Parent Newsletter 4 April

Dear parents,

As you read this letter you will be starting your Easter vacation in your homes, unable to pack suitcases and jet off on a holiday or to visit family. It will certainly be very different for us all. You are now going to have a well-earned rest away from your computer, but ready to continue to help and entertain your children in the confines of your own home.  Good luck!

Something I read this week among the many positive attitudes relating to the Covid-19 was the importance of taking time each day to learn or recognise something new about yourself and about your surroundings – value what you are and what you have.

3 weeks ago I began to feel “very old”.  The moment it was being broadcast that old people were more at risk of becoming infected, my 2 children with all their love and goodwill, began to issue me with instructions and guidelines, instead of the other way round. They ordered my shopping online, they made sure it was delivered, they insisted I didn’t walk the dogs or venture through the gate.  They phone me constantly to make sure I am safe. Through their actions they remind me daily of the values of care and compassion. At the end of these 3 weeks, that initial feeling of old age has passed and one thing I have learnt about myself is, if there was ever a moment that I may have considered taking early retirement, this has gone – I am not ready.  I still feel that desperate desire to leave my home, come into school, see and work with your children and drive home feeling exhausted to do it all again the next day. This has reminded me, and I hope all of us, about the need to recognise time is precious, and to use it to the maximum. Take time to demonstrate our school values. Use this time we are now going through to read an unfinished book, to check a neighbour is OK, to phone a friend you have lost contact with and to learn something new about yourself and your children.  For those who have known me for many years and heard me say a thousand times “enjoy these days with your children and families” -I would say there is no better moment than the present to realise that they are the most precious things in the world.

School Newspaper

Enjoy was certainly the term of yesterday when I read the second edition of Aloha News.  Introduced by Mr Craig Scott (Secondary School English teacher), it has been put together by his fantastic team of pupils from Year 7 to Year 13.  You will read all about it in Mr Escobar’s letter below, but I must add big congratulations to all those pupils for producing this incredible, outstanding, professional school newspaper. You should all win “Journalist of the Year” awards!

Online Work 

It has been a pleasure to read some of the pupils’ online work submitted to teachers. From the colourful rainbows of the Primary School… 

The coronavirus rap from Evgeny Dunaev in Year 6 


Astrid showing how proud she is to be Star of the Week!



Sasha, Year 3, really beating out his version of Dance Monkey… Amazing singing skills!

To the poetry, artwork, music and writing from the Secondary pupils. Check out this fabulous song from Jimena García Benitez, Year 8, another Star!


The PE lessons have continued and congratulations must go to Mrs Ness and Lottie and Thomas, whose daily keep-fit routines make me feel exhausted just watching them…


New timetables for the period following Easter will be sent from both sections of the school for your perusal, on 15 April.

We thank you all again for helping your children with their online learning.

Year 11 and Year 13 parents

Please remember that online lessons for these 2 year groups will also continue after the Easter holiday.

Financial measures

Thank you to all the parents who messaged school following Thursday’s letter regarding the financial measure taken by the school to help you, the parents, through this critical period.  Your words of appreciation were gratefully received.

School reports

Last night you should have accessed your child’s school report online.  If you have had any difficulty regarding this please do not hesitate to email and we will address this on Monday morning.

Social Media

Please continue to view the postings on our school social media, many of you are now following the school on Instagram and Twitter and enjoying Facebook.

We are continuing to prepare for the production of our Yearbook, to be issued at the end of June.  We know from you the parents that this is a tradition we want to keep.

Holiday Homework

Work has been set for your child to continue learning during the Easter vacation.  This will be more in the form of a project, some creative activities and some compulsory reading. Please ensure your child completes this and submits it after the holiday.  It is work designed to be completed independently, giving everyone a break from the computer. Further details of this work will be available on Monday.

Mrs Palmer

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Mrs Nel Palmer, Head of Individuals and Societies in the Secondary School.  The History pupils regularly reminded me that there wasn’t a historical fact that Mrs Palmer didn’t know! On behalf of the management, staff and pupils, we thank Mrs Palmer for her service to Aloha College Marbella and wish her, Finbar and Dylan good health, happiness and success in their new venture.

Finally, I wish you and your families a safe and enjoyable holiday and I look forward to talking with you soon either physically or virtually!

Take care, happy Semana Santa!

Yours sincerely  


Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

We have now reached the next stage of this unusual situation. It will be a very different Easter break for everyone. Your child’s teachers have been working very hard to provide a list of activities for the children to enjoy during Easter. You will be able to access these via your child’s Google classroom from Monday.

We will be sending you the revised timetables during the holidays for the start of next term if the school remains closed. These include live online lessons linked directly with your child’s teachers each day via the Google Classroom.

One of the joys of being a Primary Headteacher is seeing the children come to my office to proudly show off their learning and I have really missed listening to them explain why they are so proud. However, I want all the children to know that I have been seeing ALL their learning. My computer is pinging ALL day with emails from proud teachers sharing your children’s photos, and uploaded work.

I have to say some of my favourites have been the Rainbow messages to spread happiness. They are fantastic! I have seen rainbows ranging from fruit arrangements, to t-shirts and hats along with many more. Well done everyone for sharing the happiness. It has made me so proud to be your headteacher as you share our Aloha values of Care, Effort and Respect.

Many congratulations to our STARS of the week:
NSCCU Arran Crossland, NSERI Alexandra Zoueva
RCEMA Miriam Haikina, RCJST Stella Lai
1KED Jenna Wahlroos, 1MTI, Olivia Langeland, 1LHO Elizaveta Haikina
2LT Jasmine Katebiyan, 2ARS Sonya Anakhasyan, 2FFO Isabella Spain
3EK Matilda Hackett, 3JCH Ana Llaves Gómez, 3ESE Astrid Verweij
4ITA Honey Holmes, 4ES Annie Herráez Alonso, 4SJD Vega Reinhard
5MAS Andrey Kukusta, 5ASH Yohan Le Carvennec, 5BWA Yousef Toubah
6PSM Khadija Faiq, 6WA Victoria Goryachkina, 6CST Marina De León García

Spanish Stars:
Srta Ana: Y5 Mario Egea Muñoz, Y6 Jimena Aguilar del Río
Don Diego: Y5 Elena Fajardo Ventaja, Y6 Marina de León García
Don David: Y2 Sara Alonso García, Y3 Marcos Esteban Roldán, Y4 Sofía Davison Violina
Srta Laura: Y2 Zeyn Müller, Y3 Fernando Fay Pérez, Y4 Daniel O’Hayon
Srta Encarnita: Nursery Matías Gil Manolitsis, Reception Yasmine Abdeselam, Y1 Mark Moiseev, Y2 Ana Giulia Sirejacob, Y3 Matilda Hackett
Srta Rosa: Nursery Mateo Espinosa Viale, Reception: Amaro Gutiérrez Pérez,
Y1 Milana Vaiciulyte, Y2 Oscar Höglund,Y3 Max Wu.
Srta Sylvia: Y4 Daniel Belov, Y5 Mateja Stefanovic, Y6 Maia McDermott
Srta Antoinette: Y4 Morgane Matter, Y5 Petr Kudyakov, Y6 Savannah Rodoni

Mrs Salmon’s Special Distance Learning Awards
3EK Luca McDermott for completing his Maths tasks very quickly but accurately and with lots of enthusiasm.

The Spring Reports have been published yesterday and are available on the Parent Portal (REPORTS Spring Term 2019/2020).

Inter House, Spring Term results
Granada – 935
Cordoba – 906
Sevilla – 803

I wish you all a safe family time at Easter.

Aloha Value – EFFORT
Personal Goal – COOPERATION

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Salmon
Headteacher, Primary


Dear Parents,

I would like to start this week’s newsletter by thanking you, your children and my colleagues for your efforts during these difficult times. When we heard that Spain was going on lockdown, we never imagined the extent of this global issue. Let’s continue to work together! I have no doubt that we will get through this. 

When we started online learning, I was confident everything was going to be great. Why would I be worried? We already use Google Classroom, students are great with technology and our staff teach to the highest standards. 

I managed to talk to heads of other international secondary schools in Asia who had to start teaching online due to the spread of Covid-19 in their countries. One thing was clear after my research and conversations with other professionals – there was not enough evidence which could help me decide what the best approach would be in this unprecedented situation. I, however, knew what I did not want to happen and that was having students sitting in front of a screen all day. Our school, fortunately,  has the facilities, equipment, technology and resources to have students working online all day if we wanted. 

Over the last three weeks, we have had time to analyse and reflect on the current situation. We have a better idea of where we want to go and achieve in the future with respect to online learning. I still reject the idea of having your children in front of a computer all day. However, I understand that it is time now to get students back to a more ‘normal’ routine, particularly students in KS3. 

From 20 April, all students will follow their regular timetables. There will be online lessons every day as well as tasks set in Google classrooms to complete throughout the week. We have thought carefully about screen time and the importance of physical and mental health. Before we start the summer term, you will receive further details and a copy of the new timetable your son/daughter will follow from 20 April. 

As I said before, physical and mental health are as important as any piece of work our students do in any subject. The pastoral department is delighted to announce Aloha’s online Mental Health Hub for students and parents. The hub is designed to provide links to trusted and safe online resources, apps, videos and books on a whole host of mental health issues. All of the links on the hub are hyperlinked and the resources are just a click away. Now more than ever, we want to ensure that our students are nurturing their mental health and we hope that the hub enables them to do this in the comfort of their own home. The link to the hub will be posted in all of the Google Classrooms early next week. Please click here to access the hub.

During the Easter holidays, with students stuck at home and not travelling, we are providing activities for your children to complete. We have prepared activities which hopefully will inspire students to see the connection with the outside world. We hope they discuss these activities with each other and help each other constructively. Some of the activities will encourage them to communicate with family and friends virtually and even with other parts of the world virtually. All tasks will be posted in their subject Google Classrooms on Monday. 

Last but not least, I would like to talk about another great achievement by our young media studies students. They have managed to produce another outstanding school newspaper in the current circumstances. Mrs Batchelor and I could not believe it when we read it last night! It is truly amazing! I would like to thank Mr Scott for driving this project so diligently and professionally. Please click here to read ALOHA NEWS 2nd EDITION.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter break.

Yours sincerely,

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.