Parent Newsletter 19 September

Dear parents,

I hope your children are arriving home full of enthusiasm with all that’s going on this term.  I reinforce what I said in my first newsletter – your children are amazing. They have adapted to all that is required of them with respect and tolerance.  I am proud of them all.

Support outside school
I continue to ask for your support.  Some parents have emailed me personally with the same concern regarding the importance of you too fully accepting your responsibilities in trying to keep your children as safe as possible.

On Wednesday I received the following email (names have been deleted):

Something concerned me today. Aloha is doing a great job of putting the children in bubbles and keeping the conditions safe. And our child has been at home for 10 days because of your safety measures. 

In between picking up our children from Primary and Secondary we go to a local café and were surprised to see there is no separation; children of all ages from junior and secondary mingle and it seems to contravene the principles you put in place at the school. 

Please, once again, may I ask that all parents wear masks when dropping off and collecting their children.  Can you also aim to respect social distancing where possible and not linger outside the gates?  I know I am beginning to sound boring about this, but I do so love your children!

Parents may be interested to know that we have had enquiries from families at other schools where fewer safety measures have been taken.  Parents from one school said

Safety has not been as much of a priority at our current school in these crucial moments as we wish it would have been and indeed how other colleges such as Aloha have shown to be possible. It is for that reason they would like to have our children start as soon as possible within this term.

Foundation Stage
Although we agreed there would be no additional building works carried out this summer holiday, we did carry out some necessary repairs and maintenance in parts of the building and replaced our Foundation Stage surface with a new astroturf.  I am sure you will agree it makes a big difference for our children.

On Monday we welcomed back all of the children who had been quarantined at home.  They were greeted with colourful balloons, and were as excited as we were to have them back in school.  Thank you to all the parents who supported us 100%.

Arrival Time
Please note that we staggered the start and end of the day for health and safety reasons.  Therefore please do not drop off Secondary children prior to 09.20 unless they have siblings in the Primary school. This is causing additional traffic issues, which we had aimed to avoid.

Policia Local
Even though for some of you drop-off and collection is a personal issue and you get frustrated at having to queue, the policia local has congratulated the school on its overall efforts to help ease traffic congestion in the mornings and afternoons.

Public Examinations Results
Although we posted with pride our headline of the IB, A-level and IGCSE results on our social media, here are just a few of our successes for those of you who have missed them:

Our IB Diploma results were outstanding with 100% of our pupils receiving their full Diploma.  Most of these pupils are now busily packing to go off to universities all over the world.  Sadly some of them will start the new term learning online, due to different countries’ restrictions.  We wish them every success.

Our Head Girl Olga scored the maximum 45 points and will now take up a place at Cambridge University.


In our A-level examinations, 83% of our pupils were awarded A*-C grades, with a phenomenal 79% achieving A*/A grades.

Congratulations to all our graduating class of 2020!

96% of all our IGCSE pupils were graded A* – C, enabling all of them to return to Aloha. They are now busily studying in our Sixth Form.

Congratulations to all our pupils.

Head Students
Our Head Students for this academic year are:

Congratulations! I am very much looking forward to working with them.

World Peace Day
On Monday 21 September we will celebrate World Peace Day – please take a moment to think what this means to you.

I wish you all a happy, enjoyable and safe weekend.

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

Another successful week back at school for the children. They continue to amaze us with how resilient they are with all of the different routines we need to undertake. This week, we introduced daily temperature taking for all children (and staff). It’s amazing how quickly they adapted to make sure they do this properly, just like the face masks and hand sanitising. 

IPC Years 1-2
In Key Stage 1 Miss Liz said she had seen some fantastic IPC Entry Points as she walked around school. The children have been designing their own nutritious and delicious plates of food while working with the IPC Unit called “We are what we eat”. Judging by their work we may have some future chefs and restaurateurs amongst us!

IPC Year 3

Children have been learning all about the human body with the IPC unit called “How Humans Work”. Their Entry Point consisted of some fun online activities to test our hearing, sight and memory; some of these were very tricky. Please have a go yourself!

Hearing Test

The Eyesight test

Colour Blindness Test

Quick Memory Test


IPC Years 4-5-6
Following the whole school topic on “Brain Waves” and how the brain works, the children have now started their new IPC units. In Year 4, the children have been learning about the human body (unit “How Humans Work”), focusing on sight, sound and memory in their first week. In Year 5, the children are entering the world of Forensic Science to uncover the culprits behind the “missing” iPad. In Year 6, they launched their unit of rivers “Go with the Flow”. Linked to some wonderful stories, the children will also be creating their own boats in the coming weeks.


Reading – All of the children should now have access to reading material. Some through the school library, others through the school’s reading Scheme and even through the Active Learn websites. It is important that the children engage in their reading as much as possible: aiming for 20 minutes each night. The new “School Handbook” has space to fill in comments about their reading books as they go.

Spelling – The Spelling scheme is also well underway. Please support your child with the activities they need to complete throughout the week. It is important that they do short activities across a number of days, instead of all at the same time, as this helps them to learn the rules and words that we are focusing on each week.

Please check out your class teachers’ videos from Friday evening onwards to get a “round-up” of what has been happening in each class.


Talk Homework What makes a good friend?
Aloha Value – Effort           
Personal Goal – Inquisitive

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Salmon
Headteacher, Primary


Dear Parents,

I would like to start this week’s newsletter by asking you to take a few minutes to reflect about the photo below.

It is just a handsome young man enjoying his own image in the mirror, isn’t it? 

As soon as I saw the photo, the thought that came to my head was self-love. Then I thought further and asked myself : self-love or narcissism?

Before I continue, let me tell you a little bit about the origin of narcissism. In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia, known for his beauty. His punishment from the gods was to fall so in love with his own reflection in a pool of water that he could not bear to leave it. The cruelty of Narcissus’ punishments was that it cut him off completely from other human beings.

From my point of view, small doses of narcissism can be a good thing or at least better than lacking self-esteem. I can think of jobs in the area of politics, banking or finance where a strong sense of self belief can be an advantage. However, there is also a danger that narcissists dismiss other viewpoints or do not feel compassion, empathy or even much curiosity about other people. 

Social media such as Instagram have become a narcissist’s favourite place as they often show images of their perfect abs and perfect lives in order to boast about the amount of likes and shares achieved.

Self-love, on the contrary, is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. It lifts us up, assures us of our strengths and carries us through the hard times. One day, we might be our own best friend and feel proud of the person that we are and other times, we come up against self-doubt. Self-love has the ability to help us ride the waves. It emerges when you really take the time to explore and understand who you are, and who you are becoming.

We are sometimes too hard on ourselves, either for the decisions we make or for not following through on our promises. Experts in the field say that we have to be kind to ourselves and remember that the only way we improve our lives is by learning from our mistakes. 

I leave you with the following question for you to discuss further with your children: 

What else would someone who truly loves himself/herself do?


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.