Dear Parents,

Welcome back after what I hope has been a wonderful Christmas for you and your family.  I wish each and every one of you a very happy, healthy and successful 2020. I am sure it is going to be a great one for our Aloha family.

On behalf of the school, I offer our sincere condolences to one of our longstanding families who experienced the loss of a husband and father and to Mrs Depraetere, Primary School Spanish teacher, who sadly lost her mother during the holiday period.  On a happier note, we congratulate Ms Kelly Hill on the birth of her lovely baby boy Lucas Rafael on 27 December.

School Nurse

A communication was sent to you on 3 January informing you that Aloha College Marbella now has a full-time nurse on site.


Please meet Sara.

She joined us on Tuesday and has already dealt with a list of pupils’ minor ailments – I did warn her she would never be bored!  Word of her arrival quickly got around, and many pupils developed sudden headaches or sore limbs so they could meet her and visit the brand-new sick bay. She knows, though, that she has to be caring but firm.

Please may I remind all parents that Sara is not there to replace your child’s doctor.  Her main role is to deal with sickness or minor accidents that occur during the school day. Her final comment at the end of her first week was “lovely school, lovely children”. We hope she feels welcomed by our Aloha family.

Parent Charity

Annually at this time of year we invite you the parents to recommend a charity of your choice which you feel is appropriate for our pupils to support in a “non-uniform day” to raise funds.  If you wish to propose a charity, please reply to this email sending a written recommendation, stating clearly the recognised name of the charity, details of the work it does, and an official contact person.  The deadline to present the proposal is 3 April 2020.

The proposals will be presented to a committee which includes management, a staff member, a Board representative and some pupils. The non-uniform day for the successful chosen charity will take place in June.

Year 11/13 examinations

Pupils have started their trial examinations; we wish them every success.

Parent Questionnaire

Thank you to all the parents who took the trouble to complete the parent questionnaire which we sent out before the holiday break.   We received many positive comments, with 100% of all parents replying that they would recommend the school to others. I will share more information on the survey once it has been analysed further.

We welcome the 8 pupils who have started this term and trust they all enjoyed their first week.

I hope you have a lovely weekend with your families – it was so nice to see you all back safely.

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Batchelor



Dear Parents,

A very warm welcome back to you after the holidays. I would also like to welcome the following staff members to our Primary Team:

Catherine Scott (Year 6), Laura Hobson (Year 1) and Celine Starr (Librarian). 

All are experienced in international education and have commented on how impressed they are by our children’s attitude and behaviour. 

Next week you have the opportunity to meet your children’s classteacher to discuss their reports and their ongoing progress. Mrs Scott and Ms Hobson will be available in a couple of weeks’ time when they have got to know your children a little better.  

NASA Visit

This Thursday was very exciting for Year 6 as they listened to a talk from Sr de Leon Garcia. He shared his experiences as a scientist working with NASA and they even had the opportunity to feel the material of an actual space rocket! The session also included a skype link to a top female scientist sharing that, contrary to the belief of many, science is not just for boys! A huge thank you to Sr Garcia for sharing his time and Miss Aspden for organising the visit.

PSHE – Personal, Social and Health Education

Thank you to all the parents who were able to attend the PSHE informative meetings on Wednesday and Thursday. At the start of this term lessons will focus on Celebrating Difference before moving on to the next units of Dreams and Goals and then Healthy Me. The children are really enjoying these lessons and I’m sure they will enjoy sharing their thoughts on these units with you too at home. Please see the links to the presentations, PSHE Y1, 2, 3 and PSHE Y4, 5, 6 to familiarise yourselves with the objectives of the lessons.

Primary Interhouse

Aloha Primary pupils had an amazing autumn term, as you can see with the end of the Autumn term totals:

Granada – 3431

Sevilla – 3281

Cordoba – 3256

Just before the Christmas holidays Primary children enjoyed two days of Interhouse games.

Cordoba and Sevilla have made massive progress in terms of points and are now catching the retaining winners. As the winning house for the last half term, Granada enjoyed an afternoon treat with the PE Department yesterday afternoon.

Primary Orienteering

Our sporting success continues as on Tuesday 10 and Thursday 12 December 2019, selected children participated in the Marbella Orienteering Competition, organised by the Town Hall. All our children demonstrated super orienteering skills and resilience and, to our delight, two teams were placed; 3rd in the Alevin and 1st in the Benjamin categories. Huge congratulations to Yohan, Nathaniel, Karolina, Laura, Jimena, Tara, Sasha and Max.

Aloha Value Focus this half term – Honesty – Why should we always tell the truth?

Personal Goal Target for January – Resilient – Developing a Growth Mindset

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Salmon

Headteacher, Primary


Dear Parents,

I hope you have had a lovely Christmas break. Your children seem very happy to be back at school. I am certainly delighted to have left all those high-calorie Christmas puddings behind and to return to my healthy eating habits. 

Over the Christmas holidays, a friend of mine invited me to go to the theatre to watch a humorous gestural play called ‘Tricicle Hits’. The thought of it ruined my day! I was not looking forward to three hours of silent performance.

I must admit that I enjoyed the play, but I would not go back to the dreadful days that preceded the performance. I was constantly ruminating, wishing I had declined the invitation. We turn something over and over in our head, making ourselves sad, angry and anxious with these thoughts. Why do our minds do this? The danger of overthinking is what I have chosen for this week’s newsletter.

Thinking is what gave humans power. We teach our students how to think critically, an essential skill in all aspects of life. As a result, we become great problem-solvers, but terrible worriers at the same time. I see this in our students, who tend to overthink and constantly self-evaluate. Our behaviour is determined not by how things are, but how we think they are. 

We should not pay much attention to this type of thinking. It is important to recognise when we are ruining a moment, a day, a week due to overthinking and understand that it is only the thought that makes us feel low, not the experience itself. Thoughts have a huge influence on our mood. One must be ready to question oneself and eliminate those thoughts that do not reflect reality.

As William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet :

 “…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” 

I hope you have a nice weekend.

Yours sincerely,

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.