Welcome to the start of the new 2020-21 Secondary school year

Dear DBIS Families,


Welcome to the start of the new 2020-21 Secondary school year. 


We are highly aware that the start of the school year this year will be very different from our usual start, and this is obviously not the start we had hoped for. We have spent the summer petitioning the Education Bureau (EDB) to allow students back into school, enable small group teaching both on and off-site and many other scenarios, but currently, this has been declined. We will continue to petition hard for the resumption of classes at the earliest opportunity and will keep you up to date with developments as we go. 


As Stuart Bridge has already made you aware,  we are not permitted to open classes for students from Thursday 13th August as planned, so we will now start the year with our online home learning programme at that time. 


We are determined that our students are all warmly welcomed back to their online classrooms and actively supported in positive learning from the outset. With this in mind, our first priority this academic year is to quickly develop positive, productive and genuine relationships between teachers, students and parents in order to create the best possible environment for successful learning to take place


Student, Parent and Tutor Conferences

With this in mind, we are pleased to let you know that we will be offering parent-tutor meetings with all children and parents prior to the commencement of term. These meetings will take place on the afternoons of  Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th August, before the resumption of lessons on Thursday 13th August. These meetings will give students and their families the opportunity to speak one to one with their new tutors, and ask any questions they have before lessons start. We will share the sign-up for these PTCs in the coming days. 


Online Home Learning Feedback

Throughout the school closures last term, we continued to listen to feedback from across the school community, and we remain committed to listening to your views and ideas to help us continue to build on our learning programme. In February and again in June we formally asked families for feedback about online learning and we would like to thank all those of you who responded. As I have already mentioned, we have listened carefully to feedback from all our stakeholders and will continue to do so.  Data from the feedback questionnaire can be found HERE


Parent Consultation Group

We would like to put together a Parent Consultation Group for each phase of the school to continue to help us develop our provision going forward. If you would be interested in joining this group, please register your interest on the Jotform HERE


Online Provision for Secondary Students


Initial extended tutor time session to support online learning 

Students will start the first day of learning on Thursday 13th August in the new academic year with a two-hour introductory tutor session. Your child’s tutor will go through all of the relevant areas to prepare them for the academic year ahead to ensure that they feel settled and well placed to make the most of their many learning opportunities. 


One of the key areas that students will cover during this time is their tutor Google Classroom which is where all of their respective tutor group and year group information will be stored. This will allow them to easily refer back to this information if and when required. Secondary students have several different classes, teachers and often different subject areas to their peers and each subject class will each have a separate Google Classroom. Students will already have access to each of these Google Classrooms prior to the extended tutor time on Thursday 13th August so they can already access them. Their tutors will go through this with them to make sure they are confident in accessing each of these classrooms before Thursday 13th August and resolve any challenges that they have. Students will have live time interaction for every scheduled lesson through Google Meets, which are accessed from the respective Google Classroom, and tutors will also use this time to ensure that all students are confident in accessing those. To support students (and their families) know the lessons which subject classes they have and the timings, which are slightly different this year, tutors will explain the timetables to all students in this two-hour session. In addition to that, we will continue to add all of the student’s lessons, tutor time and their 1:1 tutoring sessions onto their Google Calendar so that it is easy  for them to see and show to their families.


Online learning and support

For each class that a child has, including their tutor time, they will have a Google Classroom and a linked Google Meet. This means that it is easy for all students to access the resources and tasks for each lesson and also access the online live time interaction. The web address for the Google Classroom and associated Google Meet will remain the same so that it is easy for them to store these and be able to access them. Your child’s tutor and their teachers will support them if they would like any additional support with this. Every lesson will have its own section on the Google Classroom so that it is simple for students to access the work and resources required in that lesson. 


There will be live-time interaction with students in every lesson and teachers will be available to support children with their learning needs throughout the lesson. Teachers will record the parts of the lesson which are most useful for students, so that students who are not able to virtually attend the Google Meet can access the key content afterwards. This will be available on the section of the Google Classroom for that specific lesson and will be accessible by all students. 


In most lessons, students will have assignments that they are working on. These tasks may be ones that are just for that single lesson or they may be intended to be worked on through a sequence of lessons. Teachers will support student learning throughout their lessons, in a similar way as if they were physically in school. Teachers will continue to provide written feedback to students at least once every two weeks, to ensure that children have very clear guidance about how they can continue to develop in that subject area or on particular skills. 


To help you as parents and guardians have a clear idea of the areas that your child is working on we will continue to use the Google Guardians for each subject class. This can provide you with a regular update, the default is a weekly email, on the work that your child has been covering in each of their different classes. In addition to this, we will communicate with you directly about the work that your child has covered and will be covering in their different subject classes. We are doing this in response to parental feedback wishing for more information about the work that their child is covering in their online learning. We are working on the most effective ways to do this as there are notable differences depending on the subjects and classes that each child is in. 


Secondary School Hours 2020-21, Student Timetables and Google Calendar

We have slightly modified the secondary school day as we feel that this will be even more effective at supporting student learning. The most notable change is the return of tutor time to the start of the school day, where it provides a valuable opportunity to engage students before the start of their lessons as well as support them to be prepared for the rest of their school day. All students will be expected to attend their tutor time session before their lessons.


  • 08:00 – 08:20 – 1-1 Tutoring *
  • 08:25 – 08:45 – Tutor-time
  • 08:50 – 09:50 – Lesson 1
  • 10:00 – 11:00 – Lesson 2
  • 11:00 – 11:20  – Break
  • 11:20- 12:20 – Lesson 3
  • 12:30 – 13:30 – Lesson 4
  • 13:30 – 14:20 – Lunch
  • 14:20 – 15:20 – Lesson 5

*Each student will have a 10-minute 1-1 session with their tutor approximately once a fortnight. This will be arranged by the tutor.


These will all be added to your child’s Google Calendar so that it is easy for them to see. You can either see their timetable there or you can access your child’s timetable through the Parent Portal.


Ongoing Updates from the EDB and the School

We will continue to keep you fully aware of any changes and developments as we move through these first few weeks of the year. Please note however,  that schools are not informed of updated decisions made by the Hong Kong Government prior to the news briefings they give, so we hear about changes from the press before schools are officially notified. We have already planned for several different opening scenarios, so please  be assured that we will continue to communicate this to you as soon as we get confirmation from the EDB of any changes. 


I hope this information has supported you, by giving you an overview of our intended online home learning programme should school closure be extended beyond the 16th August. I have every confidence that the online home learning programme for our Secondary children will continue to support their progress and development throughout these most difficult of times. As a school, we recognise the impact that school closure has had on families and cannot thank you enough for the support you continue to offer your child with their learning. 


Additional Support

We understand that the current situation will affect different families in different ways and would like to reassure you that we are here to support in any way that we possibly can and encourage you to reach out for support if required. 


We would usually suggest that you reach out to contact your child’s tutor if you would like any clarification on any of the information here or for guidance on how to support your child. If you have any concerns about your child’s learning that you please contact your child’s Head of Year as soon as you have these concerns. You are of course very welcome to reach out to me or one of my Secondary Leadership Team colleagues if you would prefer. All concerns will be looked into as a matter of urgency. 


The following link HERE provides the details for your child’s tutor, Head of Year and Secondary Leadership Team.


Kind regards,

Simon Oakley

Head of Secondary