Parent Newsletter 17 April

Dear parents,

Welcome back after what I hope has been a safe, restful, enjoyable Easter break with your families.  The weather continues to be a little mixed but I am certain it won’t be long until we are enjoying the Spanish sunshine on a daily basis.

Thank you for sending your children back so smartly.  Please remember that ties are no longer compulsory in the summer term.  Generally the standard of uniform has been good; however, there have been a few exceptions, which are not permissible.  One of these is the length of the skirts – mini-skirts are not allowed and if this is brought to your child’s attention repeatedly, your child will be sent home.  We are a great school, of which a high standard of uniform is an integral part – please support us in this matter.

Year 11 and Year 13 pupils
Year 11 and Year 13 pupils are about to embark on study leave.  We wish them every success in their future exams.  I want to personally thank them for all their hard efforts. 

A sincere thank-you must go to our 2 Head Students, Adriana León Villares and Caio Simon, who are now ready to hand over their roles to the new chosen candidates, who will be announced in next week’s newsletter.

Adriana and Caio have been outstanding ambassadors for Aloha College Marbella, thank you for everything!

School App
We were delighted at the successful launch of the long-awaited school app; thank you for the really positive feedback from some of you regarding this.

We can see that there are many parents who have still not opened the communications regarding this and have therefore not downloaded the app.  You will find it useful to be able to read all your child’s information on your mobile device.

Welcome instructions will guide you through the short initial set-up: school code is ALO

Download for iOS

Download for Android


Official school photographs
Due to Covid restrictions we have been unable to take our annual school photographs.  However, we have started to take individual photos of your children for the traditional 2 pages dedicated to this in our Yearbook, and also to update our internal school records. These photos are unofficial, taken by a member of staff.  There will be no opportunity for sibling photos of class groups this academic year.  If you do not wish your child to be photographed to be published in the Yearbook, please inform the school.

Setting up for the photo shoot.

Ex-PTA parent
Many of you will remember Jess Mason – she is no longer a parent at school but when here was a very active member of the PTA, helping to organise Chiringuito evenings and Christmas Bazaars (pre-Covid).  Sadly, Jess is very unwell and is in the Intensive Care unit in Malaga.  I have sent a message to her family wishing her a safe recovery.  Please keep her in your thoughts.

Community Time – Secondary section
Congratulations to Antonina in Year 9, who delivered a heartfelt message to all Key Stage 3 pupils and staff in Community Time on the topic of scoliosis.  The feedback she got from an amazed audience was overwhelming.  Mrs Brice, Head of Key Stage 3, awarded 2 Pupil Profile awards “Challenge Myself” and “Grow Stronger”.  Well done, Antonina, and thank you for sharing.  Mrs Brice said:

“You have made me so PROUD, Antonina, of your phenomenal personal achievement today.”  Mrs Brice awarded the “Challenge Myself” Pupil Profile Award for:

Her courage in speaking up in Community Time about Scoliosis; how to live with it and support friends with it. She overcame her fear and trepidation and delivered a heart-felt message that inspired students and teachers alike. A born communicator!”

I spent a lunchtime talking with Antonina – her humility is exceptional and a lesson to us all.  When I asked for permission to write about her in my newsletter she said she was honoured.  I am honoured to have her as a pupil in our school!

Thank you, Antonina!

New Pupils
We welcome 2 new pupils to Secondary School (Key Stage 3).  We hope they are happy here and feel well-supported.

I wish you and your families a wonderful weekend.


Welcome back after what I hear has been a wonderful Easter break for you and your families. It was nice to see your children excited to return and listen to some of their holidays news. Even more important, it was nice to see them all safe.

Summer Uniform
Thank you for purchasing the summer uniforms online and sending back your children looking so smart.

We do appreciate that the weather is still very changeable so we have allowed a little flexibility until the sun shines again and temperatures become a little warmer. Please ensure that by the end of next week all summer uniforms are purchased and are being worn.

Unfortunately we are still seeing a few children wearing old PE kits; there is no flexibility in this, so please make sure your child is wearing only the kit below:

Parent Consultation Meetings
By now you will have received information regarding Virtual Parents’ Evenings. This gives you the opportunity, once again, to meet with your child’s class teacher and Spanish teacher to discuss your child’s progress to date. These meetings are very important for you to have the opportunity to ask questions or express concerns. There is a choice of two days and various times offered which you have to choose and book online. Please take this opportunity; it is very important for school and home to work together.

One request regarding this matter, when your appointment is booked please ensure these online meetings are carried out in a private and quiet place. There have been occasions where some parents have held meetings in cafés, restaurants, or even while driving! I will trust you to support us on this matter.

NSERI Spanish  /  Y3 & Y5   /  Y2 & Y6  /  Y4 & FS2/RC   /  Y1 & FS1/NS

Children’s Work
Hugo Hay-Evans in Year 6 produced a wonderful piece of writing regarding the recent death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Well done, Hugo.

Thomas Hurley in Year 2, Miss Natalie’s class, deserves our congratulations for doing some beautiful joined-up handwriting!

March Blossom Award
Our ACM March’s Personal Learning Goal was TO BE A COMMUNICATOR

Congratulations to the following children, who received the Blossom award: 

Maths CertificatesWell done to everyone for working hard on their online maths activities this term. Keep up the good work!

Earned the most coins in NUMBOTS

  • Year 1: Ivo Piwek, Celine Hagbo and Stella Lai
  • Year 2: Mark Vsiakikh, Ali Allawi and Sienna Kafourous

Collected the most coins in TTRockStars:

  • Year 2: Sitong Wang, Youna Delavari and Adrian Ghaffari Ghazi Said
  • Year 3: Quillhan Berrichi Sauer, Sara Alonso Garcia and Oscar Hoglund
  • Year 4: Soraya Rohayem El Khayati, Luis Fernando Fay Perez and Aurelia Howard
  • Year 5: Morgane Matter, Daniel O’Hayon Karlov and Benjamin Shechter
  • Year 6: Zayna El-Rais, Zaya Zavery, Luca Aragón van der Lely and Iker Ortigosa Maldonado

Collected the most stars in Doodle Maths:

  • Year 4: Soraya Rohayem El Khayati, Danial Hosseini and José Gutiérrez Villafranca
  • Year 5: Danila Belov, Annie Herraez Alonso and Dina Gzouli

Played the most on Manga High:

  • Year 6: Elin Hoglund, Zlata Luchko, Yousef Toubah and Ruihang Yong

Primary Spring Term Winning House
Sevilla – 4181
Granada – 4093
Cordoba – 3980

I am looking forward to what I know is going to be another wonderful term in the Primary School.

Have a lovely and safe weekend with your children.

April Personal Learning Goal – TO BE A COLLABORATOR
Next week’s Aloha Value  – RESILIENCE  


Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

I hope that you have had a wonderful break. During the holidays I watched a programme on television which made me think. It is an old TV show that I used to watch with my parents as a child. The TV show is called The Price is Right and for those who do not know it, four contestants guess the retail prices of a wide array of merchandise. The contestant whose guess is closest to, but not more than, the correct value of the ítems wins. 

This show was probably my first contact with money, a concept that I didn’t quite get at the time. I never imagined that money and I were going to be ‘friends’ for such a long time. My parents were brilliant at telling me the benefits of eating vegetables, how to cross the road safely and why manners were important. However, I was never taught about money. I grew up listening to them saying that money did not grow on trees and that one has to really work hard to earn money, but that was as far as it got.

I knew that when it comes to personal finance, the first rule is to spend less than what you earn. The problem is that the money that I spent as a teenager was my parents’- thus I did not value it enough. It was not until the summer before university when the penny dropped and I understood that money did not grow on trees. My friend Jacob and I decided to work at a laundry throughout the summer. Our job consisted of folding pillow cases, ironing tablecloths and putting tonnes of dirty sheets into massive washing machines. We did 7 hours every day at approximately £4 per hour (you do the Maths!). This experience helped us to build a healthier relationship with money. I was not as quick to call my parents when I needed more money. It made me think of the great financial effort they were making so that I could study in England. 

Throughout our lives, we receive messages related to money from different sources.  Children should not worry about owing money, but they need to understand the responsibility that comes with it. A recent study by the University of Michigan found that children as young as five already have emotional reactions to spending and saving. “Although this is a very abstract concept for children, we need to instil in them the value of money, that things cost and involve effort.They should perceive money as something necessary, but without giving it excessive importance,” says clinical health psychologist Silvia Álava.

Our aim should not be to become millionaires, but rather to achieve a fulfilling and purposeful life; money is just one means to achieve this.

I hope you have a nice weekend.

Francisco Escobar
Head of 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.