Parent Newsletter 16 January

Dear parents,

Happy New Year to you all!  I wish you and all your family a very happy, successful and healthy new year.  Let us hope 2021 brings us some normality.

Many of you will have travelled during the holiday period; please may I remind you that if either you or your children display any Covid symptoms, you stay at home and seek medical advice.

Trial Examinations
Year 11 and Year 13 pupils have spent a great deal of the holiday studying for their trial examinations.  We wish each of them every success.  If they are fairly calm it means they have revised; if they are bad-tempered and edgy, this can be teenage language for not having revised enough! 

Seriously, though, trial examinations are another stepping stone, they are there to support you ahead of the “real” exams in the summer term.

Christmas KM Challenge
Mr Toal, Head of PE, and myself tried to prepare for the Christmas KM challenge.  This has been an ongoing challenge for us both. Unfortunately neither of us would ever be worthy enough to match:

-Mr Rob Davies who managed 224 km during the Christmas period
-Marina Mees, Year 8: 160 km
-Rida Khattab, Year 6: 80 km

Congratulations to those 3 champions!

And to the 65 pupils and staff who responded to the challenge.

As much as I am still a fan of athletics, with my current age and figure I could never match your wonderful children!

New members of teaching staff           
Ms Nathalie Moffat, Primary and Mr Martin Love, Secondary                                  

We welcome 2 new teachers to our school community and wish them every success.

We also welcome 14 new pupils who join us from all over the world – please help to make them welcome.

Online teaching
This morning, walking round the Secondary School with Mr Escobar, I was thrilled to see a very fine example of online teaching – the children were in the class while the teacher taught from home.  Their concentration was palpable!

Congratulations to Miss Dry (Secondary PE teacher) who gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Luca, last week.

I hope you do continue to read the rest of this newsletter, as it informs you of Primary school events and contains Mr Escobar’s letter of deep reflection, which is discussed by all Secondary pupils the following week.

Primary Headship
I am busily reviewing the applications of over 100 people who would like to be appointed to lead our Primary school into the next phase of its development. It will take time and many interviews to find the best person for the post. Hopefully the successful candidate will be in position for September 2021, or sooner if possible. I will keep you informed and updated.  

So this newsletter ends as always (I hope) on a positive note.  It is a new year, a new term.

Have a lovely weekend and stay safe; now I am going to share with you some specific Primary news.


A very Happy New Year to you all. I hope it will bring good health, happiness and success, and eventually some normality!!

It was fantastic to greet your wonderful children back through the primary gates after a three week holiday.They were excited to tell me all about Santa’s visit, the three Kings – who apparently one of the Reception mums knows personally – and their holidays with extended family. I have heard all about robots, dinosaurs, mobile phones, iPads, new bikes and new books.  One of the Year 1 children asked me if I had some new tights!!!

Anyway, the festivities are over and it’s time to concentrate on the first value of our new term – RESPECT. It is really important as adults that we respect each other and we reinforce the same value with our children. 

We welcome Miss Natalie Moffatt who has joined us to teach in Foundation Stage and is also ready and prepared to teach the class of one of our teachers who will soon leave to have a baby. Please make her feel welcome in our Aloha College Community.

Look at Alejandro Fernández González’ (2FFO) birdhouse which he built with his daddy, absolutely fantastic – lucky birds who visit his garden. 

In IPC Year 3 children are learning all about Ancient Egypt and they have made some colourful pictures of Pharaohs.

Bilal (Reception, Miss Janine’s class) has been working extremely hard this week. He is such an enthusiastic learner and loves sharing his answers and ideas. He created this fantastic giraffe. Miss Janine is very proud of him.

Until a new Head of Primary is appointed,  I will be overseeing the day to day running of the Primary school, even closer, as well as doing my job as Principal of the College, so if you have any concerns or queries please let me know. 

Supporting me 100% will be an extended Senior Leadership Team, any of whom you can contact if you have any concerns, but please remember first to speak with your child’s class teacher.

  • Mrs Emma Matthews Head of Foundation Stage, Nursery & Reception

  • Miss Kate Edwards Head of Key Stage 1, Years 1-2

(she returns from maternity leave in February)

  • Miss Elizabeth Keys Head of Lower Key Stage 2, Years 3-4

  • Mr Peter Smith Head of Upper Key Stage 2, Years 5-6

  • Mrs Emma Saunders Head of Pastoral Care

  • Don Diego García Director Técnico – Head of Primary School Spanish

I call them my dream team – so please contact them or myself if you have concerns that your class teacher may not be able to answer.

This week you have received communications reminding you that our virtual Parents’ Evenings will start next Monday 18 January and will run until Thursday 28 January. Using “Meet the Teacher” you will be able to book one video appointment with your son/daughter’s class teachers and a separate appointment with the Spanish teacher to discuss your child’s report, progress and future objectives. 

Take good care and stay safe.

Aloha Value – RESPECT
Personal Learning Goal – To be Resilient

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

Happy New Year! I hope that you had a wonderful break and your children are ready and excited about the term ahead. 

Every 31st December I compile a list of new year’s resolutions. I usually end up with about 15, which are way too many! This year, I have decided to focus on only three. It has not been easy to get rid of 12 resolutions at the stroke of a pen! 

Just after eating the twelve lucky grapes, I was talking to one of my friends about her current job. She works in the maternity ward at a hospital in Córdoba which she loves. She says that it is the best place she has ever worked at. When I asked her about what makes her job so special she answered: “This is where life begins. Is there anything more beautiful?”.

She says that all she does is make future parents’ lives more agreeable. This is achieved through a simple ‘everything will be ok’, a smile or holding the hand of the woman in labour. The effects of such simple acts of kindness are tremendous. Córdoba is a small town and it is not difficult to bump into someone you know when you stroll around the town centre. She tells me that, long after the birth of a child, she is stopped by many parents in the middle of the street who thank her for assisting and looking after them during labour.

Going back to my New Year’s resolutions, my friend’s experiences in the labour ward have made me think. Originally I had chosen three resolutions that were focused on very specific things, deliberately avoiding objectives of a general nature as they would be more difficult to achieve. Now, I am convinced that such an approach to resolutions isn’t meaningful enough and that I should focus on things that have a long lasting effect and also help others. 

The goal should not be to read a book but to become a great reader; we should not focus on learning how to prepare our favourite food for ourselves but to cook for others to enjoy it; the goal should not be to run a marathon- one should instead aim to become a runner.

I hope that 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.