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Mr Ian Battersby: Weekly Update 22/03/19

Ian Battersby
Ian Battersby (79 posts) Head Teacher, Early Years and Infant Campus View Profile

The British International School, Ho Chi Minh City… is one of the leading schools in South East Asia’.  You may have seen this written on the front page of the school’s website and in other publications.  Mr Anthony Rowlands, our principal, goes on to say that your child will receive an education that ‘is amongst the very best available anywhere in the world.’ These are bold statements, but you may wonder what gives us the confidence to make these statements and, how do we know that they are true?

The answer lies in quality assurance.  As Ms Dee and I explained at the Headteachers’ Coffee Morning on Thursday, at BIS we have both internal and external measures of quality assurance.  Throughout the year, members of the senior leadership team, year group leaders, subject leaders (e.g. our Maths leaders), and other members of staff engage in a range of activities designed to scrutinize and evaluate the quality of learning that is happening across the school.  These include observations of lessons, data analysis, ‘Learning Looks’ where we collect in and compare sets of books from different classes or year groups, and ‘Learning Walks’ where teams will visit classrooms or other learning spaces to identify good practice and share this with others. In addition, to the internal quality assurance measures, we also invite two external organisations who come to evaluate the quality of the education provided.  In April, we have a team coming to carry out a British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspection.  The British government has created a set of standards that need to be met in a variety of areas including, the curriculum, teaching and assessment, staffing, facilities, and health and safety.  As a school, we gather evidence (based on our internal quality assurance) which is presented to the inspectors in a self-evaluation form.  During the inspection, the inspectors will observe lessons, meet with different groups of people (including parents), look through work samples and other school documentation to arrive at their judgement.  We have been inspected by BSO twice before and if you would like to find out more, please click on the links below:

British Schools Overseas

BSO Inspection report for BIS, HCMC March 2016

The BSO inspection focuses on standards expected in the UK, and whether or not BIS is ‘British’ in its nature.  In November, there will be a second team visiting from the Council of International Schools (CIS).  This ‘accreditation’ process takes a similar approach to the BSO inspection in that following a period of self-study, documentation is passed to the team before they arrive at school to observe the learning and give their recommendations for further improvement.  Details about CIS can be found here:

Council of International Schools

The quality assurance cycle continues throughout the year and is a key determiner in identifying the strengths of the school and the areas where we would like to develop further.  If you would like to see a copy of the presentation from Thursday’s coffee morning, which includes feedback from the recent NAE Health and Safety audit, results from the Community Survey which was carried out in January and a guide to downloading reports from SIMS Learning Gateway, please click on the link below:

Headteachers’ Coffee Morning – March 2019

Building Bird Boxes in Year 1

Year 1 STEAM Birdboxes - BIS HCMC

Science, technology, engineering, arts and maths, collectively known as STEAM, have become a focus in education over the last few years. Employers are saying that they want graduates who have the multi-disciplinary skills to find creative solutions to problems. Mr James teaches design technology in the Secondary Campus, and also is the STEAM coordinator for the whole school.  He invited the children in Year 1 to help find a solution to how they could increase the number of birds around our local area.

Building Bird Boxes in Year 1

Community Book Swap

Book Swap 3

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” – Victor Hugo

There is power in learning to read as it opens a world of opportunity, and at BIS, we work to ensure that every child continues to develop their reading skills at every level. 

Thank you to all the PTG volunteers and everyone who has supported the community book swap this week.  Not only has it given fresh reading material to our children, but also enabled a considerable donation of books to the ‘Loreto Vietnam’ organisation.

Community Book Swap

Working Together to Develop Digital Citizens

Digital citizenship

Many of the challenges that we face as parents are very much the same as those faced by our own parents when we were children; getting our children to make healthy choices, establishing firm bedtime routines, teaching our children integrity to name but three.  There is one huge area of parenting however, which is new to our generation of parents, and that is developing digital citizenship within our children.  Mr Luke, who leads design technology and information and communications technology across the primary campuses, provides some guidance for parents in this post:

Working Together to Develop Digital Citizens

Language in Focus

Language in Focus at BIS Primary 6

‘Global Citizens’ and ‘Learning Together’ are two key characteristics that we focus on developing at BIS.  Being an international school with over 50 nationalities, we have so much that we can learn from each other.  One element is language.  Our English as an Additional Language (EAL) department work hard at supporting children in developing these characteristics.  One approach is through the Language in Focus (LiF) programme.  Read more about this valuable programme for our children in the link below.

Language in Focus at BIS Primary

James Goddard Visits BIS

James Goddard British Olympic Swimmer visits BIS HCMC

When we were informed that James Goddard, the world famous swimmer, was going to be visiting Ho Chi Minh City, we knew this was going to be an opportunity for students that could not be missed.  Children from all three campuses were able to benefit from his coaching expertise, and his inspirational words will stay with those who heard him for many years to come.

James Goddard Visit

Be Involved...

Growth Mindset in Children

community talk

The next Community Talk will be on Wednesday 27th March, 1:30 - 2:30pm and will be on Growth Mindset in Children led by Pamela Duncan. Watch out for details on Seesaw about how to sign up to attend this talk.

Coffee & Cake Fundraiser

PTG Coffee and Cake Morning 2019 - BIS HCMC

After the huge success of last year's Coffee and Cake Fundraiser in aid of Thuy's Dreams that supports children with cancer in Ho Chi Minh City we will be holding another fundraising morning on Thursday 11th April, 8:30 - 10:30am. Click here to find out more about how you can get involved with baking or selling a cake to support this fantastic cause:

Event: Coffee and Cake Fundraiser

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.

BIS Community Choir (for parents and staff)

BIS Community Choir

Following a successful term with wonderful performances, we are looking forward to a new term and would welcome new members to come and join the chorus.  Rehearsals are on Thursday 7.00-7.45am (Secondary Auditorium) and Friday 1.15-2.15pm (Junior Music Room), so please come along to the one that is most convenient for you.

If interested please e-mail Mrs Frances Amos or visit for more information.

Spring Fair 

Spring Fair 2019 | BIS HCMC

Our PTG have been working tirelessly to make tomorrow's Spring Fair a success. Held at the Junior Campus from 4-7pm they'll be lots of fun for all the family. To find out more about the event and what else the PTG have been organising this week please click here:

Primary PTG Update: 22/03/2019

Dates for your Diary...

23/3/19 – PTG Spring Fair

4/4/19 – Earth Day at the EY&I

5/4/19 – Progress Update to parents

10/4/19 – Year 2 Production @ 8.45am in the Sports Hall

11/4/19 – Coffee and Cake Morning for Cancer Care @ 8:30am in the EY&I Sports Hall

12/4/19 – Term 2 Ends @ 11.50am


Before and after school waiting area

When waiting to drop off and collect the children at the EY&I we ask for all parents, carers and children to wait on the ground floor only.  We are in the process of installing extra seating in the shaded areas to increase the seating areas for our community at these times.  This rule is in place to ensure lessons and clubs that are running at these times are not disturbed and all children in the building are kept safe.  People sitting around the lower ground floor outside the canteen and along the corridors will be asked to move to the ground floor by our teaching staff.  Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our campus safe.

Online Safety

Keeping safe is priority for us all.  Even when we believe our youngest children are safe, they may well not be if the parental controls and recommended filters have not been installed or applied.  When children search online and watch content using sites such as, ‘youtube’ it is important to have all the safety nets in place.  We advise parents to install content filters and apply parental controls on all devices that our young children have access to.  If you would like any support on this, please contact Ms Mary and I will put you in touch with our ICT teachers to help.

End of Day Procedures

We would like to remind all parents that school identification badges must be shown and worn at all times when on any of our three campuses (including weekend and evening events).  If not, you will be asked for some form of identity and be required to wear a visitor’s badge.  

If you are collecting a child without the child’s ID card, you will need to visit Reception for a ‘Permission to leave slip’ before collecting your child from the classroom and exiting the campus together.  Please note, once your child has been handed over to you at pick up time (both after school and after clubs), the responsibility of your child has also been handed over to you.

We thank you for your cooperation in keeping our students and school site safe and secure.

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, especially when walking between campuses and across roads.

Safeguarding at school – it’s everyone’s responsibility

Personal Photographs

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.

BIS CPO poster_2018_Dec2018-1

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 Leader.

Thank you,

Ms Mary

And Finally…

After many hours of hard work, the final preparations are now under way for the Spring Fair which is happening tomorrow from 4pm until 7pm on the Junior Campus. Ms Nha and her team of volunteers have done an amazing job in pulling everything together, and this is going to be such a wonderful event for our community.  There is so much for the children to enjoy, plenty of delicious food options and a raffle with some incredible prizes. All proceeds will be donated to our community partners.

A reminder that if you are planning to come, please bring:
1. Your own water bottles. 
2. Swimmers/towels for slip and slide. 
3. Please bring a bag for tombola prizes, any raffle prizes, books, toys etc.! 

The Spring Fair is an event not to be missed, and I look forward to seeing you all there tomorrow.

Have an exciting and enjoyable weekend,

Ian Battersby, Head of the Early Years and Infant Campus