Monday, 24 June 2013

From The Head Teacher

As we approach the final few days of the year, we have filled the days with activity, as ever.  It is easy to be busy, but the trick is to be productively busy and it’s certainly been a productive week at AP2.

Many BIS students and many from other schools visited this week to take their ABRSM Exams (  We are proud to be a centre for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and to host the annual examinations.  We are pleased, also, to be able to offer the pianists among the candidates a much improved experience, having taken delivery of a second baby grand piano this term, located  in the Theatre.

This week we have held the first ever Science and Engineering Week at AP2, a new initiative coordinated by our Head of Chemistry Ms. Ciara Gillespie.  Many events have taken place in and out of lessons throughout the week, promoting science and engineering for all.

Articles in BISbuzz this week highlight the IB Diploma Programme.  Last week we welcomed Year 11 students back into school for 3 days of pre-IB induction and our IB Coordinator, Mr. Richard Arch, describes some of the events and activities.  I have also included an article from The South China Morning Post which gives a small insight into one of the core elements of the IB Diploma, the Theory of Knowledge.

Richard Dyer
Head Teacher

Pre-IB Short Course, June 2013

Students can find the transition from being an IGCSE student to being an IB student daunting in a number of ways. Inevitably, IB students are expected to take a greater lead in their learning and meet the challenge of an increased workload. At the same time, the various components of the IB Diploma, and even its terminology, can leave students in a daze.

To help address these issues a Pre-IB Short Course ran from Wednesday 12th June to Friday 14th of June. It was attended by over sixty Year 11 students who, when they return in August, will be IB Diploma students. The aims of the Pre-IB Short Course are to inform and inspire our students.

Specifically, the objectives of the Pre-IB Short Course are to:
· Develop the curiosity and understanding of students about the subjects they have chosen to study through a series of ‘taster’ lessons
· Inform students about the various components of the IB Diploma, and thus about what makes the programme unique, with special emphasis on the core components (see below)
· Ensure students understand how they will be assessed on the IB Diploma
· Inform students about the trip options available to them in January 2014
· Give students the opportunity to listen to reflections on the IB Diploma from BIS students who have completed the programme (and ask them questions)

The IB Diploma is a demanding but highly rewarding programme that develops students’ academic, emotional, social and physical well-being. It is widely respected programme that is recognised as an excellent preparation for university and beyond. It seeks to develop life-long learners who are also internationally minded citizens. As well as six subjects which students must study, they must also complete a 4,000 word independently researched assignment (the extended essay), take a course in the meaning and limits of knowledge (theory of knowledge) and complete a range of activities available in the Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) programme.   Together, these components make up the core of the Diploma. The logo for the Diploma (see graphic) illustrates the key aspects of the programme.

There is an Induction Day for Year 12 on Friday 23rd of August. The focus of this day will be on the role of IB Diploma students in their learning. Please make sure any outstanding reply slips for this day are returned urgently.

Richard Arch
IB Coordinator

Theory of knowledge improves critical thinking


Teachers and community-minded Year 12 students gave up their time to help raise awareness and money for the Children with Cancer Service Club by competing in 'Beat the Teacher' on the field on Thursday. Dozens of students paid to take on teachers and senior students in a variety of activities, from hula-hooping, arm-wrestling and even public speaking! If students won, they were rewarded with a picture of them pointing huge 'Loser' signs at the unfortunate teachers.

Nearly 1 million VND was raised and the club continues to go from strength to strength.

David Pollicutt

ABRSM Practical Exams

This week the theatre has been the venue for over 300 practical instrumental exams.  Our visiting examiner, Mrs Lesley Dunstan, has enjoyed listening to a wide variety of instrumental performances; including oboe, cello, violin, voice and piano, play over the last 10 days. The exams offer the students a chance to receive feedback and certification in recognition of the standard of their playing.

Mrs Dunstan has commented on the high quality of the performances and said she has thoroughly enjoyed listening to and meeting all of the candidates.  Results will be published in the middle of next week. Congratulations to all the musicians who have worked so hard.

Look out for our 3rd High Scorers’ Concert to be held in September when the top 25 scoring candidates will be invited to perform in an informal concert setting.

Ian Alexander
ABRSM Coordinator

French classes

Friday, 14 June 2013

From The Head Teacher

Since last weekend’s incredibly successful and incredibly hot Aquathlon, we have held several more events in school.  On Tuesday, we welcomed parents of Year 6 children for a talk on life in secondary and a campus tour, with our Prefects acting as guides.  This is the culmination of transition events that have lasted most of this year.


On Tuesday, we welcomed Mr. Mark Sayer, the founding Principal of the latest school in the BIS Group, BVIS Royal City, Hanoi.  Mr. Sayer visited TX, AP1 and AP2 and enjoyed talking to teachers and students.
We have also enjoyed visits by several BIS alumni who are returning from their first year of university.  The overwhelming message from these students is how well prepared they were for the academic rigours of university life. As with students before them, they have found the first year straightforward, having had the excellent preparation of the IB Diploma Programme at BIS.  Their peers from A Level schools have found the frequent long essays and academic supervisions a big step up, but our alumni have taken it all in their stride. 

These personal experiences support recent findings by researchers at the University of Warwick in England, who found an overwhelmingly positive response to the Extended Essay experience of the IB.  Extracts from the article which describes this research are reproduced in the following pages.

Graduates Garage Sale
Our latest alumni were also back during three lunchtimes.  Our final year students visited for three lunchtimes in order to offer their old books, calculators and so on to our Year 10, 11and 12 students before departing for university.

IB Induction

Year 11 students returned, joined by several new students, for 2½ days of pre-IB DP work.  They spent time in seminars and workshops as part of our IB Induction Programme.  This work will help them get a flying start to their studies when they return as Sixth Formers in August.

AP1 Summer Music Concert

It was a privilege and a pleasure to attend the AP1 Summer Music Concert on Thursday night.  It was clearly a popular event, with the queue to get in snaking down the steps, into the basketball court and over to the main entrance.  The sheer number of children involved was impressive in itself, but when they all came together for the finale, playing and singing “We Are Young”, they made a glorious sound!  Their enthusiasm and talent shone throughout the evening.

Departing Teachers
We are now two weeks from the end of the academic year and it is time to thank colleagues who move on to other schools for the new school year.  They have all contributed in their own ways to your children’s education and have made a lasting impact on the development of the school.  They go with our thanks and our best wishes for the future.
Mr. Nick Hardy
Mr. John Witton
Mrs. Lisa Smith
Ms. Fiona Read
Mrs. Catherine Howell
Mr. Nick Arnsby
Mrs. Emma Goodwin
Mr. Ben Hough
Ms. Anne Marie Cowan
Mrs. Jeanette Henry
Ms. Kate Williams
Mr. Mike Howell
Mr. Rad Lowry (returning to BVIS)
New Teachers
We have several new teachers joining us in August.  They are Exciting about joining us and currently in England, China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Norway concentrating on finishing the summer term at their current schools.
Ms. Judith Dennis
Mr. Jozef Durok
Mr. Natacha Tiemann
Mrs. Leila Holmyard
Mr. Stephen Roberts
Mr. Rob Bergin
Ms. Daphnée Deleporte
Mr. Mark Hadley
Mr. Ben Durrant
Mr. Oliver Goulding
Mr. John Moore
Ms. Nicola Tingey
Ms. Samantha Hadley
Mr. Mark McGraw
Mr. Will Church
Sun Protection
If you missed last week’s piece about sun protection, you can read more in this article from Time magazine:

Richard Dyer
Head Teacher

Queen’s Birthday

On June 11th 2013, 10 students from Year 8 through to Year 12 performed at the Caravelle Hotel at the invitation of the British and Vietnamese Consulates, to celebrate the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II . The students performed as a String Ensemble with vocal soloist Lan Anh Dinh from Year 9.  Lan Anh sang in both Vietnamese and English the countries respective National Anthems to an audience of nearly 300 guests and were a credit to the school. Both musically and professionally they excelled, representing the ever growing talent we have at BIS.

Sarah James
Head of Music

Acoustic Lounge

On Wednesday 12th June, the BIS music department hosted an Acoustic Lounge session, in the 6th Form Common Room. This is a relaxed event where musicians come to play acoustic music in a friendly environment.

A range of repertoire was performed, one of the highlights being Ed Sheerans, ‘The A Team’ and we saw a variety of instrumental skills, including piano, vocals and guitar. Most of this terms performances came from KS3 students and a range of talent was seen, some old, and excitingly some new was showcased.  Students were welcoming and enjoyed the experience of performing and supporting their friends.

This was our last Acoustic Lounge session of the year and I’m already looking forward to what next year’s sessions have to offer.
Sarah James
Head of Music