Parent Newsletter 5 September

Dear parents,

Welcome back – I cannot believe how eagerly we have waited for this day!

In view of the current worldwide situation I was delighted to see nearly 700 children return to our school.  This was a clear indication you were happy as parents to entrust your children to us once again – thank you.

We have sent out communications throughout the summer and I thank you for familiarising yourselves with the protocols.

I believe we were the first school to open on the coast so other schools are also learning from us!! 

Look at what I see every day – children walking past my window with a wave and a smile under their mask, I can see by their eyes!

You will have heard, I am sure, that we did have to isolate some of our younger pupils this week.  This was very sad, especially after such a long period at home.  However, we follow the guidelines from the Junta de Andalucia and prefer to err on the side of caution in the interests of your child’s health and safety.

If all these little ones are fit and healthy they will be joining us again on Monday 14 September.  In the meantime they are receiving their teaching and learning online.

I am aware that Covid still raises many questions and concerns.  To help to alleviate some of these, we have created the email address where you can direct your questions or comments, and we will aim to answer the general questions in a Frequently Asked Questions style via a biweekly Covid Newsletter.  This would aim to ensure all your questions are answered.  Obviously very personal questions regarding your own child should go through the usual channels of communication. Our first Covid Newsletter will come out next week.  This will not replace, however, Mr Escobar and Mrs Salmon’s Newsletters, which share with you events and information regarding your children’s teaching and learning.  We cannot forget why we have all returned to school.

The statement I made frequently throughout the summer was “We are all in this together” as a whole school community.

We welcome 3 new members of staff to our school this academic year:

Miss Cecilia Lancaster (Year 4 Classteacher), Mr Gary Tinkler (Head of Careers and University Guidance), and Miss Katy Fitzgerald (Year 6 Classteacher)

We hope they will be happy and successful at Aloha College Marbella.

Following the last communication sent to you on Friday 28 August, we did ask that all parents accept the responsibility of taking their child’s temperature and their own before arriving at school. If you have missed this in the protocol or indeed are not practising it, please do so on a daily basis.  This will be another measure to prevent any child, parent or staff member from coming into school when they are unwell. Please find here the link to the Form whereby you commit to carrying out this practice.

If any pupil has to be quarantined in the future, the school will check that child’s temperature on their return.

This week you have been inundated with information to read and videos to watch, so I’m finishing for now.

Have a lovely weekend – please keep safe and please try to support us as a school by following government guidelines in the evenings and weekends.  Together we will be helping to protect your children.

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

Welcome back to the new academic year! The first thing I want to share is the fact that your children are amazing! Despite their masks I see happy children learning in every classroom I walk into. They have very quickly adapted to our ‘new’ routines and are very quick to remind each other to wash hands and keep a distance! To quote a child in Year 5 ‘this new normal’s OK’.

I hope that you enjoyed the teachers ‘Welcome’ videos last week and I apologise for any confusion caused by the delayed release of classlists. Your child’s class teacher will continue to post a video every Friday via Google Classroom to share reflections of the week in school, to celebrate children’s learning and to share any important class information.

Google ClassroomAll pupils have now been set up onto Google Classroom which is our online learning platform. This will enable your children to access their homework from home. All new pupils have been issued with a username and password to access the platform. Existing pupils can use their username and password from last term. We can see some of you have already done this! You can find more information and instructions to access Google Classroom here and here. If you have any issues you should contact our Primary Digital Learning Coordinator Dan Mulligan at who will be available during school hours.

This year I am very pleased to welcome new teaching staff to our outstanding team:
Miss Cecilia Lancaster in Year 4, Miss Katy Fitzgerald in Year 6 and Srta Patricia, Spanish.

Congratulations to Miss Kate our Head of Key Stage 1 last term on the birth of her beautiful little boy at the beginning of the school holidays.

Talk Homework: What did I enjoy most about my first week back at school.
Aloha Value – RESPECT                      
Personal Goal – Respectful

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Salmon
Headteacher, Primary


Dear Parents,

I would like to start my newsletter by welcoming you to a new academic year. I can only compliment your children on the tremendous amount of effort they have put in this week to ensure that all measures that the school has put into place are followed diligently. A special mention goes to all Year 7 students who have had to adapt quickly to routines in a new section of the College as well as trying to remember the names of their 9 teachers and form tutor!

There are many factors that play a part before good results are achieved. One could say that the week has gone well just through pure luck or simply because it was the way things were meant to be. However, I believe that there is one key element that has contributed to a successful week: your children have listened to instructions carefully! This leads me the question: 

Is being a good listener a natural talent or something we can all develop further?

Active listening is about focusing on, and engaging with, what is being said without offering judgement or advice. There are so many instances when we are glancing at our phones whilst a friend is talking to us. It is also common to see two people talking whilst one of them is playing with his/her hair ( I am lucky not to have this temptation when somebody speaks to me!). This can lead to one feeling undervalued and unimportant. 

There are times when people appear to be listening, but instead they are formulating their own replies, ready to interrupt when there is a pause. It is so important to become comfortable with this silence during conversations. It gives the speaker time and space in which they can be heard. You are giving the speaker a moment to think and reflect. We should consider this silence a moment of breathing space.

Experts recommend the following 5 tips to start developing good listening skills:

    • Listen for non-verbal clues– pay attention to body language, tone of voice, facial expressions and gestures.
    • Don’t interrupt -hold any questions or attempts to relate until they have finished talking.
    • Give feedback– nod, make noises that encourage them to continue, and avoid fidgeting.
    • Paraphrase and reflect– summarise what the other person has said to ensure you are understanding, and show that you are listening.
    • Do not offer a solution or opinion- unless you are asked! If in doubt, ask if they want to vent or hear suggestions.

I am sure we are now ready to become good listeners.

I hope you have a nice 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.