotot session (with parents and nannies) went very well this morning. Our commitment to great learning from a very early age continues with the extension of the already very popular sessions that run each morning of the week.

If you would like to find out more about Fundinotots or want to enrol your child who is 0 – 36 months old, please do not hesitate to contact Ms Hanh in the AP1 Admissions Office.

Fundinotots programme

PTG Update

Parent Liaison Volunteer, Ms Ying bisvnptgap1@gmail.com

PTG Charity Bake Sale - Friday 17th February

Charity Bake Sale

Next Friday, we will hold the annual Charity Bake Sale in aid of our BIS Community Partners.  Please drop off your contribution to the AP1 Office on Friday morning and don't forget to stop by the Basketball Court on Friday afternoon to buy a tasty treat!

If you would like to help out with the selling of cakes, please sign up here.

PTG Poster Competition

PTG Poster Competition

Calling all artists 

The PTG is organizing a poster competition for the upcoming Spring Fair 2017 .

The winning poster will be the official poster for the event and each entry will have a chance to win a special prize .

To enter the competition: 

  1. Use white A4 paper only
  2. It must have the words PTG Spring Fair 2017
  3. The design must incorporate Spring colours

One winner will be picked by our expert panel of judges.

Closing Deadline for all entries:

Friday 24th February at 3:30 pm 

Hand in your entry to your class teacher with your name and class clearly written on the back .

Good luck!

PTG Events for Term 2

17th February 2017 – PTG Bake Sale

23rd March 2017 – PTG Disco

26th March 2017 – Spring Fair

Key Upcoming Dates for your Diary

Save the Date


Wednesday 15th: Headteacher’s Coffee Morning – Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) focus

Friday 17th to Friday 24th: School Photos (look out for your child’s class date/time that will be coming soon from your child’s class teacher)

Thursday 23rd: Digital Citizenship Workshop for Parents – how to keep your child safe online


Thursday 2nd: Annual Whole School Music Concert

For all of the dates in this year’s academic calendar, please click here to take you to the front page of the ‘News and Insights’ section of our school website.

And Finally………


Following my recent visit to the UK for recruitment purposes, I am pleased to report that we are very pleased with both the quality and quantity of applications that we have received for teaching positions next year.

Outstanding teachers want to be in outstanding schools and this was very evident from my interviews with candidates prior to the TET break.

I look forward to welcoming and introducing all of our newly recruited teachers in August.

Mr Simon Higham

Head Teacher, An Phu Primary Campus