Parent Newsletter 15 May

Dear parents,

I hope everyone is safe and well.  The Year 13 IB pupils have almost finished their public exams.  The ones I spoke to seem relatively happy with their performance. The IGCSE and A-level pupils still have a way to go! Once again, good luck to them all.

It was nice to start the week with some lovely feedback on our new school App – Manu our Communications Officer, who launched the initiative, was pleased with the praise – thank you.

Mental Health Awareness

I am sure you are aware that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, with an emphasis on connecting with nature. None of us is superhuman, we all need to look after our mental wellbeing as well as our physical health. Pupils and staff have been sharing some interesting facts and information regarding this issue. Miss Thompson contributed with a wonderful video for the Secondary pupils which showed how some Aloha staff – teachers, maintenance staff, cleaners and kitchen staff – take care of their mental health. Statistics tell us that mental health issues have significantly increased during these unprecedented times and we are making sure that we continue to support our students on such issues. 

End of the academic year

Sadly, because of the Covid restrictions, we will be unable to hold our traditional end-of-year whole-school Graduation and Awards Ceremony. We do have plans for our Year 13 pupils and their parents as they officially leave our school to embark on new adventures.

We will also be celebrating our Year 6 pupils’ transition from the Primary School to the Secondary School at the end of this academic year. Year 6 and Year 13 parents will be informed of our plans separately.

Please note therefore that the last day of term will be Thursday 24 June. Teaching and learning and some additional activities will continue until that date, so no early holiday bookings please!

Absorbed in reading

What a wonderful sight when I looked out of my window this week and saw Year 7 quietly enjoying reading.

Talking about reading, Sasha in our Reception class (just 5 years old) read some very difficult text to me this week.  Brilliant, Sasha, and thank you.

International Nurses’ Day 2021

On Wednesday it was Nurses’ Day, we thank our nurse Carmen for all the work she does for our children in school. 

I receive so many wonderful messages from you the parents. Thank you for your kindness. One message this week which I shared with all the staff, and was greatly appreciated was:

Take care, stay safe and have a lovely weekend with your families.


PRIMARY SCHOOL

As you will have seen from the Covid Weekly Update yesterday, on Monday we sadly had to ask one Primary class and the teacher to self-isolate fro ten days. Most of the children are busy working online with their teacher. I am popping into their Google Classroom to say hello and see how they are doing. They all seem happy and are looking forward to their return next Friday. We all miss you, children.

Another great week of children’s success both in and outside the classroom. The week started in its usual way with my weekly online assembly which reinforces one of our values. The children were delighted to see one of my dogs again – Barney – requiring a haircut!! They are looking forward to seeing him next week all clean, white and fluffy again!!! 

Our Aloha Value this week was EFFORT and I have seen plenty of that going on this week.

Year 5 children were learning how to long jump this week – just look at their skills – it was like watching future Olympians.

Our Valeria Bermúdez López De Lacalle in Year 5 was so proud of her excellent Maths work this week and so were Miss Dickie and I! Well done Valeria.

Talking about future Olympians, look at Jasmine Katebiyan (3ARS) who competed last week in the championship of the Federación Andaluza de Gimnasia in San Pedro de Alcántara. Her team took 3rd place! She demonstrated with Lian Rincón Tian how to do the splits so easily!!

We always love learning about the children’s activities outside school too. Congratulations to James Robb (4CLA) who won a wrestling competition on 7 May. This is what he said about his victory: “I had 4 fights in category 36/40 kg. It was very hard but interesting fights and very challenging.I lost the first fight but three others I won and still got 1st place. I trained and worked very hard to get this victory. I keep training and I want to achieve more trophies and medals.”

EYFS Next Tuesday 18 May you may see lots of superheroes around school – they are our Nursery and Reception children who will be dressing up as their favourite characters.

We are planning lots of exciting events for all your children before the end of this summer term. These include different activities for different year groups, of course still maintaining our Covid protocol. We will notify you of each event nearer the day, but this is advance notice: if you are planning an early holiday before our official last day of term, your children might miss out!!

Year 6 children will be moving from the Primary section to the Secondary at the end of this academic year. So watch this space to see what experiences are awaiting them.

As we are unable to do our traditional annual Graduation and Award Ceremony on Friday 25 June, the last day of this academic year will be Thursday 24 June for all pupils.

Enjoy what looks to be a beautiful sunny weekend with your families.

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

Elizabeth Batchelor
Principal


SECONDARY SCHOOL

Dear Parents,

‘Nature’ was the theme to celebrate Mental Health awareness week. It was wonderful to see students taking part in an array of activities such as playlists in Music, growing your own plants in Science, creating eco shoes in Geography and writing about getting lost in Nature in English. In the assembly yesterday, Sophia Unger and Charlotte Marin (Year 13) shared tips and advice on stress with exams and Alisa Polyak (Year 13) spoke about her own mental health journey.

There was a workshop for our Year 12 students on managing exam stress and anxiety. The prospect of examinations can be an overwhelming and worrying experience for many, so as a College we aim to try and support our students and give them the relevant tools they need for handling these situations. The students were given some practical tips for helping to deal with anxiety, including breathing exercises and mindful meditations. 

Year 10 and Year 12 students were also invited to take part in a lunchtime yoga lesson.

I would like to share with you some examples of what our students and staff have done to support mental health awareness week.

Science: growing your own plants 

 

Art: Landscapes drawing

 

Positive affirmations on the mirrors in the girls’ bathrooms

 

English: Year 7 class reading outside

 

Staff connection with nature

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.