PARENT NEWSLETTER (24 – 28 FEBRUARY)

Dear Parents,

What a fantastic week to lead us nicely into a half term break.

On Monday we were overjoyed to welcome Ramsey back to school for a quick visit from the UK. His bone marrow transplant went so well that he appears to be free of his leukaemia – this was amazing news! He spent 30 minutes chatting with his classmates at lunch. It was lovely to see and share with his wonderful family their happiness.

On Tuesday I spent time with another special family – the Fieldings.

Mrs Fielding has three children who attended Aloha College over 20 years ago. Tragically, one of her daughters, Antonia, passed away as a result of cancer, six months ago. She left behind a husband and a beautiful 2-year-old daughter, Mila. This was the family’s first visit back to Aloha since the children left to go to universities back in the UK.

What an emotional journey for them all as they were shown around our fantastic school by the Head Students.

They could not believe how much the school had changed over the last 20 years and were overwhelmed by its current facilities. They very much want to make a donation to our school in memory of Antonia whom older members of staff – Juan Plaza, Kevin Wade, Isabel Rueda – remembered with fondness.

Meeting this incredible family reminded me of how lucky I am to have my loved ones around me and such wonderful families in our school.

I will keep you updated.

Greased lightening!

What can I say? Three nights of the most fantastic, professional performances by our Secondary pupils and Year 6. They danced and sang with gusto!

I have attended shows in the West End of London, and our Grease could match any one of those.

The pupils were accompanied by a live band of Aloha! Incredible – thanks to Arshia Farajollahi, Luca Hadjisotiriou, Sofia Zaripova, Sofie Axén and Mateo Iturmendi.

Thanks to Miss Thompson and Miss Williams who organised costumes and make-up, and Mrs Moore and Mrs Wain who contributed all the art work and scenery. I sat with pride watching Miss Longdon coordinate the whole performance with Mr Sharp, who was even included in the cast.

If you didn’t manage to attend you missed an incredibly professional event! Congratulations to all pupils, staff and the parents who supported us.

Staff Training Day

Last Saturday all teaching staff attended a training day. The workshops included PSHE, Mental Health issues, Financial Education, Differentiation, Thinking skills, Communication and Social skills, and Interactive Whiteboard.

Keeping staff up to date with training is crucial if we are to remain a great school.

International Mother Language Day

Yesterday we celebrated International Mother Language Day, particularly relevant in our school where we have 57 nationalities and children who come to us with already 2 or more home languages. Please see Mr Escobar’s newsletter for how this was celebrated.

Sadness

It is with great sadness I report to you that the mother of Miss Liz Keys (Key Stage leader in the Primary section) passed away last weekend after a long illness. Please keep Miss Liz in your thoughts.

Please remember – our families are the most precious people in our lives.  Have a lovely half term break with your families and enjoy their presence.

Our next newsletter will be on Saturday 7 March.

Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.” —Brad Henry

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Batchelor

Principal


PRIMARY SCHOOL

Dear Parents,

We all know our children like to talk and what they have to say is one of the reasons that choosing a career in education is so rewarding. I have had some really interesting conversations this week with children from all year groups. Firstly, the under-9 football teams (Y3-4) who played in the football tournament against international schools at SIS in Sotogrande last week. Both boys and girls excitedly explained their games, kick by kick. It was great to hear how much they valued team spirit, as they wanted me to know how well each other played. Imagine their surprise when I shared with them that I too used to play in a football team!

I’ve also met with the School Council children who offered me some very insightful advice and suggestions of how we can further improve our school ranging from reintroducing a ‘Wash your hands’ campaign, to providing play materials for the Key Stage 2 playground. They are currently looking through the catalogues to create a ‘wish list’ for me. They have promised they will be very sensible and not spend too much! 

Finally, if you really want to know what I do all day, please don’t worry, as Alex in RCEMA (FS2) asks me daily: ”Mrs Salmon where are you going? Why? What for?” – closely followed by further questions from his classmates. They certainly keep me on my toes!

To start the week it was great to see all of the FS2 children on Monday confidently sharing with the audience all they know about patterns in our Monday assembly. Their message was patterns are everywhere and they certainly are! Looking for them could be a good game for half term.

Thank you to all parents who were able to attend the Primary PSHE meeting last Friday 14 February. Our guest speaker, Alison Harris, who visits many schools in the UK and around the world, shared with us the global experiences children are now facing and some resources we will use to prepare our children with the knowledge and skills to make the right choices. More information on the Personal, Social and Health Education programme is available on the Parent Portal (Primary>Other Supporting Materials). PSHE Key Stage meetings for parents will be held in March.

Like many of you, I attended the Secondary theatrical production Grease, The Musical. Wow! All the performances were outstanding and I thank Miss Longdon and Mr Sharp for inviting our Year 6 pupils to be part of such a wonderful experience. Many of our Year 6 pupils are now getting ready for their residential ski trip to Astún joining Y7-Y11 Secondary students.

Call in & Collect
This is an opportunity for parents to come into school to look at their child’s learning environment just before collection time. The invites will normally be on a Friday from 15:30 to 15:50 h. The first Call in & Collect will be for Year 1 on Friday 6 March. Parents will have to sign at the main reception for security purposes. These dates may be subject to change, please check the newsletter and the web calendar.

Yesterday, as is tradition, the whole college, in a sea of green and white, celebrated the start of half term and the Día de Andalucía (Feb 28) with a traditional Andalusian breakfast of olive oil and bread. Year 2 performed an outstanding assembly in the afternoon sharing Andalusian culture and dancing to get us in the holiday mood.

I wish you all an enjoyable week whether you are here or travelling and look forward to seeing you all again on Monday 2 March.

Aloha Value Focus – Next half term EFFORT 
Personal Goal Target for March – MORALITY – What good choices can you make that will make other people happy?

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Salmon
Headteacher, Primary


SECONDARY SCHOOL

Dear Parents,

The majority of our students use English, their second language, more frequently than they do their mother tongue. They spend approximately seven hours at school speaking and writing in English. It happens to me as well, I sometimes even forget words in my mother tongue! It is interesting to listen to students referring to the library as the ‘libreria’ and when talking about applying to university, they say ‘aplicar a la universidad’. Do you think that  it is possible to forget one’s mother tongue?

Research shows that due to globalisation, 43% of languages spoken worldwide are endangered and some even disappearing. This means that traditions, opportunities and different ways of thinking can be lost too. Language is not just merely a means of communication, it helps us learn about new cultures and develop an attitude of tolerance and acceptance of our differences.

Yesterday, we celebrated International Mother Language Day. This was to give recognition to an estimated 7,000 languages spoken in the world and promote linguistic, cultural diversity and multilingualism.

We have been working together to promote and celebrate the diversity among our learners in our school. Year 12 students, along with their tutors have been preparing for International Mother Language Day. A number of students have volunteered to make a statement in their mother tongue and explain what it means to them! 

Please click here to watch the video that our Year 12 students have prepared.

Nelson Mandela said:

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”        

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Churchman and Ms Turner for accompanying our students to participate in two international mathematics competitions in Vienna during the half term break. I wish you all the best of luck!

I hope you have a nice half term break.

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.