Issue No. 4 (6 September 2019)

26 Sep 2019

Is your Yearbook 2018-19 still with us?

Have you picked up your order of the Yearbook 2018-19 yet? If not, please ask your child to visit the school reception today to pick up your paid copy.

Please note that the deadline for collection is 27 September 2019. All uncollected copies may be disposed. Thank you.

If you did not place an order, we regret to inform you that all Yearbook 2018-19 copies are sold out. Make sure you place the order to secure your copy later this school year for the Yearbook 2019-2020. Stay tuned as more information will be available around April 2020.

6 Sep 2019

The Importance of A Growth Mindset During Exam Years

We have invited our Year 12 students to tell us the secrets of their tremendous IGCSE success. We suggest younger students should read this carefully!

Two weeks ago, our now-Year 12 students faced a nerve-wracking but definitely rewarding day for all as we opened up our second set of GCSE results. Continuing on the tradition of last year, we at SIS think it is important not only to celebrate those that have achieved top scores, but everyone’s personal achievements. We could not be prouder of our cohort as we have all persevered through the times where we have struggled, felt stressed, or dealt with other hardships before finally reaching the end of our GCSEs. We have all put in a lot of time and effort in the past two years, and this deserves recognition and massive congratulations. Therefore, here are a few stories showcasing some exceptional GCSE journeys, which truly embody the importance of a GROWTH MINDSET throughout the 2 years. 


Cassidy Cheng of 12K1 highlights her resilience and how we shouldn’t be easily swayed by others’ negative opinions:

“In Year 10, I struggled a lot with Biology. It was really difficult to understand concepts, and I could never remember any of the terms. So obviously, I failed the first test, and feeling so ashamed and disappointed with myself,  I hid my results from my parents and decided to study harder for the next test. When the next test came, I got 40%. Although it was an improvement, it still wasn’t great. Moreover, someone had said that they didn’t think I would be able to work in the scientific field with grades like mine. This made me lose hope and I almost wanted to give up, but instead I used this to motivate myself to work even harder than before. At home, I rewrote notes from my lessons and did loads of past papers. In the third test I ended up getting 65%, never thinking that I could improve so much! But I wanted to do even better, so I started finding more resources and watched youtube videos on topics to consolidate my understanding. After the third test, my results only got better and better. I went from getting 30-40% in my tests to being three marks off a 9,8 in my final Science grade! I would never have done it if I had just given up after the first two tests. GCSEs have been a great learning experience; it has taught me to not only never give up, but also to not let other people’s negative opinion affect you.”


Chae Eun Son of 12S2 describes the importance of perseverance throughout the GCSEs:

“As we entered our final project for textiles, it felt impossible to keep up with the coursework whilst revising for other subjects. It got to a point where I was determined to quit, until my amazing tutor reminded me of the effort and time I’d spent on textiles and how close I was to completing that course. I couldn’t quit just because it was getting hard to manage my time. Although I was struggling, this made me focus on balancing my time out equally for all subjects. I got a 5 in my mocks but ended up with a 9 in my finals! I couldn’t have been happier that I persisted and did not give up. So don’t let your predicted grades restrict you and bring you down; instead, use this to motivate you and push you further. If you did not get the grades you were hoping for, don’t put yourself down, but shift your focus on your revision technique and experiment with others. This process of trial and error was what helped me in the end, along with identifying my strengths and weaknesses. I strongly believe that the past grades should not restrict you, as if you are persistently putting in the effort there will be nothing stopping you from achieving your goal!”


Justin Wong of 12S1 emphasizes on the significance of resilience during tough times:

“Prior to the exams I had a lot of distractions and personal issues that were happening in my life which were beyond my control. However, throughout GCSEs, I learnt to force myself to tune out these other things and compartmentalise certain emotions in order to focus on what was most important to myself, and what I could actually control. Thus I decided to dedicate my time and effort in an attempt to achieve to the best of my abilities academically. Gradually, I improved as I learned how to organise my workload and communicated with my teachers and peers to consolidate my learning. My word of advice for younger years would be to realise that your teachers are always there for you and don’t give up even at the very last second.”


Lavanya Arya of 12M2 reflects on how she’s learnt to better manage her time in the past 2 years:

During my GCSE journey, I had signed up for a lot of activities that eventually became too much to handle, and consequently, I started to struggle to manage all my activities and the growing pressure in school. At times, I found it hard to find the motivation to work hard; I was tired of constantly working and that was reflected in my grades. Although I got a good set of results for my mocks, I was disappointed with myself because I knew that I could have done better if I just had more time. My time management skills were really put to the test; I had no scope to procrastinate which now looking back on it was actually very useful. Although juggling everything was stressful, it taught me a lot of valuable lessons on time management. There were several times when I just wanted to give up, but I pushed through and got to the other side. By the time my GCSEs came around, I was very prepared because I was used to working hard and managing several things at once. So I ended up with results that I was extremely proud of because I knew that I had studied diligently and had given it my all.”


Hattie Conway of 12C2 describes how she balanced her academics alongside an intense study of dance outside of school:


“Before the GCSEs, I didn’t work very hard in subjects that I didn’t really enjoy such as Maths and Science. But once Year 10 started, I was determined to succeed, entering the year with an open mind and a positive attitude. I started to enjoy logical exercises: each of them like a puzzle that I had to solve. I also discovered my personal way of revising early on. For me, being a lover of all things creative, I made cue cards after each unit that I then learnt off by heart. I also had the challenge of balancing my dance and drama commitments outside of school: during the exam period I was doing at least 18 hours of dance each week. So how did I stay on top of it? I think knowing my limited time for homework and revision allowed me to work productively and remain motivated as there was no time to procrastinate! Now, having seen my results, I couldn’t be happier. Thinking back to Year 9 getting D/Es for Maths and Cs for Science, and achieving As and A*s in my final exams, I feel that it’s crazy how much determination and a positive mindset can do.”


Kitty Redding of 12B1 notes the difficulties she’s dealt with when joining the school halfway into the GCSE course:

“Coming into Year 11 having not done GCSEs in my last school, I was faced with many challenges, the biggest one being that I had not done any of the Year 10 course. I was given the option of not doing any GCSEs and just getting through the year, however, I gave myself the goal to get at least 5. I took subjects that I thought I had enough knowledge from my previous schools and that I felt confident enough in doing an exam in 8 months: Spanish, French, Maths, English language and Global Perspectives. Going into a new system and a new school was hard, so I entered with an open mind. However, as the work piled in and the pressure of mocks and exams were looming, I could feel myself becoming increasingly overwhelmed and overly stressed. There were times when I wanted to quit, when I regretted not taking up the offer of not doing any exams and when I was so controlled by my emotions I would just break down. Despite all of this, all my teachers were extremely supportive, especially my tutor Ms Diaz and my maths teacher, Ms Vasile. Having always struggled with Maths, their constant support and encouragement helped me a lot, so getting my results back and passing Maths was a huge achievement for me.”


Finally, Zoe Lu of 12S2 reflects on her emotional rollercoaster journey, which ultimately led to success:

“During the start of my last year of GCSEs, I was faced with a chain of the most emotional obstacles in my life. One of my family members was diagnosed with a chronic illness and since then, trouble just kept pouring in – like a never closing tap. Being a Year 11 student approaching her mocks, I started to feel burdened and worried, as I felt I would not be able to live up to the high expectations of myself and those around me. Feeling overwhelmed, I turned to my tutor – Mrs Nicholas, who gave me tremendous guidance and support. She reminded me that although academics are essential, my well-being should be prioritised. I took her advice and delved into my other interests, such as volunteering in an NGO and playing sports; which diverted my attention from the stressful events. It was during those times I realised the importance of a support system, and the meaning behind the phrase: ‘being able to feel weak is a strength’. Entering my final exams, despite the situation, I was finally able to feel relaxed and calm. It is the ability to look past situations with an optimistic outlook in life that ultimately led me to achieve an incredible set of results that I’m indeed proud of.”

Article co-ordinated and written by Michele Liu 12S1


Another successful year for the IN Department

After all the hard work and effort throughout last year, we are very pleased to report that students achieved a 100% pass rate for Entry Level Certificates (ELC) in the core subjects of English, Maths, and Science. We are also delighted to announce that four students in Years 10 – 13 were successful at external moderation for the ASDAN Bronze/Silver award and passed with flying colours. Two students – Anmol Bhojwani and Matthew Ho –  achieved the Silver award, and another two students – Ben Lim and Justin Tan – completed the Bronze award.

A special mention should also go to Suzy Ingrouille who worked extremely hard to achieve three A-C equivalent iGCSEs as well as passing the EL BTEC Art & Design course. Likewise, well done to Justin Tan who achieved his predicted grade in his iGCSE Maths and also passed the EL English (Silver) and BTEC Art & Design courses. Finally, we would like to say a huge well done to Matthew Ho who passed his  IB SL Chinese and IB SL Maths courses with scores above his predicted grades. 

Congratulations to all the students for their individual 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!

6 Sep 2019

Welcome to SIS Open Day 2019!

Dear Parents,

We invite you to attend our South Island School Open Day on Friday 13 September 2019. This is a chance for you to see our school in action and explore our students’ learning experiences. It is also an opportunity for you to meet the school leadership team, as well as other staff, students and parents, providing you with the opportunity to ask questions regarding any aspect of school life. We do hope you will be able to join us!



As parking on the school site is very limited and parking outside designated areas can block our school buses, we respectfully ask you to come to school by taxi, MTR or bus. Click here for details.


We have tailored schedules for different parent groups, please refer to the corresponding tables below:



08:00-08:30 PRIMARY & YEAR 7-9 PARENTS ARRIVE (The Foyer)

Registration in the school Foyer, from where you will be directed to the school Hall.

08:30-09:15 PRESENTATIONS (The Hall)

South Island School philosophy, Guidance and Well-Being, Learning at SIS, Global Citizenship and Values in Action, Before Joining SIS, MYP & Years 7-9 Phase


Informal discussions with students and staff

Tours of school start

10:05-10:35 REFRESHMENTS AND BREAK (The Atrium)

Students and staff available for further informal discussions

10:35 onwards TOURS AND LESSON VISITS (The School)

Tours of school continue

12:00 onwards LUNCH (The Refectory)

Lunch is available in the Refectory if you wish, prior to departure by 12:30



08:00-08:30 PRIMARY & YEARS 7-9 PARENTS ARRIVE (The Foyer)

Registration in the school Foyer, from where you will be directed to the school Hall.

08:30-09:15 YEARS 7-9 PRESENTATIONS (The Hall)

South Island School philosophy, Guidance and Well-Being, Learning at SIS, Global Citizenship and Values in Action, MYP & Years 7-9 Phase


Informal discussions with students and staff

Tours of school start. Years 7-9 parents may also visit lessons without a tour if they choose

10:05-10:35 REFRESHMENTS AND BREAK (The Atrium)

Students and staff available for further informal discussions


10:35 onwards


Tours and lesson visits continue


A chance to look ahead to Years 10-13

12:00 onwards LUNCH (The Refectory)

Lunch is available in the Refectory if you wish, prior to departure by 12:30



08:30-09:00 YEARS 10-13 PARENTS ARRIVE (The Refectory)

Registration in The Refectory, from where you will be directed onwards.

Please do not arrive before 08:30, as we will be very busy with arriving Years 6-9 parents!


Until 10:05


A guided tour of the school for prospective parents. Also available for any current parents who request this.


Only for current parents: The opportunity to visit lessons of your choice without a tour.

10:05-10:35 REFRESHMENTS AND BREAK (The Atrium)

Students and staff available for further informal discussions

10:35-11:15 PRESENTATIONS (The Hall)

South Island School philosophy and headlines, IGCSE & Years 10-11 Phase, IBDP/IBCP & Years 12-13 Phase, Beyond SIS


Informal discussions with students and staff

Tours and Lesson Visits continue

12:00 onwards LUNCH (The Refectory)

Lunch is available in the Refectory if you wish, prior to departure by 12:30



During these times, you will have the opportunity to pop into classrooms for a ‘taste’ of what the lesson is like. It is definitely not expected that you will stay long in any single classroom, as we want you to have the opportunity to visit as many areas of the school as possible, and view our excellent facilities. We would ask that you refrain from any videoing of lessons as this contravenes student privacy.



To give us an idea of numbers, and to speed up the arrivals process, please pre-register here. Please note the deadline for pre-registration of 12 noon on Monday 9 September.

We look forward to welcoming you!


Tom Vignoles
Principal, South Island School

6 Sep 2019

Sports Bulletin – 6 September 2019

On Tuesday, our A Grade Boys participated in the CR invitational 10’s tournament at Kings Park. They played a total of two games overall against KGV and Harrow. The first game SIS played was against KGV, and won 17-5. In their second game against Harrow, SIS won 31-12. Tries were shared amongst the whole team and player of the day goes to Sean Yeung. A great effort from the A Grade Boys and good luck for your upcoming matches.

Last Saturday, some staff and students from SIS took part in the second race of the AVOHK running series in Tai Tam. Mike Thurbon from the PE Department and Iain Williamson from the Media Department were joined by Michael Brewster, Jake Long, Boet van den Heuvel, Dominic Davidson and Rohan Williamson for the 5K run. This event is open to everyone from 12 upwards and is run in age categories. Entry is only $180 per race and there are 2 more left of the current series – Saturday 14 September at Bowen Road and Saturday 21 September at South Bay. Please click here to get more information and sign up. It would be great to see as many of the SIS community there as possible.

Our PTA chair, Ms Karla Fung, is working with Valley Fort Club volunteer association to benefit local organisations in Asia. Their first donation will be old pairs of football/rugby boots and socks to donate to Lao Rugby. Any players at the school who have old boots and socks are welcome to donate by dropping them off at the uniform shop for Karla to collect when she is in school.


Dates for your diary

Hong Kong national football team will play their first home match in their bid to qualify for the next World Cup on Tuesday against Iran at the Hong Kong Stadium. The game starts at 8:00pm and there will be a group of staff from SIS who will be going to watch. Please come and join us to watch this important game. Tickets are $180 each, concessions are available for students at $30, and can be purchased in advance from Cityline or at the stadium. The game will also be shown on Now TV channel 633.

Our ESF basketball competitions for A and B Grade Boys and Girls start the week beginning 16 September against Island School and we are hoping to see as many parents and students as possible at the games to support the teams at the start of their new season.

Jon Redding
Director of Sports and Extra Curricular

5 Sep 2019

Year 9 Limitless Programme 2019

The ESF LIMITLESS programme (6 weeks experiential learning in rural Queensland Australia) has been launched to all Year 9 students at SIS. We were lucky enough to welcome Rod Field (the expedition organiser from Higher Ground) to SIS who came in to talk to our students and answer their questions about the programme.

To get a taste of the experience, we would highly recommend visiting the Limitless Website and reading through the Limitless Blog.

Parent Information Sessions (Click here for registration details)

Wednesday, 11 September, 9:30am-10:30am
King George V School, 2 Tin Kwong Road, Ho Man Tin, Kowloon

Wednesday, 11 September, 6:00pm-7:00pm
ESF Centre. 25/F, 1063 Kings Road, Quarry Bay

Limitless application deadline: 3:00pm, 25 September (Click here for enrolment details)

The Limitless website includes details of the application timeline and selection criteria, as well as containing the application form for enrolment. The application form consists of a requirement to write a short application letter of up to 400 words.

We do hope you will be interested in exploring this exciting opportunity further. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Shaine Bushell
Head of Post 11 Learning
MYP Coordinator
5 Sep 2019

SIS Student Ski Trip to Niseko, Japan in 2020

South Island School will again visit beautiful Niseko, Japan from April 2nd until April 8th, 2020.

Students of all abilities are welcome to join the trip, including beginners. If you are interested, please come and get a letter detailing the trip from Mr Picknell in the Banyan Office (C block, Ground floor).

There are 24-30 places available and the following is included:

  • 6 nights full-board in a chalet with meals and drinks
  • Transfer HK – Niseko – HK
  • Ski helmet, boot, pole and ski/snowboard rental for 5 days
  • 5-day ski pass
  • 5-full-day ski/snowboard lessons/guided by professional instructors
  • Programme ends with Ski test, Ski competition, BBQ and prize-giving
  • Fully supervised evening activities
  • Free use of facilities at Freedom Inn
  • Taxes, services and insurance
  • 24-hour representation by Freedom Inn management in the Hanazono area

If you have any questions, please come and see Mr Picknell, or email him at

5 Sep 2019

Making a difference by releasing surviving crab larvae!

A team of dedicated Year 12 students from the previous academic year took charge of some tiny horseshoe crab larvae, which were fed, nurtured and cared for from October 2018 until their release on 13 July 2019 by our students who hoped to make a difference. This was part of the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Juvenile Horseshoe Crab Rearing Programme.

Many of the then Year 12 students were involved in daily feeding and cleaning including at weekends, and were managed by 4 fantastic team leaders Agnes Lam, Ellen Cheung, Natana Tse and Anson Ong. The team releasing our five surviving mature crab larvae into their new habitat near Yuen Long were Jocelyn Leong, Anson and Agnes who prepared the attached information pamphlet.

4 Sep 2019

Congratulations to Rachel Lu!

The Education Bureau of Hong Kong has been quick to congratulate Rachel Lu (11K2) on winning a bronze medal in the 18th China Girls Mathematical Olympiad, recently held in the city of Wuhan. Let us do the same and also be inspired by the tremendous hard work that Rachel must have put in for her achievement! This year’s competition was tough as usual, with mathematically gifted participants from mainland China, Macau, Singapore, the Philippines, and Russia. Congratulations again to Rachel!

2 Sep 2019

New Green Catering Packing

Our new Green Catering Packing has been launched on 2 September!

  1. Reusable container for vegi sticks, tomatoes, corns, fruits, jelly etc.

$10 will be added as a deposit for each container. The deposit will be refunded (in cash) upon return (no need to wash) of the container to the Refectory counter. The lost rate of metal cutlery and other reusable utensils has unfortunately remained high. If the condition persists, the Refectory might consider charging a deposit for more items.

  1. Simple eco sandwich paper wrap

For our better future, we need the support please from the whole SIS community:

  • Bring your own cutlery and containers.
  • DO NOT take cutlery and containers outside the Refectory/Atrium.
  • Return bowls, plates and cutlery to the collection trays. Never leave them on tables after eating.
  • Say “NO” to one-time disposables.
  • Never throw reusable cutlery, containers, utensils into the bin.
  • Separate waste in the appropriate recycle bins.

We have a limited edition SIS cutlery set available for sale (@$20) at the PTA Shop. Please check it out.

We are the first ESF school introducing these initiatives. Be proud and supportive of moving to another Green Step!

29 Aug 2019

Apple Educational CPU price update

Please refer to the update on the Apple CPU pricing starting September.  In summary, Mac mini and iMac will be 10% off, the rest of the CPU will be 13%.  APP discount is the same as before.  Whether you purchase APP together or not is no longer relevant. For any new model, Senco will come back with the pricing within 7 working days.  This pricing will valid until 31st March 2020.

Please take note that the last date to place an order for the current pricing is 9-September-2019 23:59 (Monday).

 Visit this link for the Apple Purchase Program 2019-20 for ESF students:

Distance learning until Mon 16th March. For activities, trips & events see emails for further information. Student grant deadline extended until Fri 6th March.