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Mr Carl Mincher: Weekly Update 17/01/2019

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

Dear Parents

A warm welcome back to our intrepid students who have been on expedition this week. It has been a pleasure to see tired but happy faces return home after adventures in Vietnam and overseas.

Back at school we have been enjoying a week with a difference too as Year 9 have once again thrown themselves into the ‘Week Without Walls’ programme. The opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and try new activities has left so many proud of their achievements.

My congratulations must go to our students in Year 11 and 13 who have been deep in revision and study for their mock exams this week - well done to you all, now you have a great opportunity to gain valuable feedback before we embark on the final few months of your courses.


Overview of the week’s activities

Expeditions Week - Year 7, 8, 10 & 12


BIS_Expeditions Week - Year 7, 8, 10 & 12


This week many of our students have been enjoying a carefully planned experience intended to extend their learning beyond the classroom. Each of the BIS Expeditions provides opportunities for participants to develop their personal qualities such as leadership, independence, perseverance whilst also offering valuable cultural insight and of course an element of physical endeavour.  Expedition leads have been updating us regularly and we have been able to share some of the highlights via Facebook of what has been quite a busy week in Madagui, Dalat, Con Dao, Cambodia,  Chiang Rai, Phong Na, Kon Tum, Puerto Galera and Switzerland.


You can find our more about our expeditions programme here.


Week Without Walls - Year 9

BIS_Week Without Walls - Year 9


With the rest of the school taking part in expeditions or mock examinations, Year 9 have had the school to themselves in what has been a very ‘not-ordinary’ week. Students have been challenging themselves to develop their communication, collaboration, and leadership skills by undertaking a unique programme of activities that go beyond the ‘walls’ of the classroom and curriculum. They have all been involved in our NAE collaboration projects through the MIT Challenge and Juilliard performance, and have learned some useful mindfulness techniques too. They have thrilled on the Go Kart track, solved problems in Derby Cars, and engaged in community activities at our EY&I Campus and with our Community Partners, just to name a few activities. It’s been a full and enjoyable week!


Examinations Year 11 - Year 13


It has been a busy week for our Year 11 and Year 13 students as they have undertaken their mock examinations, and these continue into next week. 

A massive thank you and well done to all of our students, who have approached these mock examinations in a mature and positive manner, and Mrs Astbury, our Examinations Officer, and to our staff for ensuring the smooth running of what is a complex period of time to organise and coordinate.

The mock exams period is a learning experience in so many ways; it is a way for our students and our teachers to gain an understanding of where strengths and areas for development are in subject knowledge and understanding, it is also supporting our students in developing and refining effective ways to work before, during and after examinations. 

Preparation is key, and there are so many ways that students can revise in readiness for their examinations - but not every method works for every student, so the mocks are an ideal opportunity to test out different revision strategies and find ones that work. Not only that, the examination room can be daunting: familiarisation with the space, the seating and the arrangements can help this room and the whole experience to feel less intimidating when it comes to the ‘real thing’. 

Finally, it is inevitable that mistakes will be made - this is a huge positive! Getting things wrong, and understanding how and why this happened, is a fundamental aspect of effective learning. Whether it is knowing which parts of a subject need to be revisited, or ensuring that questions are read carefully (and then answered!), or managing timings in an examination that has different sections to it - getting these things wrong means that great learning can take place, and we can work to ensure that it is right in May and June. 

Well done once again to everyone for such a positive week, and good luck for your remaining examinations.


Nam Runs Nam Update – More than half way from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City


BIS_Nam Runs Nam Update 2020


It’s 100 days since international teacher Ms Naomi set off on her Nam Runs Nam challenge to run the length of Vietnam whilst raising awareness and money for various Vietnamese charities. Let’s find out how she’s doing, in this post by Ms Maria...Nam Runs Nam.


Weekly Wellbeing at Christmas

Welcome to the Weekly Wellbeing Blog which brings you all the latest exciting developments in the new Wellbeing Curriculum over the last seven days at BIS HCMC. 


“Learn to know yourself search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelingsNelson Mandela

Since launching the new Wellbeing Curriculum as part of our overall wellbeing programme at BIS, we have worked hard to share opportunities as a whole-school community to understand and engage with the science of wellbeing. Staff have embraced professional learning, parents have shown support for the new curriculum and the local community has welcomed the opportunity to work closely with many of our students and staff. We have implemented evidence-based wellbeing practices into our daily and weekly  routines including our explicit Wellbeing lessons and tutor time activities and introduced the language of wellbeing across the school. A recent survey I conducted before Christmas reported that 78% of students already feel that the Wellbeing Curriculum is having a positive effect on their personal wellbeing and nearly 97% of students recognise the ‘Wellbeing’ characters - a great outcome in such a short period and a very positive foundation to build on in the future. 

Over the last week it has been wonderful to see our students participating in the myriad of opportunities available through our Week Without Walls programme and hear of the amazing experiences they are having on expeditions in Dalat, Madagui and further afield . This was a week that provided our students with the dedicated time outside of the classroom to discover and explore each of the key elements of wellbeing. 

The concept of PERMAH - positive emotions, positive engagement, positive relationships, positive meaning, positive accomplishment and positive health - began as a theoretical model of happiness developed by Martin Seligman,  a leading authority in the fields of Positive Psychology, and his belief that these five elements can help people work towards a life of fulfillment, happiness, and meaning. But it is not in the theory where the true essence of his work is felt but in the living of the five key elements. It is watching our students truly immersed and ‘in the flow’ of their MIT environmental challenge. It is in the sense of meaning experienced as they pack Tet boxes for those less fortunate than themselves. It is in the smiles and joy on the faces of our students as they play games with the Christina Noble Foundation primary children and the wonderful relationships established on Week Without Wall activities and expeditions alike. New friendships are created, challenges faced, boundaries pushed back and comfort zones stretched. It is through opportunities such as our Week Without Walls programme and our expeditions that, in conjunction with fantastic academic learning, the holistic nature of our wellbeing programme can be fully experienced. 

I hope you have the opportunity to discuss your son’s or daughter’s experience with them and how these experiences have helped build their positive wellbeing. I am sure there have been lots of tired but happy faces arriving back home from school and expeditions over the last few days. 

I look forward to speaking to you again and should  you have any feedback, please do not hesitate to contact me at . I wish you a wonderful Tet holiday and thank you as always for your support with our new Wellbeing curriculum.

Mr Alexander

Head of Middle Secondary (Pastoral & Wellbeing)



Be involved

BIS Uniform Swap - Sunday 9th February


BIS_BIS Uniform Swap - Sunday 9th February


The Uniform Upcycling Club will be holding a uniform sort and swap day on Sunday 9th February.  This will be an opportunity to bring in any BIS uniform that your children may have grown out of recently and exchange it for second hand uniform of the correct size.  We know that many of our students go through a growth stage around this time of year and may need to update their uniform. The Uniform Upcycling Club has been collecting and sorting BIS uniform over the last couple of years and now has more than 1000 items available to exchange.

Please stop by to see if you can find some items that are suitable for your child.  If you are also able to spend 30 minutes to help with sorting of the donated uniform, your help will be very much appreciated.


Event details

Date: Sunday 9th February

Time: 9.30am to 12.30pm

Location: Secondary Campus Auditorium


IB & IGCSE Performance Recital 2020


BIS_IB & IGCSE Performance Recital 2020

Our Year 11 and 13 IGCSE and IB musicians are practising hard in preparation for their final coursework performances. As a celebration of their hard work, we would like to invite you to the annual IB/IGCSE Performance recital, to be held on Tuesday 11th February at 18.00 in the Theatre on the Secondary Campus. 

This event is an informal recital where you will have the opportunity to hear a 15/20 minute performance by each of the IB students and a solo or ensemble piece performed by the Year 11 students.

Everyone welcome. No tickets required


Event details

Date: Tuesday 11th February

Time: 6pm to 8pm

Location: Secondary Campus Theatre


Register your attendance and share with friends and family using the Facebook event IB & IGCSE Performance Recital.


Dates for your Diary

News & Events

Monday 20th January - Tet Assembly, 11.55am to 12.30pm, Secondary Auditorium

Wednesday 22nd January to Tuesday 4th February: Tet Holiday, school starts Wednesday 5th February, 7.50am 

Monday 10th February to Friday 14th February: SISAC City Champs Week, various venues

Tuesday 11th February: IB & IGCSE Music Performance Recital, 6pm, Secondary Campus Theatre

Thursday 13th February: Year 13 Parent Teacher Student Conferences, Secondary Auditorium

Friday 14th to Sunday 16th February: GINSaigon2020 Conference, Australian International School

Monday 17th to Friday 21st: School Photos - Secondary Campus, Study Room, New Building.


Have a wonderful weekend ahead and as we approach Tet I wish you all a peaceful and relaxing break.


Kind regards,


Carl Mincher


Head Teacher

Secondary Campus