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Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 26/02/2021

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

Dear Parents,


It is a great pleasure to write to you with this week’s update. I am so proud of the way our students and teachers have approached this week of Virtual Learning, and so happy that we will be able to be together with our students, in school, on Monday.


In my last message before the Tet break, I reflected on the need, in this the Year of the Buffalo, to demonstrate persistence, determination and optimism. As I have visited classrooms throughout this week, talked to my colleagues - and briefly interrupted their lessons to say hello to  their classes online,  I have been struck by two things: firstly, the sheer level of engagement in and enjoyment of learning shown by our students and by their universal desire to be back together face-to-face. As many of us have remarked over this last year, one outcome of the global pandemic is that we will never again take for granted the simple pleasure of a face-to-face conversation, and the joy of seeing young people learn together in school. We always say a school is a collection of relationships and at BIS those relationships are strong.


Whilst we have been unable to be together in person, high quality learning has continued with  student attendance at a staggering  99.5%.  It is my pleasure to share just a flavour of the learning this week from across the curriculum in the Virtual School update below. The wider life of school has also continued with our Student Leadership groups connecting and collaborating virtually, and our teachers continuing our collaborative approach to professional learning. Find below an article on our Student Leadership activities including  on our Voice of Youth Programme, and an update on our Pedagogy & Practice Group - just two examples of learning outside of the traditional classroom. 


I am also delighted to share that this week we have received news from the Nord Anglia Young Musician of the Year Competition.  I am always astounded by the magnificent standard of musicianship within the BIS student body. Our BIS musicians embody the craft, skill and deliberate practice we value so highly. Needless to say, BIS HCMC students shone in the competition which featured over 1300 entries from 61 schools across the globe. With 4 BIS students receiving special awards- a wonderful achievement.  Please find below an update from our Asst Head of Music and NAE Young Musician Judge, Mrs Emma Husband which includes the chance to enjoy our students’ incredible performances again.


As we look forward to our return to school, there are a range of measures we as a school community need to adopt to ensure we balance keeping our community safe, and adhering to authority guidelines, whilst minimising disruption to the campus operations and learning. I  wrote to you by email earlier today with details of the measures that will enable us to welcome students back to school.  For your reference, I have also included these key messages below.  


Thank you all so much for your continued support, have a  wonderful weekend and we will look forward to welcoming your children back to Campus on Monday. 


Sean O’Neill

Head of Campus

Important information on Covid Measures

Return to school arrangements

Please click here an overview of our Community Covid-19 Measures in line with Vietnamese Decree (DOET 468/BC-SGDĐT 23/02/21)

Vui lòng nhấn vào đây để xem Tiếng Việt 

한국어는 이 곳을 클릭해 주십시오.

Travel Declaration Form

Thank you to all parents who have already returned the Travel Declaration Form. In order for your child to return to school on Monday, you must complete the Travel Declaration Form.

We are not able to admit students onto the Campus without this form.

Co-Curricular Activities

In line with directives, we will adjust our CCA programme this term. 

For the week beginning 1st March:

  • There will be no CCAs led by external providers, sports fixtures or off-site visits

  • In school - teacher and student led CCAs will continue as normal

We will review this on a weekly basis in line with authority guidelines

Virtual Learning: A Flavour of the Week

Lee Falconer:  Assistant Headteacher

Despite the corridors of the Secondary Campus being quieter than usual this week, our students’ learning has been anything but sedate! Google Meets and Hangouts have echoed with the sound of excited learning, as students and teachers connected with one another in innovative ways. A glimpse in to our students’ learning is included below:

Year 13 Biology – Ms Stanley

Students worked on retrieval questions independently before coming together on Google Meet to review their learning. They then produced a collaborative ‘braindump’ exploring their prior knowledge on the amazingness of water. Having elicited prior knowledge, students then worked through a range of interactive activities in a live Pear Deck to explore how water moves through plants. 

Year 7 French – Mr Falconer

Students enjoyed a live PearDeck where they collaborated to solve verb conjugations of regular and irregular verbs in the present tense. Having successfully navigated this challenge, students used online dice to play a game in pairs, which included lots of speaking in French. At the end of our lesson, we gamified our learning with a Kahoot quiz.


Year 9 History – Mrs Lowry

Year 9 have been researching the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and looked at a range of primary sources to investigate the reasons given for the dropping of the bomb. Students then held a live debate on Google Meet, where as a class they explored the reasons for and against the dropping of the bomb. There was lots of lively and thoughtful discussion from all corners of HCMC!

Spanish – Ms Zahraoui

Spanish learners this week have had a variety of learning experiences and shown that they can rise to any linguistic challenge they are set! Years 13 and 11 have been preparing for their speaking exams by collaborating with peers, practising with their teaches and receiving bespoke feedback. Other year groups have focused on their written Spanish by creating different text types on a variety of topics, from free time and school to writing a Spanish film review.

PE virtual lessons

Student Leadership and Activities during Virtual Learning

You may be thinking that in the 9 days that we have been Virtual Learning this term it has only been our academic curriculum that has been continuing...but this is not the case! While our students seamlessly transitioned into online classrooms for their lessons, a number of student leadership groups and CCAs also did the same, with our students taking the lead to ensure that they stayed connected and our projects and activities continued moving forwards during this time. 

Find out more from Lauren Binnington, Deputy Head Teacher, about how our students have continued with their Student Leadership Activities throughout February.

BIS HCMC students shine in the Nord Anglia Young Musician Awards 2021

Emma Husband : Assistant Head of Music

At the end of November, NAE opened a ‘Virtual Young Musician of the Year 2021’ competition which was entered by over 1,300 students from 61 schools worldwide. The judging teams reviewed over 6,500 minutes of performance videos, before coming together to discuss and argue who they felt should be awarded honours, in 10 separate categories.  Being one of the judges wasn’t an easy task, as the level of musical talent across Nord Anglia students is so impressive. However, the students from BIS HCMC Secondary who entered did extremely well. There were 2 special mentions for DongGue Jeong in Year 12 for both the ‘15-19 Woodwind Category’ and ’15-19 String Category’ on bassoon and violin, Kunho Jang in Year 7 came 2nd in the ‘10-14 Piano Category’ and YiHyeon Shin in Year 9 won the ‘10-14 String Category’ on violin. 

You can listen to Yihyeon’s winning violin solo: Here


Enjoy Kunho’s piano solo: Here


These 3 students performed to an excellent standard and wholly deserve the awards they have been presented with. Thank you to all the students who entered the competition. Students can access all performances via the Performing Arts tab on the Global Campus.

Pedagogy & Practice with Mr Lambert 

The BIS Mission Statement begins with “we believe in a holistic education that fosters a love of learning”. That love of learning extends to our teachers as well as our students.

Groups of teachers took the time this week to share their learning in a series of meetings with their Pedagogy & Practice Reading Groups. As teachers, we are constantly seeking to develop our teaching practice by engaging with current academic research, but this engagement is more than just passive reading; we learn and develop by finding meaning in discussion, debate and looking for opportunities to apply new ideas in our own classrooms. 

It was an exciting opportunity to relate our reading on cognitive science and educational philosophy to how we design our lessons and to consider how we could adapt our teaching in light of our learning. This will continue over the coming weeks as we continue with the books and meet to discuss our own learning and reflections in more detail.

Central Vietnam Flood Relief Appeal Update – Making a difference!

Towards the end of last term, we were honoured to be able to transfer VND 296,620,000 to Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation in support of those families in Central Vietnam worst hit by the devastating floods.

Ms Kim Miller (Schools and Partnerships Coordinator for BDCF) has asked that her sincere thanks be communicated to everyone at BIS HCMC for the incredible generosity displayed by our community and to let you know that your contributions have impacted many lives.  Over the past couple of months, the BDCF team has been supporting families in different ways such as repairing homes, rebuilding schools and restoring livelihoods.

In the coming weeks, we hope to share more specific information about how the funds raised by our community have been used but in the meantime Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation invites you to take a look at this video which introduces just a few of the people who have been helped.  

Thank you again, your support has made all the difference!

Tracey Brownrigg
Whole school Co-Curricular Coordinator and
Community Service Project Manager

SISAC Season 3 Begins - Tryouts from 1st  March

The sport department will start Season 3 SISAC trials in the week beginning Monday 1 March and we are hoping fixtures will start in the week beginning Monday 8 March. Please see below information regarding trials taking place next week:

All season 3 sports squads listed above will be selected on a trial basis. These trials will be open for all students to attend. There will be no need to sign up via CHQ. Students should simply attend the first session and sign in with the coach.

Additional information, which was also sent out to all parents via email this week, can be found here.

All students who have been successful in their trials will be manually added to CHQ for the remainder of the season. 

Please see the table below for the trial information for Season 3 Sports:

Those students unsuccessful in the trials are encouraged to attend the recreational CCA in that sport and try again next year. Please check the Secondary Campus CCA Booklet Term 2 for session times.

Phil Husband, Head of PE

Guiding our Students’ Future: College & University Guidance Parent Webinar Series 2021

This week saw the first instalment of the second series of College and University Guidance (CUG) webinars, following on from the first series that was hosted last May and June. This series will run for 8 webinars , weekly on Thursdays at 3pm.

Due to pandemic restrictions, the webinar series is a valuable and effective alternative to the traditional Parent Information Evening format and also allows for greater diversity, depth and breadth in terms of content and contributors. It enables parents of students in all year groups to gain insights and information about post-BIS options and the educational journeys BIS students can embark upon. We are also open to BIS parents sharing these links with those outside our community as we believe that our dedicated CUG Team offers high-quality provision and support beyond many schools in the region.

The first in the series was held yesterday afternoon and in case you missed it, the video from the session, Introduction to CUG at BIS, can be found on the College and University Guidance website.

The second webinar in the series , scheduled for Thursday 4th March is Law and the Pathways to a Legal Career and will have a couple of world-class educators on the panel with the CUG Team: Professor Martin Hogg, Head of School, University of Edinburgh Law School and Dr Elizabeth O’Loughlin, Assistant Professor in Public Law and Human Rights, Durham University Law School. They will be joined by regional representatives from both institutions and it promises to be an interesting look at a popular vocational pathway. 

You can register for the webinar here

The webinar series will continue with the following sessions over the coming weeks and invitations will be sent the week before for registration purposes. 

March 4th Law and the Journey to a Legal Career

March 11th Medicine and Healthcare Pathways

March 18th Staying in Vietnam for Higher Education

March 25th University Study in a Pandemic – Blended and Online Learning

April 1st North American Applications  - how we prepare our students for the Ivy League and elsewhere

April 8th  UK – UCAS, Oxbridge and the Russell Group – what parents need to know

April 15th Beyond the US and North America – other destinations

Further information and registration for these webinars can be found at the BIS CUG Website, along with recording of yesterday’s Introduction to CUG at BIS,  CUG Webinar Series 2.

Simon Finnigan, Senior University Guidance Counsellor

8 Books Every Student Should Read


Staying Calm - Some Helpful Tips 


Many of us have had extra time at home with our families over the last year and while this can be wonderful, it can also present challenges and can lead to battles at home.

Our teachers and parents know that in order to learn effectively, children, and adults need to be calm. The members of our Learning Support Department have put together some tips to help you through those difficult moments and to stay calm.

Little bit of Genius podcast


Dates for your Diary

Monday 1st March: Year 13 Parent Teacher Student Conferences, online.

Wednesday 3rd March:  CEM Webinar for Year 10 & Year 12 parents

Thursday 4th March: Law and the Journey to a Legal Career, CUG online webinar series

Wednesday 10th March: Y11 Parent Teacher Student Conferences, online.

Thursday 11th March: Medicine and Healthcare Pathways, CUG online webinar series

Thursday 18th March: Staying in Vietnam for Higher Education, CUG online webinar series

Wednesday 24th March: Y12 Parent Teacher Student Conferences, online.

Thursday 25th March: University Study in a Pandemic – Blended and Online Learning,CUG online webinar series


Have a wonderful weekend,

Kind regards,


Sean O’Neill


Head Teacher

Secondary Campus