Issue No. 39 (28 June 2019)

27 Jun 2019

Principal’s End of Year Message – 2019

Dear Parents, Students and Staff,

What a superb finale to the year! In the last two weeks, we have enjoyed the Bauhinia Family Celebration, the Bamboo and Banyan Families Celebration, the Gala Music Concert and the Final Assembly of term – as well as a whole host of other smaller special events to celebrate the end of another highly successful year at South Island School. The number of special events that our students participate in, and indeed organise and run, is truly exceptional, and reflects our philosophy that education is about so much more than just what happens behind the door of a classroom.

At one of these events, I spoke to the school about the importance of listening carefully – if one truly wants to make a difference, one must first actively listen to establish what difference is needed. I hope you feel that I have listened carefully in my first year at South Island School. At the end of the school year, I believe I now have a good grasp of what is already excellent about the school, and also an understanding of a few areas where there is still scope for further improvement. This listening and consultation process has culminated in the publication of the South Island School Strategic Development Plan. This important document sets out our development vision for the next three years and I look forward to working closely with staff, students and parents as we seek to make real the ESF objective of progressing from being world-class to being genuinely world-leading!

To achieve this, we must all continue to listen very carefully and honestly to one another. As you know, we have now moved beyond the CIS/WASC framework, at this time when our IGCSE and IBO qualifications are highly respected for university entrance across the world – and during the next year, we will further develop our own quality enhancement processes in liaison with ESF. Put simply, we will be seeking to ensure that everyone – students, staff and parents – share the common goal of being the best we can be, in everything we do.

In seeking to define the vision for the future, I hope I have also respected the ethos of the school that I have been so fortunate to inherit. At the recent Commencement Ceremony, I spoke about how we all ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’. Some true giants of education have taken South Island School to this moment in its history – not just former Principals, but also many other members of staff, as well as thousands of students who have collectively contributed to our exceptional atmosphere and ethos.

At this moment, I must pause to pay tribute to Annette and Chris Chapman, who retire from South Island School at the end of this week. Chris and Annette have between them served an incredible 69 years at the school. Above all, Annette and Chris have modelled the heart, spirit and dignity of South Island School to our students, staff and community, and we will carry their legacy forward. We will all miss them greatly, and we are sure that the next chapter of their lives will be extremely happy for them. Thank you, also, to the other teachers who leave us at this time – Vici Egan, Louise McCombe, Paul Barker, Fiona Henderson, Matt Lewis and Harpreet Kaur. Thank you also to Support Staff colleagues who leave us at the end of term, including Grace Ho, Po Cheng, Yuki Lee and Don Ming Yung, who have each served the school for more than 20 years each – with Don leading the way with an incredible 40 years service! 

This is also a time of sadness when we must say goodbye to a number of students and their families – goodbye of course to our graduating Year 13 students, who now step onto their further education and careers pathways, and goodbye also to a small number of students and families from other year-groups, who are leaving the school now for a range of different reasons. Wherever your journey takes you next, we wish you well and please stay in touch.

As I reflect, finally, on the end of my first year as the Principal of South Island School, there is one headline that confirms my desire to stay here for a very long time. That headline, simply, is our students. I have never before had the privilege of serving such dedicated, hard-working, driven – and yet humble students. I hope to enjoy this privilege for many years to come.

Please have a wonderful summer break with your families and I look forward to seeing you again in August.

With best wishes,

Tom Vignoles
Principal, South Island School

27 Jun 2019

SIS (I)GCSE Students Win International Awards!

Congratulations to all students who have won the Cambridge Learner Award and Pearson Outstanding Learners Award! These awards recognise outstanding students for their exceptional performance in academic learning achieved in the June 2018 examinations.


List of Awardees:

Cambridge Learner Award

  • Jack Chen – High Achievement – IGCSE Enterprise
  • Yan Phu – Top in Hong Kong – IGCSE Physical Education

Pearson Outstanding Learners Award

  • Clare Cheung – Top in World – International GCSE Chemistry
  • Fiona Chiu – Top in World –International GCSE Science (Double Award)
  • Dicky Lim – Top in Asia – International GCSE English Language
  • Jessica Lok – Top in World – International GCSE Mathematics
  • Brian Ma – Top in World – International GCSE Economics
  • Richard Rhoads – Top in Hong Kong – International GCSE Biology
  • Amy Song – Top in World – International GCSE Mathematics
  • Marco Wong – Top in World – International GCSE History
  • Kaitlyn Zhang – Top in World – GCSE Psychology
27 Jun 2019

End of Year Sports Review 2019

As we come to the end of another school year, I would like to say a big thank you to all the staff, students and parents who have made my first year at South Island School so easy and enjoyable.

We have been busy this year upgrading equipment and facilities as well preparing new kit for all of our school sports teams, improving our curriculum for the 2019-20 academic year and entering more sports competitions to give our students more opportunities to succeed.

In terms of what we will be doing next year, on top of hosting a fantastic sports award evening in April, we have plans to create a junior and senior awards evening, awarding even more trophies and recognising every students’ involvement. We will be running two ski trips, one in December for those pupils who are at a more advanced level and want to compete in the Hong Kong Ski Interschools ski race, and another to Japan at Easter for anybody who would like to go. We will also be running a senior students sports tour to Phuket in December. After a very successful Junior sports tour in May, our Stars in Sport programme will be expanded to include emerging and aspiring sports stars in Years 7-10 and we will be increasing the amount of sporting opportunities available to our students.

A very important area for us to focus on is the number of students attending our extra-curricular activities. I would like to encourage all parents to sit down with your son/daughter in August, when the programme is published, and look at the programme and make sure they sign up for and attend at least one activity in the first term. Our hope next year is that by increasing the sports offerings and upgrading equipment and facilities, we may be able to get more students attending sports clubs and making a difference to their health and wellbeing as a result.

As you can see we have been very busy this year and will continue to be busy over the summer making sure that everything is in place for when the new school year arrives. On behalf of the PE Department we wish you all a fantastic summer and hope you have a good rest and come back refreshed and ready to take sport at SIS to an even higher level.


Jon Redding
Director of Sports and Extra Curricular

If you would like any details on any of the proposed activities that we will be offering next year please do not hesitate to contact me at


27 Jun 2019

PTA Office and Shop Hours – Summer 2019

Please check the special arrangements for the PTA Shop and Office during the holidays and do not hesitate to contact our staff by e-mail ( or, or by phone for any inquiry. Please understand it may take some weeks to answer your query whilst the shop is closed during the summer holiday.


Opening Hours: 

PTA SHOP – Opening hours during summer holiday

2 July & 3 July – CLOSED
4 July – 8:00am to 3:30pm
5 July – 8:00am to 1:30pm
6 July to 4 August – CLOSED (both dates inclusive)

PTA SHOP – Normal operation

The PTA SHOP will resume normal operation from 5 August 2019.
Monday to Thursday: 8:00am to 3:30pm
Friday: 8:00am to 1:30pm

PTA Office – Opening hours during summer holiday

2 to 4 July – 8:30am to 4:00pm
5 July – 08:30am to 2:00pm
6 July to 4 August – CLOSED (both dates inclusive)

PTA Office – Normal operation

The PTA Office will resume normal operation from 5 August 2019.
Monday to Thursday: 8:30am to 4:00pm
Friday: 8:30am to 2:00pm