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Ms Deirdre Grimshaw: Weekly Update 19/03/2021

Deirdre Grimshaw
Deirdre Grimshaw (104 posts) Head Teacher, Junior Campus View Profile

We are definitely getting back to normal here at school with more and more beyond the classroom beginning to happen.

Co-Curricular activities are in full swing, Production rehearsals are taking place and we were finally able to have our Tet Assembly, albeit to a small audience but it was filmed, and you can watch it too!  The entire Vietnamese team worked extremely hard to ensure this went ahead and the children did an amazing job. The Tet assembly can be viewed by clicking here.

Mission statement

Headteacher’s Coffee Morning

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, this week our coffee morning had to be a virtual one, and I would like to thank everyone who joined us on Thursday.  Mr Ian and I were supported by all the members of the Primary Senior Leadership Team as we shared information about the following areas:

  • Staffing
  • Campus Updates
  • Results of the Parents Satisfaction Survey
  • The Strategic Plan

During the introduction to the coffee morning, We thanked all the community for our joint efforts over the last year to ensure that the children continued to have the best provision. We talked about the 3 International School Award nominations that BIS, HCMC received and how, we believe this is  due to the community working together.  For those who would like to know more about the Teaching and Learning Initiative, you can see a short video here.


We were very pleased to announce that this year we have a very low staff turnover. Only five members of staff are leaving, with two more taking on roles on our Secondary Campus.  We have two new positions meaning that we have only nine positions available.  We have had hundreds of applications for these positions and have recruited some excellent new members of staff.

We also had the opportunity to welcome Ms Maria who has now fully taken on the role of assistant headteacher based at the Early Years and Infant Campus.  Ms Lauren Binnington also joined us for the coffee morning; Ms Lauren is a deputy headteacher mainly based at the secondary campus, but who has a whole school remit providing a great link between primary and secondary.

Campus Updates

Below you will find a link to the entire presentation which contains details and photos of those updates and the proposed updates for later this year. 

Parents Satisfaction Survey

Mr Ian shared the results of the survey, which was carried out in January and provide us with clear information about the areas that as a school we are doing well, by comparing year on year those areas that are improving and the aspects of school where we still have work to do.  If you take time to look at the presentation, you can see some of the results in more detail, however, what is clear is the confidence that the community has in education being provided by BIS.  However, as we shared during the coffee morning, there are areas where we feel we can improve further, and we will make every effort to do so.  Mr Chris went on to explain one area relating to the bus service where we are trialing an improvement over the next two weeks.

The Strategic Plan

Using the evidence from the parent’s survey, surveys with staff and pupils, and from recommendations from the recent British Schools Overseas inspections and Council of International Schools accreditation visit, we have been working on producing a draft three year strategic plan.  I will share this in more depth next week, but you can get an overview from the coffee morning presentation:

BIS Primary Headteachers’ Coffee Morning

DT for Wellbeing

Well being Keeping active and trying new things are ways that we can improve our mental health and with pressures that have been brought on over the last year, this is something we all need to be aware of.  With this in mind, Mr James, one of our secondary design technology (DT) teachers gave members of staff a chance to take on a practical in the DT lab. 

Are You Smarter than a 11 year old?

Year 4 are Explorers and Adventurers!

Year 4 are Explorers and Adventurers

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

– J.R.R. Tolkein

Year 4 are going on an adventure! In both IPC and English, adventure and exploration is at the heart of our learning this term. In IPC we are delving into the Age of Exploration through our ‘Adventurers and Explorers’ unit, whilst in English we will be writing our own ‘Journey Stories’ based around the adventures of our main character. Find out more in this post by Mr Oliver Bone, Year 4 Leader.

Hands on Science in Year 5

Y5 article 1903

Science is a fantastic subject as it offers many opportunities for practical activities. This week, our Year 5 students have been enjoying practical science to further their understanding of reproduction in plants. Read more by accessing the full post here from Ms Jude Handscombe, Year 5 Leader.

Digital Citizenship Reminder from Mr Chris

After the year that we have had, us here at BIS HCMC Primary have been extremely proud of the way that the needs of our students have been met whilst online. The Virtual School Experience was very positive last month, and the responses we’ve had from our parent community were unanimously supportive. It was clear that we have adapted so incredibly well in these times of uncertainty and all of you, our school community, must be applauded for that. Well done!

What was made apparent, however, was the need for us to once again follow up on the expectations that our community have around the area of digital citizenship, and ensuring our students are staying safe online. With the increased usage of digital devices to access content, the threat to our online safety rises. It is the responsibility of all those in our community to pull together in this regard, and in my role as the safeguarding leader at the Junior Campus, I see this as a combined approach between home, school and our students. We always use the line, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, but in the digital world, this is particularly the case. One of the most basic of first steps that you can take as parents, is to be fully engaged in what is happening in the digital world your child visits; regardless of whether that is online learning, game playing, using social media or visiting websites. Have a rule in your household that all access to the internet is done in an area of your home that is open and easily observable. One of our biggest concerns is the use of technology behind closed doors, such as in a bedroom, where online behaviours cannot be easily seen. There should be no secrets within a family in this regard.

Another concern is the use of social media sites such as Facebook, TikTok and messaging apps such as Discord. It is wise to keep in mind that platforms such as these have a minimum age of 13 before children should be able to access legally, and that defining age is there for a reason. Before the full development of the frontal lobe of our brain (where it is believed that the decisions about what is right and what is wrong are made) occurs in late teenage years, young students often find it difficult to understand the full implications of their actions. This leads to poor decisions being made by younger children, even if the intention was not to cause hurt or harm. If you do allow your child to use such sites, it is always good practice to ensure you regularly monitor their use, and even have the condition that you must be a member of their friendship group on these platforms. A large percentage of the concerns that get passed to me are through the use of such sites. That does not mean you should ban or remove the use of these sites by your child, but more to be aware yourself and educate your loved ones on just how easy it is to misuse these. The following suggestions are shared with anyone that asks either myself or Mr Luke, who shares the Digital Citizenship responsibility with me:

  • Talk to your child about online safety, how he/she interacts online, and your expectations of his/her behaviour.
  • Regularly monitor what your child posts online, his/her offline behaviour, and his/her overall wellbeing.
  • Review security and privacy notices on Websites that your child frequents.
  • Encourage your child to report online threats to yourself, their teacher, Mr Luke and I, or another trusted adult.

This post is not to declare that the world online is necessarily dangerous, but more to point out the need to be constantly aware of our roles in the BIS HCMC community in keeping our children safe. The website, Common Sense Media, is a wonderful tool for parents and educators and I would like to draw your attention to it. It really is a wonderful tool!

If you have any questions please pass them my way on Christopher.mckelvie@bisvietnam.com and keep a look out for the upcoming date of our Virtual Workshop in early April for Parents where we will try to answer some of your questions and also provide more guidance in the areas you might need it.

careers and university guidance

The CUG Department are building on the success of the ongoing second Webinar Series by hosting regular “Virtual University Visits”. Whilst clearly most relevant for students and parents of students in Years 10 to 12 we are inviting all members of our community.

We are delighted to announce that the university that will launch this Program will be The University of Cambridge, which will take place from 3pm-4pm on Friday 26th March.

Please be aware this will replace the previously advertised webinar scheduled for Thursday 25th.

Claire Canning, the University of Cambridge Regional Manager for East and South East Asia, will deliver a virtual visit in which she will cover areas including who should apply to Cambridge, how students can prepare a competitive application, the application process itself, preparing for the pre-interview assessments and for a potential interview which may follow.  We welcome students and parents from throughout the secondary school and indeed throughout our BIS community, and also from our sister schools BVIS Ho Chi Minh City, as well as BIS & BVIS Hanoi. There will be opportunities for the audience to ask questions in the Virtual Visit and we will do our very best to answer these during the session.

I am sure you will agree that they don’t come any bigger than the University of Cambridge in terms of global reach and reputation, so we are delighted to start this program of visits with such a prestigious university and we trust that we will have a large take up from interested members of our community.

To sign up for this visit please click here

March 26th           (Friday) - University of Cambridge Virtual Visit

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.

For those who may have missed yesterday’s webinar, about Staying in Vietnam for Higher Education, or who would like  to hear it again.  You can find the session link and password here.

Simon Finnigan, Senior University Guidance Counsellor

Health and Safety

COVID Procedures at the Junior Campus

Key points to remember are:

  • If your child is sick with a cough, temperature or cold, please keep them off school. Please notify Ms Nhi  Nhi.Mai@bisvietnam.com  028 3744 4551 in the office and their class teacher of their absence.
  • Temperature checks on arrival. Students coming to school with a temperature above 37.8 degrees celsius will be checked twice more and if their temperature is still high, parents will be asked to take them home.
  • Masks must be worn at all times, except in classrooms.  All children should have their own mask and a spare, preferably labelled with their name. If you would prefer that your child continues to wear a mask in the classroom, we are very happy to accommodate this.
  • Year 3 and 4 Students to enter through Gate A
  • Year 5 and 6 Students to enter through Gate B
  • Bus children to enter via Gate C
  • All parents must wear a mask on site and will only be allowed to come on site at the end of the day to pick up children from the designated areas, (small field Year 3 - 5 and basketball court, Year 6). All parents should enter through Gate A and exit through Gate B.
  • Parents must have an appointment if they need to come on site at any other time.  Please email or call Ms Nhi. Nhi.Mai@bisvietnam.com  028 3744 4551

Term 2 Dates

18/3/21                                Virtual Headteachers’ Coffee Morning

15/04/21                              Science Day at Primary

22/3/21- End of Term     Invitational PTSCs. Teachers will be in touch with new families and/or other families to arrange meetings if needed.

16/04/21                              Term 2 ends @ 11.30am

And Finally,

Well done to all our amazing Mathematicians who have competed in the online FOBISIA Maths Competition this week. Today is the final! We have an amazing 6 students from Year 6 taking part out of a total of 20 finalists which is an incredible achievement.  We look forward to hearing how they do next week.

Have a safe and relaxing weekend,

Deirdre Grimshaw, Headteacher of Junior Campus