Parent Newsletter 6 June

Dear parents,

Final month of the school year – who would believe it?

As you can see, I meet all the staff in a Google Meet once a week, in 3 separate sections – Administration, Primary and Secondary.  Here is a screenshot of what we all look like in our 12th week of lockdown. Try talking to all those 55 Secondary staff on the screen!

Year 11’s and Year 13’s
I experienced mixed feelings on 2 days this week when I actually physically went into school to see and speak to some of the Year 11 and Year 13 students. They were dutifully returning their textbooks and collecting their personal belongings, which had been put into bags and labelled ready for them to pick up.  All the students followed the strict protocol we had laid down; social distancing, wearing of masks, etc. They were all given different times to arrive and were not allowed into the school, only to a mapped-out place in the garden.

Whilst I was excited and delighted to see them – and they politely “pretended” to feel the same – I also felt overwhelmingly sad for them having to end the school year in such circumstances.

I thank all of them for letting me have the experience of talking to a “real child” once again.  Year 11’s, I will see you in September. Year 13’s, I hope to see you very soon.

Administration Staff
As you know, I regularly refer to teaching staff in my newsletters but today I want to talk a little about some of the administration department; some you know well, like the receptionists Fatima and Belen, the secretaries Mariela and Agostina, or our Business Manager Víctor, but there are also some who work hard behind the scenes.

As you are aware, the school is going through a complete disinfection programme. Normally at the end of term your child would be emptying his/her locker and extracting their belongings from amongst the smelly socks and half-eaten sandwiches. However, this year, in order to ensure the maximum safety of the Secondary pupils coming to school to return their textbooks, some of the administration staff volunteered to empty your children’s lockers. They carefully placed personal items in bags which they made available to the pupils in an outside restricted area, as the school remains closed for pupils and parents. Mariela, Agostina, Fatima, Belen, Maria, Isabel, Guillermo and Charo have prepared everything for you. They really do support your children and the teaching staff. Thank you to the whole department.

And all done with such great cheer!

Finally, as Thursday and Friday of next week are local holidays (San Bernabé in Marbella) there will be no newsletter.  So please keep checking out our social media – Instagram, Twitter and Facebook  for our news.

Have a lovely weekend with your families.

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

In my Monday morning message I asked the children to show resilience when completing their ‘What’s Next” activities. It was so strange for everyone trying to complete them at home on their own but the children rose to the challenge and really tried hard. We are very aware that the children have been out of the classroom situation for a long time so to help them with their next steps each child will be set some revision activities to further practise in class and at home. Don’t worry about the scores as they are not being used for reports or for groupings next year. Find my video message here.

The sunshine finally came out this week and we are all able to get out and about more. Those who may have forgotten the beauty of the area we live in will be interested to see the Year 3 Tourist Guides. The children have created amazing videos linked to their persuasive writing. I can see some budding TV presenters, such confidence! Well done Year 3!

Grace Osborne     Aitor Cordon López    Arseniy Dishdishyan

ACM Family Sports DayOn Friday 29 May 2020, ACM hosted a very unique Inter House Primary Sports Day. Families were invited to compete in a Decathlon event at home testing strength, coordination, agility and fitness through 10 fun challenges. Thank you to all participants and to everyone who submitted the results via Google Form. Your photographs and videos display great team spirit and the Aloha Values are clear to see!

Please find here a Certificate of Participation and the Granada Winners Certificate here.

We also invite you to enjoy this lovely video of this special day. Congratulations everyone!


Reminder Year 6: Year 7 Language choice – Some Year 6 students still have to inform the school of their language choice, please do it as soon as possible using this form. Information about these language courses is available here.


NSCCU Fernando Lezama Leguizamon Fernández De Villavicencio
NSERI Thalia Boujnah Cuesta
RCEMA Rui Rong, RCJST Ahmed Essaid Ben-Yaiche
1KED Qilu (Hugo) Chen Zang, 1MTI Tiare Liuzzi, 1LHO Alaia Santa Cruz Tavarelli
2LT Ingrid Lemberg, 2ARS Jaime García Vidal, 2FFO Noor El Houda Faouzi
3EK Lily Holden, 3JCH Danial Hosseini, 3ESE Enzo Krumnikl
4ITA Danila Belov, 4ES Angelina Lopin, 4SJD Sergey Kononenko      
5MAS Boaz Rodenburg, 5ASH Darian Mushfigh, 5BWA Isabelle Gruber
6PSM Matthew Sánchez Valenzuela, 6WA Yuhong Zhao, 6CST Marina De León García

Srta Encarnita: NS Luca Knezovich, RC Maia Rincón Tian, Y1 Anastasia Kononenko, Y2 Victoria Moore-Lister, Y3 Colby Matthews
Srta Rosa: NS Victor Warngren, RC Francesca Tye, Y1 Ivan Chuprin, Y2 Samantha Aguigam, Y3 Enzo Krumnikl
Don David: Y2 Mariia Kononenko, Y3 Ana Llaves Gómez, Y4 Olivia Hamdallah Recio
Srta Laura: Y2 Ezel Esen, Y3 Joel Rébora Song, Y4 Valentino Franklin-Pellegrino
Srta Antoinette: Y4 Mira Petuhova, Y5 Hugo Hay-Evans, Y6 Khadija Faik
Srta Sylvia: Y4 Lea Albaker, Y5 Andrey Kukusta, Y6 Roberta Tye
Srta Ana: Y5 Beatriz Fernández-Macías Hijas, Y6 Marina Álvarez Varela
Don Diego: Y5 Felipe Simon, Y6 Chloé Botella Jodts  

PE AWARD CERTIFICATES – For outstanding commitment to At Home PE
Arran Crossland NUCCU, Aleksandar Malavé Praizovic 1KE, Max Wu 3JCH, Khadija Faiq 6PSM

Sara Alonso García (Don David Y2 Lengua) – Sara is already working on next year’s objectives for Lengua. Her attitude is exceptional and she enjoys participating and sharing her knowledge with the rest of the class. She could be a great teacher!


Aloha Value – THOUGHTFULNESS                         
Personal Goal – ADAPTABILITY


Have a lovely weekend and stay safe!

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Salmon
Headteacher, Primary


Dear Parents,

Did you know that there are certain types of hens that lay blue eggs? Or that some hens have fur instead of feathers? Over the last few days, one of our Year 7 students has taught me everything I need to know about hens. It was only after a conversation with this student’s mother that I discovered her daughter’s passion for animals. The family has even built a chicken coop outside their house! I now know that there are Pita Pinta Asturiana hens and that the student uses golf balls to encourage them to lay more eggs. She feeds them watermelon, broccoli and lettuce which they love!

When I began my conversation with the student I nearly asked her the question: “What do you want to be when you are older? I am sure you will be a vet”. I am relieved that I didn’t!

What do you want to be when you grow up? A question that, I am sure, you have been asked or have asked on many occasions. I remember that I wanted to be a firefighter when I was a child and a teacher a few years later. There was even one period in my life during which I analysed the origin of idioms and proverbs in English and then looked at how they would translate into Spanish. The only issue I had was that I had to choose one profession only so being a firefighter and a teacher and a potential translator was out of the question. What happened to these other talents and interests I once had?

In a TED talk that I watched last week, the presenter talked about how we limit people’s choices by leading them to choose one, and only one, career path. What happens to those who have many interests and talents? There are plenty of students who become so interested in an area and invest all their time in it but suddenly hit the point where they start to get bored. Not long after that, a new interest comes their way and perhaps this new thing is not challenging enough and they let it go. When this happens, people worry because they are not sure how to turn so many different interests into a career. There is nothing wrong with this if it happens!

Whilst asking students what they want to do when they are older encourages them to dream about what they could be, it does not inspire them to dream about all that they could be. The idea that we all have one true calling that we are meant to do for the rest of our lives is, in my opinion, incorrect. 

How, in the 21st Century, have we managed to narrow our choices to just one? Aristotle, in Ancient Greece, was a philosopher and also a scientist. His writing covers many subjects including music, poetry and theatre. 

Our lovely Year 7 student might or might not get bored of her hens and begin a new hobby. She might end up being a biologist, a vet or something totally unrelated to the animal world. Let’s keep our options open and not fear the idea of being well versed in many disciplines.

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.