PARENT NEWSLETTER (20 – 24 MAY)

Dear Parents,

I spent three days in London attending a Heads’ Conference and enjoyed every minute talking about our wonderful school to Principals and Heads all over the world. Listening to some of their experiences reminds me how grateful I am to be responsible for your children whilst they are in our school care. Thank you.

A FEW POLITE REMINDERS

As the academic year is going by so quickly I would like to bring to your attention some little issues:

School Ramp

Please remember after school that you cannot drive onto the ramp and “wait” for your child if they are not waiting for you. This is creating a safety risk for our children as traffic builds up and tempers become frayed. If your child is not there waiting for you, then you need to drive around and re-join the end of the queue. Please note that if Fran the guard moves you on he is doing so according to instruction. He is not there to be disrespected by parents or hired helpers. Please support me on this matter.

Twitter

You have received a letter and reminders regarding permission to use your child’s photo if needed when the school posts messages on Twitter. Please return your authorisation request ASAP. Thank you.

SPORTS GRANTS

Aloha College Foundation has formally presented the sports grants it has awarded in support of the Marbella community.  Three young people from the town received grants from the school to enable them to progress in their target sport. The event took place at @alohacollege Marbella and was led by Rosa Gómez, Chair of the Board of Trustees.  Rosa Gómez thanked those applicants who had not been successful on this occasion and encouraged them and others to participate in any other future offers of sponsorship made by the school.

COLLECTIVE CALLING

We will have a non-uniform day on 7 June to support our last charity this academic year – Collective Calling.  The charity is mainly run by just two people, and it is amazing how they manage to do such marvellous work to help both local people, and citizens worldwide. Our support will be to help them provide a suitable place of education for people who have been unable to carry on with their schooling. Reading about the project makes you feel so appreciative of the education that you provide for your children here at Aloha. Let us help educate some young people who are less fortunate than ourselves. Please read more details about the charity on these links: COH, COH Overview, Stages of toilets, The CC Base.

YEARBOOK

Another communication was sent to you enquiring if you wish to post a professional advert in our annual Year Book. This does give you a one-off opportunity to market your business amongst other parents and outside members of the community.

SUMMER SCHOOL

For those new parents who are not aware, Aloha College organises an annual Summer School. The starting date for this is Monday 8 July, until Friday 26 July. We have some new events already planned and three staff organising more. The summer school will be led by Don Sebastian, Dr Jeanette Walker and Miss Meryl. The information is available from the administration department. It would be nice this year to have even more of our own pupils in attendance.

SPORTS DAYS

Thursday and Friday saw all our Primary children’s inter-house Sports Days – what fabulous events!  Enjoyed by children, teachers and parents, and by me!

I expect to see you all reading this letter as you meander around Family Fun Morning, being held now at Aloha.

Have a lovely day!

Your sincerely

Elizabeth Batchelor

Principal


PRIMARY SCHOOL

Dear Parents,

Prioritising children’s wellbeing and positive mental health is at the heart of everything we undertake in the Primary School. This term we are focusing upon helping children understand the real meaning of resilience and how being resilient can help them in their daily lives. Children are being encouraged to think about the following:

  • Asking GOOD questions
  • Asking for help at the right time
  • Helping yourself
  • Using plan B/changing your plan
  • Challenging yourself

Years 4 to 6 are focusing on all of the above and the younger children are focusing upon 2 or 3. It will be helpful if you discuss these with your children and allow them to explain to you what it means to them and how have they applied these in school and at home.

Sports Days – Once again the days were a huge success with every child taking part in a variety of events and activities. It was great to see so many children enjoying being part of a team and also trying their personal best to achieve. I was also pleased to see so many children remembering their water bottles, caps and suncream, a must for being outside as the weather gets warmer.

Chocolate Making – The Primary Eco Committee were joined by some keen Secondary students who wanted to learn how to make raw healthy chocolate. The process was simple, using just three key ingredients of raw cocoa powder, coconut oil (can be replaced with cocoa butter) and a sweetener such as honey. You can add extras too; we added dried blueberries and salt. Some students were not used to the flavour of dark-natural chocolate and found it a little too bitter, but it can be made at home with extra sweetener or with the addition of some ingredients such as cashew butter, coconut milk and raw creamed coconut butter to give the chocolate a ‘milky’ effect. We hope you can try and make your own at home, it’s so simple and easy!

As you read this I hope that you are enjoying our Family Fun Morning. It is always heartwarming to see the Aloha Community coming together and having a good time. Thank you to our PTA for their organisation and of course you the families for participating.

Your sincerely

Kathryn Salmon

Headteacher, Primary


SECONDARY SCHOOL

Dear Parents,

From the moment we feel any physical pain or simply have a cold, we know exactly what to do: we seek help from a doctor or take medication to alleviate that discomfort. We are brought up to automatically notice the slightest ache in our body and find the means to resolve it. In fact, from an early age we are taught that eating fruit and vegetables is essential to have strong health. Much of our upbringing focuses on physical health.

What happens when that pain comes from our mind? Do we know what steps to take to resolve it?

This week was Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year was Body Image. This is something that everyone can relate to; we all have hang-ups about our bodies which can have a huge impact on our mental health. The beauty standards that society has imposed on us are unachievable. The media and social networks bombard us daily with images of what is considered beautiful: tall people with perfect figures, no trace of fat and always with a smile on their faces.

During tutor time this week, students were reminded of just how amazing their bodies are and what they can actually do for us. Students were encouraged to be more positive about their bodies using a range of activities such as spoken poetry, videos on how social media sends us messages about what we are supposed to look like, and tips on how to boost self-image. We hope that after this week, our students will have a little more compassion and self-love for who and what they are.

Our  ‘Be Kind campaign’ goes from strength to strength. They have organised two bake sales to help a former Aloha student who ran the London Marathon in order to raise awareness of Mental Health. The money raised amounted to 236 euros.

“If you don’t love yourself, nobody will. Not only that, you won’t be good at loving anyone else. Loving starts with the self.”

I hope you have a good weekend.

Yours sincerely,

Francisco Escobar

Headteacher, Secondary

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Darren Roth
Headteacher Secondary

Earned his BA(Hons) in English Literature from Cardiff University before completing his teaching qualification as a secondary English teacher at Swansea University. Over 17 years in South Wales, he held roles including Head of English, Head of Sixth Form, and senior management before joining Aloha College Marbella in 2012. A passionate educator, Darren finds immense satisfaction in students’ success.

His diverse interests extend beyond the classroom. Darren obtained his pilot’s licence at 17 through a Royal Air Force scholarship and continued training for years. He volunteered in the Camp America scheme, played water polo for Wales Under 18s, and taught children to swim.
Outside of his professional and athletic pursuits, Darren enjoys reading, cycling, and walking his rescue Yorkshire Terrier, Charley. A paddleboarding enthusiast, he finds joy in outdoor activities. Darren also has a flair for cooking and delights in preparing meals for friends. He holds a special affection for the Andalusian sunshine and seizes every opportunity to explore Spain and beyond.

Earned his BA(Hons) in English Literature from Cardiff University before completing his teaching qualification as a secondary English teacher at Swansea University. Over 17 years in South Wales, he held roles including Head of English, Head of Sixth Form, and senior management before joining Aloha College Marbella in 2012. A passionate educator, Darren finds immense satisfaction in students’ success.

His diverse interests extend beyond the classroom. Darren obtained his pilot’s licence at 17 through a Royal Air Force scholarship and continued training for years. He volunteered in the Camp America scheme, played water polo for Wales Under 18s, and taught children to swim.

Outside of his professional and athletic pursuits, Darren enjoys reading, cycling, and walking his rescue Yorkshire Terrier, Charley. A paddleboarding enthusiast, he finds joy in outdoor activities. Darren also has a flair for cooking and delights in preparing meals for friends. He holds a special affection for the Andalusian sunshine and seizes every opportunity to explore Spain and beyond.

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Louise Verinder
Designated Safeguarding Lead & Pastoral Care

Louise earned her BA Hons degree from Edge Hill University and went on to complete her PGCE. With a lifelong passion for sports, she always knew she wanted to become a PE teacher. She excelled, particularly in sports acrobatics, earning the honor of representing Great Britain. For fourteen years, she served as head of PE in Chorley, in the north-west of England, before embarking on what was supposed to be a year’s sabbatical in Spain.

Louise joined Aloha College in 2014 as a part-time teacher of PE. A couple of years later, she transitioned into the role of pastoral care, a role that she absolutely loves. Tasked with leading the secondary school’s PSHEE program and serving as the Designated Safeguarding Lead, she finds great pleasure in developing positive working relationships with teenagers, supporting their mental health and wellbeing, helping develop their self-esteem and confidence, as well as helping them navigate the challenges of life!
Louise is passionate about learning and developing her skillset. She is an accredited life coach with the ICF, specializing in working with teenagers. She has studied for a Diploma in NLP and has recently been awarded a Level 5 Diploma in Trauma and Mental Health-Informed Schools and Communities. 
Outside of teaching, Louise loves the simple things in life. Spending time with her family and friends, travelling, and spending time outside hiking, skiing and paddleboarding. She loves good food and she feels truly blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world.
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Sara Dickie
Head of Key Stage 2

Graduated from the University of Plymouth with a BEd (hons) specialising in English Literature and teaching children in the primary age range.  For the next 17 years, Sara worked in large, central and outer London schools.  As a senior leader in the UK, Sara raised attainment and supported curriculum development across groups of schools in the local area and worked with the local education authority to provide training across boroughs. She ensured the success of school improvement in roles such as leader of English, Maths and SEND provision over the years.  Sara moved to Spain in 2017 and is currently our Head of Key Stage 2.  

Sara has travelled to many fascinating destinations across the globe and still counts travel as one of her interests.  However, she now spends more time at her rural finca in the Andalucian mountains than ever before due to the increasing number of rescue animals she supports.  Outside of education, Sara loves to spend time in the countryside with her horses, dogs and many other animals under her care. 
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Liz Keys
Teaching & Learning

Liz gained a BA.Hons degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Hull.  After her PGCE  she began her teaching career at a state Primary School in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Her passion for teaching and her love of travel soon prompted her to take up her next role as a Reception class teacher at Bangkok Patana School in Thailand where she gained invaluable experience of working in an international environment. 

A desire to move closer to the UK prompted Liz to join Aloha College Marbella in 1997 where she has been a Key Stage leader in both KS1 & KS2. She is passionate about providing children with a Creative Curriculum which  provides exciting stimuli and first-hand learning experiences. Her interests are reading, travel and sampling different cuisines.
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Anna Sweeting
Head of Key Stage 3 and Enrichment

Completed her degree in Business, Accounting and Finance, then later a Certificate in Mathematics. Having worked in banking, accounting and education finance she started teaching by founding a tuition company in 2006 and lecturing part-time in a further education college. These both grew, and a decision was made to sell the business and lecture full time, while also leading GCSE Maths. Anna made the move to secondary education in 2015, then joined Aloha College in 2016.

Anna loves inspiring students to try new things and to grasp opportunities, you never know where they will lead! She enjoys performing in theatre shows and singing, but the most drama in her life comes from being an avid follower of Blackpool FC, a curse that she has passed on to her two sons.
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Jacqueline Brice
Head of Key Stage 4

Achieved a first class Honours degree in Mathematics and Physics from Kings College London before pursuing a career in broadcasting. She indulged her curiosity in the latest scientific and technological advances as a producer of scientific documentaries for BBC Radio and Television and then moved into fly-on-the-wall documentary making for Channel 4 with the police and the Royal Navy. Her broadcasting career has taken her flying through thunderstorms with lightning chasers in North Dakota, to crime scenes with the Metropolitan Police murder squad and from the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious to Gibraltar by Sea King helicopter. 

As her young family took priority in her life, she turned her degree into a Post Graduate Certificate of Education and brought her family to Spain, where she has continued to share her love of mathematics, science and life-long learning with the students of Aloha College for almost two decades. Over the years, she has thoroughly enjoyed leading the Mathematics Department and Key Stage 3 and now she is working as the Head of Key Stage 4, hoping to instill a love for learning and international travel in our young adults and to encourage them to value a broad range of creative, analytical and communication skills.
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Ellen Richards
Head of EYFS

Studied at the University of Chester where she completed her BEd (Hons) in  Primary education, specialising in the Early Years. She believes there is no age range more exciting and inspiring with which to work, and feels fortunate to have truly found her vocation. 

Ellen has taught at international schools in Guangzhou, China, Bangkok, Thailand and London, UK, before joining the Aloha College Marbella team in 2018 where she is currently Head of Foundation Stage. Having attended international schools herself in Maseru, Lesotho, Yokohama, Japan and South Wales in the UK, Ellen feels a strong sense of belonging within our multicultural community.
Outside of work, Ellen is most content exploring all and any creative pursuits, be it in a rather haphazard way! What she lacks in finesse she makes up for in enthusiasm, and will happily while away the weekend with her sewing machine. 
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Elaine McGirl
Head of Key Stage 5

An experienced educator with over two decades of expertise in the field of science and education. Originally from Ireland, Elaine graduated with Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Limerick after earning a Bachelor of Science in Education majoring in Biology and Chemistry. 

Driven by a passion for understanding how students learn best, Elaine has held diverse roles in education, including lecturing and tutoring in educational psychology to undergraduate students. She has extensive experience teaching various curricula, including the International Baccalaureate, A Levels and the Irish Leaving certificate, providing her with a comprehensive understanding of various educational systems. 
In 2007, Elaine joined Aloha College Marbella, where she has served as an IB and A-Level Biology teacher, General Science teacher, and Head of the Science Department. Currently, she holds the position of Head of Sixth Form and IB Diploma Programme Coordinator, demonstrating her leadership and commitment to guiding students towards academic excellence and personal growth.
Outside of teaching, Elaine enjoys Irish dancing, Flamenco, and salsa. She can play several instruments from her days in a youth marching band. Elaine loves traveling, trying new foods, and spending time with animals.
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Anne Ross
Head of Key Stage 1

Began her teaching career with a Foundation Degree in Early Years from the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland. She managed and developed a Nursery School in the Highlands for several years and was very involved in raising the awareness and the importance of Early Years education throughout many schools in the Highlands and North of Scotland. Anne then furthered her studies, experience and expertise by gaining a PGCE at the University of Buckingham to further her career in Primary education.

At Aloha Anne has always been passionate about extending her knowledge and learning, she is currently studying to become a certified Well-Being coach. She is a strong advocate of student wellbeing, emotional intelligence and social development, these important life skills ensure our students emerge more resilient and ready to face future adversities. 
Even though Anne has lived in Spain for over 20 years, she loves to explore Spain’s rich culture and many hidden treasures. She is an enthusiastic traveller with a love for diverse destinations and learning from different cultures. Anne has always been passionate about sports and keeping fit and in her spare time she loves Crossfit classes, family time and reading.
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Emma Saunders
Primary Designated Safeguarding Lead & Pastoral Car

Emma has dedicated her entire teaching and professional career to ACM. A Saint Mary’s University London honour’s graduate, holding a Masters Degree in International Education from Oxford Brookes, Emma has shaped her career into a student-centric narrative. Her experience and research into “Third Culture Kids’, which recognises our students unique educational, international and Spanish experience, was used in crafting and developing the Primary PSHEE programme, facilitating essential skills appropriate to academic, psychological and emotional well-being.

Emma’s professionalism at Charity, is helping change lives for the vulnerable, in Málaga and Africa where ACM has initiated educational programmes in Kampala. Her work as a rapporteur for the COBIS ConnectED sessions is established and recognised. As a qualified Catechist, Emma’s Pastoral Care role is busy and engaging. As a safeguarding expert and officer, fluent in Spanish, Emma analyses the latest programmes, developments and policies, at national and International level.
As a former ballerina, Emma trained young dancers for school shows and Marbella events in modern/Irish dance, and regularly performed in her native West End. Emma also enjoys entertaining family and friends, however Tara the Afghan Hound as the newest member of the Saunders family, is the one who now steals the show!
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Kate Edwards
Headteacher Primary

Kate graduated from the University of Central England with a BEd (Hons) in Primary Education, specialising in the Early Years. As an experienced leader in both UK and international educational settings, Kate is committed to providing students with a learning environment that celebrates effort and achievement in both academic and personal endeavors. In July 2019, Kate, completed the Cobis Program for Aspiring Heads, before taking on her first headship with us in 2023. 

In her spare time, Kate loves spending time with her husband and three children. They often enjoy trips to the park, constructing Lego masterpieces, strolls along the beach and splashing about in the pool. When time allows, Kate also loves to bake.  At home you’ll often find her whipping up a storm in the kitchen. Rumour has it, she dreams of donning the iconic apron on the Great British Bake Off one day! 
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Víctor Ranea
Head of Administration

Víctor Ranea se unió al colegio como Business Manager en 2003. Lideró el proceso de transición entre la antigua compañía y la fundación actual. Como responsable del área de Administración, ha participado en varios Planes Estratégicos. Además de las finanzas y los Presupuestos Generales, ha dirigido los proyectos constructivos del colegio y contribuido en los planes de marketing así como en la implementación de nuevos sistemas informáticos del área de finanzas.

Licenciado en Ciencias Economicas y Empresariales por la Universidad de Málaga, Víctor Ranea es un apasionado del deporte, con experiencia en competiciones regionales, habiendo contribuido a la creación de los clubs deportivos del colegio. Un amante de los viajes y la gastronomía, así como de la música, el teatro y el cine.