Parent Newsletter 16 May

Dear parents,

What has happened to our Spanish sunshine? I hope you all continue to be safe and well.

Year 13
As I was preparing this week’s newsletter I had a moment of overwhelming sadness thinking about my Year 13 pupils. Less than 2 years ago they lost a member of their year group, and most of them grieved for a long time for their friend. This year they find themselves in the middle of a pandemic which has seen all their public examinations cancelled. Their future is full of uncertainties. They left school on 13 March, as we all did, thinking they would soon be back together again, doing their exams and then looking forward to enjoying their Prom and Graduation Ceremony. In their young lives they have been tried and tested much more than is normal at their tender age.

Yet, despite those grave challenges, they have remained positive and resilient and we are all really proud of them. We are going to do everything within our power to send them on the next stage of their educational journey with happy memories to enjoy and, if possible, some physical and not just virtual celebrations. They certainly deserve the best. I have known many of these pupils since they were 3 years old so they are not going to escape one last Batchelor hug if I can help it!

Congratulations to Aurora in Nursery who has overcome her fear of dogs by meeting and befriending Pongo, her neighbour’s pet. Very brave, Aurora!


Creative Role Play in Nursery
Once travel restrictions are lifted, Hunter Anderson is well prepared to zoom off all over the world!


Reception Class
I enjoyed sharing my favourite book with some of the Reception children this week, and hearing them talk about their favourite books.


Literacy in Year 1
If Year 13 do have a “proper” Prom, perhaps we could ask George Lippiett, Year 1, to write their invitations!


Covid-19 KM Challenge
The Covid challenge in which so many of our families are participating is going splendidly. Miss Fatima, our Receptionist, contributed a fantastic 54 km just last Saturday on her bike at home. Watch the video here!

Thank you to all for your support. Have a lovely weekend with your families.

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

In my Monday morning message I read out the weekly totals for House Points and was pleased to see the children are continuing to make great efforts to be awarded these for their teams – find my video message here. Although we are apart, teamwork is as important as ever as it promotes our feeling of belonging and helps us to feel less isolated. In the next few weeks we are planning collaborative events to promote this still further and help your children connect with their school friends. 

The first of these is our ACM ‘At Home’ House Olympics on Friday 29 May when we are inviting all families to participate. Families can enjoy 10 challenges of the ‘Decathlon’ Event. It is a House occasion so remember to wear your House t-shirts and to take some photographs of your family. More information to follow. I’m warming up already!

Our team of dedicated teachers are planning to ‘assess’ where your children are in their learning and how we can help them achieve their next steps. This is something we do normally in school and so there is no need for you or your children to worry or feel pressurised. More details are in the letter I sent to you yesterday here.


NSCCU Dario Kalantari-Nazari, NSERI Abdallah Adham Touati
RCEMA Sofia Ben Larbi Doncel-Moriano, RCJST Sarah Abril Sinnwell
1KED Sienna Kafourous, 1MTI  Ananda Corderas De La Cuesta, 1LHO George Lippiett
2LT Quillhan Berrichi Sauer, 2ARS Matthew Sweeting, 2FFO David Lesko-Nuttall
3EK Alek Yankov, 3JCH Oliver Aspden, 3ESE Lola Ortiz
4ITA Fernando Taillefer Díaz, 4ES Luca Leader, 4SJD Maddie Verinder    5MAS Alba Sofia Olivo Campos, 5ASH Jimena García Vidal, 5BWA Isabella Jagdev
6PSM Felix Cooper, 6WA Maia McDermott, 6CST Tarah Wandoren

Srta Encarnita: NS Arran Crossland, RC Denis Zhukov, Y1 Emma Robb, Y2 Cara Cartwright, Y3 Meral Madi
Srta Rosa: NS Aurora Toal García, RC Tina Anakhasyan, Y1 Elija Sidorovic, Y2 Matthew Sweeting, Y3 Ornella Sowada
Don David: Y2 Sakiel Teran-Coniglione, Y3 Mina Kipcak, Y4 Mélanie Deny
Srta Laura: Y2 Olivia Cergneux García, Y3 Astrid Verweij Cruz, Y4 Dina Gzouli
Srta Antoinette: Y4 Fred Chamizo, Y5 Polina Pchelkina, Y6 Artur Dosmukhamedov
Srta Sylvia: Y4 Bobby Sharp, Y5 Yasmeen Ojjeh, Y6 Timur Dosmukhamedov
Srta Ana: Y5 David Gandía Bisbal, Y6 Francesco Primitivi Vidiella
Don Diego: Y5 Isabella Jagdev, Y6 Chloe Herráez Alonso    

PE AWARD CERTIFICATES – For outstanding commitment to At Home PE
Francesca Tye RCEMA, Adrian Ghaffari Gharzi Said 1KED, Mijia Sidorovic 3ESE, Vega Sofia Reinhard 4SJD

3EK – Ilya Dekker for a super investigation, measuring and recording the movement of shadows for IPC. 

House points results here.

Aloha Value – RESILIENCE                         
Personal Goal – ADAPTABILITY

Have a lovely weekend, hopefully enjoy some sunshine and stay safe!

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Salmon
Headteacher, Primary


Dear Parents,

As soon as I open my eyes in the morning, I reach for my mobile phone. I read the messages that I have received during the night and, without getting out of bed, have a quick glance at some online articles. As I prepare breakfast, I switch the TV on to check if there has been an increase in the number of infections or deaths around the world. At that moment I think about friends and family who live in places where Covid-19 is hitting hard. I keep getting messages through whatsapp with some funny memes about the situation we’re in.  It’s not even 8 a.m. and I already have a headache from the amount of information that I have had to handle in less than two hours. 

Does the above description sound familiar? Let me continue!

I take a break halfway through the day and decide to put on some music. I check my phone and keep getting messages and information about the same topic. I’m in a vicious circle of information overload! I can, as an adult,  take control of the matter and start restricting this information so I don’t get overwhelmed. Think about how dangerous and difficult it can be for our youngsters to manage this overload of information and fake news. It is time to take action to help us deal with this “infodemic”.

Limiting information
We don’t have to be glued to our screens to know what’s going on every second of the day. We only need a single dose of information per day. Our job is to choose the best time for this.

Choosing reliable news 
“Knowledge does not mean wisdom, just as information is not knowledge.”  We are in the age of fake news so it is imperative to choose reliable sources. 

Silencing whatsapp groups
We can’t be in an online class and have our phones beeping to alert us that new information has arrived. Please, let’s silent our whatsapp groups!

Even if we take these three steps, we will still receive information continuously. Once we have finished our work for the day and we still have a few hours before going to sleep, one piece of advice that works well is to leave mobile phones in another room in the house so that they cannot be easily accessed – I will ensure that I put  these measures into practice!

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.