Parent Newsletter 1 May

Dear parents,

I hope you are all safe and well.  

Public Examinations
School is a little quieter this week because Years 11 and 13 have embarked on study leave in preparation for their external examinations.  I wish them every success in their quest for the best possible exam results for their own ability. If they revise well and do their best, that’s all we can ask of them!  I get very sad when I see them so anxious.

Please remember exams are stressful for the pupils and you the parents also. However, I would like to share something I read this week:

Amongst all students who will be sitting their exams is an artist who doesn’t need to fully understand Maths. There is an entrepreneur who doesn’t care about History or English Literature. There is a musician whose Chemistry marks won’t matter. There is an athlete whose physical fitness is more important than Physics. 

If your child gets top marks that’s great but if he or she doesn’t, let us not take away their self-confidence and dignity.

Tell them no matter what grades they get you love them and will not judge them. Please do this.  One exam or a low mark won’t take away their dreams and talent. Please do not think that doctors and engineers are the only happy people in the world!

Parent Consultation Evenings
Thank you to all parents, Primary and Secondary, who attended the parents’ meetings this week.  Any feedback you have is always valuable.

Good cheer
One of the Year 7 pupils said to me this week “Miss, you are always cheerful!”  This principle is so easy to pass over and yet it is the glue that holds everything together.  Cheerfulness keeps people together. Let’s all try it! It has a direct impact on your children’s learning.

One of our visitors this week said to us that our pupils always seem cheerful and happy. We agree, but it was lovely to hear!

Far away from exams, I thoroughly enjoy watching our Primary children leave the school at the end of the day and rush to you to start to tell you all about their day.  I can imagine their talking doesn’t stop throughout the whole journey home!

Have a lovely weekend with your families.


PRIMARY SCHOOL

Your children were very excited about visitors looking around our school; ask them about it and watch this space for future information.

This week Emma Rose Dear from Miss Christina’s Nursery class shared with me her favourite story, “The Gruffalo”.  She loves the story so much that she can retell it using the pictures. Thank you Emma!

The children of Year 6 were delighted to see Miss Catherine Scott return to school after being unwell – it is so nice to see how our children have such a strong, loyal relationship with their class teachers.

All the children in Miss Georgia’s Year 2 class received a sticker this week for working so hard and fully endorsing our value of CARE. Well done!

At the end of the day on Wednesday I caught Miss Chadwick’s Year 3 class all tucking a chocolate Kit Kat into their bags – not sure why??? They will tell you more about it…

Now, look at this achievement!

This video received the 2nd prize in a recent International COBIS Competition.

I am so proud of our lovely children. Thank you Miss Meryl for coordinating this and well done to all the children instrumental to our success

April’s BLOSSOM Award – TO BE A COLLABORATOR
Congratulations to all the children and in particular to:

Parents’ Consultation Meetings – Thank you to all Primary parents who attended their virtual appointments with class teachers and Spanish teachers over the past two weeks.

Pause for Reflection – On my journey to school each day at 7:45 am I listen on the radio to a “Pause for Reflection”. This week it was reminding us that each day we need to take just a few minutes to rest our body and mind and reflect on the previous day or on what is happening now – it helps put our busy lives into perspective. Try it!

Have a lovely weekend with your families.

May Personal Learning Goal – TO BE ETHICAL
Next week’s Aloha Value  – HONESTY

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Batchelor
Principal


SECONDARY SCHOOL

Dear Parents,

A question that is often asked at job interviews is: What are your strengths and weaknesses?  We normally prepare for such questions in advance so responses are generally very good. We changed the strategy the last time that we interviewed the four shortlisted candidates for the Head Student position. They came in pairs and were asked to tell us a strength and a weakness of the person who was sitting next to them. This was tough, especially when they had to come up with something negative about their peers. I must say that they managed the task extremely well!

I then thought that it would be a great idea to ask my friends about my weaknesses too and see how accurate they were. I was not upset about what they told me, but I was not expecting that two of my friends said that a weakness of mine is my relationship with food (in plain English, I am basically a glutton!). One friend pointed out that I am extremely fussy when I eat and the other one said that every time we go out for a meal together and share food, I eat so quickly that people hardly get a chance to try it. How embarrassing!

My friends’ feedback has made me reflect about the importance of healthy eating habits. For the last three weeks, I have looked closely at what I eat and how I eat. After making a few tiny changes, I have already seen some positive results. 

I often snack during the day. I am not talking about a healthy snack such as a piece of fruit or a cereal bar. I usually crave bad sugar in the middle of the day so I reach out to my drawer where I have a  bag of colourful Haribo sweets. I have taken the bag away now and bring in two pieces of fruit instead. I have also started having a filling breakfast, such as whole grain toast with an egg, which has stopped me reaching for unhealthy snacks during the day. 

Another terrible habit I have is the time I take to eat my meals. I do not eat quickly, I simply gobble up my food. I was averaging less than 10 minutes for lunch and not much longer for breakfast and dinner. No wonder that I always feel like a walking balloon about to pop! I have really tried to eat more slowly and allow myself more time to savour it; this has made a difference.

I am not a nutritionist who will give you advice on what you should or should not eat. What I can tell you is that I have noticed a change, not just to my body but also my mind. I am convinced that my regular morning runs and healthier eating habits will make a huge difference. 

It is all about balance. So rather than cutting out the treats we love completely, start with small changes. I will not give up on Harribo though, I will just eat less of them!

I hope you have a nice weekend.

Francisco Escobar
Head of Secondary

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Darren Roth
Headteacher Secondary

Earned his BA(Hons) in English Literature from Cardiff University before completing his teaching qualification as a secondary English teacher at Swansea University. Over 17 years in South Wales, he held roles including Head of English, Head of Sixth Form, and senior management before joining Aloha College Marbella in 2012. A passionate educator, Darren finds immense satisfaction in students’ success.

His diverse interests extend beyond the classroom. Darren obtained his pilot’s licence at 17 through a Royal Air Force scholarship and continued training for years. He volunteered in the Camp America scheme, played water polo for Wales Under 18s, and taught children to swim.
Outside of his professional and athletic pursuits, Darren enjoys reading, cycling, and walking his rescue Yorkshire Terrier, Charley. A paddleboarding enthusiast, he finds joy in outdoor activities. Darren also has a flair for cooking and delights in preparing meals for friends. He holds a special affection for the Andalusian sunshine and seizes every opportunity to explore Spain and beyond.

Earned his BA(Hons) in English Literature from Cardiff University before completing his teaching qualification as a secondary English teacher at Swansea University. Over 17 years in South Wales, he held roles including Head of English, Head of Sixth Form, and senior management before joining Aloha College Marbella in 2012. A passionate educator, Darren finds immense satisfaction in students’ success.

His diverse interests extend beyond the classroom. Darren obtained his pilot’s licence at 17 through a Royal Air Force scholarship and continued training for years. He volunteered in the Camp America scheme, played water polo for Wales Under 18s, and taught children to swim.

Outside of his professional and athletic pursuits, Darren enjoys reading, cycling, and walking his rescue Yorkshire Terrier, Charley. A paddleboarding enthusiast, he finds joy in outdoor activities. Darren also has a flair for cooking and delights in preparing meals for friends. He holds a special affection for the Andalusian sunshine and seizes every opportunity to explore Spain and beyond.

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Louise Verinder
Designated Safeguarding Lead & Pastoral Care

Louise earned her BA Hons degree from Edge Hill University and went on to complete her PGCE. With a lifelong passion for sports, she always knew she wanted to become a PE teacher. She excelled, particularly in sports acrobatics, earning the honor of representing Great Britain. For fourteen years, she served as head of PE in Chorley, in the north-west of England, before embarking on what was supposed to be a year’s sabbatical in Spain.

Louise joined Aloha College in 2014 as a part-time teacher of PE. A couple of years later, she transitioned into the role of pastoral care, a role that she absolutely loves. Tasked with leading the secondary school’s PSHEE program and serving as the Designated Safeguarding Lead, she finds great pleasure in developing positive working relationships with teenagers, supporting their mental health and wellbeing, helping develop their self-esteem and confidence, as well as helping them navigate the challenges of life!
Louise is passionate about learning and developing her skillset. She is an accredited life coach with the ICF, specializing in working with teenagers. She has studied for a Diploma in NLP and has recently been awarded a Level 5 Diploma in Trauma and Mental Health-Informed Schools and Communities. 
Outside of teaching, Louise loves the simple things in life. Spending time with her family and friends, travelling, and spending time outside hiking, skiing and paddleboarding. She loves good food and she feels truly blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world.
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Sara Dickie
Head of Key Stage 2

Graduated from the University of Plymouth with a BEd (hons) specialising in English Literature and teaching children in the primary age range.  For the next 17 years, Sara worked in large, central and outer London schools.  As a senior leader in the UK, Sara raised attainment and supported curriculum development across groups of schools in the local area and worked with the local education authority to provide training across boroughs. She ensured the success of school improvement in roles such as leader of English, Maths and SEND provision over the years.  Sara moved to Spain in 2017 and is currently our Head of Key Stage 2.  

Sara has travelled to many fascinating destinations across the globe and still counts travel as one of her interests.  However, she now spends more time at her rural finca in the Andalucian mountains than ever before due to the increasing number of rescue animals she supports.  Outside of education, Sara loves to spend time in the countryside with her horses, dogs and many other animals under her care. 
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Liz Keys
Teaching & Learning

Liz gained a BA.Hons degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Hull.  After her PGCE  she began her teaching career at a state Primary School in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Her passion for teaching and her love of travel soon prompted her to take up her next role as a Reception class teacher at Bangkok Patana School in Thailand where she gained invaluable experience of working in an international environment. 

A desire to move closer to the UK prompted Liz to join Aloha College Marbella in 1997 where she has been a Key Stage leader in both KS1 & KS2. She is passionate about providing children with a Creative Curriculum which  provides exciting stimuli and first-hand learning experiences. Her interests are reading, travel and sampling different cuisines.
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Anna Sweeting
Head of Key Stage 3 and Enrichment

Completed her degree in Business, Accounting and Finance, then later a Certificate in Mathematics. Having worked in banking, accounting and education finance she started teaching by founding a tuition company in 2006 and lecturing part-time in a further education college. These both grew, and a decision was made to sell the business and lecture full time, while also leading GCSE Maths. Anna made the move to secondary education in 2015, then joined Aloha College in 2016.

Anna loves inspiring students to try new things and to grasp opportunities, you never know where they will lead! She enjoys performing in theatre shows and singing, but the most drama in her life comes from being an avid follower of Blackpool FC, a curse that she has passed on to her two sons.
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Jacqueline Brice
Head of Key Stage 4

Achieved a first class Honours degree in Mathematics and Physics from Kings College London before pursuing a career in broadcasting. She indulged her curiosity in the latest scientific and technological advances as a producer of scientific documentaries for BBC Radio and Television and then moved into fly-on-the-wall documentary making for Channel 4 with the police and the Royal Navy. Her broadcasting career has taken her flying through thunderstorms with lightning chasers in North Dakota, to crime scenes with the Metropolitan Police murder squad and from the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious to Gibraltar by Sea King helicopter. 

As her young family took priority in her life, she turned her degree into a Post Graduate Certificate of Education and brought her family to Spain, where she has continued to share her love of mathematics, science and life-long learning with the students of Aloha College for almost two decades. Over the years, she has thoroughly enjoyed leading the Mathematics Department and Key Stage 3 and now she is working as the Head of Key Stage 4, hoping to instill a love for learning and international travel in our young adults and to encourage them to value a broad range of creative, analytical and communication skills.
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Ellen Richards
Head of EYFS

Studied at the University of Chester where she completed her BEd (Hons) in  Primary education, specialising in the Early Years. She believes there is no age range more exciting and inspiring with which to work, and feels fortunate to have truly found her vocation. 

Ellen has taught at international schools in Guangzhou, China, Bangkok, Thailand and London, UK, before joining the Aloha College Marbella team in 2018 where she is currently Head of Foundation Stage. Having attended international schools herself in Maseru, Lesotho, Yokohama, Japan and South Wales in the UK, Ellen feels a strong sense of belonging within our multicultural community.
Outside of work, Ellen is most content exploring all and any creative pursuits, be it in a rather haphazard way! What she lacks in finesse she makes up for in enthusiasm, and will happily while away the weekend with her sewing machine. 
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Elaine McGirl
Head of Key Stage 5

An experienced educator with over two decades of expertise in the field of science and education. Originally from Ireland, Elaine graduated with Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Limerick after earning a Bachelor of Science in Education majoring in Biology and Chemistry. 

Driven by a passion for understanding how students learn best, Elaine has held diverse roles in education, including lecturing and tutoring in educational psychology to undergraduate students. She has extensive experience teaching various curricula, including the International Baccalaureate, A Levels and the Irish Leaving certificate, providing her with a comprehensive understanding of various educational systems. 
In 2007, Elaine joined Aloha College Marbella, where she has served as an IB and A-Level Biology teacher, General Science teacher, and Head of the Science Department. Currently, she holds the position of Head of Sixth Form and IB Diploma Programme Coordinator, demonstrating her leadership and commitment to guiding students towards academic excellence and personal growth.
Outside of teaching, Elaine enjoys Irish dancing, Flamenco, and salsa. She can play several instruments from her days in a youth marching band. Elaine loves traveling, trying new foods, and spending time with animals.
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Anne Ross
Head of Key Stage 1

Began her teaching career with a Foundation Degree in Early Years from the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland. She managed and developed a Nursery School in the Highlands for several years and was very involved in raising the awareness and the importance of Early Years education throughout many schools in the Highlands and North of Scotland. Anne then furthered her studies, experience and expertise by gaining a PGCE at the University of Buckingham to further her career in Primary education.

At Aloha Anne has always been passionate about extending her knowledge and learning, she is currently studying to become a certified Well-Being coach. She is a strong advocate of student wellbeing, emotional intelligence and social development, these important life skills ensure our students emerge more resilient and ready to face future adversities. 
Even though Anne has lived in Spain for over 20 years, she loves to explore Spain’s rich culture and many hidden treasures. She is an enthusiastic traveller with a love for diverse destinations and learning from different cultures. Anne has always been passionate about sports and keeping fit and in her spare time she loves Crossfit classes, family time and reading.
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Emma Saunders
Primary Designated Safeguarding Lead & Pastoral Car

Emma has dedicated her entire teaching and professional career to ACM. A Saint Mary’s University London honour’s graduate, holding a Masters Degree in International Education from Oxford Brookes, Emma has shaped her career into a student-centric narrative. Her experience and research into “Third Culture Kids’, which recognises our students unique educational, international and Spanish experience, was used in crafting and developing the Primary PSHEE programme, facilitating essential skills appropriate to academic, psychological and emotional well-being.

Emma’s professionalism at Charity, is helping change lives for the vulnerable, in Málaga and Africa where ACM has initiated educational programmes in Kampala. Her work as a rapporteur for the COBIS ConnectED sessions is established and recognised. As a qualified Catechist, Emma’s Pastoral Care role is busy and engaging. As a safeguarding expert and officer, fluent in Spanish, Emma analyses the latest programmes, developments and policies, at national and International level.
As a former ballerina, Emma trained young dancers for school shows and Marbella events in modern/Irish dance, and regularly performed in her native West End. Emma also enjoys entertaining family and friends, however Tara the Afghan Hound as the newest member of the Saunders family, is the one who now steals the show!
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Kate Edwards
Headteacher Primary

Kate graduated from the University of Central England with a BEd (Hons) in Primary Education, specialising in the Early Years. As an experienced leader in both UK and international educational settings, Kate is committed to providing students with a learning environment that celebrates effort and achievement in both academic and personal endeavors. In July 2019, Kate, completed the Cobis Program for Aspiring Heads, before taking on her first headship with us in 2023. 

In her spare time, Kate loves spending time with her husband and three children. They often enjoy trips to the park, constructing Lego masterpieces, strolls along the beach and splashing about in the pool. When time allows, Kate also loves to bake.  At home you’ll often find her whipping up a storm in the kitchen. Rumour has it, she dreams of donning the iconic apron on the Great British Bake Off one day! 
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Víctor Ranea
Head of Administration

Víctor Ranea se unió al colegio como Business Manager en 2003. Lideró el proceso de transición entre la antigua compañía y la fundación actual. Como responsable del área de Administración, ha participado en varios Planes Estratégicos. Además de las finanzas y los Presupuestos Generales, ha dirigido los proyectos constructivos del colegio y contribuido en los planes de marketing así como en la implementación de nuevos sistemas informáticos del área de finanzas.

Licenciado en Ciencias Economicas y Empresariales por la Universidad de Málaga, Víctor Ranea es un apasionado del deporte, con experiencia en competiciones regionales, habiendo contribuido a la creación de los clubs deportivos del colegio. Un amante de los viajes y la gastronomía, así como de la música, el teatro y el cine.