Parent Newsletter 31 October

Dear parents,

We made it! Half-term holiday is here and all the members of our Aloha community are safe.  I hope you are enjoying reading this letter, relaxing with your children and looking forward to spending more time together. Your children, although pleased to be back at school with their friends, are tired and need some leisure time too.

On your behalf I thank all the staff for their hard work since school reopened, and for their full cooperation and positivity. They really are a professional group of caring staff.

If you ask the staff what they hope to achieve in their career many will answer the same: “I want to make a difference to our young people’s lives”. At Aloha College they certainly do!

DNA Amazement
Dr Jan Walker, Secondary School Science teacher, has evidence to prove this in the form of the following e-mail from an ex-pupil:

Dear Dr Walker

You may or may not remember me, but I was one of your students for two years when I was still studying at Aloha. I have since moved to Chicago this year, so I probably haven’t spoken to you in over 8 months. Your classes are what inspired my burning love for biology!! I’m in year 11, and just sitting in bio class today, I remembered how you were talking about the experiment that made you fall in love with bio. The DNA extraction, if I recall correctly. Today, I felt this itch and burn within me so I decided to look at my own DNA sample. And I extracted it. Out of nowhere, on a Tuesday afternoon, I realized that this fire has finally lit inside of me. You were the most amazing teacher I have ever been able to learn from, and I hope that when I visit soon I can get an opportunity to be able to learn from you again.

Your intrigued former student, Maria

Messages received from the children like this are testament to what we all believe, that we are a great community.

Summer to Winter uniform – see our letter of 29 October “Uniform Shop during half-term” –

Please use our online shop to get the best out of our uniform service. Ensure that you are aware of the opening times – thank you.

Reopening plans, Covid 19
The plans for re-opening the college in August stated they would be reviewed at half-term.  Our reviews have in fact been constant and always mindful of the protocols laid down by the Andalusian government. Sadly, due to the current situation in Andalucia, these measures will have to remain in place until we break up for the Christmas holidays on Friday 18 December. They will of course be continually reviewed and any changes will be communicated to you. I am aware that some of you are concerned about the cold weather approaching. Of course our classrooms need to be warm for your children at this time. Again, we will follow the Andalusian government’s guidelines and will be opening windows and doors regularly throughout the day, to ensure that natural ventilation can go through classrooms and corridors between lessons and during break times.

I have said many times thank you for your support throughout this first half term, but again, THANK YOU.

Sharing classwork
This week I have enjoyed participating in a lot of the work done by pupils – all about the bones in my body!!

Thor Kaste from Year 4 (Miss Lancaster’s class) with his skeleton:

Alejandro Fernández from Year 2 (Miss Foody’s class) shared with me his incredible story-writing and the Year 6 pupils (Miss Fitzgerald’s class) taught me all about purifying water in their Science experiment.

Pupil feedback
My Head Students Adriana and Caio emailed me last weekend about what some of our Secondary pupils think about school meals. They also told me how happy pupils are to be back in school, despite the masks!

It’s such a privilege for me to receive feedback from our pupils on how we can make the school even better.

Meet the new Primary School House captains

Congratulations to Mr Gaskell (Secondary Science teacher) on the birth of his second child, a beautiful baby boy. Mr Gaskell is currently on paternity leave.  We welcome Mr Stephen Walls, a well-qualified, experienced Science teacher, who will take over his classes in his absence.

Christmas thank you
Thank you to one of our great mums who has volunteered, with a very small group of parents, to come into school two evenings when all pupils and staff have left to adorn our school with the usual array of Christmas decorations. Their time and enthusiasm are very much appreciated. Covid will not dampen our Christmas spirit in school despite there being no Bazaar this year. Thank you!

Christmas Raffle
One of the highlights of the Christmas Bazaar is the raffle.  We intend to hold a raffle, to be drawn prior to the Xmas holidays, so winners can enjoy their prizes. We will issue each child with one book of raffle tickets to sell. There will be absolutely no pressure on any child or 

family to sell or buy. If any parent would like to donate any prizes to the school, it would be greatly appreciated.

I hope you have a lovely break and return to school on Monday 9 November all set for another super half-term.

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

What a busy half term it has been! It has been very different but we have all adapted and the children have been working so hard with their learning that they are now ready for the half-term break. This week’s newsletter is one of celebration of some of the key achievements in the last two months. Congratulations to everyone mentioned.

Of course, the key achievement for everyone has been to settle into our routines and go ‘above and beyond’ in our learning.

I have just been treated to an exciting meeting with Valentino, Niko and Danilo in 5ES. Year 5 have been reading ‘Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse’ by Chris Riddell. Inspired by the story the boys began to create their own slideshow presentation on their chromebooks and invited their classmates to collaborate further. What impressed me the most was not only their IT skills but their enthusiasm to share with me all of their thought processes, creativity and knowledge. Absolutely amazing!!

Some of our younger pupils have also been keen to share their positive home learning skills and organisation.

Ana Giulia Y3 and her brother Luca RCJST share their “office” with mum and each have a desk to their size with a computer. They use ‘the office’ for doing homework, revision, playing educational games or research.. They know the office is for working and that it should be a quiet environment for learning. The 3 of them go there each day after school/snack time. It’s become a daily routine and they enjoy being there as it’s a different area from the playroom. They keep only educational games and toys in the office, things that can help them with further developing their skills. Other toys are kept in a different space.


Our ACM October’s Personal Learning Goal was TO BE ADAPTABLE
The Blossom Awards go to:
FS1 – Gisele Van Honste Rodrigues NSCCU
FS2 – Stella Sjöberg RCJST
KS1, Y1 – Bronte Symonds 1MTI
KS1, Y2Jenna Wahlroos 2LAT
KS2, Y3 – Alisiia Luchko 3EK
KS2, Y4 – José and Victoria Gutierrez Villafranca 4KFR
KS2, Y5 – Nikita Knezovich 5PSM
KS2, Y6 – Zlata Luchko 6KFI

Maths CertificatesA massive well done from Mrs Fox to all the children who have been working on their maths activities online this half term. Certificates and five house points go to all of the children mentioned below. Keep up the good work everyone! Let’s see who wins at the end of next half term!

Earned the most coins in NUMBOTS

  • Year 1: Denis Zhukov, Siobhan Cohen Martínez y Ahmed Essaid Ben-Yaiche
  • Year 2: Elija Sidorovic, Youna Delavari and Jenna Wahlroos

Collected the most coins in TTRockStars:

  • Year 6: Sandra Gajos, Luca Aragón Van Der Lely, Ruihang Yong and Alexey Ermolov
  • Year 5: Javier Aguilar Del Río, Robert Sharp and Olivia Nakpil Bueno
  • Year 4: Aurelia Howard, Santino Mcavoy and Soraya Rohayem El Khayati
  • Year 3: Sara Alonso García, Oscar Höglund and Kenzo De León García

Collected the most stars in Doodle Maths:

  • Year 5: Boldizsar Tátrai-Monostori, Angelina Lopin and Morgane Matter
  • Year 4: Ruotong Gong, Omar Faiq y Ádam Ben Larbi Doncel-Moriano

Played the most on Manga High:

  • Year 6: Elin Höglund, Yohan Le Carvennec, Zlata Luchko and Rida Khattab

– On Thursday and Friday this week children enjoyed our Primary House Challenge Days. They all loved being competitive and being part of a team. The House results will be shared when we are back in November.
The new Year 6 representatives are:
CÓRDOBA: Polina Pchelkina, Mara García García, Vanessa Timmermans, Rida Khattab
GRANADA: Laura Eggens, Ruihang Yong, Stella Hjertstedt, Sandra Gajos
SEVILLA: Brianna Giles, Harry Campbell, Yasmeen Ojjeh, Mateja Stefanovic

Enjoy the half term break and wherever you are for Halloween have fun, take care and stay safe.

Aloha Value –
November/December’s Personal Learning Goal – TO BE THOUGHTFUL

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Salmon
Headteacher, Primary


Dear Parents,

I am going to start this week’s newsletter in two different ways:

        1. I cannot believe we have managed to survive nine weeks under strict Covid-19 restrictions. We are all exhausted! I do not know how much longer one can go on like this. Thank goodness it is half term and we can rest for a few days.

        2. We have had nine challenging weeks, but we have finally made it! We have overcome all obstacles that Covid-19 restrictions have put in the way and I firmly believe that we have become stronger as a result. We are all exhausted but we are looking forward to enjoying a few days rest over the half term break next week.

Which introduction do you prefer?

Obviously, I prefer the second one. When I started thinking about the newsletter this week, all thoughts that I had were negative. We are all tired, it has been a long half term and the easiest thing to do is to get carried away with those negative thoughts. I had to change such a pessimistic approach so I forced myself to write a second paragraph with the same message but in a more positive way. 

I was talking to a student about this earlier this week. He said that he practises positive thinking but without much success. He said: “I sometimes visualise myself getting a high grade in an exam and it does not happen”.  I said to the student that what he was doing was fantasising instead of thinking positively. I recommended that he focused on positive action rather than just positive thinking.

We are all human, and it is not uncommon for our minds to be surrounded by negative thoughts. Experts in emotional psychology say that it is normal to have up to three negative thoughts per day. I have been practising turning negative thoughts into positive actions for a while now. Believe me, it does work! 

The best example I can give you is about my morning runs. When I wake every day the first thought that comes to mind is: “ Why do I have to go for a run now? I can do it tomorrow. It is cold and I am tired”. I have learnt to rethink this as: “Yes, it is cold and I am tired but I will feel so much better after”.

Positive thinking does not lead to positive change. Action is what is needed!

I hope you have a wonderful half term break.

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.