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Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 08/10/2021

Sean O’Neill
Sean O’Neill (52 posts) Head Teacher, Secondary Campus View Profile

Dear BIS Community, 


What connects each of the varied activities this week is the importance of open minded thinking and the strength of different perspectives to problem solving.  This week has been a celebration of our neuro-diversity and the richness of different perspectives and their importance in navigating our challenges and achieving progress.  Whether in our Digital Wellbeing Parent Webinar, our Dyslexia Awareness Week Programme, our PTG Newcomers Social or our Year 7 House Challenge Day, teachers, students and parents are coming together to support each other in a spirit of common endeavour.  


Please look out for details below of how you can be involved in next week’s PTG Community Social Quiz & Fundraiser which promises to be a wonderful way to celebrate the end of this half term together, whilst contributing to the local community. 


I hope you enjoy this week’s update and, as our city slowly opens up, you enjoy a fantastic weekend with your families.


With my best wishes,


Sean O’Neill


Year 7 House Challenge Day

On Friday 8th October we took on one of the NAE Global Campus Challenges across the whole school  with students from Early Years through to Year 7 engaging in the Rube Goldberg Challenge!

One of our favourite Global Campus Challenges tasks students with creating their own Rube Goldberg machine to perform a simple action, such as squeezing toothpaste from a tube or watering a plant. It involves lining up a series of objects that will knock, roll, bump, tap, and nudge their way to a final outcome. 

Our Year 7 students were given the extra challenge of working online in teams to create a joint Rube Goldberg machine. Not only did they have to problem solve and create their own section, but it also needed to connect and work with the other members of the group to create one long video. Each group had a Team Leader, a Team Scribe, a Storyboard Coordinator, and an Editor, and together they planned, prototyped, recorded and edited their final Rube Goldberg video.

I look forward to sharing our students work in next week’s update.

Lauren Binnington

Deputy Headteacher

Digital Wellbeing: Parent Partnership Webinar

It was a pleasure to be joined by so many of you in our latest Parent Partnership Workshop focused on Digital Wellbeing, led by Mr Peter Cowen and Miss Saskia Dodds-Smith. Throughout the practical workshop we challenged our assumptions regarding the use of technology and discussed how our generational identity plays a key role in shaping our view of the digital world. We explored the topics of social media platforms, digital footprints, gaming and how to balance screen time through the lens of our wellbeing curriculum for Years 7, 8 and 9. If you were unable to attend, the recording of the webinar can be found here

We also shared some additional resources from organisations and experts specialising in the field, which you may find useful as you and your families navigate the digital age. 

In the coming weeks, we are looking forward to building on this theme by offering you the opportunity to connect with Jon Taylor, a recognised expert in the field of online safety from the UK - more details to follow in the coming weeks.

Lee Falconer
Assistant Head Teacher - Teaching and Learning

BIS Parcels of Hope  


In our city alone, the pandemic has led to the closing of tens of thousands of businesses, and resulted in hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs. Those most vulnerable to the change are laborers who had been struggling to keep themselves and their families fed even before these challenging times.

A long-term BIS community partner, the FFSC, an organisation that provides basic needs such as food and education for more than 1,100 street children and their families, has unfortunately needed to close their shelters and centres due to Covid-19. Three of these centres, which BIS have worked closely with over the past five years;  Bình Triệu and Bình Thọ development centres as well as Binh An Shelter are seeking help for a total of 236 households in desperate need. 

We are a group of Year 12 students who have been deeply moved by the living conditions of these people, and have therefore been working with the aim of providing each of the 236 families with a Parcel of Hope which will contain 25kg of rice, fish sauce, cooking oil and sugar, at a cost of 550,000 VND. 

We know that this is an ambitious goal, but it can be reached if we work together. If each student from the Secondary Campus alone donates 70,000 VND, almost 130 million VND will be raised. By purchasing one parcel, you will be feeding one household for 2 whole months. Together, we will be able to provide 2 months worth of food for the 236 households, which is approximately 944 people.

The donation process will start on the 14th and ends on the 21st of October. On the first day of the campaign, the PTG will be hosting a virtual quiz and are hoping to raise funds in support of the Parcels of Hope project. Please join us by registering via Zoom at bit.ly/3kPIShh

We are also pleased to launch our Facebook page @parcelsofhopeproject on the 14th October so please visit the page to learn more about how you can be a part of this life impacting project. 

We really hope that the Parcels of Hope will find their way to the households in need and that you are a part of it.

We need your help. They need our help. 

Thai An Truong, Vivian Le, Susu Le, Philip Vuu, Steve Tran, Hellen Nguyen

BISHCMC Parcels Of Hope Team

PTG Welcome Back Coffee & Catch Up

PTG tried something new this week! In lieu of our in person Welcome Back Coffee Morning and Newcomers Bus Tour we decided to hold an online event with a virtual bus tour. 

While our children know exactly what to do with Meets, Teams and Breakouts this was a new challenge for us. I am proud to say the event was very successful. 

We had attendees from all year groups and parents still living outside Vietnam. It was a chance for new parents to ask questions and existing families to catch up and share their advice. 

It has been too long since we have been able to welcome our new families properly into the BIS Community. I think this was a great first step. Look out for more PTG events coming soon. 

I’d would like to thank our PTG Members. They really stepped up the challenge. And as an added bonus we now have new skills to brag about around the dinner table! 

Mel Rowe 
Secondary PTG Chairperson

BIS Dyslexia Awareness Week

“We have seen yet another Dyslexia Awareness Week draw to a successful close. In this week’s Wellbeing lessons students have learned about the challenges people with Dyslexia face as well as their strengths. They also submitted videos in our Decoding Challenge, where students had a chance to experience some of the difficulties that someone with Dyslexia might encounter.

While we have already received so many excellent submissions for this challenge, it is not too late! Students have until the end of next week (Oct 15th) to submit their video to the Google Form (using this link or the QR code in poster above) for a chance to win a lift pass!

Thanks to all teachers and students who participated and we hope that, through this week, we all have developed a greater understanding of the diversity of minds that exists at BIS and what they add to our school community.”

Ian Young
Director of Additional Education Needs & Head of Secondary Learning Support

Meet the New Teacher

Chris Stokes - Design Technology Teacher 

BA (Hons) Architecture, De Montfort University, UK

PGCE Secondary: Design Technology, University of Manchester, UK

Chris joined BIS HCMC in August 2021. Since completing his PGCE in 1997, Chris has enjoyed several roles in both teaching and management throughout his career. Coming from London, Chris started teaching at schools in Berkshire, Hounslow and Milton Keynes in the UK before travelling overseas to teach Design Technology and help establish a school in Thailand. 

After 12 years of teaching and successful management in Thailand, Chris chose to focus once more on his first love, Design Technology at schools in Shanghai and most recently Mumbai. Previously Chris has worked as teacher of English as a Foreign Language in Barcelona and spent two years in the Royal Kitchens of Buckingham Palace. He completed the London Marathon in his younger, fitter days, hiked the Annapurna Circuit, played a lot of football in amateur leagues around London and is now an advocate of crypto, blockchain and the 4th industrial revolution. Chris is a devoted family man.

Where have you moved to BIS from?

Mumbai, India

Why did you move to BIS?

To work in an outstanding international school with fantastic teachers and students.

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

Good Asian street food.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

I've danced with Princess Diana

Kelly Mason - PE Teacher

BSc (Hons) Sport Science and Coaching, University of Bedfordshire, UK

PGDE with QTS Physical Education, Nottingham Trent University, UK

Kelly joined BIS HCMC in August 2021. Kelly has spent the last 5 years working in a diverse inner London school as Deputy Head of PE. With a strong belief in the importance of PE for physical and mental wellbeing, she has always focused on promoting girls’ participation in sport so that they can take this into later life. She was also responsible for developing and leading the A-level PE curriculum. Outside of work Kelly coaches and plays competitive Netball. She also has a passion for travelling and experiencing the cuisines that come with it.

Where have you moved to BIS from?

England; London

Why did you move to BIS?

To experience the challenge of working abroad, learning a new culture and the opportunity to travel.

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

Meeting friendly staff, such polite pupils and being able to swim in the sunshine.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

Being scouted for the 2012 GB Handball team.

Denise Hesketh - Geography and ESS Teacher

BA (Hons) Geography & American Studies, Brunel University, London, UK

BSc (Hons) Geology, Birkbeck College University of London, UK

PGCE Secondary Geography, University West of England, Bristol, UK

Before training as a teacher Denise worked as a geologist, journalist, and tour guide, although not all at the same time!

Since completing her PGCE in 2005 she has worked in schools in Ireland, The UAE, and Portugal where she was Head of Geography and Environmental Systems. For the last ten years Denise has worked in Lima, Peru as Head of ESS, Head of House, the staff social coordinator, and during one crazy year managed to arrange 12 field trips in Peru, Canada, Iceland, and California.

A Duke of Edinburgh Award Assessor and hill walking leader Denise will often be found corralling students 'up hill and down dale' in the pursuit of the perfect geological feature.

Denise has been an IBDP examiner and workshop leader for both Geography and ESS and has lead workshops across the Americas and Canada since 2011.

Outside of school Denise has been an avid scuba diver for over 25 years, loves hiking, devours any book she can get her hands on and has just embarked on an ambitious crochet blanket project.

Where have you moved to BIS from?

Lima, Peru.

Why did you move to BIS?

A new professional challenge in both the academic and pastoral arena.

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

I have been blown away by the hospitality of the BIS community

Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

At the start of the pandemic I taught myself to crochet and have since made 3 blankets, 5 beanie hats,  4 cushions, 3 cat toys ,2 jumpers, and 1 sock!

Be involved

Virtual Visits - Boston University & University of Toronto


Tuesday Oct. 12th 5pm-6pm Boston University. Follow this link to register for the event.

You are invited to join for a presentation specifically for students from Vietnam about applying to Boston University. At Boston University a diverse student body from all 50 states and nearly 100 countries around the world comes together to create a vibrant campus, where students are guaranteed four years of housing. With 90% of students completing at least one internship while at BU, it’s no surprise that the University is ranked #14 for most employable graduates. This session will be led by the Director of International Admissions, Anne Corriveau. There will be a brief overview of BU followed by an opportunity for you to ask questions.

Thursday Oct. 14th 3pm-4pm   The University of Toronto. Follow this link to register for the event.

One of the most popular destinations for our students, and also Canada’s top university, the University of Toronto is a leading destination for innovators and trailblazers the world over. Students can choose from 700+ programs in the sciences, the arts, business, engineering, music, architecture, kinesiology, and much more. With three campuses in and around Toronto—one of the world’s most diverse cities, and a hub of culture, finance, and technology—our students enjoy access to professional training in and out of the classroom, international partnerships, research courses, cutting-edge facilities, and warm collegiate communities. And, with a half-million-strong alumni network spanning the globe, our degrees unlock doors to any industry, anywhere.

PTG Virtual Community Quiz - Thursday 14th October

The next exciting whole school event coming up is the “ PTG Virtual Community Quiz” on 14th October from 5:30-6:30pm. More details will be shared over the coming week. We hope we will get more registrations for this quiz too. 

Funds raised in support of the Parcels of Hope project, see above for more details. Please join us by registering via Zoom here.

Our email address is primaryptgbis@gmail.com

Event Details

Date: Thursday 14th October 

Time: 5.30pm to 6.30pm

Dates for your Diary

Tuesday 12th October: Boston University, 5pm-6pm, online event

Thursday 14th October:  The University of Toronto, 3pm-4pm, online event 

Thursday 14th October: PTG Virtual Community Quiz, online event, 5.30pm to 6.30pm

Friday 15th to Monday 25th October: Half Term Break

Have a wonderful weekend,

Kind regards,

Sean O’Neill
Head Teacher Secondary Campus