Parent Newsletter 24 April

Dear parents,

I hope you are all well.  Another busy week but a happy one!

Year 13
I walked through our main reception this week to find our Year 11 and Year 13 pupils having their photos taken (separately) for the Yearbook.  I heard lots of laughter from Year 13 pupils as they were proudly posing individually for their last Aloha College Marbella school photo.

Both Year 11 and Year 13 are starting study leave before their final exams. The majority of Year 11’s will be returning to enter the Sixth Form, but Year 13 will venture off into uncharted waters.

I felt my usual sadness, knowing they were leaving but accompanied by such a sense of pride when I look at what wonderful young people they are today.

I had a chat with Edward, Juan, Martin and William.  All of these pupils I have known since they were 3 or 4 years old.  We had a trip down memory lane, talking about what I remembered about their years at Aloha, and what they remembered about me when they were small and “cute”; their responses made me quite emotional! Even now, they remain polite and respectful, forgetting the times they had been summoned to my office as teenagers and having to creatively produce explanations in order to avoid being told off.  I could write a book on the reasons why homework hadn’t been handed in!

One of the things I will never forget about miss Batchelor, apart from all the times I was sent to her office for being naughty, is the day when she told me that she used to be a professional athlete. I was very young, and I remember that she once turned up to school wearing a running tracksuit, which at the time I found very funny, and was selected to participate in a race against her. I had a lot of fun and was amazed at the impressive stories and photos from when she used to compete internationally
Martin Ranea Marina

 I’ll never forget when you called for me to go to your office in year 1 to tell me I had won the art prize and that my picture was going to be used as an Aloha College Christmas card. I remember you said to me “you’re going to be a great artist, big Ed”. Little did I know then that 12 year later I would graduate having studied Higher Level IB Art. It must have been those precious words that made me carry on.
Edward Martinez Saunders

I will never forget that one day when I was 5 and saw Mrs Batchelor on el Paseo Marítimo de Estepona. I was incredibly excited, yet confused: “Mrs Batchelor is not only the Head of school, but a normal person living a normal life!”
William Stead Infantes

I still remember as if it was yesterday when 6 or 7 years ago on family fun day I raced your grandchild( I think he was your grandchild not really sure) and without you telling me anything I let him win. I will never forget how happy your grandchild and you were. And then you gave me a certificate in front of the primary school which I felt very proud of. Thank you, Juan, I’m not quite that old, it was my nephew not my grandson!
Juan Garcia Rodriguez

They have certainly learnt the skills of diplomacy and charm!

They and all their year group started study leave yesterday in preparation for their public exams.  So this is not a final goodbye – I wish each and every one of our Year 11 and Year 13 pupils maximum success in their examinations.  Thank you for all the happy memories.

Inspection Visit
Aloha College Marbella has a first-class, worldwide reputation.  We have to achieve certain standards to continue as a recognised professional institution.  The school is inspected regularly to ensure those standards are achieved and maintained.

On Tuesday 27 April we will receive, following our Covid protocols, 2 visiting Headteachers who will verify our school’s excellent level.

We are well prepared and actually looking forward to their visit.  One of the Primary children told me today “We are going to tell him we are the best”.  I will give you some feedback after the visit.

Head Students
I would like to introduce you to our newly-appointed Head Students

Ainoa Veit | Marcus Elizondo-Darwin

They presented themselves professionally and were selected after a long, arduous process.  Congratulations to them both!

Have a lovely weekend with your families.


Another week has passed enjoying witnessing your children’s efforts – and humour.

You will have seen from my Principal’s newsletter that we are expecting two visiting Headteachers to our wonderful school.

The children speak with such sincerity when they say they are going to tell the visitors we are the best school in the world, without a doubt.

Year 1 children have said they are going to show the visitors their tricky Maths work. In the photo Santiago and Adhara from Miss Meryl’s class (1MTI) are learning to add 10 more/less to a given number. 

Miss Laura’s children (1LHB) are going to teach our visitors about eco issues. In the photo Faisal is throwing a piece of paper into the proper recycling paper bin. 

Year 5 children from Mrs Saunders’ class are going to try even harder not to swivel on their chairs.

Year 6 children in Miss Fitzgerald class 6KFI are going to demonstrate how to have a challenging debate – I am sure they will be mistaken for university students!!

One Year 3 pupil told me that she was going to tell our visitors that my hair looked particularly nice this week, it was a darker colour!!! Thank goodness for hair dyes!! 😀

Your children are a delight and certainly advertise the school at no cost.

Reception letters to Mummy Pig
Reception children have written letters to Mummy Pig with their recommendations on how to build a safe house for her 3 little pigs. Miss Belén and Miss Fatima were very happy to take charge of posting these important letters to Mummy Pig.

Thank you to the children in Miss Freeman’s class (4KFR) who have been working on a mini gardening project and have created a green area with plants and flowers on one of our terraces. They have done a wonderful job. 

Internet Safety
I am continuing to remind you all of the importance of checking your child’s devices. Once again we have had concerns about internet safety. Although we understand that parents want their children to know they trust them, they are children. What has been brought to our attention this week highlights that children still do not fully understand the dangers that misuse of technology can bring.

Parents’ Consultation Meetings
Thank you to Y2-3-5-6 parents who attended their virtual appointments with class teachers and Spanish teachers this week. Next week is the turn of Y4 & FS2/RC and Y1 & FS1/NS.

The children are looking very smart in their summer uniform, thank you for supporting a smooth transition. 

Have a lovely and safe weekend with your families.

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


Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

One of the most fascinating subjects that Sixth Form students study is TOK (Theory of knowledge). This subject aims to encourage students to reflect on things that they have previously taken for granted and challenge previously held assumptions and prejudices. 

This week, the Maths, Science and Humanities departments have been incorporating specific ideas relating to TOK in lessons. I loved talking to my Year 12 IB class about how new knowledge can be developed in Mathematics by just watching and then recording such observations. This discussion moved onto the importance of clear explanations, which made me think about this week’s reflection.

Children start asking ‘why’ questions at an early age. They are constantly in awe of the things happening around them and our explanations help them to figure out the fascinating world they live in. Although these constant questions might be annoying to us, research tells us that asking such questions allows children to shape their developing brains. I do not think it is so much the ‘why’ question, but the quality of our explanations that is important.

I have been teaching Mathematics for nearly twenty years. During this time, I have lost count of the number of times I have explained to students how to solve quadratic equations. I was probably in Year 10 when my friend asked me to help her with this topic. When I finished going through it, she said: “I do not understand. That was not a good explanation.” Had I explained exactly the same thing to someone else, would they have understood? You would probably say that it will depend on how good the person is at maths. 

The example above shows that understanding a concept plays an important part when giving an explanation. My friend might know what quadratic equations are but she does not understand them, so it is likely that any explanation on something we do not understand is never good enough. I then ask:

What makes a good explanation?

I want your children to think about this and discuss it with their tutors during registration next week. 

I am pleased that I did not take my friend’s feedback about my ability as a teacher too seriously! 

I hope you have a good 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.