The developmental phase from childhood to adulthood is a profoundly important transitional path but let’s face it – it can be a challenging and sometimes frustrating time for parents to navigate.
However, this is a critical milestone, and it’s important that teens feel trusted and welcomed within their school environment, confident to be themselves, and supported by teachers and classmates.
At HAIS, we have a student-centred philosophy, small class sizes, and a balanced curriculum, which has seen our Secondary students thrive both socially and academically.
Below is a round-up of why we truly believe HAIS is the best course of learning for your teen.
1. Students Study under the Internationally Recognised IGCSE Cambridge Programme:
What is the IGCSE?
The Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)’s are internationally renowned qualifications for Secondary education that are recognised by universities worldwide. Globally, they are the most popular international qualification based on the British education system. Programmes typically last two academic years, with learners completing their IGCSE studies at the end of Year 11.
These qualifications provide pathways to future studies, and at HAIS, we encourage our students to follow their course of passion to complete their A Level.
2. We Offer a Diverse Range of Subjects:
Upper Secondary is an important growth area for students where they are given the opportunity to select their own specialist subjects and encouraged to lean into their strengths. Students are excited to be granted the autonomy of mapping out their own education and working towards their future goals.
At HAIS, we coach and support all of our students through this decision-making process whether their passions lie in sports, arts, science or commerce. We consider each individual and their separate interests, their learning style and where they see themselves in the future. For the 2023 -2024 Academic year, we are excited to be adding three new IGCSE subjects – Vietnamese as a First Language, Physical Education, and Travel & Tourism, which will allow students to further follow their passions and interests.
We are one of the first International Schools to offer Vietnamese as a First Language which will cater to our local community and provide ways for students to engage with, and develop their understanding of Vietnamese culture.
Students taking Art & Design also build a vast body of work which we showcase in a dedicated exhibition.
Students also study compulsory core subjects and then have the choice over 8 further IGCSE subjects. This allows students to tailor their IGCSE studies to their own interests and passions.
3. We Outperform Other Schools Academically:
Last year (2022), HAIS students achieved an overwhelming 92% A* – C grades in their IGCSE qualifications. Many students received grades within the top band, with 61% of all marks awarded being A or A* grades.
That same year, one of our students received an Outstanding Cambridge Learner Award, earning the distinction of Top in Vietnam for IGCSE Enterprise. In addition, the student placed 9th in the world for their Enterprise result.
Advanced students who are identified as excelling in Mathematics are also selected to study Additional Mathematics IGCSE in Year 11.
These grades are an important identifier of how our methodology works, however in the same vein, we do not pressure our students to look only at their quantitative results or place their self-worth on their academic success. Beyond academics, our teachers’ sole focus is observing the learning of each individual and encouraging them to do their best.
4. We have Small Class Sizes:
Our Secondary class sizes are capped at 22 students for the 2023-2024 Academic Year. This allows teachers to observe each individual more closely. These tight-knit classrooms feel like family, where students get to know one another and feel confident sharing ideas together.
Our limited classes also allow teachers to do their best work. They are better able to manage classroom behaviour by creating a space of patience and kindness – where they can encourage inclusion and meaningful discussions.
5. Our Teachers are Highly Experienced and Qualified:
Often the one thing that really impacts a child’s education is the teachers. When we look back at our own schooling, we each have memories of our favourite teachers. Those that brought an energy to the classroom, that presented new perspectives, or made you feel like you were good enough to keep going.
At HAIS, we have such a high standard of qualified educators who are also passionate about sharing their special skills with students. Mr Mark loves to impart his knowledge of Science and Maths. He is a leader of the annual school Science Fair and is passionate about introducing science in relatable and dynamic ways. He implores his students to inquire and absorb, and to ask questions.
Ms Hannah, our Secondary Learning Lead, teaches English and Global Perspectives and has a Bachelor Degree in Politics and a Master of Education. Her teaching methods challenge common assumptions and open up teenager’s minds to a world of ideas and expression. Ms Hannah has had very strong grades from her students proving this engagement style of teaching leads to quantitative results.
Teachers are role models for our teenagers. They give access to experiences, information, and material that parents might not be able to provide at home, and these interactions can set students on a life-changing course.
6. Teenagers are Prepared for Life Beyond School:
Many school curriculums are not engineered to assist students for the intricacies they might face in their adult lives.
At HAIS, all of our classes in Secondary are a place where critical thinking and robust debates are encouraged. In Global Perspectives, universal issues are introduced openly and honestly, which prepares students for mature conversations when they move into adulthood.
For those who choose to study Enterprise, they will develop practical skills for further study and the world of business. This is done by planning and implementing their own business and ascertaining innovative frameworks to attract consumers.
Ultimately though, our focus on dedicated one-on-one time during Pastoral Care, builds emotional skills that help students manage in the real world. Tools to navigate things like respect in relationships, or adapting to change with a positive mindset. This is the kind of homework that doesn’t come home as written worksheets – but builds resilient minds for the future.
7. Exposure to a Diverse Campus of Staff and Students:
Our HAIS campus celebrates diversity in every facet of the word. We seek to be a place of unity and invite all cultures, nationalities, abilities, world-views and thought systems. We work to make space for multiple voices and recognise that there is strength and joy in diversity.
Our staff and student cohort hail from over 30 nations, and each learn from each other, listen to different viewpoints and find unique connections that are not possible in a regular school yard.
Understanding and appreciating others is the bedrock of inclusion and diversity, making us all stronger.
8. A Well-Rounded and Balanced Curriculum:
At HAIS, we recognise that pumping teenagers’ schedules with a limited range of material can make them prone to boredom or feel overworked.
In response to this, our focus at HAIS is on supporting student well-being, and providing a balanced curriculum. Sports, arts, music, and languages are practiced daily among the other core subjects like Maths, Science and English.
We offer a range of subjects with a variety of assessment routes. This builds a diverse range of skills needed for further study. It also provides options for students who may not excel in exams to flourish and demonstrate their true potential.
All students also study non-IGCSE assessed music which focuses on developing skills for performance. All students participate in two non-IGCSE assessed physical education lessons, allowing them to stay active and continue to develop skills.
9. Our Unique and Special Location:
Not too big nor too small, Hoi An is seemingly custom-built for family life.
We are the only international school based in the stunning coastal and historical town of Hoi An and an ideal location for foreigners to relocate or for Vietnamese families who want to access the luxuries of the big city in Da Nang and travel the short distance to our school.
We feel a social responsibility to respect, protect and nurture this beautiful place, and have many lessons set within our school garden or in the historical old town.
We truly love where we live, and that in turn, makes our kids happy.
10. Exciting Excursions and Camps:
Excursions and camps are such an important part of learning for teenagers. New, unexpected skills and vulnerabilities emerge, and we get to know our peers in new environments. Camps particularly shake us from our normal assumptions of people, and we end up making new friends. We might find that one student has incredible outdoor abilities, while another offers humour in a time of frustration.
Every year HAIS organises field trips and excursions so that students can participate in expedition style trips both within Hoi An and to places such as Hue and Phong Nha. These excursions focus on developing leadership, resilience, self-awareness and confidence.
There might be a lost watch or a damaged toe – and a much-needed rest on return. But amidst all this is something more compelling. Our students grow closer, more patient, see things through new perspectives, and they learn.