School Newsletter 16.11.2018

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We are a learning community, passionate about providing an International Education,which inspires and encourages learning and intercultural understanding.
We facilitate self-discovery and the development of unique interests, gifts and talents, whilst promoting service learning as a force for good in the world.

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16th November 2018

Versión española 

 School Calendar

Monday 19 NovemberP6 Unit based trip
Tuesday 20 NovemberArt lecture (see Whole School news)
Wednesday 21 NovemberWalk to School Day (see Whole School news)
Wednesday 21 NovemberU16 basketball tournament at Aloha College
Thursday 22 NovemberDiploma presentation for M5 parents – 16:00 -17:00 in Cantina
Friday 23 NovemberSoto Sessions at Trocadero Beach Club, Sotogrande – 19:00 -21:00
Saturday 24 NovemberSpanish department Christmas Benefit Dinner (see Whole School news)
Sunday 25 NovemberSotosol Walk and Fun Run (see Whole School news)
Monday 26 NovemberUniversity Convention – 14:00 – 16:00 in gymnasium – All parents welcome to attend

Dear Parents and guardians,

Last Friday many of us shared in a wonderful evening of fabulous food, fun games, spectacular musical performances, fireworks and a special feeling of community put on by the PTA.  Many thanks to the teachers, parents and students who generously volunteered their time to make the evening truly enjoyable for the rest of us.

In particular I would firstly like to congratulate and thank the PTA for organizing and putting on this Autumn Festival, secondly thank everyone who attended to show support for this key event and finally congratulate the music team, Mr Wickersham, Mr Luis, the SIMA and school peripatetic team and of course, our talented student musicians.

During the evening, I spoke to many parents who were again blown away by the variety of activities, the great organization of the whole event, and who were amazed by the quality of the music performed by the students.As some of you know, these events would not happen at all without the volunteers.  If you have yet to volunteer your time, I would like to encourage you to do so.  The PTA needs your help.  Plus, volunteering is a great way to make new friends and feel a part of the larger community.

If you would like to join other parents in volunteering for upcoming events, please contact Dineen Garcia via WhatsApp at +34 603 128 060 or send an email to now so that these fantastic fundraising events can continue to take place.

Last week I attended a professional development conference with Mr Stone. The focus of the event was Child Protection and Safeguarding.  The event was led and coordinated by the Council of International Schools. We heard from many professionals in their own areas of expertise.  Whenever I am fortunate enough to attend a training event, I come back with many ideas and reflections on my own practice. This particular course had a marked impact on me. The greatest learn is that we as a community need to own the issue of Child Protection and Safeguarding. The people who unite us in this community are the children and their safety and protection is paramount.

This week, I would like to take steps in making child protection a concept for us all to take note of and to bring it to the forefront of all of our minds.  The school has spent a considerable time translating our evolving Child Protection Policy into Spanish and feel that we are now in the position to share the most up-to-date version in its entirety with you, the community.

I would encourage you to spend time reflecting on our policy and getting to know it.

To gain access to the policy, please click here.

You will notice that there are designated safeguarding leads (Mr Kevin Stone in the Secondary School and Mrs Emma Butler in the Primary School). However should you have any questions, thoughts or concerns, I would encourage you to discuss these directly with our two deputy safeguard leads, our Heads of Pastoral Care, Mr Michael Cronin in Secondary and Mr Chris Cournane in Primary. Alternatively, please contact your child’s advisor who can pass on any specific or general concerns to your child’s pastoral leader or safeguarding leads.

I am delighted to inform you that after a lot of hard work by Mr Sanchez and the teaching and learning team, Sotogrande International School has maintained our Apple Distinguished School status, which will take us through to December 2020. The Apple Distinguished School designation is reserved for schools that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments. We shared our work and development of this in our most recent iBook. Last year we presented at 3 Apple conferences, this not only allowed us to network with other Apple Distinguished schools, but also meant that we met like-minded educators who helped us to reflect on our practices thus making education better for your children at School.

I would also like to recognise and congratulate P3 student Carla Morera de la Vall who successfully petitioned and was awarded a grant from Cola Cao Becas Vamos to improve facilities in the Tarifa skatepark. Becas Vamos (Scholarships Come on) is a national program that promotes and encourages all sports among young people.

Finally with the recent traffic changes, I would encourage you to make sure that you stick to the rules.  Drop off only in the right hand lane, please DO NOT turn left and drop off children in the car park. Firstly this is dangerous (we are trying to stop students walking unaccompanied through the carpark) and secondly it causes a backlog of traffic behind you.  This is exactly what we are trying to eliminate.

Thanks for your ongoing support regarding traffic. I wish you a wonderful weekend.

Best wishes

Jak Kearney

Wednesday 21st November – Walk to school day

We would like to encourage everyone who lives within a reasonable distance from the school to walk, skate, bike or scoot on that day. Not only will this get you prepared for the Sotosol walk, but also by walking you will be reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. As we all know car emissions contribute largely to increasing greenhouse gases and general levels of pollution.

So why not walk to school and help our planet breathe fresh air?

Spanish department Benefit Christmas Dinner

Christmas is coming!!! And for one more year the Spanish Department is organising the fourth edition of our traditional Christmas charity dinner for parents and staff on Saturday 24th of November.

This year we are pleased to inform you that the dinner will be hosted in the Almenara Hotel, Sotogrande.



This event is a platform to unite the community and most importantly, to gather funds for our NGO The Kindred Project and our local community; improving Hogar Betania facilities and with that, the life of local families and children without resources.

For further information and to buy your tickets please contact the Spanish Department/ parent ambassador Sara Hägglöf or Estrella as a representative of the PTA. /  / /


Sotosol Walk and Fun Run

The 14th annual Sotosol Walk and Fun Run will take place on Sunday 25th November to raise funds for the Danii Children’s Cancer Charity, which supports very sick children and their families in an incredible number of ways.


This year there are two courses to choose from: the 5km Danii Dash or the 10 km Danii Dare.

Sotosol shirts will be on sale at the school gate from 3.30 – 4.30pm Monday to Friday next week.

All proceeds to Danii Children’s Cancer Charity

You can donate even if you cannot make the event by contributing at the gate or via the website

PTA News

What a success! Last Friday’s Autumn and Fireworks party was fantastic – thank you to everyone who came along, those who spread the word, the totally invaluable volunteers and all the children who made organising the entertainment, completely worthwhile. Between us all, over €4500 was raised, all to be used for the benefit of SIS students.


Before the PTA can put their feet up and eat lots of festive chocolates, there are 2 more events to prepare for:

  • Sotosol Run which will start and finish at school, on Sunday November 25th
  • The annual SIS Christmas Market @ Sotogrande port on Saturday December 15th.

The PTA needs your help! These events cannot take place without volunteers. If you can offer an hour or so of your time, we urge you to do so.

Contact Dineen Garcia via WhatsApp: +34 603 128 060 or email: TODAY!


The Kindred Project News

 Indonesia Emergency Appeal

Good news! Next week we will be sending €1.400 to Direct Relief – – to support their emergency response in Indonesia. This donation has been possible thanks to the following fundraising activities:

– October Rice Day led by KP Secondary volunteers: €751
– Zumbathon led by Lisa Greenwood: €229.55
– Med Steps Hike led by Ms. Jade Tattersall: €250
– Ice-Cream sale led by Dreaming Dragons and KP Primary students: €157,90

Thank you all for your generous contributions towards our Emergency Appeal.


Arts Society lecture – ‘A Galaxy of Starchitects’

Tuesday 20th November at 2.00 pm in Picasso 2 Art room

Visual arts and other interested students will have the opportunity to listen to this lecture, kindly sponsored by the Arts Society de la Frontera. Parents are also invited to attend, please email if interested.


Inspired Global Camps

As a member of the global Inspired Schools Group, we are thrilled to invite all our students to register for an Inspired Global Camp in 2019. Based in Europe and Kenya, these vibrant camps are designed to offer unique experiences that are vastly different from a conventional school day. Children can travel, connect, learn and play in an idyllic natural setting. Find out more and book your camp at:

Advisory Panel feedback 13th November

​On Tuesday 13th the Advisory Panel met ​to discuss a number of areas.

The first was the community desires for facility expansion.

The top 6 priorities were as follows.

1 – Student / staff workspace / Library
2 – Pitch (sports) and play areas
3 – Performing arts spaces
4 – Cantina
5 – Classrooms
6 – Boarding on site

The community would like these buildings to be “green” buildings where possible. This data will be passed to Inspired for further consideration.

The second area was traffic flow.

The general feedback was that the recent changes have been very positive. We are exploring further ways to make the drop off more efficient. One area that was made very clear was parental responsibility to be safe, to stick to the traffic rules and not to cut corners.​ A suggestion was made to pass the problem to the community through a “name and shame” project highlighting people who do not abide by the rules.

The third area was the cantina.

One of the parent representatives had spent 2 complete lunch times in the cantina watching the service and flow of students. The feedback was very positive, the average queue time was 4 minutes and the biggest causes of longer queue times were when secondary students decided to queue up outside their allocated entrance time.

The fourth area of discussion was sports at SIS

One of the parent representatives raised a concern about the lack of preparation for sports teams and the lack of competition in general. JK shared the difficulties that the team were facing with a change of “head of sport”, maternity cover etc in relation to team preparation. In addition, JK pointed out that we do attend every tournament that is organised by other schools along the coast and indeed host tournaments. All schools along the coast are on budgets and there are a limited number of schools for us to compete against. JK intends to seek feedback from Inspired schools to understand how this works in different regions and will report back. Moving forward, the PE team will be released from meetings on Mondays’ and Wednesdays to enable more clubs and training activities to be made available to students.

The final area discussed was about gathering accurate and timely information from parents regarding intentions for the next academic year.

Next academic year we will be full and it is therefore critical that parents give the school clear information about their intentions ASAP.  The formal cut off is March 31st to ensure the return of the deposit. However, this year, a number of families were “surprise” leavers, leaving us with a predicted shortfall of 30 students against budget. We can’t do this next year and need to seek ways to minimise this, in part because this will lead to some potential new students not being offered places in September.

For the next meeting, the parent group have been asked to research, what they would like to give feedback on when Inspired create a parent survey.  ​In addition, they have been asked to investigate how we as a community can solve the problem of last minute leavers.

Please make contact with each of your parental representatives through the following email addresses:



On Tuesday this week children from Fundamentals visited several areas of the school. They got to know the library, they played in the patio and they were able to experiment with various musical instruments in Mr Luis’ class. As it was such a fine day, they were also able to play football on the pitch.

This was a great experience for the little ones and for many of them,  it was their first experience of a bus ride.



Message from Emma Butler, Head of Primary

 P3/P4 Expressive Arts Performance

This year P3 and P4 students will present for the first time in Spain the award winning musical “Space Pirates”. This is a play about friendship and tolerance with lots of plot twists and great musical numbers! The final show will be performed for parents at the end of the second term.



Most auditions are going to take place between the 26th and 30th of November. During music lessons Mr Luis will explain how the auditions will work. This year all students will audition by singing one song from last year’s show. The song and audition information has been shared directly with each student on their Google Drive.

P2 Unit Based Trip

On Wednesday P2 students had the opportunity to see the play “Around the World in 80 Days”, an adaptation of the book by Jules Verne. An ingenious, fun and action-packed work, which the students enjoyed with their classmates and where they connected with the Spanish language. After the entertaining work, a few rays of sunshne allowed us to have a lunch in the park and some outdoor games.


P3 Celebration Trip

P3 had a fantastic day on Wednesday at the skate park in Tarifa, watching their classmate Carla Morera de la Vall receive an award at the newly improved skate park. Carla was awarded a grant from Cola Cao in their Becas Vamos programme that rewards the effort, perseverance and improvement of individual athletes. With this award and thanks to Cola Cao, she achieved her wish to improve the facilities of the skate park in Tarifa, where she enjoys this sport with her friends. A huge gesture of generosity from Carla. At the ceremony the award was presented by Gisela Pulido, prestigious elite athlete and winner of the world freestyle kite surfing.  Well done, Carla! Congratulations for this success!



P4 Unit Based Trip

The P4 trip to the sorting depot in Casares was a great thought provoking introduction for their new unit on the 5Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. P4 learned how different materials have to be sorted to enable recycling. They learned how important it is for each of us, to take action and to look after our Earth.


Parent Ambassadors: Message From Sarah Hagglof

On Tuesday it was time for this years cohort of new parent ambassadors to learn about our PYP programme. Nineteen parents of fifteen different nationalities attended a very interesting and interactive workshop led by Miss Emma Butler, Head of Primary and Miss Andrea Butler, PYP coordinator.


New timetable, starting Monday 19th November, for our free, teacher led weekly sports clubs

Monday 4-5pm – U14 Boys football training – PS
Tuesday 4-5pm – M4-M5 U16 Girls football training – MN
Tuesday 4-5pm – M1-M5 Touch rugby – CC
Tuesday 4-5pm – M1-D2 Swim training – AF
Wednesday 4-5pm – M4-M5 U16 Boys football training – AT/PS
Thursday 4-5pm – M1-M3 U14 Girls football training – SL
Friday – 8am M1-D2 Yoga – MN
Friday – 8.10am M1-D2 Swimming – PS


On Tuesday two of our SIS netballers, Isobel Chisholm and Mia Petersen, joined the Manilva Netball Club for training. The team were amazed by the girls maturity and talent, and are looking forward to the girls joining training again next week. The Manilva Netball Club is an adult team with a minimum training age of 13 years. Being the youngest ladies at training they really did do the school and themselves proud. If any other students or parents would like to join the Manilva Netball Club for training, please email or Miss Jordan (




On Monday 12th November 2 visiting maths and physics lecturers together with the professor of Physical Chemistry from Málaga University gave a 2 hour lecture to the D1 students studying maths or the physical sciences. The idea of fractal maths was explained and how these techniques are used in image generation and how the calculations are subsequently used in data compression techniques in the transmission of images, typically in applications such as Whatsapp. What followed was a novel demonstration and explanation of forces, pressures and heat capacities that involved balloons, cigarette lighters and bottles of wine.

Dr. Mark Steven Woolley
DP and MYP Physics

University & Careers News

 Last week I attended the CIS International Admissions Conference in Vienna, an excellent opportunity to reaffirm contacts with both Admissions and High School counselors and stay up to date with new developments.


”Last week I attended the CIS International Admission Conference in Vienna. The conference had nearly 700 universities and international school counselors in attendance and is an excellent opportunity to reaffirm contacts with both university admissions and high school counselors and stay up to date with new developments.

A lot of the sessions discussed Generation Z, those students born from the mid-1990s to early 2000s who are now at the point of either entering the job market or heading off to university. There were a series of excellent presentations and interactive workshops from a wide range of presenters on university admissions from many different countries. Topics ranged from Generation Z´s mobility in the job market to Oxford/Cambridge admission interviews and the expansion of French higher education English language degree courses, to name a few.

It was also a great opportunity to organise a number of specific meet-ups for our students with contacts from attending universities and establish links for our Aces sports programme with some new US Colleges.”


As this year’s conference was in Vienna, I was also able to meet up with one of our alumni, Vladislav Dolgov who is currently studying at Modul University, on the outskirts of Vienna. He told me he is really enjoying the course, and also living life to the full in Vienna!



A super busy session today for Renee Loayza-Damergi from Lynn University, as our ACES Academy athletes, were very keen to hear about opportunities at Lynn University for their futures.


Finally, parents please note that with regard to the upcoming SIS University Convention at SIS on November 26th from 2-4pm you are more than welcome to attend at any time.



The boarders had a lovely day on Saturday playing a very competitive round of mini golf! We then went to the Miramar shopping centre, which is all set up for Christmas – how exciting!



We are a learning community, passionate about providing an International Education, which inspires and encourages learning and intercultural understanding. We facilitate self-discovery and the development of unique interests, gifts and talents, whilst promoting service learning as a force for good in the world.

Copyright © 2018 Sotogrande International School, All rights reserved.

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