Part of Vietnam’s largest network of international schools, Singapore International School, Van Phuc delivers two streams of primary education to locals and expats.
One of the first things to say about Singapore International School (SIS), Van Phuc is that it’s part of the KinderWorld Education Group, the largest network of international schools in Vietnam. As well as reaping the benefits of belonging to an integrated learning community that is connected by a common vision and shared curriculum, SIS also offers the advantages of a small, standalone primary school.
Centrally located in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh district, SIS Van Phuc is one school with two streams of education from nursery through to Year 5. This primary school for 2 to 10-year-olds offers a well-rounded Vietnamese curriculum to local students, and an international curriculum to expats.
As part of the KinderWorld group, SIS Van Phuc is closely connected to 15 sister campuses across the country in the cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Binh Duong New City, Vung Tau, Nha Trang, and Ha Long. This network of schools has a reputation for its Eastern values, Western education, and focus on developing global citizens. The benefits of being aligned with more than 20 international schools across Asia include overseas study trips, student exchange programmes with partner schools in Singapore, and summer camps with partner schools in Singapore, Australia, and the US.
With its small number of students and teachers, SIS Van Phuc has a close-knit community and a maximum class size of 25. Compared to an all-through school, this primary-only school has a sole focus on the needs of younger students. It also offers support to all students transitioning to an SIS secondary school; the closest is SIS Gamuda Gardens in the Hoang Mai district, on the western-side of Hanoi.
As with all SIS schools, Van Phuc combines the Singapore, Cambridge, and Australian curriculums to deliver a well-rounded international education that selects the ‘best bits’ from each country. It also follows a set of Schoolwide Learner Goals that focus on developing academic achievers, confident communicators, critical thinkers, IT literate students, and active, responsible citizens.
Head teacher Sue Donaldson says,
“Common to our schools is a focus on Eastern values and Western education. This blending of values and education is quite unique and can’t be found anywhere else in the country.”
There are two streams of education at SIS Van Phuc. The first offers an integrated programme to Vietnamese students from Years 1 – 6. Qualified local teachers teach the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training curriculum, while English, social studies, PE, music, and ICT are all taught by international English-speaking teachers. This ‘international’ element gives local students a distinct advantage over their peers following the MOET curriculum at a government school.
Secondly, the school delivers an international programme that’s taught in English from nursery through to Year 6, and is both designed for and popular with HCMC’s growing expat population. The international programme begins with nursery classes for children aged three to six, which use a “blend of experiential and inquiry learning” to teach English, maths, science, ICT, motor skills, and environmental awareness.
Moving on to the primary school (Years 1 – 6), and there’s an interesting blend of the Singapore and Western curriculums. Teaching of English, maths, and science is based on the Singaporean curriculum. Singapore tops the global Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings in English, maths, and science – and SIS works towards Singapore's rigorous Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE) to try and replicate academic standards in Vietnam.
The school says,
“The combination is based on the fact that the Singapore curriculum is highly acclaimed throughout the world for its excellence in English, mathematics and science, while aspects of Australian curriculum documents are internationally recognised for their strength in creativity and thinking skills.”
Lessons in Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE), the arts, PE, and ICT are all developed from Western curriculums, such as the National Curriculum for England, which have a reputation for their focus on ‘soft skills’. International students have the choice of learning Vietnamese or Chinese, and from Year 5 they take part in the Australian-developed English Preparation Programme, to improve their English skills.
Technology is integral to all lessons, and ICT skills and e-learning methods are included from nursery through to Year 6 in both streams of education.
Beyond the classroom
Although there’s a clear distinction between the two streams at SIS, there’s a concerted effort by the school to bring students together through a programme of extra-curricular activities from Year 1 upwards, including little chefs, sports clubs, robotics, choir, and chess. SIS also runs various community-based initiatives, overseas trips, and major school events such as concerts, seasonal celebrations, and charity fairs. In addition, there’s a school-wide virtues programme that teaches all students 20 different virtues including generosity, integrity, and teamwork.
The school says,
“We aspire to build young people of strong, ethical character who will make a positive contribution to the world in their future endeavours.”
One of the school’s strengths is its student exchange and cross-border campus programmes; all primary students have an opportunity to spend one term in the academic year studying in one of the other campuses across the region, in various countries such as Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and United States of America. These opportunities for study overseas are rare to find at primary level – and they really add value to such an international education.
SIS Van Phuc boasts a great inner-city location in the Ba Dinh district that’s close to many of Hanoi’s government offices and embassies. This small, purpose-built campus is located in the Diplomatic Compound at Van Phuc. Its two main buildings are home to classrooms, music and IT rooms, and a gym; PE lessons are held in a nearby sports facility.
Admission and fees
Foreign students can join the school’s international programme, while Vietnamese students have the option of studying the international or integrated programme. Tuition fees for the international programme are VND 341,670,000 for Years 1 – 6.
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