Parent Newsletter 5 December

Dear parents,

Today you will be enjoying the first day of an extended weekend. Many of you who follow a traditional type of Christmas will be decorating trees and your homes.

We sincerely thank a small group of dedicated parents for spending 3 evenings in school after your children had gone home, preparing and decorating our facilities in order to help instil a feeling of joy and festivity into the last weeks of term, for all our pupils.  Thank you to Mandy Turner, who organised this.  She was helped by mums Nicky Keating, Fatima Gonzalez-Izcaray, Jana Nihokova and Becky Sharp.

The grotto, erected by some staff members, added the finishing touch.  As Mrs Salmon’s letter says below, we are now awaiting a special visitor!

The younger children are preparing letters for Santa and practising their scissor skills by cutting out pictures of toys they would like as presents.  The nursery staff have had to stop some children from cutting out the whole toy catalogue! Here they are posting their finished letters:

Christmas Jumper Day
You will have seen from the reminders that your child will be invited to wear a Christmas jumper on Monday 14 December.  This is not compulsory, so you are not under any pressure to purchase one if you do not want to.

Raffle tickets
Thank you for your support in selling the raffle tickets.  You have a last opportunity during this short break to sell any unsold tickets by Wednesday 9 December, before the big draw on Monday 14.

Social Media
I hope you enjoyed the wonderful “Be Kind” video made by Harry Campbell in Year 6, posted on our social media.  If you haven’t watched it, please do, it is amazing.  Well done, Harry!

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Head Students
It was a pleasure meeting with my Head Students this week, Adriana and Caio. Once again, they spoke to me on behalf of all the pupils in the school. They expressed ideas for improvements we can make as a school. Last week and next they are busy popping into Primary classes for a brief minute to see if they need anything. I have to add, I love listening to their feedback, it’s so honest and sincere.

I really enjoyed meeting more new pupils and listening to them recount their experience of their first term at Aloha.

Congratulations to Mara and Zaya for making last Wednesday a really happy day by sharing with me their outstanding work:

Congratulations to Miss Vanessa, Primary School teaching assistant, who gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

Welcome to Miss Rebecca Barton who is going to teach Ms Dry’s PE classes whilst she goes on maternity leave. She has already arrived and is going through a “handover” week before Miss Dry leaves us temporarily.

Retirement
We sadly say goodbye to Srta. Julieta Garcia, teacher of Spanish in the Secondary section, who retires after 24 years’ service. We wish her every good health and happiness for the future.  Thank you, Julieta.

Mrs Salmon
I am going to share some fond memories of Mrs Salmon in next week’s newsletter as she prepares to leave our school at the end of this term.

Thank you again for all your support.

Elizabeth Batchelor
Principal


PRIMARY SCHOOL

Dear Parents,

As you can see below we were very proud to award our BE KIND certificates this week to

Ian NSERI, Sasha RCJST, Jesse RCJST, Santiago 1MTI, Elija 2FFO, Malak 3EK, Matilda 4CLA, Santino 4ITA, Carlos 5ES, Shaylie 5SJD, Marivi (Maria Victoria) 6CST and Polina 6LF. It was lovely to see Miss Susan, Miss Agostina, Miss Fátima and Mrs Belén being recognised for their kindness too!


As the children may have told you there has been a big change in the Main Reception with the appearance of
Santa’s Grotto. Children can leave their ‘Letters for Santa’ in the red post box here.

I have also received a special letter… Click on the envelope below, I’m sure you will enjoy reading it to your children.

Thank you for your generosity and all your donations for our Give a Gift Campaign. You still have time to donate and children can leave their gifts at the Main Reception Office.

Enjoy the long weekend and don’t forget that on Monday 14 December is going to be ACM Christmas Jumper Day. I have mine all ready! This is also the day of the Christmas Raffle Prize Draw so please remember that Wednesday 9 December will be the last day to return the money for the tickets, the stub and any unsold tickets


Aloha Value – RESILIENCE
December’s Personal Learning GoalTo be a COLLABORATOR which includes being a good team member – TEAM ALOHA!

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Salmon – Headteacher, Primary
kathryn.salmon@aloha-college.com


SECONDARY SCHOOL

Dear Parents,

Ramon y Cajal, a well-known Spanish doctor, literally said: “We all need the buzz of the beehive”. In other words, being a gossip is a natural human condition. Scientific research points in the exact same direction, suggesting that gossip is attractive because it releases endorphins; the main reason we do it is for others to show an interest in us. 

The school playground can be, to say the least, an interesting place for gossip. However, we must not just focus on teenagers; it is very common in adults too. If rumours and gossip are handled incorrectly, they can have serious consequences. It is our job as parents and educators to teach our youngsters how to handle gossip, something that is ingrained into everyone’s daily life.

When we become the victim of gossip, we cannot stop wondering: “Do they gossip because they are bored? Don’t they have a life of their own?”

Most people who gossip probably do it because they are trying to escape from their own worries- to think about others so that they do not have to worry about themselves. Sadly, some people just find pleasure in other people’s shortcomings.

When people come to tell us something about someone else, we do not pay much attention to it. Remember that, next time,  it could be you so the best thing you can do is not spread it around. This way, the rumour ends with you.

I know that it is easier said than done, but we must try to avoid dwelling on rumours. Ruminating about gossip only makes us feel worse. It is also good to avoid social media, especially if this is where such rumours are being spread. Resisting the urge to react when people are mean is very difficult. Instead, we must encourage our students not to seek revenge but to take the high road instead. 

Could gossip be viewed more positively? Good friends talk about other people. It is in that discussion that they compare their own standards, their own values and their own behaviour to that of others. This is valuable, when done properly.

I hope you have a good weekend.

Francisco Escobar
Headteacher, Secondary

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Darren Roth
Headteacher Secondary

Earned his BA(Hons) in English Literature from Cardiff University before completing his teaching qualification as a secondary English teacher at Swansea University. Over 17 years in South Wales, he held roles including Head of English, Head of Sixth Form, and senior management before joining Aloha College Marbella in 2012. A passionate educator, Darren finds immense satisfaction in students’ success.

His diverse interests extend beyond the classroom. Darren obtained his pilot’s licence at 17 through a Royal Air Force scholarship and continued training for years. He volunteered in the Camp America scheme, played water polo for Wales Under 18s, and taught children to swim.
Outside of his professional and athletic pursuits, Darren enjoys reading, cycling, and walking his rescue Yorkshire Terrier, Charley. A paddleboarding enthusiast, he finds joy in outdoor activities. Darren also has a flair for cooking and delights in preparing meals for friends. He holds a special affection for the Andalusian sunshine and seizes every opportunity to explore Spain and beyond.

Earned his BA(Hons) in English Literature from Cardiff University before completing his teaching qualification as a secondary English teacher at Swansea University. Over 17 years in South Wales, he held roles including Head of English, Head of Sixth Form, and senior management before joining Aloha College Marbella in 2012. A passionate educator, Darren finds immense satisfaction in students’ success.

His diverse interests extend beyond the classroom. Darren obtained his pilot’s licence at 17 through a Royal Air Force scholarship and continued training for years. He volunteered in the Camp America scheme, played water polo for Wales Under 18s, and taught children to swim.

Outside of his professional and athletic pursuits, Darren enjoys reading, cycling, and walking his rescue Yorkshire Terrier, Charley. A paddleboarding enthusiast, he finds joy in outdoor activities. Darren also has a flair for cooking and delights in preparing meals for friends. He holds a special affection for the Andalusian sunshine and seizes every opportunity to explore Spain and beyond.

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Louise Verinder
Designated Safeguarding Lead & Pastoral Care

Louise earned her BA Hons degree from Edge Hill University and went on to complete her PGCE. With a lifelong passion for sports, she always knew she wanted to become a PE teacher. She excelled, particularly in sports acrobatics, earning the honor of representing Great Britain. For fourteen years, she served as head of PE in Chorley, in the north-west of England, before embarking on what was supposed to be a year’s sabbatical in Spain.

Louise joined Aloha College in 2014 as a part-time teacher of PE. A couple of years later, she transitioned into the role of pastoral care, a role that she absolutely loves. Tasked with leading the secondary school’s PSHEE program and serving as the Designated Safeguarding Lead, she finds great pleasure in developing positive working relationships with teenagers, supporting their mental health and wellbeing, helping develop their self-esteem and confidence, as well as helping them navigate the challenges of life!
Louise is passionate about learning and developing her skillset. She is an accredited life coach with the ICF, specializing in working with teenagers. She has studied for a Diploma in NLP and has recently been awarded a Level 5 Diploma in Trauma and Mental Health-Informed Schools and Communities. 
Outside of teaching, Louise loves the simple things in life. Spending time with her family and friends, travelling, and spending time outside hiking, skiing and paddleboarding. She loves good food and she feels truly blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world.
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Sara Dickie
Head of Key Stage 2

Graduated from the University of Plymouth with a BEd (hons) specialising in English Literature and teaching children in the primary age range.  For the next 17 years, Sara worked in large, central and outer London schools.  As a senior leader in the UK, Sara raised attainment and supported curriculum development across groups of schools in the local area and worked with the local education authority to provide training across boroughs. She ensured the success of school improvement in roles such as leader of English, Maths and SEND provision over the years.  Sara moved to Spain in 2017 and is currently our Head of Key Stage 2.  

Sara has travelled to many fascinating destinations across the globe and still counts travel as one of her interests.  However, she now spends more time at her rural finca in the Andalucian mountains than ever before due to the increasing number of rescue animals she supports.  Outside of education, Sara loves to spend time in the countryside with her horses, dogs and many other animals under her care. 
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Liz Keys
Teaching & Learning

Liz gained a BA.Hons degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Hull.  After her PGCE  she began her teaching career at a state Primary School in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Her passion for teaching and her love of travel soon prompted her to take up her next role as a Reception class teacher at Bangkok Patana School in Thailand where she gained invaluable experience of working in an international environment. 

A desire to move closer to the UK prompted Liz to join Aloha College Marbella in 1997 where she has been a Key Stage leader in both KS1 & KS2. She is passionate about providing children with a Creative Curriculum which  provides exciting stimuli and first-hand learning experiences. Her interests are reading, travel and sampling different cuisines.
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Anna Sweeting
Head of Key Stage 3 and Enrichment

Completed her degree in Business, Accounting and Finance, then later a Certificate in Mathematics. Having worked in banking, accounting and education finance she started teaching by founding a tuition company in 2006 and lecturing part-time in a further education college. These both grew, and a decision was made to sell the business and lecture full time, while also leading GCSE Maths. Anna made the move to secondary education in 2015, then joined Aloha College in 2016.

Anna loves inspiring students to try new things and to grasp opportunities, you never know where they will lead! She enjoys performing in theatre shows and singing, but the most drama in her life comes from being an avid follower of Blackpool FC, a curse that she has passed on to her two sons.
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Jacqueline Brice
Head of Key Stage 4

Achieved a first class Honours degree in Mathematics and Physics from Kings College London before pursuing a career in broadcasting. She indulged her curiosity in the latest scientific and technological advances as a producer of scientific documentaries for BBC Radio and Television and then moved into fly-on-the-wall documentary making for Channel 4 with the police and the Royal Navy. Her broadcasting career has taken her flying through thunderstorms with lightning chasers in North Dakota, to crime scenes with the Metropolitan Police murder squad and from the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious to Gibraltar by Sea King helicopter. 

As her young family took priority in her life, she turned her degree into a Post Graduate Certificate of Education and brought her family to Spain, where she has continued to share her love of mathematics, science and life-long learning with the students of Aloha College for almost two decades. Over the years, she has thoroughly enjoyed leading the Mathematics Department and Key Stage 3 and now she is working as the Head of Key Stage 4, hoping to instill a love for learning and international travel in our young adults and to encourage them to value a broad range of creative, analytical and communication skills.
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Ellen Richards
Head of EYFS

Studied at the University of Chester where she completed her BEd (Hons) in  Primary education, specialising in the Early Years. She believes there is no age range more exciting and inspiring with which to work, and feels fortunate to have truly found her vocation. 

Ellen has taught at international schools in Guangzhou, China, Bangkok, Thailand and London, UK, before joining the Aloha College Marbella team in 2018 where she is currently Head of Foundation Stage. Having attended international schools herself in Maseru, Lesotho, Yokohama, Japan and South Wales in the UK, Ellen feels a strong sense of belonging within our multicultural community.
Outside of work, Ellen is most content exploring all and any creative pursuits, be it in a rather haphazard way! What she lacks in finesse she makes up for in enthusiasm, and will happily while away the weekend with her sewing machine. 
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Elaine McGirl
Head of Key Stage 5

An experienced educator with over two decades of expertise in the field of science and education. Originally from Ireland, Elaine graduated with Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Limerick after earning a Bachelor of Science in Education majoring in Biology and Chemistry. 

Driven by a passion for understanding how students learn best, Elaine has held diverse roles in education, including lecturing and tutoring in educational psychology to undergraduate students. She has extensive experience teaching various curricula, including the International Baccalaureate, A Levels and the Irish Leaving certificate, providing her with a comprehensive understanding of various educational systems. 
In 2007, Elaine joined Aloha College Marbella, where she has served as an IB and A-Level Biology teacher, General Science teacher, and Head of the Science Department. Currently, she holds the position of Head of Sixth Form and IB Diploma Programme Coordinator, demonstrating her leadership and commitment to guiding students towards academic excellence and personal growth.
Outside of teaching, Elaine enjoys Irish dancing, Flamenco, and salsa. She can play several instruments from her days in a youth marching band. Elaine loves traveling, trying new foods, and spending time with animals.
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Anne Ross
Head of Key Stage 1

Began her teaching career with a Foundation Degree in Early Years from the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland. She managed and developed a Nursery School in the Highlands for several years and was very involved in raising the awareness and the importance of Early Years education throughout many schools in the Highlands and North of Scotland. Anne then furthered her studies, experience and expertise by gaining a PGCE at the University of Buckingham to further her career in Primary education.

At Aloha Anne has always been passionate about extending her knowledge and learning, she is currently studying to become a certified Well-Being coach. She is a strong advocate of student wellbeing, emotional intelligence and social development, these important life skills ensure our students emerge more resilient and ready to face future adversities. 
Even though Anne has lived in Spain for over 20 years, she loves to explore Spain’s rich culture and many hidden treasures. She is an enthusiastic traveller with a love for diverse destinations and learning from different cultures. Anne has always been passionate about sports and keeping fit and in her spare time she loves Crossfit classes, family time and reading.
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Emma Saunders
Primary Designated Safeguarding Lead & Pastoral Car

Emma has dedicated her entire teaching and professional career to ACM. A Saint Mary’s University London honour’s graduate, holding a Masters Degree in International Education from Oxford Brookes, Emma has shaped her career into a student-centric narrative. Her experience and research into “Third Culture Kids’, which recognises our students unique educational, international and Spanish experience, was used in crafting and developing the Primary PSHEE programme, facilitating essential skills appropriate to academic, psychological and emotional well-being.

Emma’s professionalism at Charity, is helping change lives for the vulnerable, in Málaga and Africa where ACM has initiated educational programmes in Kampala. Her work as a rapporteur for the COBIS ConnectED sessions is established and recognised. As a qualified Catechist, Emma’s Pastoral Care role is busy and engaging. As a safeguarding expert and officer, fluent in Spanish, Emma analyses the latest programmes, developments and policies, at national and International level.
As a former ballerina, Emma trained young dancers for school shows and Marbella events in modern/Irish dance, and regularly performed in her native West End. Emma also enjoys entertaining family and friends, however Tara the Afghan Hound as the newest member of the Saunders family, is the one who now steals the show!
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Kate Edwards
Headteacher Primary

Kate graduated from the University of Central England with a BEd (Hons) in Primary Education, specialising in the Early Years. As an experienced leader in both UK and international educational settings, Kate is committed to providing students with a learning environment that celebrates effort and achievement in both academic and personal endeavors. In July 2019, Kate, completed the Cobis Program for Aspiring Heads, before taking on her first headship with us in 2023. 

In her spare time, Kate loves spending time with her husband and three children. They often enjoy trips to the park, constructing Lego masterpieces, strolls along the beach and splashing about in the pool. When time allows, Kate also loves to bake.  At home you’ll often find her whipping up a storm in the kitchen. Rumour has it, she dreams of donning the iconic apron on the Great British Bake Off one day! 
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Víctor Ranea
Head of Administration

Víctor Ranea se unió al colegio como Business Manager en 2003. Lideró el proceso de transición entre la antigua compañía y la fundación actual. Como responsable del área de Administración, ha participado en varios Planes Estratégicos. Además de las finanzas y los Presupuestos Generales, ha dirigido los proyectos constructivos del colegio y contribuido en los planes de marketing así como en la implementación de nuevos sistemas informáticos del área de finanzas.

Licenciado en Ciencias Economicas y Empresariales por la Universidad de Málaga, Víctor Ranea es un apasionado del deporte, con experiencia en competiciones regionales, habiendo contribuido a la creación de los clubs deportivos del colegio. Un amante de los viajes y la gastronomía, así como de la música, el teatro y el cine.