Parent Newsletter 8 May

Dear parents,

Another busy week throughout the college.  Your children are amazing!

The public examinations for Year 11 and Year 13 pupils have already started.  Good luck to all our pupils!

Head Students

This week I enjoyed a meeting with our new Head Students Ainoa Veit and Marcus Elizondo-Darwin.  We talked at length about their new role and what responsibilities it entails; they are two great potential leaders.  One of their aims is to work even more in the Primary section of the school.

Screen time

Marcus has made the following video to help students control device use coming up to exams, or at any time.  Parents may find it useful too!

Enjoy reading

At weekends during term-time I try to take some time to read books related to education.  In the holidays, however, you will see me enjoying a light romantic novel which takes little effort to understand and presents no challenge to my thinking powers!

Yesterday I discovered that I am working alongside a talented author! Carmen, our school nurse, presented me with a signed book for our school Library. The book is entitled El Caso Voronet . This was written by Carmen herself and won the  V Certamen Literario Corcel Negro. Here a summary:

Inés and Mario, who are teachers, will be involved in murder, theft and fraud when they find a letter written in Latin. With the help of their friends, they will try to solve the mystery behind the letter. Meanwhile, an anonymous, dangerous enemy will be following them closely.

What a huge talent; qualified nurse by day and author at night! Congratulations, Carmen!

The Secondary school all decorated their classroom doors as the cover of a book.  This not only brought an array of bright colour to the corridors, it also helped promote some valuable discussion

Excellent work in Primary

Victor Heitz (3JCH) has done some incredible Maths work, which I have shown to Mr Escobar, Head of Secondary and Maths teacher himself.  Because of the high standard of his work Mr Escobar thought that Victor must be in Secondary school but that he hadn’t yet met him!  Well done, Victor!

Mija Sidorovic (4KFR) had to re-write a chapter of “Mr Stink” in her own words.  And what words did she use!  Mija explained how she uses the Thesaurus to find really descriptive and imaginative words.  Here you can see that Mr Heath, Head of English in Secondary, can’t wait for Mija to join his class in a few years’ time!

It is a pleasure to be surrounded each day by such wonderful children.

Have a lovely weekend with your families.


I hope your week was as good as mine. The children have worked hard and played well.

Year 6 Transition Days
The Year 6 children are busily preparing for Transition Week. This will take place in the week of 24 May. They will spend 4 days in Secondary School, following a typical Year 7 timetable.

When I asked some of them what they were excited about, I received a variety of answers:

Stella told me she couldn’t wait to have lots of different teachers every day.
Mara said: “I´m looking forward to doing science, I want to be a scientist! I want to meet with the new teachers, to get to know different buildings. I have heard that the secondary lessons are very interesting and I can’t wait to try them! As well, I want to go to drama lessons (my favorite). I’m counting the weeks until transition week”.

Children’s work

In Year 2, the children of Miss Kate’s class (2KED) have been working collaboratively to create fact files. They used iPads and non-fiction texts to find animal facts. Their final masterpieces are displayed beautifully on the classroom wall for everyone to enjoy. Here are Elija, Marvin and Theo showing their finished piece.

In Year 3 the children of Miss Liz’s class (3EK) have produced some beautiful artwork this week and some children have made clay models. Well done!

I had a beautiful new sparkly decoration made by Lucy Matthews (1LTA) to hang in the office. Thank you Lucy.

I was very happy to welcome Morgane Matter (5ES) back to school after a short time away. I was even happier to see the folder of all the work she had done to make sure she kept up with all her class assignments. Well done Morgane for your effort and resilience!

Parents, your beautiful children share all your secrets!!! Sometimes their stories are so funny. Happy birthday Mr Robb, daddy of James and Emma. I enjoyed watching your birthday video, made for you by your lovely children.

Nursery/Reception Parents
Please note that your child will be invited into school on Tuesday 18 May dressed as superheroes. I have my costume all ready for the big day.

Enjoy your weekend with your lovely children.

May Personal Learning Goal – TO BE ETHICAL
Next week’s Aloha Value  – EFFORT

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear parents,

This week students will be taking part in a host of activities both in and outside of lessons related to the theme of Nature as part of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Many of our Key Stage three students have been getting out and about in nature as part of their “Connect with Nature” challenge – an initiative designed to boost mood through getting outdoors more. They have definitely been up for the challenge! 

It then made me think “Do we appreciate nature enough?

Marcus Elizondo-Darwin

Ainoa and I were in a meeting last week with Mr. Escobar where he highlighted the importance of trying to get the students to focus on connecting their mind and body to nature. We both went home that day, and instead of staring at our devices, we decided to watch the sunset and appreciate the small, everyday things in life, to calm down and relax a little bit after long days filled with exams and deadlines. It is these small things that help me stay calm during stressful situations. Although of course this is not always easy to do.

In Maths the other day, one of the students could tell I was stressed, so he approached me and quoted Bruce Lee. 

 “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

At first, I didn’t quite understand the analogy – I was very confused. So when I got home, I searched for the quote and read it again. Never before has something made so much sense! I needed to accept, adjust and adapt in that Maths lesson- all of the things that water can do.


Ainoa Veit Urbano

Just like Marcus just said, life can be full of so much stress and many worries but sometimes we just have to sit down and stop thinking about a million things. Very few good decisions are made without a clear mind. If you are ever in a stressful or problematic situation what really helps me is to think about these two questions:

Can I change the situation or fix the problem? Or is there nothing I can do about the problem or situation?

If the answer to my first question is yes, then what I do is start working on solving the problem and improving the situation. However, if the answer is no, then what I do is simply try and accept it. Now that can be really hard. At least for me, it is really hard!

I used to be someone and sometimes still am someone, who loves to stress about overwhelming situations, even if they are out of my hands. However, what I have learned is that we have to remember that there is no use in focusing all our energy on something that we can not change or fix. We have to adapt, just like water. If it does not work out, that is ok there are a million other things you can do and try out, just like water in a glass. Not everything goes perfectly the first time you try it. That is something I am constantly working on. 

Sometimes you have to sit back, relax and appreciate everything else you have. It is good to focus on all the work that has to be done but it is equally important to learn how to relax and not worry about everything that is out of our control.  

We hope you have a great weekend.

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.