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Mr Carl Mincher: Weekly Update 15/09/2017

15 September 2017

Dear Parents,

International Day, Parents’ Social event, ECAs, residential trips and much more have been hot topics this week as you will see from today’s newsletter.  Also as part of our series of year start up events we have been delighted by the number of parents joining us for workshops, information evenings, social gatherings and more.

Our Parent Group gathering at the Boathouse last night is a great example and for others the planning that we have embarked upon together for International Day 2017 which took place on campus today.  At each occasion we have enjoyed the many and varied members of our community joining as one and through their conversation and collaboration adding so much to the value and meaning of the BIS experience for our children.

This year the parent group will be placing particular focus on the value of belonging, being involved, school spirit and collaboration to make a difference.

As mentioned at last nights Year 8&9 parent information session, our students have consistently produced excellent examination results and become good people; we are proud of their successes as any family would be.  However, we do not nurture our students to become such capable young people in a vacuum and it is the combined efforts of school and home that teach our children to see the contribution they can make and the impact they can have on their community.

ABRSM High Scorers’ Concert 2017

ABRSM HSC 2017.jpg

Last Saturday BIS was proud to host the 7th ABRSM High Scorers’ Concert.

High Scorers’ Concerts are a showcase for the top performing students from the June practical instrumental exam session.

The top 35 scoring students were invited to perform their favourite piece from their recent exam in an informal concert setting.

A large and enthusiastic audience were treated to a series of fine performances on instruments including piano, violin, cello and double bass.  Pieces ranged from grade 1 right the way through to grade 8, the highest regular exam level, and also an ABRSM diploma student.

We heard excellent performances from BIS students Anya Chakrabarty, Caitlin Loewe Chua, John Lee, Naomi Martin, Tadala Nkhoma and Sanny Wu. A huge well done to these students who have invested so much energy, passion and dedication in achieving their latest musical successes.


Year 8 & 9 Parent Evening and Trips




Well-Being Weekly: Are you flourishing?

At BIS we are  committed to ensuring our students’ academic success is accompanied by broader character strengths and positive well-being. We believe that not only are  these aims  mutually supportive but it is only in achieving a balance between them that we are truly successful.

To increase student awareness and give them some practical tools to improve their well-being,  our School prefects are working with the Welfare & Guidance Team to create a weekly wellbeing activity.

This week every student completed the Flourish Test. This is a simple self-survey which shows how in balance we are in our lives.  We invited parents who attended this week’s Parent Information Evenings to also take the test. We encourage parents to  have conversations with their child about how achieve balance in their lives and more widely what small steps they can take to improve their wellbeing.

Click here to take the Flourish test:

If you would like any more information on any aspect of our work on wellbeing, please contact me at Sean.ONeill@bisvietnam.com

Sean O’Neill

Deputy Head (Welfare & Guidance)


Community Service at An Phu Secondary Campus

Community Partner


Thao Dien Disabled School

Many of you will have driven past Thao Dien School every day on your route to BIS. You may have heard the music of the children’s morning dance or seen their beaming smiles when they are dropped off by their parents!

Thao Dien School provides an education to over 120 children from 4-16 years who have mental disabilities in HCMC and other provinces. The education is specific to their needs and aims to prepare them for later life. Thao Dien provides basic education in maths, reading and writing as well as important life skills such as how to communicate in social situations and take care of themselves.

As of 2017-18, the headmistress’ main focus is vocational training for many of the children and she is establishing classes in food technology, jet washing and jewellery making.


BIS and Thao Dien School
Thao Dien School.jpg

BIS have had a partnership with Thao Dien for the past 5 years. During their ILS lessons, the Year 8 students learning about disabilities and prepare educational activities for the children, either at Thao Dien School or when they visit BIS. There is also a weekly ECA that visits Thao Dien School every Wednesday - this is one of the highlights of the week for TD students who love spending time with our students.

As with all our community projects, we want our students to focus on the time and energy they spend with partners. However, thanks to the PTG and school donations, BIS are able to support them with their wish lists. Through events such as Christmas BISzaar, the PTG have paid for equipment for their new cooking class and other educational equipment.

We truly value our partnership with such a wonderful school and look forward to another great year with Thao Dien Disabled School!

To follow regular Community Service updates please view our Twitter page @BIS_Community


Parent Group social evening at the Boathouse

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” sometimes the idioms of the English language can be confusing, but in this instance the meaning suitably matches the occasion.  The evening was perfect for an outside get together at the Boathouse with views of the Saigon River, good food to eat  and great company.


It was lovely to see so many of our parents gathering together, with the opportunity for our working parents to meet each other.  The first of many successes for our Parent Group committee Christine, Gus, Anu and Shweta.


Please meet our PG committee seen in this photo with Receptionist and Parent Liaison, Katie Walsh.  From left to right Shweta, Christine, Katie, Anu, Rob and Gus.


More about International Day


Today was our first planning meeting for the upcoming International Day….

Int Day Meet.jpgFlag Bearers

International Day is a wonderful occasion where students from our many different nationalities share their favourite cultural influences from foods, music to dance and stories with their friends.  Throughout the year we encourage all of our students to see themselves as one community, one group of individuals within the British International School HCMC. We encourage integrity, respect and care for each other and for those less fortunate than themselves.  At the same time we recognise that our children are in a unique environment where they are able to develop a deeper understanding of a variety of cultures and from that build an understanding of the world and respect for their global community.  On International Day we ask students and parents to share what makes us different, why it is important to us and to CELEBRATE it together.

We are truly excited about this event with more than 20 country representatives signed up already we would like you to please come and join us.


Coming up...IGCSE Options evening for Year 9 parents


An integral part of a British education is the Key stage 4 curriculum for our Year 10 and 11 students.  Here at BIS HCMC our students study the two year IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education).  It is an externally moderated course ….

We recognise that in our international community there may be a number of parents who are not completely familiar with the British Curriculum.  We also recognise that a significant number of our students and their families have been with us since primary school and may not have had the opportunity before this time to discuss the IGCSE course with us in depth.  

The IGCSE course is a rigorous course over a two year period.  A number of our students and families have noticed that the course is different to the KS3 curriculum and some adjustment is required.   We will be supporting all of our students throughout this journey of course, but we would also like to invite all parents of Year 9 students to come to the IGCSE Options evening next Thursday 21st September

IGCSE DT  Art.jpg


University and College Visits 2017

With academic results consistently exceeding worldwide averages, our students are able to apply to and attend some of the most prestigious universities across the globe. In order to help our students make an informed decision on the right university for them, we welcome a large number of colleges and universities to the school every year to showcase their study programmes and offer guidance. We also arrange visits to local student recruitment tours which are held around the city.


Facilities Updates...

Over the summer, in addition to the key improvements already reported which provide significant improvements to students every day learning and day to day support and wellbeing, we also made a number of other  improvements I would like to share.

Firstly, whilst they do not noticeably change the campus visually, an upgraded ventilation system to the swimming pool and the renovation of the stage floor and stage lighting in the auditorium have already  started to make a difference to students’ day to day life and learning.


There were also some old and familiar pieces of the furniture that we gave a fond farewell to this summer.  The student lockers have been replaced by new, brighter and lighter ones.  This means that we have been able to create further social spaces for students to meet and socialise during break and lunchtimes.  Lounges have been placed in a few of the areas throughout the ‘New Building’ and we look forward to these spaces evolving over time….

Next time a feature on our new Design and Technology labs.

Jeremie Luong from Quang Nam to Uzbekistan

The 9th Asian Age Group Championships are a long way from delivering Toothpaste to some of Vietnam’s most disadvantaged communities, but that is just the journey taken by one of our talented young swimmers this week.  

Jeremie Luong swam for Vietnam at the 9th ASEAN (South East Asian) School Games in Singapore in July against competitors from 9 South East Asian countries.  He returned home with two silver, one in the 200 metre Individual Medley, and one bronze.

Jeremie has this week returned from an intense four days of competition at the biannual 9th Asian Age Group Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where he again represented Vietnam and earned 1 bronze medal and broke the Vietnam Age Group (16-18) National record in the 50m butterfly (25"49 Long Course)


At the same time as completing his IB Diploma and championing the needs of some of Vietnam’s rural communities Jeremie certainly knows how to get the most out of his time.

In an earlier interview, Jeremie mentioned that his “ultimate goal would be to get selected to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.” This kind of ambition with the determination and perseverance Jeremie regularly displays is a great role model for his younger peers. Huge congratulations Jeremie on your recent successes!


Our Nord Anglia family in Texas and Florida

As you are all aware, we are a part of the Nord Anglia Education (NAE) family of schools. This brings us many benefits which you will have seen over the past few years. However, four of our schools were affected by the two recent hurricanes that hit the USA and all are in our thoughts at the moment. Therefore, please see the following message  from the CEO of NAE, Mr. Andrew Fitzmaurice:

An Update from Nord Anglia Education Following the Severe Weather Conditions in the US

As you are aware, there have been two severe hurricanes in the US recently. I am pleased to share that following Hurricane Irma last weekend, all reports are that our students, parents and staff at our schools in Florida, North Broward Preparatory School and Windermere Preparatory School, are safe and well and our schools will re-open later this week.  

Hurricane Harvey caused great destruction and disruption in Houston, significantly affecting families at our two schools in the city; The Village School and the British International School of Houston. Although I am pleased to report that our students, parents and staff are safe and well and our schools are now open, there is still a long way to go before everyone has fully recovered.  Nord Anglia Education will be supporting both school communities through donations of funds to aid the relief efforts already underway.  We would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support and best wishes at this difficult time. Our communities at Village and BISH truly appreciate this support.

Andrew Fitzmaurice

save the date


Monday 18th September: Term 1 ECAs start

Tuesday 19th September: Boys and Girls U14 Basketball, from 4.00pm at BIS HCMC (Home). Please come along to cheer on our teams!
Tuesday 19th September: Boys and Girls U19a Volleyball, from 4.00pm at ISHCMC (Away). Supporters always welcome!
Wednesday 20th September: Boys and Girls U19b Volleyball, from 4.00pm at AmIS (Away). Our teams welcome all support - please come along!
Wednesday 20th September: Boys and Girls U19a Volleyball, from 4.00pm at ABC (Away). Supporters always welcome!
Thursday 21st September: Year 9 Options Evening, 6.30pm. Very important for Year 9 parents.
Friday 22nd September: PTG Quiz, 4pm. Please encourage your child to join in.
Sunday 24th September: BBGV Charity Fun Run, 7.30am BIS photo – 8.00am race start. Always a great day of fun for the family.
Friday 29th September: Year 10 Vietnamese History Museum Visit
Saturday 30th September: Saigon Schools International University Fair, an opportunity to meet over 80 universities from USA, Canada and Europe. Parents and students are attending together.


Thank you all for your understanding of the above and may I take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful weekend.


Kind regards,

Carl Mincher

Head of Secondary Campus