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Ian Battersby talks about the strength of community at EYIC British International School HCMC

Mr Ian Battersby: Weekly Update 07/09/18

Ian Battersby
Ian Battersby (104 posts) Head Teacher, Early Years and Infant Campus View Profile

‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’

You may have heard these famous words, taken from the inaugural address of former US president John F. Kennedy. Lesser known is that John F. Kennedy’s words were inspired by his former headteacher who used the words to encourage his pupils to have a sense of community responsibility at Chaote School in New England.

‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’

You may have heard these famous words, taken from the inaugural address of former US president John F. Kennedy. Lesser known is that John F. Kennedy’s words were inspired by his former headteacher who used the words to encourage his pupils to have a sense of community responsibility at Chaote School in New England.

At BIS, we want our pupils to have that same sense of community responsibility.  When we see problems and issues, we want our pupils to have an attitude of ‘what can I do to make this situation better’, rather than ‘somebody should do something about this’.  For example, recently, we have made the BIS HCMC 2020 Plastic Pledge where we aim to, amongst other things, ban the use of single-use plastic on our 3 campuses.  There are two other areas where as a school community we can make a real difference to the place where we live.

Be Involved...

World Clean Up Day 2018

Clean Up Thao Dien

We see a lot of rubbish on the streets of Thao Dien.  BIS is joining forces with ‘Clean Up Vietnam’ to participate in World Clean Up Day on Saturday 15th September.  It would be great to see an army of BIS families working together to clear away the rubbish from the streets around school.  Please follow the link for further details:

World Clean Up Day 2018

Improving the Traffic Situation

I have been asked by a few parents this week, ‘What are you doing about the traffic situation?’  I don’t think there is an organisation in Thao Dien that has done or is doing more than BIS:

  • Raised pavements
  • Central barriers / pedestrian crossing barriers
  • Signage / Working with local People’s Party
  • Initiating Stop, Drop and Go
  • External Audits / PTG traffic days
  • Increased visibility – police and senior leaders
  • Driver’s Code of Conduct / regular updates / Induction meetings
  • Terrace Café/PJs Coffee / Early drop off / Morning clubs / library open until 4.00pm
  • Bridge use and limiting pedestrian crossing

And of course, we are working on the new car park which will provide space for 72 vehicles.

As a school, we will continue to look to find ways to help the traffic to flow and to reduce the number of vehicles on the road at any given time.

I would encourage all parents to ask the question, ‘What am I doing to help ease the traffic situation?’  There are three easy ways:

  1. Walk a little – to walk to anywhere within Thao Dien would take less than 30 minutes.  Over half our families live within the Thao Dien Ward.
  2. Wait a little – arrive before 7.45am or leave after 3.20pm and the roads will be a lot quieter.  The library is open until 4pm.  Ask your driver to wait on Nguyen Van Huong where the road is not busy and a lot wider.
  3. Follow the Driver’s Code of Conduct:
    1. Double or Bad Parking - I spend a lot of time asking drivers who have double parked, or parked in coned off areas to move. They all say the same – ‘just 5 minutes’.  We need to keep the traffic flowing; bad parking causes congestion.
    2. U-Turns – please consider your route coming to school to avoid u-turning in front of the school.  Often it blocks the road.  U-turn in the suggested areas highlighted on the code of conduct.

It is all of our responsibilities to help ease the traffic situation, and we know that with your support we can do it.

Parent, Teacher, Student Conferences (PTSCs)

On Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th September we will be having our pastoral PTSCs.  I look forward to seeing you all there over the 2 evenings.  The strength of our community is based around relationships and clear communication, and the PTSCs provide that opportunity for you to get to know your child’s teacher and for you to share any information about your child that will be helpful to the class teacher.

There will also be an opportunity for you to access your child’s Seesaw account:

Seesaw is a new communication tool that we are introducing this year.  It is replacing Tapestry for children in F1, F2 or F3 as it creates an online learning journal that will go all the way through the primary years.  It has been described as ‘Facebook’ for children as it has many overlaps with the social media platform, although is completely secure and personal to each individual child. 

More information will follow, but we ask that before our Parent, Teacher, Student Conferences on Tuesday 11thand Wednesday 12th September, you download the Seesaw App onto your phones:

Seesaw 1

BIS Learning Challenge

Rube Goldberg Global Challenge – We WON!

Just in case you missed it last week, we are delighted to announce the second BIS Learning Skills Challenge! Treasure Hunts, Escape Rooms, Crystal Mazes, Puzzles, Riddles the list goes on. What do these activities have in common? They are all fantastic fun while at the same time a great opportunity to create and provide exciting educational experiences for players.

Find out more about what this means for students at the Early Years and Infant Campus and how they can get involved by accessing this post by Mr James Chandler,  STEAM Coordinator and Teacher of Design and Technology.


PTG Updates

PTG Coffee Morning - BIS HCMC

For the latest news from our PTG including class, country and event representatives, upcoming important dates, the latest from our uniform upcycling team and an urgent message regarding Saturday football, please click here.

Join the BIS HCMC Community Choir

Free on a Thursday morning? Want to get more involved with the school community? Then the BIS HCMC Community Choir might be for you! Open to all parents and staff across our 3 campuses, you’ll have the opportunity to improve your vocal ability as well as perform in live concerts with our students at events throughout the academic year.

Rehearsals will take place on Thursday mornings between 7am and 8am at our Secondary Campus. All abilities welcome.

It’s sure to be a great deal of fun so come along, grab a coffee, have a sing and try something new!

To sign up, please click on the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YJFCRCC

If you have any questions please contact Fran Amos on Frances.Amos@bisvietnam.com.

Join our BIS Baby and Toddler Group


Children can start at BIS when they are 2 years old. Fundinotots is the ‘BIS Baby and Toddler Group’ where parents of children aged 0 to 36 months can meet other parents and allow their children to engage in a range of activities. Fundinotots is based on the new Early Years and Infant Campus.

To find out more about fundinotots at BIS HCMC, please click here.

This Week...



All clubs have now been allocated and you will receive an email with details of your child’s club schedule.  You can also log into your child’s account to view the schedule.  On Monday 10th September the remaining spaces in clubs will be offered via email.  Please follow the instructions on Ms Van’s email as to how to register for these last few spaces.  Please note, any club fees required need to be paid before clubs start, between Friday 14th September and Friday 21st September.

All clubs start in the week beginning Monday 24th September.

The Ringing of the Bell

In order to facilitate a smooth start to the school day, we will ring the bell at 8.10am every morning.  When the bell rings the children will begin going into school and organising themselves so that at 8.15am, the time school starts, the children are ready to make the most of every moment of learning.

What a Stink!

Mr Stink

We had a very special visitor in our Year 1 and 2 Assembly this week, although as the children walked in, he was fast asleep.  Once they had woken him up, he told them all about himself and how they can find out his story in the forthcoming Dragonfly performance of Mr. Stink by David Walliams. There is a short video and more details on the school’s Facebook page.

Dates for your diary...

PTG Social Evening

PTG Social Evening

The first PTG social evening of the year is coming up on Thursday 20th September at a brand new restaurant in District 2 - Flying Pig. For all the events details please click here. We look forward to seeing you there!

11/09/18 – Parent Teacher Student Conferences (PTSCs)

12/09/18 – Parent Teacher Student Conferences (PTSCs)

13/09/18 - Simba @ Fundinotots (Japanese)

14/09/18 – Club Payment Opens

20/09/18 (Thursday) – Moon Festival Celebration

21/09/18 – Club Payment Closes

24/09/18 – Term 1 clubs begin

30/09/18 – BBGV Fun Run


Managing our Traffic Together

We would like to remind all parents about our Drivers Code of Conduct and once more ask for your assistance and cooperation in helping to make the BIS traffic flow with ease between the campuses and in the general vicinity of the school. Using the Code of Conduct, with key information in both English and Vietnamese, we aim to further educate our drivers to make better choices when they enter the areas around our school campuses and within the Thao Dien area as a whole.

Click here for the BIS Drivers Code of Conduct in both English and Vietnamese.

Health and Safety

On Wednesday morning we had a planned emergency evacuation practice.  We schedule practices every term to ensure that we can evacuate the building calmly and quickly, and can account for everyone (both children and adults). 

At 9.05am, the alarm sounded, and the children did a super job of lining up at the muster point while our procedures were put into action.  The children waited quietly as registers of children, staff and visitors were distributed and checked.  A green card, lifted in the air by key members of staff, confirmed that all were accounted for.

The process of clearing the building took 3 minutes and 52 seconds from the moment the alarm first sounded.  Congratulations to everyone for taking part in such a successful practice!

Stay Vigilant

As in all major cities petty crime does occur, as a reminder to all of us please always take care of your personal belongings when walking across roads and along the pavements.


It is important to note that in the mornings playground supervision from BIS staff begins at 7:45am and finishes at 8:15am.  If children choose to play on the equipment before this time, it is the responsibility of the adult dropping them at school to supervise their own child.  From 2:50pm children must also be supervised by the adult collecting them, both around and on the playground equipment.

Safeguarding at school – it’s everyone’s responsibility


It is every parent’s wish to capture memorable moments on camera of their child at school either performing in an assembly, on their birthday or simply playing with their friends on the playground before the start of the school day.  Any photos that are taken by parents on personal devices must be kept private.  They must not be shared publicly on social media or between non-family members such as, other parents in the school.  By following these guidelines, we ensure our BIS safeguarding policy is adhered to and that our children are kept safe.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.


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.

Please note that CCTV cameras are in operation at all times across the campus.

Thank you,

Ms Mary

And Finally…

I doubt that the headmaster of Chaote school realised that when he spoke the words to the pupils that they should be asking the question, ‘What you do for your community?’, they would become one of the most famous quotes used by a president to inspire a nation.  My hope is that as we, as parents and educators, encourage our children to have a sense of social responsibility, it will become part of the children’s character that will lead to places where they make a difference in the years to come.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Ian Battersby, Head Teacher, Early Years and Infant Campus