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Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 13/11/2020

Sean O’Neill
Sean O’Neill (15 posts) Head Teacher, Secondary Campus View Profile

Dear Parents,


This week we held our Annual Remembrance events, where we as a school community, pause, reflect and remember those who have fought in conflicts around the world- where we recognise all who sacrificed themselves to achieve and protect peace. This marks an important moment in our year, as it asks us all to step outside of our own immediate daily lives, to place our own concerns in a wider context and in doing so both  gain perspective and experience gratitude. 

On Wednesday, our students captured the importance of remembrance through both speech and song in a truly inspiring event. They chose the theme of our remembrance ceremony this year to be service and sacrifice, and reminded us we should not only honour the sacrifice of those that have fought in war but also those who are risking themselves in the  battle against the pandemic - the front line workers who risk their lives to keep us safe- here in Vietnam and throughout the world. As is tradition, our Remembrance Assembly ended with the Last Post and a 1 minute silence. 

I invite you to read an extract of our  Head students’ address explaining the importance of the 1 Minute’s silence  and to listen to the breathtaking sound of our Chamber Choir who closed our event with a truly moving performance. 

Overview of the week’s activities

Why we Remember: Head Students’ Address


“A part of the tradition of remembrance services is to have a one minute silence, however, before we begin this one minute of silence we need to pause and consider its value. As an international community, there may be individuals with cultures on opposing sides. But, you see it’s not about which side of the argument that you side with. Rather, a minute of silence serves as an act of kindness towards those who have sacrificed both in the past and who are currently risking their lives for those around them. You may not know their names, you may never meet them face to face. All that we can do here and now is have empathy. We can imagine what it must feel like to never again see the face of your brother or sister, your best friend or your grandparent or your parents or even your son or daughter. Imagine all you had left was the pictures they left on Instagram, or a backpack full of their old school books they left behind. This is the loss that others have and are experiencing.

This is about more than commemorating some war in your history textbook, or acknowledging the fight against coronavirus on the news. You don't have to agree with the politicians. You don’t have to like their decisions. But, you can decide to empathise.

Try remembering those in your life who you may have lost recently or a long time ago, try remembering those who have risked their lives and are risking their lives willingly for your safety, In comparison, if we give them a second or even a minute of our consideration, is that really too much to ask? 

When it comes to empathy we can all stand at the frontline. And on 11/11 we choose to unite in this way no matter our varying cultures or opposing sides. We need to talk about this silence and appreciate why we choose to pause, lest we forget the sacrifices that are made for us.


Holly van Zwanenberg, Min Ho Kim, Ashley Lee & Maika Pedersen, 

BIS HCMC Head Students 2020



Listen again to our breathtaking Chamber Choir



Expeditions Update


We  believe that education should develop character through experience, and so our annual expeditions form a crucial part of BIS school life. It is because we all place such importance on these experiences that such effort has gone into adapting our provision this year to maintain the same quality and breadth of options within Vietnam. We have been closely monitoring the community health situation, remaining in close contact with our expedition partners and local authorities throughout this term and are now in a position to confirm we are able to go ahead with our planned expeditions for January 2021.  

Parents of all year groups attending expeditions this year have received a letter from Ms Binnington and you will receive further individual communications for each specific expedition in the coming days. Can I take this opportunity to thank our teachers who have been working so hard in the background and to  you all, our BIS parents, for your support for this crucial part of a BIS experience, one that stays with our students beyond their school years.  I look forward to hearing stories of the adventures ahead.


Meet Our New Teachers 


Daniel Haynes


Where have you moved to BIS from?



Why did you move to BIS?

For new challenges


What has been the best experience for you since arriving in Vietnam?

Riding a scooter


Tell us one fun fact about yourself (hobbies, interests, talents, etc.)

I'm a Guitarist!


Lucy Jones



Where have you moved to BIS from?



Why did you move to BIS?

To experience teaching abroad


What has been the best experience for you since arriving in Vietnam?

My trip to Mui Ne with the other newbies


Tell us one fun fact about yourself (hobbies, interests, talents, etc.)

I used to figure skate and was once in a Christmas show 



Sports Update




There have been no SISAC matches this week, but we thought you might enjoy the highlights from our U15 Boys final basketball match for this year.  We look forward to sharing more when Season 2 fixtures begin next week.


You can find all the details for our upcoming SISAC Season 2 matches using this Fixtures list and for more photos, videos and all of the action from each of our games. 



Sixth Form Debate Final

This week saw the final of the 2020 Sixth Form Debate Championship. Teams from each Year 12 Form have been battling since September, in a weekly war of words to skilfully convince the opposition and the audience to their position. In previous weeks, teams have debated motions on topics such as; plastic pollution, aggression, performance enhancing drugs in sport and the concept of fear.  These social, global, abstract or topical themes have allowed Year 12 students to actively research, and prepare arguments for the formal events each week, whilst honing their public speaking skills. 


Today’s final saw 12S and 12N argue the randomly chosen debate motion of “This House believes cats are better than dogs”. The exchange was a demonstration of skill, wit, and the understanding of the nuances of language. With the votes still being counted, the outcome of this year’s competition will be announced next week…


Thao Dien Disabled School CCA & Year 9 Wellbeing


This Monday, the Thao Dien Disabled School Co-Curricular Club, ran a form time activity for the Year 9s to follow up on their Wellbeing lesson on the topic of “Accepting and Learning from others”.


Thao Dien Disabled School club is a CCA that gives students an opportunity to go to the Thao Dien Disabled School where children with disabilities study, to have an opportunity to interact and have fun with the children in the school during the session. Ruby and Lavender share more about their Wellbeing session with the Year 9 students and the Thao Dien Disabled School Club.


Be involved

Study Skills Webinar: Supporting Your Child’s Study At Home - Monday 16th November

Want to know how you can use cognitive science to support your child to study?  Join Assistant Headteacher Mr Lambert and our team of specialists to learn what strategies will help your children to thrive.


Parent Webinar: Study Skills: Supporting your Child’s Study at Home

Date: Monday 16th November

Time: 4.15pm

Online Registration: here


Winter Concert & Livestream - Thursday 19th November


For our Winter Concert this year performers and a small live audience will take A Musical Journey - Into the Unknown.  Whilst we will only be able to host limited numbers in the Auditorium this year, we would love you to join the journey with us via livestream.  See the link to the Facebook event: BIS HCMC Winter Concert 2020 below.


Event Details

Date: Thursday 19th November

Time: 7pm

Livestream: To watch the concert live, go to our Facebook Event page BIS HCMC Winter Concert 2020 at 7pm on the day.


KS3 Production: Wizard of Oz - 25th & 26th November

BIS_Wizard of OZ

We are very excited about our KS3 production of The Wizard of Oz that will take place on the 25th and 26th of November. The piece is promenade and will take the audience on a magical journey around the school to find the wizard and defeat the witch. It is an ambitious undertaking for our students and we are immensely proud of their work.  Tickets are limited to cast members due to the need for social distancing, but we will celebrate their work and creativity with photographs and displays.



Headteacher’s Coffee Morning & Parent Workshop - Wednesday 2nd December

Event Details: 

Date: Wednesday 2nd December

Time: 8:30-10:30am

Location: Secondary Campus Auditorium

Online Registration: click here.


PTG Christmas BISzaar 2020 - Saturday 5th December

The Secondary PTG are happy to advise that we will be once again hosting  a Christmas BISzaar to celebrate the festive season.  

This year the BISzaar will look a little different; as most of us will not be able to travel this year for Christmas, the PTG would like to bring the Christmas Spirit to you.

It will be an evening event with Christmas Lights, Hot Chocolate, Santa, Live Performances and other Christmas traditions. 

The event will also include our traditional Carols and Readings performance. It promises to be a special Community Christmas- we look forward to seeing you there.


Event Details

Date: Saturday 5th December

Time: 4pm to 8pm

Location: Secondary Campus

Entry: Limited to ticket holders only. Tickets will be on sale across all BIS Campuses soon.

Dates for your Diary

News & Events

Monday 16th November: Study Skills Webinar: Supporting Your Child’s Study At Home, online parent event, registration welcome

Thursday 19th November: Winter Concert & Livestream: A Musical Journey into the Unknown, Livestream event

Monday 23rd November: Year 9 Parent Teacher Student Conference,  online and by appointment 

Wednesday 25th & Thursday 26th November: KS3 Production: Wizard of Oz, limited numbers event

Monday 7th December: Year 10 Parent Teacher Student Conference, online and by appointment 

Wednesday 2nd December: Headteacher’s Coffee Morning/Study Skills Workshop, Auditorium Secondary Campus

Saturday 5th December: PTG Christmas BISzaar: including Carols & readings,  a limited BIS Community event



Have a wonderful weekend,

Kind regards,


Sean O’Neill


Head Teacher

Secondary Campus