Parent Newsletter 12 December

Dear parents,

I hope you are all safe and well. 

This letter replaces the Covid letter as we have no questions to answer from you the parents.

21 years ago, in August 1999, 2 people who had never met before began to form a friendship as well as a professional relationship:  Mrs Salmon and Mrs Batchelor.

Over the years we have acquired a variety of descriptors (respectfully!) used by the Primary children– the fat one and the thin one, the blonde lady and the dark one, the Northerner and the Birmingham girl, the young one and the old one, the mummy and her daughter!  You can work out for yourselves which was which!

We did become professional colleagues and firm friends.  We have laughed together, sometimes cried together, and sometimes disagreed with each other.  But we always shared the same belief:  your children must come first.

Mrs Salmon leaves our school with our blessing.  She has helped to shape the Primary school into the wonderful school we know today.  We thank her for all her hard work and dedication, and I wish her on your behalf every success in her new venture back in the UK.  Stay safe, Mrs Salmon, and keep Aloha College close to your heart.

Change can sometimes create fear.  There is no need to be concerned about the future of the Primary School. We need to look positively at this challenge/situation and find a new Headteacher who can help take this section of the college to the next level of excellence.  Please trust me and the governing body – we will find the right person for the job, no matter how long it takes.  Meanwhile, I will be watching over the Primary section even more carefully, supported by a dedicated staff who will continue to work tirelessly in the best interests of your children.  We have advertised this position internally and worldwide – let’s see who is good enough to lead the Primary School! I will keep you informed.

Thank you, Mrs Salmon, we will miss you.

Christmas Jumper Day

Remember that all staff and children are invited to wear a Christmas jumper on Monday.  Those who do so do not need to wear school uniform.

Raffle Tickets

Thank you for all your support with the raffle – we will draw the winning tickets on Monday.  The lucky winners will be informed on Tuesday.  I have my eye on the weekend hotel break, once Covid is all over.  Fingers crossed!

5 working days left
As you read this newsletter, I hope you are not yet travelling.  We have 5 working days still to go so please ensure your children attend until the official break-up day on Friday 18 December. The next and last newsletter of the year will be a general message next Saturday to wish you and our 800 children a wonderful Christmas holiday.

Thank you to you all for your loyal support.

Have a lovely weekend.

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

I have just returned from the Nursery where the children excitedly shared their gingerbread video and song with Mrs Batchelor and myself. What a brilliant way to start the day.. excited, happy children and a gift of a gingerbread man!

Earlier this week I was treated to a funny Christmas poem written by the talented Aurelia in 4KFR. As you can see this independent piece of writing is definitely worth sharing.  “The Christmas Calamities” by Aurelia Howard, 4KFR

We are coming to the end of what has been an incredible term! In September there were many doubts. How can the children learn under such strict restrictions and wear a mask all day? I assure you that they can! The children this term have been amazing, showing their adaptability and resilience better than most adults. There are times when they have needed reassurance but that has been the role of our wonderful teachers, not just to teach but to care and to prioritise the wellbeing of all our children. I always like to look for a positive in darker times, one of these being much stronger relationships being developed between the teachers and you, the Parents, with your children at the centre. As I have always said the ACM family is a team and an important part of what makes our school so special.

So, it is with pride and a tear in my eye that I shall be leaving you all next Friday as I embark on my new journey with my family in the UK. ACM will always remain very special to me as I have seen many, many changes throughout my 21 years, all of them leading to this wonderful, internationally recognised school we have today.I wish you all the very best for 2021 and beyond and send wishes of hope that the future will be much brighter. As I say to the children you are all special!

Take care, stay safe and goodbye!

And finally, a few reminders for next week

  • Remember that Monday is Christmas Jumper Day!
  • Monday is the BIG day! The Aloha Christmas Raffle Prize Draw will take place and we will draw the raffle in front of a selection of pupils and staff. Remember to bring your tickets and good luck everyone!
  • As he said in his letter to Aloha children Santa is coming to town… all Primary children have been posting their letters to Santa all week.

  • Thank you for all your donations to the Give a Gift Campaign. Until Friday 18 December we invite you to continue to be very generous and participate in the Aloha Christmas Solidarity Action by donating non-perishable food that we will deliver to Cáritas. 

Aloha Value – RESPECT
December’s Personal Learning GoalTo be a COLLABORATOR which includes being a good team member – TEAM ALOHA!

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Salmon – Headteacher, Primary


Dear Parents,

It has been nearly four years since I wrote my first newsletter. During these four years, I have had wonderful days as well as many frustrations. However, I have managed to write a new reflection every Saturday, week after week and month after month. Today  is one of those days when I am struggling to find a topic to write about. It is not only the topic of my newsletter; everything is harder than usual today and I feel like throwing in the towel!

Last week, I met a Year 13 student to talk about university applications. She felt exactly the same as me. Nothing seemed to be going in the right direction for her either. Funnily enough, I spoke to a friend yesterday whose business was experiencing difficulties and he said he was ready to quit.

In a short space of time, I have encountered three situations with a common theme: Giving up! 

What can one do when feeling this way?

When this happens to me, I tend to think back to the moment when my project started. Let’s take my newsletter as an example. I am grumpy now because I have to write another reflection this week and I do not know what I am going to talk about. “I must have covered every single topic that exists”, I say to myself. This is when I force myself to remember the joy and thrill I experienced when I wrote my first one. I even have a newsletter fan club! Going back to the beginning brings into focus the purpose of my endeavour. 

Another important aspect is to accept that discomfort, like many things in life, is temporary. Nothing lasts forever! I am sure that many of our students disagree with me because they are madly in love and think that nothing can ever break their love story. I also believe that one must take positive steps towards making rough times temporary. Time does not magically turn bad moments into good ones. It is us who make a conscious decision to tackle discomfort.

Life is full of phases. Some are better than others. When we understand that everything is temporary and will eventually end, we will appreciate our moments a little bit more. 

I hope you have a nice weekend.

Francisco Escobar
Headteacher, Secondary

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.

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.
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. 
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.
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.
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.
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. 
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.
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.
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!
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! 
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.