Sian Kirkham

Sian Kirkham - Head of The British International School of Marbella (BISM)
1. How many years have you worked for the BSF and where? 

I have been with BSF for 13 years - 2004 until present day. I have worked at The British School of Beijing, The International School of Moscow (ISM) and The British International School of Marbella (BISM.)

2. Why did you choose to work for the BSF?

I was part of the set up team in Beijing, the first BSF school.

3. What positions, and for how many years, have you had at the school(s)?

I was at The British School of Beijing for two years where I was Class Teacher and part of the Senior Leadership Team. I then moved to ISM where I was the Headteacher for three years and now I am currently in my seventh year as Headteacher at BISM.

4. What do you love about your current school?

BISM is a friendly, welcoming school which genuinely feels like a family. Children, staff and parents enjoy friendly yet respectful relationships. It is progressive with a keen focus on reviewing and developing teaching and learning; always striving to be the best that we can.

5. What do you love about the area/country?

Marbella is a small, picturesque town with good weather all year round. Although Marbella is limited in term of recreational activities, there are many places of interest very close by.

6. What do you like most about teaching internationally? 

The ability to focus on quality teaching and learning, ensuring the children get the best we can possibly offer from their time in school. The UK schools, in my opinion, tend to be distracted by league tables and data crunching, leaving little time for creativity and planning for an enhanced curriculum.

7. What strengths/skills helped you get to where you are today?

Hard work, reflection and a positive attitude.

8. Which of your childhood teachers stood out and why?

My Middle School PE teacher. She used to coach our netball team, which frankly was terrible. We played matches regularly and we did not win once – not once! However, looking back we rarely felt deflated and never stopped trying due to her encouragement and drive. She worked with us relentlessly during her lunch breaks and after school. Her patience and determination inspired me then and it still does today.

9. What are your most treasured teaching resources?

I do not teach so much any more but anything fun, interactive and engaging.

10. What is the most memorable lesson you have taught?

A poetry lesson to a Year 4 class. We had been studying Van Gogh’s paintings in Art and as part of our Literacy, we had been studying his tragic story. I played the children ‘Starry, Starry Night’ by Don Mclean. The children were deeply moved by the song, and Van Gogh’s story. They then wrote some of the most beautiful, heartfelt poems I’ve ever read.

11. What do you like to do outside of work? Do you have any hobbies? 

Caring for my two daughters and three dogs. I enjoy being outside as much as possible – running and cycling. When inside, I enjoy painting or curling up with a good book.