ISSUE NO. 4 (7 September 2018)

7 Sep 2018


A special feature on our Year 12 students and their many achievements!

We talk a lot about the growth mindset at SIS – and nowhere is this more apparent than in the work of our Year 12 students this year! Two weeks ago, we celebrated our best ever GCSE results, and there has been a lot of talk since then about what ‘best ever’ really means.

We have already noted that our average overall grade of 6.69 was even higher than last year’s record, with 61.4% of all grades at A*-A and 92.8% of all scores at A*-C. Overall, this means that a very large number of students ‘added value’ to a considerable degree to their predicted scores, right across the attainment range! You can view the full statistics here.


However, success is not really about statistics – it is about individual achievements. Here is what some of our students wrote about how their GROWTH MINDSETS helped them to make a major difference to their GCSE outcomes.

Milly Moore describes her pride that her hard work has paid off:

I always struggled with more mathematical and scientific subjects like Physics. I just couldn’t remember all of the equations and the facts that I needed to know to answer the questions. But I didn’t give up on myself. I studied for the physics exam more than I did for any other science. Sure, I hadn’t done particularly badly in mocks, but I wanted to do better, so I used this as motivation to work harder, since I wanted this grade for myself and not to impress anyone else. I ended up coming out the other side getting an A, and I could not have done that without my friends who have stuck by me and motivated me all along. The knowledge I had of the amount of effort I put in to this subject made me feel more proud than any letter on a piece of paper could make me feel.

Caitlin Donovan notes the importance of recognition for all students who have done their best:

Two years ago I was failing Math. I was getting 30-40% on every unit test, and I was certain I was going to fail my my exams. Last year I took my GCSE’s and this year I got my results back. I’ve come from getting steady E’s and D’s to getting a high B – 4 marks off an A, and I couldn’t be prouder of myself. I personally don’t think it’s about getting 13 A*’s, I think it’s about impressing yourself so that you’re happy with your own scores. People get recognition for top marks, but they aren’t the only ones who have done well. So have you, as long as you have done your best.

Sam Demaid-Groves reflects on his own biggest personal challenge below:

The subject I improved on the most was my English language. After coming out of the mock exams with a B in my English language I felt as though I couldn’t improve upon that, however it was through my teacher that I was able to find ways in which to improve my writing. She gave me in-depth comments about my work in class and also set me personal goals to fulfil when writing to ensure my work was to the standard of an A student. Tips such as using a wide range of descriptors, varying my use of punctuation, and following analysis acronyms such as G.A.P really helped me work towards the grade I wanted. The final result of my English language (A) really did surprise me, as even though my teacher had assured me of my ability I was still unsure and in doubt. Thanks to her I was able to both surprise myself and prove to myself that through hard work and seeking help, all goals are achievable.

Helen Lee describes her tears of joy in meeting one of her key personal targets:

I have always struggled to keep up with all the languages I know. It’s really hard especially when all the languages I know have different grammar or sometimes even have a different way to interpret wording. English was by far the hardest subject for me for GCSE. It was hard for me to understand poems as they had weird ways of conveying meaning. The questions asked in the exams were hard to understand too. The wording seemed so odd and weird to me, that sometimes I had to draw pictures of the situation to understand what was going on. On past papers, I would roughly get a D/E and it disappointed me because everyone I knew got at least B or higher. After the final language exam, I started bawling my eyes out, running to my English teacher’s room – I had an anxiety attack. Fast forward to August, and I had opened my envelope with my results. I was crying so much I could barely open them. Rubbing away tears, I looked at them and saw… a C! I GOT A C! I started crying (with tears of joy this time) and ran to my teacher’s office. I am very so thankful to all my teachers who have supported me for 2 years. Without them, I would have not passed my GCSEs.

We are extremely proud of all of our students for everything they have achieved!

Everybody’s personal challenge is different … and for the teachers there were some major challenges this year as well …


This was the first year when certain subjects were graded on a scale of 9-1 rather than A*-G. Overall, our average in these new GCSEs was a 7, with 60.6% of all grades in the 7-9 range (equivalent to A/A* grades on the traditional scale). Amazingly,  32.1% of our grades were at Level 9 (equivalent to high A*), with an astonishing 60% of all grades in Fine Art at Level 9. This is against a UK average of 4% for Level 9 in 2018!

But once again, it is not all about the statistics. Ms Fiona Henderson, Head of Art & Design, explains the work that has gone on behind the scenes in achieving these outstanding outcomes:

SIS Art and Design department recognise the team effort that supports our student success at GCSE. Our team consists of ambitious and brave students, supportive parents, dedicated technicians and specialist staff who nurture and push each student to reach their full potential. 2018 saw an increased number of students complete the course and we celebrated their Fine Art and 3D work at the group exhibition back in May 2018. This year, we were anxious about the move from grades to 9-1 levels and there was a bit of guess-work involved when estimating attainment for the cohort. However, the results were exceptional and we are thrilled for our students and their achievements. Congratulations to all the team for this year’s results!

Moving forward, we are offering more specialisms and look forward to seeing the first wave of GCSE Textile students join us in the 2019 exhibition.


This was also the first year when certain students studied the AFP Media course alongside their GCSE programme. Although not technically a GCSE, we are also very pleased with our students’ achievements in this course.

Mr Iain Williamson, Head of Media and Digital Literacy, reminds us of how we celebrated the success of the new course in April:

The inaugural Y11 Agence France Presse (AFP) Digital Media cohort of  sixty-two students successfully received their graduating certificates back in April of this year. As part of the graduating ceremony, students were joined by Philippe Massonnet, the AFP Asia Pacific Director and Chris Geary, CEO of BSD Coding Academy. Special mention goes to the five students receiving academic excellence awards for having scored in the top markband possible for the course. These five students were Karina Au, Karen Chan, Joy Lee, Nicholas Ng and Yan Phu.

These five students went on to score a further 41A*s, 8As, 4Bs and 1C between them at GCSE …


Last but not least, we are extremely proud of the achievements of all of the students who achieved their goals in their ELC and ASDAN courses this year:

Mr Ian Meekcoms, Head of the LSC writes:

At SIS, as an inclusive school, we believe it is important that all achievements are recognised and we support all students to attain the necessary accreditations/qualifications to enable them to move on to the next stage of their academic development. We are very proud of the achievements of our LSC (Learning Support Centre) students again this year. We are very pleased to confirm that they achieved a 100% pass rate for Entry Level Certificates (ELC) across a wide range of subjects including English, Maths, Science, Geography, History and PSE.  ELCs are suitable for students who are working towards GCSEs or similar qualifications, but would like to gain a recognised qualification. They can help build skills, increase knowledge and boost confidence.

We are also delighted to announce that six students in years 10 – 13, were successful at external moderation for the ASDAN Bronze/Silver award and passed with flying colours. The Bronze/Silver award provides students with an established certificate leading to accredited qualifications that explicitly enhances skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life. Five students – Angel Cheung, Michael Chung, Timothy MacGeoch, Elizabeth Ng and Varun Kapoor-  achieved the Silver award and one student – Kevin Shen – completed the Bronze award.

A special mention should also go to Vanessa Cross who worked extremely hard to achieve three A-C GCSEs and two ELCs in Geography and English.

Congratulations to all the students for their achievements and a big thank you to parents and staff for all their contributions and support with the ASDAN and Entry Level courses last year.

All of the achievements above – and so many more! – have been achieved by our students alongside a very large number of other Values in Action activities. Congratulations, Year 12 – and we are extremely excited about working with you during your final two years at the school!


7 Sep 2018

Digital Literacy Tips for Parents

During a recent PTA evening the newly formed Digital Leaders Group (DLG) was asked to reiterate the position of the school regarding the use of digital devices, including mobile phones and laptops. With Year 7 students eagerly awaiting their laptops later this term, now seems a good time to recap. We will post one tip per week in the bulletin in the build up to Year 7 students receiving their laptops, which we hope provides clear guidelines not only for Year 7 parents but the entire school community.

South Island School uses the ‘empowerment model’ by which students learn from experience, gradually improving their self discipline with digital devices over time. However, there are a few basic ground rules, which we promote as part of our annual laptop induction evening:


1: The laptop should be used in the living/dining room space ONLY rather than the bedroom. This applies to the mobile phone too and provides parents with the opportunity to engage in the learning of their children.

7 Sep 2018

PTA Annual General Meeting & Welcome to New Principal

NOTICE – South Island School (SIS) PTA LTD – Annual General Meeting (AGM)

NOTICE is hereby given that the SIS PTA LTD AGM will be held on:

Date / Time: 3 October 2018 (Wednesday), 6:30 – 7:00 pm

Venue: THE Space, 5th Floor, South Island School, 50 Nam Fung Road, Aberdeen, HK

The Agenda will be:-

  1. To receive and consider the audited Financial Statements of the Company for the year ended 30 June 2018
  2. To appoint Auditors 2018/19, FTW & Partners CPA Limited who have concluded their service for 2017-18 and offer themselves for re-appointment
  3. To elect Committee Members for the year 2018/2019
  4. To transact any other ordinary business of the Company

As a Member of the SIS PTA LTD you are invited to attend and vote at the AGM.

If you wish to NOMINATE a parent or to join the PTA Committee, please complete the Nomination Form. This Nomination Form should be returned to the Chair on/before 26 September 2018 (1600 hours) by email to or by hand to the SIS PTA Office.

 NOTICE of the AGM, Agenda, Financial Reports and Nomination Form are available on the school website

Welcome New Principal and Social

At the same evening, please also join us to welcome our New Principal, Mr. Tom Vignoles. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to meet other parents as well as the Vice-Principals, School Council Members and the PTA Committee Members.


6:00-6:30 Reception and Refreshment

6:30-7:00 SIS PTA LTD AGM

7:00-8:00 Welcome New Principal and Social

Please click HERE to register.

Thank you and look forward to seeing you!


7 Sep 2018

South China Morning Post (SCMP) Subscription 2018-2019

The PTA is co-ordinating the subscription of the SCMP 2018-2019 for the SIS students. If your child is interested in subscribing to the SCMP, please download the following form and submit with your cheque payment to the PTA office.

SCMP subscription details and form

The subscription deadline is 21 Sep 2018.  Please note that the late applications will not be accepted.

Subscriptions applied for through the PTA can be picked up from the PTA office, starting 22 Oct 2018. Holiday & Sunday issues can be collected at selected Convenience Store outlets with a redemption passport.

For more information about this package, please go to the school website Communications >> Parent Teacher Association Ltd >> PTA Events (SCMP Subscription) 

7 Sep 2018

South Island Activities, Sports and Inter-House Programme 2018-19

***From Mr. Jon Redding – Director of Sport ***

I would like to firstly introduce myself as the new Director of Sport at SIS. I have moved here from Switzerland where I worked in an international school for six years, working with students from over sixty different nationalities from all corners of the World. I am very pleased to be working at SIS, with its outstanding record for success in many areas of sport and I have been very impressed with the students’ participation, effort and commitment in my short time here. With SIS already having an excellent track record for success in many sports, I hope to build on this and make the school a force to be reckoned with for many years!

I would also like to introduce Mr Samuel Wong who will be working alongside me as the new Activities Coordinator. Mr Wong is very enthusiastic about being at SIS and will bring lots of energy to his role to make sure that the Activities Programme continues to offer SIS students a wide range of after school activities for all levels of interest and ability. If you have any questions regarding activities, please email

Weekly Sports & Inter-House Board

The school’s After School Activities programme is now underway with lots of activities, both sporting and non-sporting, offered to the students both at school and off-site in various locations. Please remember that there will be more opportunities in Term 2 for participation.

Our sports matches have already begun with some school rugby, football and volleyball teams participating in local competitive leagues.

Our 1st XV rugby team have played two 10 a-side tournaments so far, the first v HKIS where we managed 3 wins and 1 loss and more recently against Harrow and HCHK where SIS picked up 2 wins and 2 losses.  These were excellent performances of note by Kai Sacasi and Simon Morris.

The C grade boys rugby team have also started their season, playing against Island School and winning by 8 tries to 1 and against HKIS winning by 5 tries to 1 . Their other game saw them lose by 2 tries to 0 against WIS. A good start however the coaches are in desperate need of more players so anyone interested in joining the team should contact Mr Atkinson or Mr Murtagh as soon as possible.

The U14 boys football team have played two games this week v KGV and AISHK and won both games. The first game on Tuesday saw the boys win 5-4 v KGV with some excellent performances from Leo Doyle, Justin Wong and Sherman Wong as well as some brave goalkeeping from James Stanton.  The second game on Thursday v AISHK saw the team win 7-4 with a hat-trick from Sean Lee, who then went in goal in the second half, and although AISHK pulled a few goals back, further goals from Bo Smeets and Robbie McGraw sealed the win for SIS.

The U14 girls football team played against Island School on Thursday and won 2-1 thanks to two goals from WOM Hayley Sadler and a penalty save from goalkeeper Joy Tan.

The U16 girls volleyball team played a double header against AISHK and West Island School and although they lost both their games the spirit in the squad was fantastic and with so many pupils attending training and wanting to play school volleyball, their results and performances will only get better. The u16 boys team have also started their league matches and were unlucky to lose in 3 sets to AISHK, with the final set being decided by only 4 points.

Thank you to Mr Murtagh, Mr Picknell, Mr Thurbon, Mr Meekcoms and Mr Whataroa for organizing these teams and matches. We wish all our teams the best of luck throughout this season.

Our interhouse sports programme has also started already with Year 8, 12 & 13 having competed in dodgeball competitions, Year 10 in handball and Year 11 in netball. Results so far are:

Year 13 Dodgeball winners – Bahay

Year 8 Dodgeball winners – Maison

Year 11 Netball winners – Namas

Year 10 Handball winners – Bahay

Year 12 Dodgeball winners – Casa

Next up is the Year 7 dodgeball competition this afternoon with Year 9 having their first competition next Friday.  The atmosphere at these competitions has been electric with all the students getting fully involved and competing as hard as they can whilst maintaining a great spirit and supporting their friends in other houses too as well as playing some fantastic 90’s music, for those that can remember that far back!

Thank you to Miss Bosson for organising these events.

As you can see we have a very busy sports programme at SIS and we hope that your child takes advantage of some of the activities on offer at the school at some point this year. We also look forward to seeing some parents at our sports matches and at open days.  We welcome any parents interested in assisting with activities to get in touch with us.

Have a good weekend!

Jon Redding

6 Sep 2018

Student Health Service

“STUDENT HEALTH SERVICE 2018- 2019” This is provided by the Department of Health for free to those students/participants who are “eligible persons”. Application forms have been given to relevant tutors for distribution to students.

This is not compulsory. For those who wish to enrol please note the deadline for submission will be on Thursday, 27 September 2018.  Kindly submit all forms to the Nurse’s office at L/G floor.

17 Aug 2018

ESF Festival of Music: Secondary Showcase 18-20 September

Over the course of four days next week, 300 of the ESF’s young musicians will be collaborating in a diverse range of musical ensembles, working with our Music teachers and visiting guest artists from the HK music scene.  The rehearsals will culminate in a series of 3 concerts to showcase the students’ achievements:

Tuesday 18th – Our String students and Chinese Orchestra will perform at Island School, Tai Wai, 7pm

Wednesday 19th – Our Wind and band students will demonstrate a range of ensembles and combinations at Sha Tin College, 7pm

Thursday 20th – South Island will be hosting the final concert presented by our young singers in 3 different vocal ensembles, in the SPACE at 7pm

We warmly invite you to join us for any of the concerts to celebrate the work of our talented young people.

Good luck to all the SIS musicians involved – we hope you enjoy working with different students and professionals and have fun with the repertoire.

Ms Debra Jones
Director of Performance/Head of Music