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Mr Carl Mincher: Weekly Update 08/03/2019

Sean O
Sean O'Neill (58 posts) Head Teacher, Secondary Campus View Profile

Dear Parents,

Weeks pass by so swiftly here - I’m sure you’ll agree! There is good research that points to the fact that time appears to pass quicker with age - so that explains it for me but what about the students who say week after week that they can’t understand where the week has just gone.

Perhaps it is something to do with the addage “Time flies when you are having fun” ?

Well maybe, being involved in new or novel activities can keep your mind off the clock but it is probably a little deeper than this may suggest. Recent studies on the perception of time have led to interesting conclusions that make student perceptions of real interest to us all as teachers.

For example, not all enjoyable time flies by at the same speed. Researchers believe that simply being happy and content, enjoyment alone, will not necessarily make time seem to pass more quickly.

However, if you're engaged in a learning activity or pursuit that is focused on achieving a valuable and relatable goal, then time really does fly by as you're having fun. Researchers believe that the excitement generated by the active pursuit of a goal is what causes us to perceive time passing quickly. So if you hear that this week has passed quickly at school - this is probably good news!

There are plenty of great examples of our students having met their learning goals in the newsletter articles below which certainly goes some way to explaining to each of them why the week passed so quickly.

World Book Day - Thursday 7th March


I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.’

Orhan Pamuk, 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature

From our Teacher librarian, Anita Curley:

Whatever motivates us to read, whether it be to empower ourselves, to stimulate our intellectual curiosity, to relax, or even to escape, foremost, reading should be about pleasure. World Book Day is a celebration of the wonder and enjoyment reading for pleasure brings to the lives of all readers across the globe.

As part of our World Book Day celebrations, we launched  “One World, One Book’ – NAE Global Library are encouraging all students, teachers and parents across the world to read ‘The Breadwinner’ by Deborah Ellis - a novel about courage acclaimed by Malala Yousafzai, the world's youngest Nobel Prize winner, as the one book she wishes ‘all students would read’.

All Year 7 students began reading the book in their English lessons this week, and it is also available in the Curve and on the Undercroft for all other year groups, teachers, staff and parents to check out.’

Celebrating all things literary the Secondary Campus welcomed staff and students as their favourite book character in costume as a part of #WorldBookDay!

See some more of the great World Book Day Costumes.

With fun definitely a key part of the celebrations we also enjoyed a literary treasure hunt and a book quiz attracting many students to the library in The Curve.

UNISMUN Hanoi 2019: Development and Technology

Last weekend a group of Secondary students participated in United Nations International School Model United Nations (UNISMUN), a 3 day annual conference hosted by UNIS Hanoi. The focus of the conference was Development and Technology and the numerous discussions provided great opportunities for MUN members to extend their experience in both researching and advocating for their nominated countries.  

I was truly inspired by the innate changes this caucus had brought out in the quietest of delegates.

Vy Nguyen shares her thought on her first experience in the role of Deputy Chair for Assembly 3 and you can find out more from our delegates by reading UNISMUN 2019: Development and Technology.

Launch of Subject Ambassador Programme

The Subject Ambassador programme was launched to Year 10 and Year 12 students this week by our Subject Ambassador Prefects.

This important leadership programme offers students the opportunity to work closely with specialist departments  they are particularly interested – supporting younger students with revision, participating in departmental activities, representing the department at whole school events and putting forward ideas for improvement. In return, students have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, develop closer working relationships with staff and demonstrate a commitment to a subject they may wish to study further in the future. Students in Year 10 and 12 will be encouraged to speak with subject Heads of Department and existing subject ambassadors and apply by Friday 15th March. We hope to announce the successful applicants before the holiday.”

BIS Secondary Spring Concert

This week we thoroughly enjoyed our Spring Concert -  the culmination of a great deal of preparation and rehearsal for the 200+ student musicians and vocalists involved.

The event attended by parents, teachers, siblings and students was a joy from start to finish showcasing instrumental and vocal skills from Year 7 to Year 13. The programme was so varied, from piano concerto to rock ballad to Welsh lullaby and a finale from a British musical icon, Elton John - there was something for everyone.

The reward and sense of achievement was clear on the faces of students, the appreciation and pride was clearly written on the faces of the audience. What a fantastic evening of music!

My thanks to the Music Department and all involved in bringing this wonderful performance opportunity together for our students.

Year 8 Science Fair

Last week I shared a brief update following our Year 8 Science Fair. The event itself was an excellent learning experience for our young  scientists but there was also a competitive dimension to the process.

With great excitement as the judging was carried out by local professional scientists, the winning research teams were announced this week:

In first place: How does the concentration of disinfectant affect the growth of bacteria?

In second place: How do different wavelength of lights affect the length of the stem mung beans when measured every day for 14 days?

In third place: Does your hair colour affect how hot your head is?

Read more about the purpose behind the science fair and for more detail of the research projects here.

Thank you to our six professional scientists who judged the Year 8 Science Fair 2019; Mary Chambers, Leigh Jones, Philip Ashton and Hannah Clapham from the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, as well as William McFarland and Nha Bach.

And of course our congratulations to the winning BIS research scientists!

BIS’ Nam Phong Racing present at BESS 2019

Last Year, BIS HCMC’s Nam Phong Racing became the most successful F1 in schools team to ever represent Vietnam in the World Finals of this prestigious STEAM competition. As we move into a new year, our latest team of engineers, designers and marketers are taking on the Nam Phong Brand to represent Vietnam and compete in the 2019 F1 in schools World Finals later in the year.

This week the new Nam Phong team were at the British Educational Suppliers Show (BESS) held in Ho Chi Minh City. Nam Phong Racing were invited by the CEO of the F1 in Schools competition, Mr Andrew Denford, to present at the show, showcasing their progress and achievements in one of the largest STEAM competitions in the world.

Parent Teacher Group (PTG) Update

Every year, BIS Secondary PTG raises funds through the Christmas BISzaar to support the needs of our community partners who have been involved in secondary campus year projects, events and clubs. In this post by Community Service Manager Reem Mehanna, she reflects on the money we raised from the 2018 PTG Christmas BISzaar and how this is helping to fulfil the needs of our longstanding partners.

The PTG meet every Wednesday morning at 8:30am at the Secondary Campus reception - these meets are a great way to connect with other parents and share in the news from the school and hear about our PTG projects. Importantly, they are also very sociable and fun.

Please come along and join us if you can - you will learn more about your child’s learning and education in a relaxed atmosphere and who knows make new friends and connections with those who share a great thing in common - we are all BIS parents!

Sports Update

You can find all the news of the weekly sports matches on the #BISHCMC Twitter Feed.

Here’s a quick breakdown from this week.  There was a lot of football for our U19 teams and some excellent play.


U19 Girls def SSIS at home 8-0


U19 Boys def SSIS at home 4-3


U19 Boys def by ISHCMC away 0-2

U19 Girls def ISHCMC away 5-0


U19 Girls def SSIS at home 2-0

Dates for your Diary

Friday 8th March: PTG Quiz Night, 4.00pm to 6.00pm, Secondary Campus Cafeteria

Thursday 14th March: Year 9 Parent Teacher Student Conferences (PTSC), 3.30pm to 6.30pm, Secondary Auditorium

Monday 18th March: Year 10 Parent Teacher Student Conferences (PTSC), 3.30pm to 6.30pm, Secondary Campus


Don’t forget to keep updated with our School Calendar link


Have a wonderful weekend,

Kind regards,


Carl Mincher

Head Teacher

Secondary Campus