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Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 29/01/2021

Sean O’Neill
Sean O’Neill (37 posts) Head Teacher, Secondary Campus View Profile

Dear Parents, 

It is my pleasure to share the Secondary Campus Weekly update which includes a community health update, highlights from another rich and varied week in the life of the campus, as well as ways for you to be involved in supporting your child’s learning and shaping the direction of the campus.


Covid Update

In light of recent events in the North of Vietnam which has seen community transmission in Quang Ninh and Hai Duong Provinces, we are monitoring the situation and amending our protocols accordingly.

Further to the email you received yesterday, please contact the school  if any of your family have travelled to the affected areas in the last 21 days.  As a purely precautionary measure, we will revert to holding student only events on campus and postpone fixtures with other schools between now and the Tet break.

As always, we remain ready to respond to any further changes in the community transmission picture and will be guided by the Vietnamese authorities. Our experience means our teachers and students are very well placed to adapt should we need to do so. 

This recent change is a reminder to us all to ensure we maintain our hygiene protocols. Please see a reminder of what you can do to help keep our community safe.

Thank you to you all for your continued support.  We will remain in contact should there be further updates. 

House Captain training 


With so many House Events in Term 1 our House Captains had lots to reflect on in their Training Session this week. Led by our Heads of House, Mr Barry (Saigon), Ms Carter (Hue), Mr Lozano (Dalat), and Mr Quarrington (Hanoi), our House Captains undertook some team building activities and worked on their plans for future activities. From the Visual Arts Competition to House Volleyball, we know there’s an event for everyone and are looking forward to lots of participation from staff and students this term!

“On Wednesday we had our first House Captain training of 2021, with an overall goal of ‘new year, new achievements!’. As to be expected, one of those achievements was to help our house reach the top, above the other 3 houses by persuading more of our housemates to participate in more events, so that we can earn the most points!

During that training session, we started off by solving a puzzle with pieces kindly made by Mr. Chandler. This helped us develop our collaboration, cooperation and teamwork skills as Captains, so as to build up our confidence towards one another.

Next we reflected on our ‘Week Without Walls’ experience, and discussed how we could make it even better in the future, followed with a discussion about ‘Epic House Week’, where all 4 houses gathered ideas on how we can make it more EPIC in the future!

The final session was spent collectively choosing some of the best photos for each of our houses, so that we could build up a collage to be displayed on our campus that best encapsulates our team spirit! I thoroughly enjoyed the whole session, because I got the opportunity to collaborate with different House Captains, and feel I’m more confident because of it.” 

Dolly NGUYEN, Y7 HUE House Captain

8 Books Every Student Should read in 2021

"More than ever… the power of books should be leveraged to combat isolation, reinforce ties between people, expand our horizons, while stimulating our minds and creativity." - UNESCO 2020

Continuing on from the success and popularity of last year’s 8 Books recommendations, the BIS Secondary Library Team have put together another inspiring collection for 2021.  All the books on this year’s list are best-selling award winners, and available in our library now!

You can find the full list and descriptions here.

BIS Lead Learners 

You’d be forgiven for thinking that what comes next is a long list of prodigal students who have achieved greatness in the classroom and are currently basking in their teachers’ praise. Or, maybe a group of students who have demonstrated their cerebral prowess in public examinations and have secured their first choice of university destination? Whilst they might encapsulate elements of what could be described as a ‘lead learner’, I’m thinking of an all-together different group of learners: the BIS staff that support your children’s learning.

Wer rastet, der rostet is one of my favourite German proverbs, not only because it rhymes, but because it speaks to a fundamental principle, he who rests, becomes rusty. Several times this week, I have been struck by how our Lead Learners are anything but resting or becoming rusty. Whether it be a teacher pushing themselves out of their comfort zone in public speaking through a qualification from LAMDA, a member of the Senior Leadership Team engaging with the latest research on assessment methods, or groups of teachers keenly sacrificing their lunch break to meet together and discuss a book on classroom best practice. They are not only growing professionally, refining their craft of teaching, but they are also modelling a mindset of lifelong learning and continual growth as your children’s Lead Learners. It’s arguably the latter that has a greater impact than what is actually being ‘learned’.

It would be foolish for us to only consider our teachers as Lead Learners. There is another group of Lead Learners who have an equally positive impact on your children’s learning: our Teaching Assistants, all of whom are graduates, many with postgraduate qualifications. Day in day out, they support your children’s teachers in and out of the classroom and are equally committed to lifelong learning as are our teachers. Earlier this week, I had the privilege of working with them in a series of workshops focussed on pedagogical best practice that will support them in their worthy endeavour - providing the very best learning opportunities to your children. The role they play as Lead Learners in your children’s classrooms cannot be understated. Likewise, the behaviours that they model as Lead Learners are powerful examples for our students to aspire to and follow.

He who rests, becomes rusty whilst I like it as a proverb, I can confidently say that it doesn’t describe any of your children’s Lead Learners at BIS!

BIS Community Service Update - Tết is coming!

A palpable excitement grows as we edge closer to celebrating Tết (Lunar New Year) next month. 

'Tết Nguyên Đán' meaning 'Feast of the First Morning of the First Day’ is the most significant holiday in Vietnam, having been described as one’s birthday, Christmas and New Year all celebrated at once.  Although a time to look forward to and welcome the coming year, it is also a time of reflection on what has been accomplished in the old one.

Tracey Brownrigg, BIS Co-Curricular Coordinator and Community Service Project Manager, shares more about this year’s Tet activities with a Community Service Update.

Parent Satisfaction Survey: What do you think about BIS?


We are always looking for ways to improve our school and your feedback is vital to this process. Our annual parent satisfaction survey helps us better understand what we are doing well and any opportunities for improvement, and we use these results to inform our strategy. Therefore, the more parents we hear from, the more confident we can be that our action plans respond to your views and allow us to continue providing the best possible educational experience for your children.

If you have already completed the Parent Satisfaction Survey 2020-21- thank you.  If not there is still time before the closing date of Sunday 31st January 2021. 

Please click here to complete the survey

Many thanks for your input.

Tet Celebrations at the Secondary Campus

Friday 5th February will see one of the highlights of the BIS Calendar, as we celebrate Tet together. We will hold a series of  traditional and modern performances by students and staff,  as well as cultural activities for all the school community to enjoy. Our thanks go to our Vietnamese Department, TA and Admin teams as well as our students for all their hard work in preparing for the event. 

It was also my pleasure to continue a BIS tradition today of beginning our Tet celebrations with  presenting  our wonderful support staff with a small token of our thanks and appreciation in the form of a traditional Tet envelope. We are very grateful for all they do for our school community. 

Students and Staff are all invited to wear Vietnamese Dress on Friday 5th February to celebrate the coming  New Year of the Buffalo.

Acoustic Lounge

The Curve was once again transformed into a live music venue this lunchtime as our student musicians took to the mic with another eclectic mix of performances.  Witnessing students performing, studying, collaborating and reading for pleasure within the same space on campus really typified the range of experiences our students

Weekly Sports Round-Up - 29th January 

It is great to be back into our SISAC competitions and Mr Phil Husband, Director of Sport, shares all the news from this week’s competition. 

Read the Weekly Sports Round Up for this week 18th to 22nd January, here

Please follow this link for Match Highlights of our U15 and U19 home games. Also make sure to visit https://twitter.com/BISHCMC_PE for more photos, videos and all of the action from each of our games. 

Mr Husband

Director of Sport


NAE Global Campus Sports Competition 2020


We recently took part in a NAE Global Campus Sports Competition, pitting our children against the best student athletes the Nord Anglia family has to offer from around the world. This competition consisted of a series of sporting events that united our schools in a time of difficulty, enabling our network to still compete against one another in events that could be performed at home and at school. 

Mr Phil Husband shares more about how our BIS HCMC students competed in this global sports event.


Dinner Table Discussions

We have had many conversations with parents over the years in which a common theme has emerged. That it is difficult for parents to initiate conversations at home that build on what their sons or daughters have done in school- and that this gets more difficult as young people progress through adolescence. 

We also know that this is the very thing that has the most impact on student learning and wellbeing.

We introduced the ‘Dinner Table Discussions’ feature as one small way to support positive conversations at home.  By discussing your views and personal experiences on the questions posed, having healthy disagreement and even by challenging whether these issues matter, we believe will lead to interesting and lively debate. 

We hope you enjoy this week’s Dinner Table Discussions. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please do get in touch.

The Future of Education - a discussion with NAE Group Education Director


Dr Elise Ecoff, our Nord Anglia Education Group Education Director, speaks with Tes on their podcast about the future of education.

Read or listen to the full interview at bit.ly/EliseEcoffTESInterview

Be involved

IB and IGCSE Performance Recitals 2021

We hope to hold the Performance Recitals for our talented IB and IGCSE students in the Secondary Theatre.  Given the current circumstances, it will be a limited access event and we will provide a livestream of the performance via our YouTube channel.

Event details

Date:  Tuesday 2nd February

Time: 6pm

Details: Livestream event, limited audience


Dates for your Diary

Tuesday 2nd February Secondary PTG Meeting, Secondary Campus 

Tuesday 2nd February IBDP and IGCSE Recitals, Secondary Theatre - Live Stream event

Monday 8th February to Friday 19th February Tet Holiday


Have a wonderful weekend,


Sean O’Neill


Head Teacher

Secondary Campus