After studying History and then Education at Nottingham University in England, I began my career as a teacher in North London. As an inexperienced 21-year-old teacher, I chose the most challenging and hostile working environment that I could find to learn as much about classroom management and discipline techniques as quickly as I could. I stayed at this inner-city school for four years and formed close ties with students under often challenging circumstances. I have never encountered a discipline problem that I couldn’t solve since.
From London I moved to work in Washington D.C. in the USA as a Fulbright exchange programme teacher where I was inspired by the maturity of the students and their determination to work hard and create great futures for themselves. After a brief spell teaching back in London, I became a Middle Manager in an International School in Mexico City were I developed my ability to lead teams and improved my administrative efficiency.
Four years later, I found myself, with a wife and young family, working in one of the UK’s top state schools in Cumbria, northern England. The school was a beacon of excellence in terms of the education offered, learning outcomes for students and staff professional development and my time there transformed my professional ambitions and inspired me to believe that I had what it took to lead a whole school.
My first Directorship took my family and I back to Mexico City to take charge of a High School. I was able to shape a fantastic team there which, over the course of the following four years, transformed the school into a centre of educational excellence with a fully-deserved good name across the city. I was also awarded a distinction in a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Buckingham during that time.
In 2012 the opportunities that the new position at ELIS (El Limonar International School) Murcia offered were impossible to resist. After five years leading the school through significant curriculum, academic and organisational change, I’m completely convinced that it was the best possible move both professionally and for my family: ELIS Murcia is a fantastic school which has clearly benefitted from having a whole-school Principal for the last five years.
The new professional challenge therefore is to provide overall leadership for the two ELIS schools in Murcia and Villamartin from 2017 onwards. Despite being ‘sisters’, the two schools are very different in terms of needs, community and organisation. I will rely heavily upon the excellent leadership teams of both schools to run them on a daily basis and must ensure that all members of both communities are fully supported at all times. This task is made easier because ELIS, as part of the Cognita group, also has all the necessary financial, technical and educational support the two schools need to grow and improve in order to maintain their positions as the leading providers of quality education in their respective regions.
Simon Roberts, MA
After studying Music at The University of Huddersfield, I gained my PGCE teaching qualification from Manchester Metropolitan University. At the time Manchester was one of the leading teacher...
After studying Music at The University of Huddersfield, I gained my PGCE teaching qualification from Manchester Metropolitan University. At the time Manchester was one of the leading teacher training Universities in the UK and the course enabled me to quickly find my first teaching position at a large comprehensive school in North Wales, where I taught Music and English. I learned a huge amount about classroom management, pastoral care and the strength of a flourishing House system and during this time.
After five years in North Wales, I made the move to an OFSTED outstanding girls school in Westminster, central London. Whilst this school was smaller, as an already rated ‘outstanding’ school, I was really able to focus on the quality of my teaching and learning and gained consistently outstanding academic results with students at both GCSE and A level. During this time, I was also invited to sit on the educational advisory board to London’s Wigmore Hall and provide CPD for wider local school improvement partnerships. This school most certainly taught me a level of cultural awareness and the value of diversity, something I had not previously experienced.
After meeting the lady who went on to become my wife, I took the decision to leave London behind and move to Southampton. I was looking for a different educational experience and was quickly appointed Head of Department in a school requiring significant improvement in terms of teaching, learning and student behaviour.
Having been invited to become a mentor on the University of Southampton PGCE teacher training course, I was headhunted to become the Senior Academic Curriculum Leader with Portsmouth Music Service. My role included curriculum management in thirteen secondary schools and the opportunity to also bring my expertise into Primary schools in Portsmouth. It was during this time I was commissioned to begin writing educational songs for primary students, something I continue to write and publish.
One of the driving forces in my educational philosophy is the desire to provide students with the best educational opportunities possible. With my own son in mind, as a family, we wanted a multi-lingual approach to his education and took the opportunity to move to South America. This move to a prestigious British Boarding School allowed me to turn a small department into a hugely successful one which became the cornerstone of the school community. From this I became Deputy Headmaster. During our time in Latin America I was appointed Arts Consultant to the Latin American Headteachers Conference (LAHC) where I also served as part of the Schools Inspectorate.
In 2016, having spent seven years in South America, we relocated as a family to Barcelona where I was Vice Principal of an international school offering the International Baccalaureate. My academic input and organisation took the school’s results from just over a fifty percent pass rate to one hundred percent during the three years I was in post. I also wrote many essential policy documents as well as being instrumental in the opening of the new Boarding House. Whole school improvement of teaching and learning was an ongoing focus during my tenure and further to this, the development of the pastoral system, student council and House system.
Being appointed Headteacher at ELIS Villamartin for me was, and is, a huge honour. I bring visionary educational philosophy and leadership to an already flourishing school as I guide ELIS Villamartin towards the next stage of its development. Personal professional challenge, strong relationships with students, staff, parents and the wider community for me is absolutely key and I strive with sincerity to empower every member of the ELIS Villamartin community to fulfil their true potential. My job is undoubtedly made easier by the strength of the school leadership team and the wider guidance and leadership of our Executive Principal and the Cognita group, their funding and educational expertise.
I extend an open invitation to any prospective students and parents to visit ELIS Villamartin, where you will be met with personalised attention to detail and a very warm welcome.
José Antonio García
Having a degree in Business Management and Administration, I started working at El Limonar International School Villamartín in 2008, coinciding with the acquisition of the school by the Cognita Gr...
Having a degree in Business Management and Administration, I started working at El Limonar International School Villamartín in 2008, coinciding with the acquisition of the school by the Cognita Group. Previously, I held roles both in Controlling and Management in a variety of different sectors including construction, the chemical industry and Human Resources.
Working at El Limonar International School Villamartín has provided me with the opportunity to learn about the educational sector, a sector which has such great importance in our lives, and it is indeed during these years that I have developed my career with the greatest satisfaction. Together with the rest of the Senior Leadership Team, I work hard to achieve constant improvements to the school’s offer, allowing our students to enjoy the very best facilities and the latest technology in their educational experience.
I obtained my Master Degree in English Language and Literature (Spain) at the University of Murcia in 1998 and went on to study an Advanced Studies Diploma (Doctoral Studies) in English Language an...
I obtained my Master Degree in English Language and Literature (Spain) at the University of Murcia in 1998 and went on to study an Advanced Studies Diploma (Doctoral Studies) in English Language and Linguistics. Then, in August 2001, I moved to London where I taught English Language and Literature in Secondary Schools. The two years I spent in these schools had an important impact on me and my classroom management skills and lesson planning benefited enormously.
In September 2003, I joined El Limonar International School at its first location in Torrevieja. Due to expansion, in 2004, the school moved to our current location and I became Secondary Spanish Co-ordinator and I decided to continue studies for a Masters in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Middle Leadership.
There is a factor that keeps me motivated at El Limonar International School – Villamartín. I have always felt the support of pupils, parents and colleagues in terms of reliability, giving me enough strength and scope to be creative and innovative while supporting them. Whenever I start planning a project, whatever its importance is, I always ask myself the same question: “How does it benefit our students?”
Since I joined the school many students have finished their A-Level/Bachillerato studies and left, but keeping track of them is simply amazing! It makes one realize the impact we have, as a school. Some have already finished their Degrees and have joined the world of work, others are following their artistic dreams and recording their own musical videos. I feel truly proud of the work I do on a daily basis, especially with older students. Planning and accessing university in Spain is an intricate process but it is worth every minute of the time dedicated to it. When former students come to visit us, and explain all they are achieving after their time with us, it is simply the best feeling we could have. The sense of achievement is highly motivating!
Although part of my role could be considered quite tedious, I enjoy working with anything to do with academic credentials and equivalences between UK and Spanish educational certificates, as well as relating to the Spanish Ministry of Education and the UNED (Spanish Open University). Yet I find the British and Spanish educational systems stimulating, as they keep moving forward developing new regulations and specifications.
Being part of our school Senior Leadership Team is an excellent reason to keep improving El Limonar International School Villamartín in a joint effort together with students, parents and staff.
Head of Data and Academic Assessment
After achieving a First Class Honours degree from the University of Salford in 1998, I worked as a postgraduate researcher and teacher at the University for a further two years. During this time I volunteered...
After achieving a First Class Honours degree from the University of Salford in 1998, I worked as a postgraduate researcher and teacher at the University for a further two years. During this time I volunteered to be a mentor on a summer scheme for local disadvantaged children in Manchester and this sparked my passion for working with young people. In 2001, after two years spent travelling and working as a Research Scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, I studied for my PGCE in Science at Durham University.
My career in teaching has been varied and rewarding, seeing me progress from a science teacher to Head of Science in a very challenging school, where I rapidly raised standards and outcomes for students. I was then appointed Assistant Principal in a secondary academy, with responsibilities for both pastoral provision and academic progress, where I was part of the senior leadership team of one of the most improved secondary schools in northern England.
In 2016 I arrived in Spain with my family to take on the role of Head of Upper School at ELIS Murcia and since then ELIS has become a hugely important part of family life. It is a privilege to work with such dedicated staff and students in an environment that is underpinned by our ELIS Values of respect, tolerance, dignity, resilience and perseverance – all things I hold in upmost esteem.
In September 2019 I have enthusiastically taken on a new role as ELIS Head of Data and Academic Assessment, working across the two ELIS schools to ensure that all students, from Nursery to Year 13, achieve the very highest of academic outcomes. I am excited by the challenges and successes ahead, the opportunity for both schools to continue to grow successfully and to play a key role in supporting students to achieve more than they thought possible.
Head of Early Years & Primary
After getting my degree as a Primary teacher, specialising in teaching Modern Foreign Languages, I began to work at El Limonar, in September 2000, at the school in Torrevieja, teaching Spanish to c...
After getting my degree as a Primary teacher, specialising in teaching Modern Foreign Languages, I began to work at El Limonar, in September 2000, at the school in Torrevieja, teaching Spanish to children in Early Years and Key Stage 1.
From the very first moment, I was fascinated by the opportunities and challenges that an international community, like ours, provides. In 2001, I shared responsibilities in the School co-ordination and in 2004, with the move to our current site in Villamartín, my role was consolidated as Early Years and Primary Co-ordinator and later as Deputy Head of the school. In 2013, with the change in the Management structure, my role focused again on leading the Early Years and Primary Departments.
This involves being responsible for the day to day running of both Departments, leading staff and pupils in a culture of respect, dignity, equality and excellence. Furthermore, it involves the privilege of forging a close relationship with all the members of the community at El Limonar: pupils, parents and staff. Working with families to improve our pupils’ future is an immensely gratifying experience.
During all these years, I have combined my management responsibilities with teaching Lengua and Ciencias Sociales in the Primary Department.
I have always had a passion for Learning and everyday offers me the opportunity, not just to teach but also to continue to learn alongside my pupils.
Head of Secondary
After graduating with a BSc (Honours) degree in Biological Sciences (with Marine Biology) in Portsmouth, I spent the next eight years in industry. Over this time I was able to develop my management...
After graduating with a BSc (Honours) degree in Biological Sciences (with Marine Biology) in Portsmouth, I spent the next eight years in industry. Over this time I was able to develop my management experience despite the nature of the industries (footwear, fleet management and printing) having nothing to do with fish! I did understand however, that the most important asset that any organisation has, are its staff. This has remained key to me in every team that I have led since. In my experience, the schools in which student outcomes have been the highest are those where they are engaged in their learning, feel safe and allowed to develop as young people. It is no surprise to me that in those schools, staff also feel valued, supported and provided with opportunities to develop and learn.
I decided to return to university in 1994 where I gained a PGCE in Bath before starting my first teaching role as a science teacher at my old secondary school. I stayed there for 13 years having quickly progressed into a managerial role primarily with pastoral responsibilities. I eventually moved on to another school where I became Faculty Head for Science, Design & Technology and the vocational courses. The school faced many challenges including falling student numbers, low staff motivation and poor academic results. During the next six years, I was able to build a much more stable and motivated staff body within the Faculty. This in turn led to much improved student outcomes both academically and personally. Most pleasing to me was an increased interest and engagement within the student body for science.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at El Limonar International School. Since starting in September of 2014 as a Biology teacher and then Science Coordinator, the opportunity to become Head of Secondary in the summer of 2017 was a fantastic opportunity for me. It has given me a pivotal role to help move the school forward whilst trying to maintain the schools ‘family feel’ that I love in this truly international community. My family and I have already developed a strong loyalty towards the school, students and staff and we are very happy with our life in Spain.
Head of Sixth Form
From an early age I knew I had the vocation to become a teacher and having a flare and a deep interest for languages, I didn’t hesitate to move to the UK at 18 not only to learn English but also ...
From an early age I knew I had the vocation to become a teacher and having a flare and a deep interest for languages, I didn’t hesitate to move to the UK at 18 not only to learn English but also to experience another culture. Whilst in the UK I studied a B.A in English Language and Communication with German and continued my education in Kingston to train as a language teacher where I obtained a PGCE in MFL.
A year after I finished my NQT year and obtained my QTS I was offered the opportunity to become Second in my Department and during this time I became especially interested in contributing as a Mentor to help trainee teachers doing their teaching practice.
Later on, I enjoyed a new aspect of my career as Deputy Head of Year 7. Overseeing the personal and pastoral development of the youngest students in the school allowed me to see a different side of the profession. However, the opportunity to move back to my home country in 2005 after 13 years in England, came a year after El Limonar International School Villamartín first opened its doors and I was offered a job as a Spanish teacher.
When the school decided to extend its offer to A-Level I was inspired and saw the chance to put all of the skills and abilities I had acquired in the UK into practice. Therefore, I got myself involved into developing what is today a thriving A level department, continuously growing.
My goal as Head of A-Level is to promote effective relationships and liaise with all the relevant individuals in our school community in order to assure that a broad, balanced and enriching educational experience is offered to all our pupils. With my enthusiasm and commitment to this school I intend to continue contributing to establishing and maintaining the good standards and the professional performance expected in all the Cognita group’s schools.