Bursars' & Business Managers' Conference

Bursars' & Business Managers' Conference 2018-19

The British School Jakarta was proud to host the 11th Annual Bursars’ and Business Managers’ Conference for 2018/19. The theme of the event this year was “In quality we trust”, an important topic resulting in productive dialogue throughout the entire programme. Delegates representing 21 British International Schools from nine countries across Asia came together to share best practice, common challenges and continuous improvement in a positive spirit of collaboration. The first evening conference dinner showcased traditional Indonesian cuisine at “Plataran Darmawangsa” and was attended by Mr James Bryson, Chair of the Board of Governors who, in his welcome to the delegates, invited all participants to consider how the perception of quality impacts how we conduct our business. Delegates were treated to a colourful cultural dance performance by staff in BSJ’s World Theatre to open the conference proceedings before the real work began!

True to the theme, “Quality” continued to be the focus of discussion throughout the programme with Mr David Butcher, Principal of BSJ delivering the opening presentation “The Unique Selling Point for BSJ” discussing how BSJ is future proofing a quality education through a range of innovative programs and systems such as its entrepreneurial platform “BSJ Ideas” to promote continuous improvement through idea creation; and partnering with MIT (USA) delivering compassionate learning systems.  Mr Paul Martindale, Quality and Performance Improvement Director at BSJ focused on  "Establishing Quality Frameworks" and discussed the schools’ work towards gaining ISO 21001 EOMS certification and how this complements, compares and contrasts to CIS accreditation, of which many of the delegate schools’ participate. 

Conference co-hosts Ms Kerrie Weippert-Rowe, Business and Operations Director at BSJ and Mr Martin Brillantes, CFO at BSJ facilitated group work at a fast and furious pace aka “functional speed dating” which saw all delegates rotate through eight business function-specific topics and share their schools’ challenges and best practice examples.  One of the key benefits of the FOBISIA conference is that delegates learn about other schools and can take away ideas and contacts which they can draw on  and refer to in the future. For a change of pace and scenery, the conference proceedings moved to Ciloto - Puncak, experiencing another side to Indonesia amongst the mountains, tree plantations and cooler temperatures. The long bus drive gave more opportunity for networking and connecting over shared business interests. 

For some downtime, and continuing opportunity to showcase the diversity of  “Wonderful Indonesia”, delegates were treated to a traditional interactive musical performance using “Angklung” at the Gala Dinner and an exclusive “Behind the Scenes” tour of Indonesia’s famous Taman Safari and Conservation Park in Bogor on the final day. Fresh with new ideas,  strengthened working relationships and keepsake batik shirts, delegates were bid “sampai jumpa lagi”.  

Bursars' & Business Managers' Conference 2017-18

 The FOBISIA Business Managers’ Conference 2018 was hosted by British Vietnamese International School (BVIS Hanoi), Vietnam from 28th to 31st March 2018.

The first day of conference at school was a productive day with a presentation of Ms. Duong Nguyen and Mr. JK Tan (Regional Business Director and Regional Finance Director, SEA Nord Anglia Education) about “How can a Bursar “add value” to the Principal” and another presentation by Mr. Mark Sayer, principal of BVIS, named “Any benefits to Cognitive Bias?”. More than 30 delegates from 28 schools were very interested in the topics and had lively discussion on them.

After that, delegates had time to share their best practices and also similar issues at their own schools. Some useful consultations from Speakers and best practice sharing between FOBISIA schools shed the light for delegates to solve their issues or improve their current practices. It was a valuable time to learn from each other.

The most memorable time was the next two days when delegates joined a voyage on cruise together around Halong Bay, a beautiful natural wonder in northern Vietnam. Networking time on cruise with a lot of funny games brought us closer and had more understanding about our friends. It’s time to relax with beautiful scenes and happy time. Leaving cruise, we said goodbye and looking forward to opportunities to meet each other at the next BURSAR/ BUSINESS MANAGERS’ CONFERENCE.


Bursars' & Business Managers' Meeting 2016-17

International School Brunei (ISB), long-standing member of FOBISIA, took great pride in hosting the 9th Annual FOBISIA Bursar / Business Manager’s Conference at their new campus, 26th – 28th October.

The tone of the conference was set at the opening dinner when ISB’s Deputy Board Director, Mr Nick King, outlined the importance of the Business Manager’s and associated roles in comprising the administrative back-bone of international school operations. He expressed a specific hope that the coming together of so many specialists from international schools in Asia, promote an air of openness and cooperation, enriching each delegate’s skillset and knowledge base. International schools can help each other to showcase best practice in the myriad of operational processes associated with such complex and diverse organisations.

Over the three days, there were a wide range of issues discussed and debated in the open-forum round table sessions. Each topic was introduced by a presentation, from one of the delegates, on the strengths and weaknesses of their school’s own strategy in the topic areas of interest, requested in advance by the delegates. The 8 issues tabled over the two-day conference were the management of: Finance, Human Resources, Admissions& Marketing, ICT, Health and Safety, Facilities, Boarding and Community Engagement.

There was also a special presentation on School Security & Crisis Management by Mr Lonny Muller, Regional Security Officer from the US Embassy in Brunei. He emphasised that good communication, planning and practice were the best ways to prepare for crisis and concluded with a briefing on current trends in international school safety.

As well as the work involved with the conference, delegates were also able to relax. Highlights included a visit and meal to the Empire Hotel, one of the world’s most expensive hotels and a trip down the Brunei River to sightsee the rare Proboscis monkey and the water village, site of the first habitation in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei’s capital city.

We look forward to new learning opportunities from another FOBISIA school who will be hosting the 10th BURSAR/ BUSINESS MANAGERS’ CONFERENCE next year!


The 2016 FOBISIA Bursar/Business Managers' Meeting will be hosted by the International School Brunei from 26th-28th October 2016.

Please see here for the draft programme of the conference.

For more information please contact Leona Voon lgoh@ac.isb.edu.bn



The FOBISIA Business Managers’ Conference 2015 was hosted by Kinabalu International School, Kota Kinabalu in 18-20th November 2015.

A welcome dinner for the delegates being the customary icebreaker was held on the evening of Wednesday 18 November  at the Le Meridien Hotel, where our Vice Chairman of the School Board of Management, Mr Christopher Garside, welcomed the delegates from the various FOBISIA schools around the region, speaking on the theme "Good Soil for the Growing Trees".

All the delegates attended a one and a half day conference at Le Meridian Hotel over the next two days. This year’s programme was focused on open discussions and sharing of best practices, which seems to be most popular with participants, to include a presentation by Mr Leong Kok Liang, Director of Finance from The Alice Smith School on the topic “Technology Financing – The Leasing Way”. The boardroom discussions were based on the specific needs of participating International Schools and sharing on new ideas that can be cost effective and help schools stay in line with the latest technology, which the delegates had put up earlier for discussions.

The delegates were also challenged with a 15 -minute walk after dinner on the second evening to the observation platform which is located at the highest point in Kota Kinabalu city,  which gave a bird’s eye view of the city.

By:  Elis Ho officemanager@kis.edu.my, Office Manager, Kinabalu International School


The 8th FOBISIA Business Managers’ Conference 2015 will be hosted by Kinabalu International School, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia at the Le Meridian Hotel from 18th to 20th November 2015. As agreed at the previous Conference, November is the preferred month to hold this annual meeting instead of September. This year’s programme is focused more on open discussions and sharing of best practices, which seems to be most popular with participants.  

Brief Itinerary is as follows:- Please see the full programme here.

Wednesday 18 November 2015 
·         Delegates arrive 
·         Welcome dinner
Thursday 19 November 2015 (full day)
·         Visit to Kinabalu International School 
·         Open Discussions on Topics / Talk on “Technology Financing – The Leasing Way” 
·         Dinner 

Friday 20 November 2015 (half day)
·         Open Discussions on More Topics
·         Lunch
·         Finish

Kinabalu International School, Sabah, Malaysia will be hosting the next Bursar's / Business Manager's Conference from the 18 - 20 November 2015. 

For more information, please contact Elis Ho <officemanager@kis.edu.my>


The FOBISIA Business Managers’ Conference 2013 was hosted by Tanglin Trust School, Singapore in September 2013.

A welcome dinner for the delegates was held on the evening of Thursday 12 September at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, where our CEO, Mr Peter Derby-Crook, welcomed the delegates from the various FOBISIA schools around the region.

All the delegates attended a one and a half day conference at Tanglin Trust School over the next two days. This year’s programme included a presentation by DP Architects, a leading Singapore architectural firm, on “Sustainable Design Stories”. They shared with us how sustainable green features were incorporated into school buildings and landscape. In addition, International SOS, a leading medical & security assistance company, on "Travel Safe" shared how risk mitigation were incorporated into school trips and outdoor education. The delegates were then divided into groups for a tour of the school. The later part of the conference included a sharing session on best practices and topics which the delegates had put up earlier for discussion and this continued into another half day morning meeting at the conference hotel.

The Federation of British International Schools in Asia. (FOBISIA)
39/4 Todsamon Clubhouse Building
M FI, Soi Lasalle 39/1, Sukhumvit 105, Bangna
Bangkok, Thailand 10260 
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