School Newsletter 29.11.2019


Monthly newsletter

29th November 2019

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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.

Dates for your diary

Saturday 30th November

Christmas Charity Dinner 8.30 pm Cortijo los Canos

Tuesday 3rd – Wednesday 4th

Usborne Books Bookfair

Wednesday 4th December

December Theatre Festival

Friday 6th December – Monday 9th December

Long weekend – school closed

Saturday 14th December

SIS PTA Annual Christmas Market

Monday, 16 December9:30 – 10:30am

EC1 EC2 End Of Term Expressive Arts Performance
(show 1)

Monday, 16 December11:30am – 12:30pm

P1 End Of Term Expressive Arts Performance
(show 1)

Monday, 16 December2:15 – 3:15pm

P1 End Of Term Expressive Arts Performance
(show 2)

Tuesday, 17 December9:30 – 10:30am

EC1 EC2 End Of Term Expressive Arts Performance
(show 2)

Tuesday, 17 December11:30am – 12:30pm     

P2 End Of Term Expressive Arts Performance
(show 1)

Tuesday, 17 December2:15 – 3:00pm    

P2 End Of Term Expressive Arts Performance
(show 2)

Wednesday, 18 December

Rice Day

Friday, 20 December

Last day of Autumn term – school closes at midday, 12:00

Friday, 20 December

Send a Child to School Day for Primary only

Friday, 20 December

M1-M5 Parent Teacher Consultations 9am-1pm

Friday, 20 December

D1 & D2 Home Study Day

Dear Parents and Guardians,

On Monday we hosted our annual University Convention with some top class universities attending from across Europe. The range and diversity of attendees continues to improve year on year. This year I had the pleasure of attending the convention with Nick Wergan, Inspired European Educational Director. Nick commented that the breadth of provision that we have on offer at SIS is incredible. I enjoyed chatting with the representative from Warwick University, where I completed my Masters and Nick connected with the representative from Exeter, where he completed his degree. The success of this event is a credit to the Diploma team and Mr. Mungles, our University and Careers Counselor, as well as the D1 student helpers, who supported the event this year. Please join me in thanking him for his time in cultivating relationships with universities and for his preparation in planning this yearly event.

Yesterday we saw the 4th Jason Floyd tournament of the academic year, with the launch of the 2 day Triple A 500 series at Real Club de Golf Sotogrande. SIS has student representatives in the Under 16 and Under 21 category. We wish all of the entrants success in the event!

This morning we hosted our 3rd ‘Travel to School in a Green Way Day’. Thank you again to everyone who gets up a little earlier to brave the dark mornings and take a walk, ride or skate to school. I think it is a wonderful way to start the day and end the week. Modeling these values and habits to our children and students from a young age means they are more likely to stick with them as they grow up.

Our much appreciated Parent Ambassador Programme is starting up again next Wednesday the 3rd of December. This programme is an amazing opportunity for SIS parents and guardians to learn more about our unique approach to education, to find out about the creation of our mission, to understand more about the IB system and to learn about our support systems within the school. During this first session we will explore what it means to be a Parent Ambassador as well as a connected learner. Please email Sara Hagglof, if you are interested in joining the programme.

As Movember draws to a close, I wanted to use the opportunity to reflect on the month. Not only has it been a month of laughs, connectedness, unity as a band of mo-growers, and community – as you have offered us support as the hair on our faces has grown steadily more silly! We have also had an impact. Read the SIS Mo Bro’s blog where we, the hairy teachers, have shared our experiences.  This really is the last chance to sponsor us, no donation is too small.

Finally, I would like to remind all parents of a couple of procedures we have in place to keep our students safe. 

Student Absence – if your child is absent from school for any reason, please inform your child’s Classroom Teacher, for primary students, and Advisor, for secondary students, via email before 9am. 

After School Pick Up – Students from P5 can wait safely at the school gate, where parents can drive up, pull in and collect them. May I remind you it is both dangerous and illegal to park and collect students at the roundabout.  Recently, the police have fined parents for doing this. 

Thank you for following these guidelines and helping to keep our students safe.

I wish you a relaxing weekend,

Jak Kearney

PTA News

SIS PTA Christmas Market, 14th December 12-4pm, 

Ribera Del Marlin, Puerto Sotogrande.

There are now nearly 30 stalls booked to showcase at the market. There will be Christmas produce and treats, gifts, unique products, a tombola, the SIS choirs and of course Santa’s Grotto (be there in time to see him arrive on his exciting new sleigh!) and so much more.

Again, there will be a fantastic raffle with truly outstanding prizes. This year the draw will take place at 3pm and there are lots of prizes to be won and these are just the top 4!

  1. Apple iphone 11
  2. 300w, 30km/hr electric scooter (donated by
  3. A night in The Rock Suite PLUS breakfast for 2 on board the Sunborn
  4. Green fees for 2 + shared golf cart at La Reserva (3 vouchers)

Raffle tickets have been sent home with all students – increase your chances of winning these and many more fantastic prizes by requesting more tickets (available from reception).

Last year you were incredibly supportive by donating Tombola gifts and we’re hoping that you’ll be kind enough to do so again. There will be a collection at the school gate and outside the chiringuito on the morning on Friday 13th December. So that they can be properly sorted into those for adults and those for children, please leave gifts unwrapped.
Suggested items include: sweet treats, wine, small gifts, toiletries etc.

Would you like to be one of the stallholders or donate a raffle prize?
Contact to book your place.


U16 and U13 Basketball

Over the past two weeks the U13 and U16 basketball teams have travelled to Aloha College to compete against 10 other schools from the Costa del Sol. The highly competitive tournaments were a great platform for the students to display their individual skills practiced in training with Coach Evan, whilst ensuring they worked as a cohesive team to boost their performance. Both the U13 boys and girls teams as well as the U16 girls team finished in 5th place, whereas the U16 boys team, coached by D2 student Albert K., came in a very respectable 6th place. On both occasions, SIS was solely recognised by the referees as being one of the most respectful schools present.

We commend all students representing SIS with their politeness, respect and determination, truly displaying our community’s values to a wider platform. All teams returned to school with their heads held high, knowing that with further practice, victory can be just around the corner. Well done everyone!

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the U19 basketball tournament has had to be postponed, but we encourage the players to continue coming to practice for when the right time comes for them to represent SIS on that basketball court. Victory could be just around the corner.

U13 and U15 Swimming Gala

November has been a busy month for our SIS swimmers with the school hosting back-to-back galas for our U11s, U15s and U13s. 

Our U11 Primary Swimming Gala took place on 12 November, giving all our P6 students the opportunity to take part in 3 events each against competitors from Swans School in Marbella. Our swimmers put in some exceptionally strong performances with Ella A. putting in the fastest times for the SIS Girls in the 25M Freestyle and 25M Breaststroke events. Angelina S. was our top swimmer in the 25M Backstroke and our Butterfly swimmers Isla C. and Paloma A. tied  in 28.09 seconds.

Our P6 boys did equally well, with Angus M. and Connor R. being the fastest SIS swimmers in the 25M Freestyle and 25M Backstroke events respectively, and Harry H. taking the honours in the 25M Breaststroke and 25M Butterfly races. Unfortunately this time we were pipped at the post by Swans in the relay events but a re-match has been promised very soon!

The following week saw SIS once more hosting Swans for our U15 Gala and this time being joined by a team of swimmers from Prior Park School in Gibraltar. M3’s Mia P. was on top form, winning both the 25M Butterfly and the 100M Freestyle events. Stella B. from M4 took gold in the 100M Individual Medley and Julia T. was the winner of the 50M Breaststroke event. Representing the boys, Rafa M. took first place in the 50M Butterfly event, winning by a margin of more than 6 seconds.

The SIS girls were unbeatable in the relays taking both the Medley and Freestyle relay golds but the boys were held off by Swans in their events and had to settle for silver. The finale of the Gala was the Skins event, a knockout competition which saw one swimmer eliminated from each round. An exciting last round saw SIS swimmers Stella B. and Mia P. go head to head, with Stella winning by a whisker.

ISAA Tournament

On Thursday 7th November, our varsity footballers set off to a very cold London as a part of SIS’ debut in the prestigious ISAA Football tournament hosted by The American International School in England and saw additional opposition from International schools all over the world. Over the course of 2 days both teams showed an impressive workrate and attitude despite the muddy and harsh weather conditions and were commended by various schools on the character displayed on and off the pitch. The girls played for 5th position in a nail-biting match against Cobham, which they won after a brilliant display of penalties, meanwhile the boys team finished as champions, beating Geneva who had previously held them to a draw in the group stages. Two of our students received further recognition by receiving trophies for ‘Defender of the Tournament (Bradley C) and ‘Goalkeeper of the Tournament’ (Xavier). A massive congratulations to all students involved, we are all very proud of you!

Andalusian Showjumping Championship 

Blanca V obtained first place in the Andalusian Showjumping Championship celebrated in the equestrian center Dehesa Montenmedio. She competed in the juvenile category jumping 1,20m obstacles with her horse Athos. Well done Blanca!

The Kindred Project

We are thrilled to offer our most sincere congratulations to Begoña Arana, Director of Hogar Betania, for receiving the prestigious Princesa de Girona Award in the Social Category from the King and Queen of Spain. Hogar Betania does fantastic work helping to support socially excluded families and individuals or those at risk of social exclusion. There is a centre for permanent residents as well as offering 25 beds and a soup kitchen for the homeless. The work done at the centre, all lead by Begoña, is phenomenal and we are extremely proud of the recognition this work has received. The Kindred Project has partnered with Hogar Betania since 2013 working on a range of projects, including our Rice Day fundraisers which support the Hogar Betania Summer Camps and the annual Hogar Betania Christmas Party. Many students also choose to base their community and personal projects around supporting this local partner.



This years’ Readathon was the most successful yet raising a huge 2160 euros and 14 cents! These funds will all be added to our St Kizito Library project, which is aiming to build a library at the partnered secondary school in Uganda. The total needed for the project is 7,000€ so this money raised by our Primary students is a huge help! Thank you to each and every Primary student who took part, and of course to all of those who sponsored our readers!

This month has been extremely exciting for The Kindred Project Team as our wonderful leader, Valentina, has been able to fly out to our partner school in Uganda for the very first time. With the first class of P7’s graduating from NCLC, we couldn’t think of a more fitting occasion for Valentina to witness first hand the magic of this wonderful school. Please keep up to date with Valentina’s trip on The Kindred Project social media pages and watch this space for a full update next month!

Inspired by the Wharton family and supported by The Kindred Project’s Dreaming Dragons, our Bahamas Emergency Appeal activities managed to raise a total of €2.000 towards the Grand Bahamas Disaster Relief Foundation to support the victims of devastating Hurricane Dorian. If you would like to support the disaster relief activities in the Bahamas, please click on the following link:

Cantina News

The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (Aesan), dependent on the Ministry of Health, states in its recommendations that the vulnerable population (pregnant women, infants or children up to ten years) should not consume four specific species “identified with a high mercury content. These are swordfish or emperor, bluefin tuna, sharks and pike. That is why we removed these species from the school menu (they were offered once a month) for children under the age of 10.

We will continue to offer fish because of their importance in children’s diets for their protein content, Omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, vitamins ultimately for their nutritional quality. The fish currently offered in the Cantina are pollock, cod, hake, palometa fish and salmon and we will introduce fish such as rosada and gallo* in the next menus.


Childhood Vaccinations

Vaccination can be an emotive issue for many parents.Everyone wants to protect their children and it can be a difficult decision for some whether to vaccinate or not.Sometimes it can be hard to find dependable, impartial information.

The nurses welcome any parents to come and discuss vaccination with them in an open and non judgemental manner.We respect parental choice and would like to help parents make informed choices about the health of their children.



This is one in a series of articles about vaccination. This month the topic is measles. Cases of measles are currently on the increase across Europe.

To understand how vaccination works it helps to understand about herd immunity and the role it plays.

Herd immunity is when vaccination of enough of the population (or herd) provides protection for those who have not developed immunity. The European Vaccine Action Plan advises that 95% of the population needs to be immune to measles ( through exposure or vaccination) to ensure community protection for everyone – babies too young to have the vaccine and those who are unable to have the vaccine for medical reasons.If numbers of vaccinated people fall then outbreaks of preventable diseases become more common as herd immunity is lost. Adequate levels of vaccination protects everyone.

There is a vaccine against measles. The combined MMR vaccine provides protection against measles, mumps and rubella. Since the introduction of the MMR vaccine 575 million doses have been given worldwide.Two doses, given at a year old and again before school, provide more than 95% protection against measles.  

The World Health Organisation reports that across Europe in the first half of 2019 there were 90,000 cases and 37 deaths from measles.This is compared to 5,273 cases for the same period in 2016. Complications from measles include ear infections (7 to 9%), pneumonia ( 1 to 6% ), diarrhoea ( 8%) and convulsions ( 0.5%). Other complications include inflammation of the brain/encephalitis ( 1 to 4 cases per 1000-2000 cases of measles) and SSPE ( another type of encephalitis ) which has a fatality rate of 1 in 25 000.Historically, prior to vaccination programmes, the fatality rate for measles was 1 in 5000.

There are a number of links below that provide evidence based information on measles and the MMR vaccine.

Please email or phone 9567 959 02 ext 2405 to make an appointment if you would like to discuss any of the issues raised.


Extracurricular Activities

Ballroom Dance is now open!

Every Friday from 4:00pm until 5:00pm. 


Music Production Club- Workshop for P6 to D2 Students 

My name is Miguel Gutiérrez, musical producer of artists such as Just Luis, Spirit Of Sivana, Odille Lima, Priscilla Due, Dario Nuñez, Miguel Blonde, Julio Cuba and Aurelio Vargas among others.

I currently work for the Blanco y Negro Music publishing label, in addition to my own record label MAITRi Records.

I also teach a music production course, MYMY – Make Your Music Yourself, at the SIS facilities in Sotogrande.

The course is based on the Maschine MK3 music production workstation of the German company Native Instruments. This workstation consolidated in the last 10 years as one of the most used tools in the music industry.

The course is divided into three levels:

Initiation Level: Organization, Programming, Editing, Composition, basic knowledge of Musical Language, Recording Techniques, Mixing Initiation.

Medium Level: Advanced Mixing, Panning, Phase Errors, Equalisation, Compression, Reverberation, Time Effects.

Advanced Level: Home Studio Optimization, Sound Design, Synthesis, Advanced Effect, Parallel Technique, Mastering Initiation, Editorials.

Classes have a maximum of 10 students and they run for two hours from 4:00 p.m. until  6:00 p.m., one day a week on Wednesdays or Thursdays.

On December the 18th from 1:00pm until 2:00pm I am doing an open session for P6 and all secondary students in the Primary Music room. 

Please come in if you would like to know more about the course. 

Let’s go diving!

During this term, we have had some of our Students, Nico, Ruari, Carla and Genny who are going to complete their Open Water Diver Course in few days and are already having fun in the sea! 

This is a great opportunity to everybody interested on this amazing activity so let it go and join the scuba diving lessons in our SIS pool. 

There will be a meeting  for the second trimester course at the SIS chiringuito near the pool on 11th and 12th December for subscription and information from 3:00 to 5:30 pm-

Let’s go diving!

La Reserva

Festive Season at La Reserva Club

Eat, Drink and BE MERRY…

… Join us to celebrate Christmas in style in Sotogrande, with your family, friends and work colleagues. There will be festive afternoon tea throughout December, Christmas day brunch with live music and different set menus available for an unforgettable Christmas group celebration. More information here

Message From Emma Butler

Message From Emma Butler, Head of Primary

November has been a very busy month for Primary and I would like to share some of the highlights.

Fireworks Night

Thank you and well done to our Primary choir who performed so well and with so much confidence at the whole school fireworks party.


Early Childhood Open Day

Thank you to parents and teachers who helped make our first Early Childhood Open Day a great success.


Early Childhood education is the next step for our older children at Fundamentals, and this month they were invited, along with their parents, to spend a morning at Sotogrande International School.

Fundamental’s children had the chance to meet the teachers, explore the classrooms and beautiful outside areas while their parents learnt about the style of teaching and the Reggio Emilia inspired PYP curriculum.

Thank you to everyone at SIS who made us feel so welcome, and we hope to visit again soon.

Early Childhood

Christmas is Coming……Not long now!

The preparations for EC1/ EC2 and P1/P2 winter productions are well underway. It has been wonderful to hear the children practice their lines and songs when walking around the classrooms and music room this week. The students should feel very proud of the hard work they are putting in. We are all very excited and very much looking forward to the performances at the end of term.

Early Childhhood

Within Primary we encourage and use flexible learning spaces to maximise our students’ experiences. In addition to our indoor classrooms and multipurpose  learning spaces, we also make the most of our surroundings and often use our outdoor classrooms and forest area. It was lovely seeing the students from EC2 and  Mr Brown using our forest area to take part in some maths investigations.


Using Technology To Support Learning.


Connected to their Unit of Inquiry P3 are currently developing computational thinking skills. Students are creating stories by coding actions, customs and sounds of characters and scenes. To demonstrate their understanding, the students screen-recorded video tutorials to explain step by step their story creation. Well done P3!

P4 - P5

Unit Based Excursions


P4 had a very educational and interesting trip to the Recycling Plant in Casares. Here they saw the rubbish being offloaded from the trucks, grabbed by a giant mechanical claw and put on the conveyor belt. They learnt all about how rubbish is sorted, how the food waste is collected and turned in to compost in giant sheds, how the cans are collected with a magnet, and how the glass and paper are sorted. The students also got to see first hand, the giant landfill sites where the rubbish that can’t be recycled is buried.


As part of their unit on Beliefs, P5 enjoyed a visit to some of the places of worship they have been learning about. Beginning at the Stupa de la Ilanumnacion in Benalmadena the children explored the Buddhist belief system and learned about meditation. They then visited the Beth El Synagogue in Marbella where they connected their learning from the classroom with the artefacts on show. Finally, the students also observed the King Abdul Aziz Mosque in San Pedro, to appreciate the diverse number of places of worship in our local area.


Data collection/analysis and video editing

As part of their unit on Marketing P6 are using technology in a variety of ways, exploring the different ways that technology can be used to collect and analyze data. In addition to, and as part of their final advertisement they are creating video commercials using advanced video editing skills (multi-cam, auto-cue text features) so that they can market their products. 

In connection with their unit on marketing the P6 students also visited our local supermarkets earlier this month. They have working in groups and each group had at least one representative to feedback from each of the supermarkets on their return. They collected a wide range of information which enabled them to explore the use of strategies including; promotions, placements, packaging and price. They have expanded their understanding and are applying that to produce soap which they will package, advertise and sell at the PTA Christmas Market on the 14th of December. 


Pre-Engineering and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) extra-curricular activities are in full swing this term.  From rubber band cars and paper circuits built by our youngest engineers to electric cars and 3D design by our older students, these clubs provide opportunities to design, collaborate, and think creatively about how to solve problems. While the results are always fun, the best part is the process, which helps cultivate a growth mindset and resilience.  Thank you Miss Cari and the Team for running this club.


Russian Art Trip

M1-M4 students visited Russian museum collection in Malaga. After a short stop for snack and play by the sea, we had an interactive guided tour of the collection of the paintings brought to Malaga from St Petersburg. The exhibition dedicated to the images of women from ancient icons to modern paintings. Students had an opportunity to learn about famous artists, their techniques and see how historical events and social changes affected the way women lived. Our M5 student Sofya Tsoi, as a part of her Personal Project, delivered a talk on the history of fashion, followed by a team competition for M1 and M2. 

Special thanks to Eduardo, who came with us and helped a lot! We had so much fun.

Writing Competition

The Language and Literature Department were delighted to take 17 SIS students to Swans School to compete in the VII Inter School Creative Writing Competition.

Students were writing under pseudonyms in English, Spanish and for the first time, Russian, initiated by SIS. Thanks to Yulia Knottenbelt for encouraging other schools to put forward their Russian students to write.The results of the competition will be announced after the Christmas break, but in the meantime, I would like to thank the following students for their participation:

Writing in English
Mikolay D
Cassius J
Tess M

Writing in Russian
Elizaveta G
Karina S
Alisa M

Writing in Spanish
Candela V
Teresa A
Mikel A

Inter-School Debate

On Friday 22nd November, 17 students from Sotogrande participated in a Costa Inter-school debate at Swans. After an intense day of debating, the M5 and the D1 teams both got through to the finals. with the motion: The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union and that the June 2016 vote needs to be respected’ . After two tough rounds, with stiff opposition I am delighted to announce that Sotogrande won both matches and came home with two trophies to be proud of.

Well done to all the students who took part. They were all committed, well prepared and a credit to the school.

Diploma Maths

On Thursday 7th November, nine of our most fearless DP mathematicians took part in the UKMT Senior Maths Challenge, a competition that consists of solving 25 brain-bending maths puzzles designed to make the candidates think. We have just received the results back from the University of Leeds, and we have a very impressive haul of awards: 1 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze certificates. Many congratulations to everyone involved.

Students from over 2,000 schools take part in this competition, and we would like to further congratulate Jasper Chou in particular for scoring in the top 10%.


Resultado de imagen de UKMT Senior Maths Challenge

M2 Permaculture workshops

In our modern, globalised world we are usually completely unaware of where our food comes from. M2 students have been considering these questions about their food: How far has it travelled? Who grew this? What impact has it had on the environment? Is it safe to eat? What is the carbon footprint of this food? How could we grow food more sustainably and actually regenerate the environment?

On Monday the 11th November, Jacob Evans, an expert in permaculture and regenerative systems visited the school to work with the M2 students. He presented information about the Permaculture and yoga retreat at Danyadara. He explained how an abandoned swimming pool at the site was converted into a sustainable building to house volunteers as well as the benefits of dry, composting toilets in terms of saving valuable, water resources and developing circular systems for agriculture. He brought organic olives and lettuce for the students to taste that had been grown without chemicals and in an integrated approach to farming that actually allows biodiversity  to flourish and regenerate the soil. Students also worked in the permaculture garden at the school planting strawberries, lettuce and carrots and considered the advantages of growing food in guilds.

Thank you to the teachers, especially Peter Reichert and of course Jacob Evans from Danyadara. Below is a link to the amazing work Danyadara are doing to regenerate the land around their centre. If you are interested in learning more about this form of agriculture please visit the link 

Many of our boarding students have taken part in an array of different activities this month. Firework Night was a huge success where several of our boarders performed, helped out backstage and supported several food stalls. We would like to congratulate Shannon, Aiman, Manon and Gloria who took part in the ISAA football tournament and Xavier who won goalkeeper of the tournament.

Ilia has been awarded golfer of the month and Matthew has played in the semi-final of a highly competitive tennis tournament! Many of our students travelled to Swans School at the end of the month as part of a debate team and a group of students hosted a Russian night which consisted of an evening of presentations where they each had an opportunity to talk about their hometown and celebrate the cultural diversity at the Boarding House.

A First Aid course was held at the house this month. The students practiced CPR whilst learning how to use a defibrillator and what to do during a cardiac arrest. It is important the students have an opportunity to develop skills outside of the classroom and they now have a 2 year First Aid qualification for both the UK and Spain!

It was great to receive the boarders reports this week as results continue to increase year on year. We hope many of our MYP students follow past boarders who have had the top academic results across the school.

In November the Boarding House received a new pool table, an acoustic piano and new gym equipment. By continuously developing and updating our facilities, the students are able to try new activities and expand their skill set.

For more updates and photos, please follow our new Instagram page @sotoschoolboarding


The activities this month included a trip to Jerez to a fantastic trampoline park and mini golf in Fuengirola! The boarders were also taken to a chocolate factory and shown how chocolates are produced with a chance to create their own with the help of a professional. There have also been trips to the cinema, bowling, and indoor laser tag!

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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