Parent Newsletter 30 January

Dear parents,

Where has this week gone? It seems to have flown by.

Thimun (The Hague International Model United Nations)
Congratulations to Anna Alieva, Julian Zavaglia, Ainoa Veit, Carolina Villalón, Tom Marionette-Pearson, Alexander Keating, Sophie Ergo and Anastasiya Kharitonova who represented the whole college in this virtual conference involving schools worldwide.  Their detailed preparation and presentations were excellent. True ambassadors for Aloha College Marbella!

Our Communications Manager, Manu Alvarez, celebrates his first #Alohanniversary – one year working as part of our team!

Individuals and Societies
We welcome Mr Martin Love to the Secondary section of the school to replace Tim Kemp (History teacher) who goes on paternity leave shortly. They have had a handover period due to Mr Kemp having exam classes.  We wish Mr Love every success.  

Science Department
Mr Fernando Taillefer will lead the Secondary Science department whilst Mrs Steel is on maternity leave.

Children’s work
The bird table designed by Alejandro has now been strategically placed in the garden outside my office. A wonderful initiative, thank you!  

Mrs Rosa Gomez, our Chair of the Board of Trustees, has been personally involved with the Marbella Town Hall to try and make the roads and pavements just outside the school’s main entrance safer. Watch this space!

Charity Events
We have asked the pupils in both sections of the school to propose a suitable charity for us to support in February.  Their voice is always appreciated and respected.

Primary Headship
The search for a new Primary Headteacher continues and is making good progress.  Many successful, experienced candidates from all over the globe want to lead our Primary section of the college.  I’ll keep you updated.

Please continue to support our Covid measures.  The fact that we have had to isolate some children and staff does not mean all have tested positive for Covid: for most this is a precautionary measure, because they may have been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive.  Please understand that as a school we always err on the side of caution.  

I ask once again that you support us by following government guidelines in the evenings and at weekends.  We must strive as a community to keep our children, staff and parents safe.

Have a lovely weekend with your family.


Another week has passed so quickly. Despite everything that is happening now, the Primary School continues to be a happy place of learning. 

I have met with so many children this week, they keep my spirits high. 

Do you ever remember learning about William Shakespeare and his plays? I remember when I was much younger studying “Romeo and Juliet” and “Macbeth” – I was in Secondary school. Today the curriculum is designed to look at the works of this famous playwright in Year 5. When I visited Mrs Saunders’ class they were in the middle of a scene from “Macbeth”. I couldn’t resist joining in. The children were so engaged. 

Following this, Vega, Maddie and Elena shared with me their outstanding pieces of writing regarding “Romeo and Juliet”. Mr Roth, Head of Key Stage 4 in the Secondary School, was passing by the window and heard me cry O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”, he appeared at the window and replied: “ Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?”. The children were delighted at our rendering of this Shakespearean scene!

Lucy and Myia (Year 1LT) and their colleagues studied firework displays and talked about the shapes and colours, then created their own firework picture with chalk pens and glitter. It was like having my very own firework display in my office! Beautiful work, girls.

6LFO have been working really hard learning how to multiply fractions. Here Adriana, Isabella and Elin have solved a puzzle matching up questions and answers to create a triangle and a rhombus shape. It’s amazing how Maths forms such beautiful patterns!  Well done, girls, for working so hard on this.

Isabella in 3EK had to write an Egyptian adventure story as part of her English lesson, using powerful verbs, adjectives and adverbs. I was gripped by her story! Here she is with her very own Egyptian artefact. Super inventive work, Isabella.

The Learning Objective for Miss Freeman’s Year 4 class was to retell a story. When I saw Aurelia’s I thought: “I have never read a piece of writing from a Year 4 pupil quite like this”. Mr Heath, Head of English in the Secondary School thought it was an assessment from a Year 8 pupil – Well done Aurelia!

I visited the Nursery children whilst they were engaged in their 5 minutes of early morning yoga. Andrej, Ivan and Alba were amazing as they carried out their breathing exercises. 

Principal’s video
All of Primary seemed to enjoy my online Monday Assembly where they were introduced to Barney, my scruffy Maltese Terrier; next week they will meet his brother!

Parents’ Evenings
Thank you to all the parents who attended their consultation evenings, they provide you with a great opportunity to meet the teachers and see how your children are progressing. When you, the parents, work in cooperation with your child’s class teacher the results are even better!

When visiting Miss Freeman’s classrooms this week I saw the children’s beautiful work on hieroglyphics, so I challenged them to write my name. Here is Mija showing us the result!

Take care, stay safe and enjoy your weekend. See you on Monday.

Aloha Value – EFFORT
Personal Learning Goal February – TO BE INQUISITIVE

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

This week I have been jotting down things that cause me discomfort or distress, in the hope of finding a way to deal with these negative emotions more effectively . This experiment has shown me that, sometimes, I am a little bit impatient. Here are some examples:

– I did not like it when the web page I was searching for took 10 seconds to load. “The wifi is so slow,” I screamed!

– When deciding whether to cook dinner using the oven or the microwave, I chose the latter because 30 seconds is far quicker than waiting for one hour. “It will taste as nice,” I thought!

– The app showed that my taxi would arrive in 3 minutes and I ended up waiting 5!. “These taxi drivers do not know where they are going,” I muttered under my breath!

In two of the above examples, being patient would have stopped me from feeling frustrated. What difference does it really make if I have to wait a little longer for the website to load? We are only talking about another extra few seconds! 

We grow up listening to our parents and teachers telling us that good things happen to those who wait and that nothing happens overnight, thus implying that patience is a virtue; I believe that  it is in some situations. However, a recent conversation with Mr Kemp about historical events made me think about this topic and led me to the question:

Is being impatient necessarily a bad thing?

Women around the world might not have been given the right to vote if they had patiently waited. If American activist Rosa Parks had waited patiently for desegregation, she might not have sat down on that bus and sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. Black Americans might still be waiting for desegregation if they had patiently waited for change to come.

I remember vividly the first time a group of sixth form students from Aloha went to the annual MUN conference at Yale university. This went ahead because students were impatient and acted on their desire to attend one of the most prestigious conferences in the world. Without a little impatience this would not have ever happened.

As Dr Nicole Lipkin says: “If you find yourself generally impatient it might be a signal that you have untapped creative energy bubbling inside of you. Release it and put it to use”.

I hope you have a good 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.