School Newsletter 08.09.2017

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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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8th September 2017

  Versión española 

 School Calendar

Monday 11 SeptemberMeet the MYP Coordinator and Managebac workshop for M1-M5 parents  – 09:30 at San Roque Campus
Monday 11 SeptemberP5 & P6 parents are invited to Meet the Year Group teams – 15:40 -16:40 in Timber Building
Tuesday 12 SeptemberActivities Fair – 16:00 -17:00 in Gym and Cantina (see below)
Tuesday 12 SeptemberEC2 & P1 parents are invited to Meet the Year Group teams – 15:40 -16:40 in their classrooms in Little Einsteins building
Tuesday 12 SeptemberM5 Personal Project Parents’ Information Meeting  – 16:15- 17:15 in the theatre
Wednesday 13 SeptemberP2, P3 & P4 parents are invited to Meet the Year Group teams – 15:40 -16:40 in their classrooms in Sue Jenkins building
Thursday 14 – Friday 15 SeptemberM1- D2 Bonding trips

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome to the new academic year!

I would like to begin with a huge thank you to everyone who came to school on Monday to welcome our new families to Sotogrande International School.  The day was a lovely point of welcome, with students, parents and staff giving up their time to meet new families and assimilate them into our community.

The work over the summer has gone well.  We created new teaching spaces in primary and secondary, some new changing rooms by the pitch, a new 3 on 3 basketball court and we are in the process of covering the pool! In addition we worked on making the walkways around the outside of the school safer and created a traffic safety video.

Please see video link below.

Video Safety

The pool will be completed by the first week of October and the finalised safety walkways by the end of September.

As a school focused on feedback and improvement we have a structure that enables stakeholders from all groups to give feedback and share thoughts on operational developments.  The key parent representatives on this Advisory Board, which meets monthly, are listed below, along with their email addresses. Please feel free to contact them with any comments you wish to be shared.

Tuesday was a true delight. I really enjoyed welcoming everyone back to school in the morning.  You never realise how much you miss something, until you stop doing it.  I have truly missed my morning hello’s, discussions and hugs! We also experienced our first full day of the new cantina.  I have asked Jose Miguel to write an update for you below.  The feedback on day 1 was really positive from all.

This year we opened to 918 students, an increase of 50 students.  This increase of students required an increase of staff, resulting in 3 new teaching roles in primary and 5 in secondary.   We have also changed our pastoral organisation in boarding. I invite you to find out a little more about our new team in the section below.

Following re-marks, I wanted to update you on our IB results for the 2017 cohort. For our flagship IB Diploma programme, 44 students took and passed the full IB diploma with an average of 33 IB points and four students gaining 40 points or higher.

Mia Porral-Gibson – 40 points
Lauren Hidalgo  – 40 points
Angelina Musayev – 40 points
Scarlet Jenkins – 41 points

This represents a 90% diploma pass rate with 40% of diploma students achieving a bilingual diploma.

Following the release of the A-level results and UK clearing, we are proud to announce that 89% of our students achieved a place at their first or second choice university and 98% of our students were able to be placed at university.  This year we saw a greater number of students choose to study at prestigious universities in the Netherlands, with a strong placement in science based courses.

Finally I would like to congratulate 5 M2 students, who go by the name of Radio Edit! They performed at the Gibraltar Music festival last weekend.  With VIP access all areas passes, their own dressing room across the corridor from Craig David and their very own stage, they not only had a wonderful experience, but were a true credit to SIS.  Congratulations to Chloe, Ricky, Ralph, Louie and Felix, who smashed it!

I wish you a wonderful weekend.

Best wishes

Jak Kearney

School menus available

School menus are now available on the SIS app and website.  Please note, only students registered with special dietary requirements with the school nurse will receive vegetarian meals.

You will need the most up to date version of the SIS app to see the menus. So please remember to go to the App Store or Google Play Store and select the update.

 Message from the Catering Manager

We have to offer, experiment, take nothing for granted because our children can surprise us.

Hello everyone, my name is José Miguel Ledesma and I am the new Catering Manager of the school this year. I am an Economics graduate who a few years ago decided to dedicate myself to what I like most; which is nothing other than cooking. I studied a Masters in Gastronomy at the Hostelry School of Seville and since then I have been working in this world that fascinates me. I worked at the Schilo Restaurant in Finca Cortesin and then managed three restaurants in Gibraltar until I was selected by the school to undertake this new personal and professional adventure.

I understand that going forward the activity of the Cantina should focus not only on offering a daily menu to please the palate of our children, but also on looking for a healthy meal (which will not be synonymous with boring or tasteless), on trying to use seasonal products whenever possible, as well as providing menus which take notice of the climate and the international nature of the school.

For this year I have set a number of goals and priorities, which are:

  1. To promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables; four of the five weekly days we will have only fresh fruit for dessert and one day a week yogurt, curd, ice cream, etc.
  2. To prepare the food in the most appropriate way to preserve a better flavour.
  3. To try to educate and promote appropriate dietary behaviours guaranteeing the consumption of healthy foods from infancy … and reduce as much as possible the use of sauces such as ketchup, mayonnaise, etc.
  4. To try to give all the necessary nutritional education tools: to children, adolescents and their families.
  5. To try to stock up on local and seasonal foods as much as the volume of meals in the school dining room permits this.
  6. To replace sugary products and fried foods with healthier alternatives.

I know that this will be neither an easy nor a quick job, so I ask for your patience and I hope that throughout the year improvements will become noticeable; I want the best for our children!!!

A little bit about me – meet our new teaching staff


Alejandro Tortelero

My name is Alejandro and I have been teaching Spanish in different countries around the world. I have spent my last two years as a teacher of Language and Literature in the city of London and it has been a very gratifying and enriching experience. I look forward to working as a teacher in this wonderful community at Sotogrande International School. My interests outside of school include traveling, swimming, cooking, and my ultimate challenge is learning to play drums at school.


Chris French

I am delighted to have taken over the role of co-ordinating the ACES programme at SIS, one of the school’s flexible pathways for learning. My specialism for the past 15 years has been teaching Business and Economics, a field that is constantly ‘in flux’ especially in a post-Brexit Europe. I have been living and working in Spain since 2008, working at an international school in Marbella. My interests outside school include following Malaga and Blackburn Rovers, I am also a keen amateur golfer, although I lose a lot of balls.


David Rakowski

Born and raised in Canada, but as my surname betrays, I’m also Polish! I’m very excited about making a positive impact in my two roles at SIS this year: Deputy House Master of the Boarding House and English Language Development Teacher. Prior to Spain, I´ve worked in schools in Kazakhstan, England and Switzerland. I love the outdoors and also trying new and exotic foods, but I can’t stand liquorice. Yuck


Jade Vidler

I am passionate about boarding because of the vast range of opportunities it provides for students. Moving from boarding schools in the UK, I am very pleased to be becoming part of the SIS boarding team and look forward to helping shape the fun, lively and welcoming boarding house. As a lover of hockey and the outdoors, I am very excited to be joining the PE team at SIS, and hope to get involved in many aspects of school life.


Stlyianos Tavoularis

I will be the IBDP Core (ToK & EE) Leader in SIS and I will contribute to the delivery of MYP Individuals and Humanities as well. I have studied philosophy in Athens, Greece as well as Durham and Sheffield in the UK. I have taught IBDP Philosophy, ToK and Language A: Literature during the last six years in Greece, Saudi Arabia and Armenia. I like to live my life and socialise outdoors in good weather, cycling and playing with my two boys. I have decided to work in SIS because I wish my own children to enjoy the quality of education that the school has to offer.


Darren Mortimer

My name is Darren and I have been teaching in various countries around the world for many years. I have taught in China, Qatar and the United Kingdom. I will be teaching MYP Film and I am looking to promote film across the school and in the wider community. I have recently completed a Masters Degree in Film Production and am looking forward to sharing new ideas with the students. I am extremely excited for this new challenge and am really happy about being here in Sotogrande. I am a keen sportsman and enjoy participating in football, golf and tennis.


Loic Vertuaux

I am French originally, but I consider myself rather as a world citizen. I have been living and working as a French teacher in different places, institutions and with different year groups in France, in Great-Britain, in Hungary, and lately in Istanbul, Turkey, where I spent almost a decade.In the past, I have mostly worked in French bilingual schools. So, teaching in an international school stands as a good opportunity and a new challenge for me to develop my skills.I am passionate in my life as well as in my work, and I am always happy to try and incorporate new techniques and even technology into my teaching practice to enrich the learning experience for students, and to make the French language more exciting, and a bit more fun.


Jenna Sichel

I am looking forward to working as a Psychology Assistant at SIS as its ethos strongly supports the mental, emotional, physical and social needs of students. Working in both the boarding house and the school I hope to nurture students in these areas whilst developing my own skills in such an encouraging environment. I love to try new things, and experience different cultures. I have visited over 40 countries and Spain will be the fourth I have lived in. I also love to cook and to do anti-gravity yoga. I hope to find a club in the area!


Alex Smith

I have been teaching for 17 years. After initially teaching in the UK in roles that have included Head of PE and Faculty Leader my desire to work overseas became a reality. Firstly in the UAE as Director of Sport, then in China as Head of PE and now I am delighted to be employed as the Head of Sport at SIS.Having played a variety of competitive sports, my personal favourites being football and rugby, although these days I am more likely to be found in the veteran teams, I have a lifelong passion for the subject.My aim is to promote excellence, to promote health and fitness to the whole community of SIS and to inspire the future generation to enjoy a lifelong commitment to sports, regardless of their ability.


Sarah Shuttleworth

I have been teaching Chemistry, Science and Mathematics for 20 years, after leaving industry as an analytical chemist. I love teaching and have taught in many parts of Spain as well as New Zealand and Cyprus.  I will be teaching Science and Chemistry at SIS. I also enjoy sport, more as a spectator now, especially my beloved Leicester City football team. I also enjoying dining out, travel and quizzes.


Kevin Smith

I will be teaching MYP Science and Diploma Environmental Systems and Societies. I have previously taught in England and Spain over the past 7 years. My educational subject background focused on Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Genetics, Geography, Pharmacology and Physiology. Apart from secondary Science I have previously taught Biology, Chemistry & Environmental Studies up to A-Level / HL Diploma level. I enjoy tinkering with old cars, trying to play football and watching Spurs, most water sports and a little skiing.


Chris Cournane

I have been teaching for 19 years, starting off in my home country of New Zealand and then more recently in Spain and the UK. I have taught a variety of age ranges and lead subjects such as Science, Maths and Physical Education. I am very excited to be teaching in P6 at SIS and giving children the chance to grow, progress, enhance their love of learning and equip themselves with the tools to continue to develop in an ever changing and challenging world. Outside of school I enjoy playing and watching sport (especially the All Blacks), and I am looking forward to exploring the region with my wife and 2 children as well as getting to grips with Padel and paddle boarding.


Joana Santos

I am a Primary Teacher with 7 years of experience in Portugal, Africa, UK and Spain. Teaching is definitely a vocation and the only job in the world I enjoy doing. For the past two years I have been a full time mum and I cannot think of a better place to get back in action than SIS. I will be working as a teaching assistant in P2. My interests outside school include traveling and watching live mu


Sarah Martínez

I’m looking forward to working as a teaching assistant in PYP3 at SIS. I am passionate about music and have shared that passion, teaching students for the last 12 years. I have moved from Valencia where I ran my own music academy. My interests outside school include dancing, travelling and cinema.


Aleisha Talbot

Coming to SIS as a Psychology Assistant who also gets to live in the Boarding house is a dream, as it means I can combine my love of Psychology with the love of working with young people. I judge myself on the positive impact I can have in the lives of others and am really looking forward to the change I can make for both the boarders and the students at school. Professionally, I have been working mainly in Brain Injury Rehabilitation for the last few years, but for fun I was also an Army Cadet Instructor! My outdoorsy background means that when I´m not working, I am doing anything I can to get active! I climb, run, hike, kayak, swim and would call myself a ‘good novice’ in weightlifting! However, I am awful at team sports due to my endless need to just run towards the ball! (Imagine a puppy playing football).

Advisory Board parent representatives

With a remit to help the school take the best possible decisions on operational matters, the Advisory Board is consultative in nature and comprises representatives of students, parents and staff.

Each member of the Advisory Board represents the whole community but, as parents, do connect with any of the following to ensure that your views are heard

Activities Fair – 12th September

Dear Parents and carers

Next Wednesday at 4pm on the 12th of September in the school Gym and Cantina we will be holding our annual Activities Fair. Activities will be split into five different core themes, Arts, Sports, Curriculum Enrichment, Science and IT. An activities booklet will be circulated soon so that you can choose from all the different classic and new options we have for your children. You will also be able to sign in your child directly using a QR code. If you wish to use this method please ensure you have a QR code reader  and Google docs already installed on your mobile phone.

I wish you a wonderful weekend and hope to welcome you all on Tuesday.

Luis Saraiva

Activities Coordinator

Back to School Anxiety

It’s perfectly normal for parents and students to be nervous at the start of the school year, especially if it’s a new school or a transition to a new part of the school. Our school Psychologist, Dr Kelly Lewis-Cole, has prepared some tips for parents to help deal with back-to-school anxiety.
Dealing with Back to School Anxiety

Radio Edit

Radio Edit, SIS’s homegrown rock band made up of Ricardo Gallardo Muñoz, Ralph Halkett, Louie Wickersham, Chloe Barnett and Felix Jones stunned MTV and rock fans at last weekend’s “Gibraltar Calling” festival. They were treated like stars with their dressing room next door to household names such as Ricky Martin, The Village People, Steve Aoki, and many more. After their performance they were then invited into the MTV VVIP box to watch the rest of the show with the other artists. Check them out at

Message from Emma Butler, Head of Primary

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful summer break!

Over the summer there has been many improvements to our Primary School, all of which will improve the teaching and learning opportunities and experiences for our students. We have now expanded to three form entry in all but one of our year groups. This expansion has also meant an increase in teaching staff, teaching assistants, support staff and teaching areas.

All of the Primary Team are looking forward to a fantastic year ahead.

First week of school

We really have had a fantastic start to the new school year. It was wonderful welcoming back all the returning students and seeing their smiling faces as they met their friends and new teachers. It was equally as wonderful welcoming all our new students. Walking around the three primary building this week children were enjoying their learning and enjoying their new learning spaces.

What a wonderful start for our youngest students!

On Thursday we welcomed our youngest students in EC1. Starting school at three and four years is always an important day and milestone. It has been a delight to watch these children settling in, making friends and playing together.


Meeting the year group teaching teams

‘Meet the teaching team’ meetings will be held next week. These meetings are important for both new and returning parents. They will be based in the year group teaching areas.
Monday 11th September 3.40 P5/P6
Tuesday 12th September 3.40 EC2/P1
Wednesday 13th September 3.40 P2/P3/P4
All the primary class sites should be up and running next week.
The class sites can either be accessed through the school app on your mobiles or through the following links on the internet.
It is important the parents access the google sites on a weekly basis. The sites hold lots of information information including, curriculum information, useful resources for learning, home activities and a weekly blog so that you can see what has been going on in school and help support your child’s learning at home.

Links to the primary class sites

Whatsapp class groups

Please remember that the class Whatsapp groups created by school are set up for short and urgent messages from the school and teachers. Please do not use the group as a forum for discussion as important messages can then get lost. Please always go directly to the teachers if you have any queries.


Key Dates for MYP and DP

Please click here for MYP 2017-18 calendar.
Please click here for DP 2017-18 calendar.



Assist has negotiated an exceptional 20% discount on all activities and services at the Elysium spa at the Almenara, including memberships, massages and beauty treatments for all Assist members. Just show your Assist card at the reception of the spa and enjoy.

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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 asa force for good in the world.

Copyright © 2017 Sotogrande International School, All rights reserved.

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