Parent Newsletter 13 March

Dear parents,

I hope you and your families are safe and well.  It looks like the weather has turned slightly and at last we are enjoying some continuous sunshine.

Morning Drop-off
It has been brought to my attention that some parents of the school have actually been fined by the police for stopping cars on the road and letting children out.  It appears that some Secondary pupils – without siblings – are being dropped off on the road, either because they are too early or to avoid parents having to drive onto the ramp, which of course is there for your children’s safety. Therefore I wanted to alert you to the fact that the local police are fining people and the school of course does not have any control over this.

The “Inner Critic”
The following short video was made in response to Mr Escobar’s newsletter from last week. It is about the inner critic in our minds and how it can paralyse creativity.  The pupils devised, wrote and acted out their own powerful interpretation of this message.  Congratulations to the following Year 7 pupils for this fantastic piece of work: Alejandra Ayora, Thomas Brouwer, Eabha Gilner, Savannah Rodoni, Fraser Squires, Jack Starrett

Extra congratulations go to Fraser Squires, who created the special effects and edited the whole piece himself. Please click the image:

Chocolate Enterprise Challenge
On Thursday 18 March Year 8 will present the annual Chocolate Enterprise Challenge.  I look forward to seeing these entrepreneurs present their proposals and, indeed, to trying the chocolates!

New baby
Congratulations to Maria Galvez, our Human Resources Manager, who gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby girl, Lola.

Art Exhibition
Very shortly we will be sending you photos of the Art Exhibition produced by some Secondary pupils. I have never seen such an outstanding standard of work – it’s like visiting the Tate Gallery in London!

PE
Just to remind you all what wonderful facilities we have – every time I visit the Arts and Sports Hall there are students using our fabulous Olympic-size trampolines, and I am witness to their skills:

Primary School
Following World Book Day on 4 March our Primary children have been busy this week in the Library looking at pop-up story books.

Furthermore, just for you Secondary parents who may have forgotten what it was like when your child was this age, enjoy thinking back:

Have a lovely, safe and sunny weekend with your families.


PRIMARY SCHOOL

Monday Video Assembly – Healthy Eating and Healthy Lifestyle
Attached is my very short weekly video which is shown to the children each Monday. 

It is so wonderful when children tell me a little about themselves. Olivia from Year 2KED reported that she had never eaten soup at lunch time but this week, following my little assembly, she decided to try it and actually liked it. Well done! And Henry from Year 2 had a piece of broccoli and he asked for more as it is now his favourite vegetable! Well done children! 

Children’s Work
Once again I have seen some lovely work going on throughout the Primary School this week.

Miss Lancaster’s class 4CLA had worked so hard that they had gained the most dojos in the whole school therefore being allowed to bring a toy for one day. India, Lily, Matilda, Ornella and Polina all brought cuddly toys! Well done girls and all of Miss Lancaster’s class. 

In Year 5, they have really been enjoying their science challenges. Look, electrical circuits!!! Future engineers. 

Punctuality
Please try and ensure your child is in school on time to start the day; children get very anxious if they are late despite the fact we never reprimand them for this as we know it’s not their fault.

Mother’s Day
Sunday is English Mother’s Day. So for all you wonderful, loving mums out there, I wish you a lovely day. Allow yourself to be pampered! Your children adore you!

Have a lovely, sunny, safe weekend.

March Personal Learning Goal – TO BE A COMMUNICATOR
Next week’s Aloha Value  – RESPECT

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Batchelor
Principal


SECONDARY SCHOOL

Dear Parents,

I love music! It transmits emotions, sensations and evokes memories. I have created different playlists that I listen to when I go for a run every morning. I start my day fully energised, motivated and positive. The combination of exercise and music is just amazing! I usually choose non-lyrical upbeat songs when I run. The other day I played a random playlist called ‘motivation’. All tracks on the playlist had narrative lyrics, which distracted me from my daily exercise routine. I ended up analysing the language and messages in most of the songs, instead of enjoying the fresh morning breeze and sunrise. 

When we listen to music, we do not always focus on the lyrics. In fact, I think that lyrics sometimes play a slightly secondary role. We tend to enjoy the rhythm, or perhaps we really like the band or singer and do not pay attention to what is said. It can also be the case that the song is in a language that we do not understand, yet we still like it. Thus, it isn’t necessary to understand the lyrics of a song to understand its essence.

During my A-Level lesson the other day, my students used an expression that I had never heard before. When I asked what it meant, they explained that it comes from a rap song by a famous rapper who they describe as ‘legend’. They all laughed at me when I tried to pronounce the word out loud ( I am not cool enough!). My concern is that young people are growing up listening to music without questioning the message or language used. This, in my opinion, does not always inspire them to become responsible citizens in a global society. 

Sweet but Psycho was one of the tracks I listened to whilst I was running. Although a book should not be judged by its cover, I am afraid that this title leaves nothing to the imagination! The song tells you the reasons why this girl is “sweet but psycho”. She might grab a police officer’s gun, rip off guys’ shirts at night and scream. The song also mentions several times that she is “hot” because, at the end of the day, ‘looks are what really matters.’The singer uses the term psycho more than 15 times, thus stigmatising mental illness, one of the most common health problems the world faces today. Am I being too apprehensive or do you agree with me?

Miriam, a student who graduated last year, wrote her Extended Essay on the impact that language, used in current songs, has on us. Miriam analysed the lyrics of different music genres such as reggaeton, rap, hip hop and trap and found a clear pattern: the lyrics of the majority of songs evolve around violence, sex, male chauvinism and physical appearance. It is very worrying to read, in her essay, that the songs with most explicit messages and foul language had millions of streams on music platforms.

I have learnt something valuable from this: I will never play a random playlist again when I go for a run!

I hope you have a good weekend.

Francisco Escobar
Head of Secondary

team
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.

team
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.
team
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. 
team
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.
team
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.
team
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.
team
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. 
team
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.
team
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.
team
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!
team
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! 
team
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.