Parent Newsletter 9 May

Dear parents,

I hope you all remain safe and well.

I trust you all received the letter sent on Thursday and understand that, even since then, directives for schools opening are still unclear. I will ensure that as soon as Aloha College Marbella has a firm final plan, we will notify you.

Thank you for ensuring that the final term’s fees were paid according to the extended deadline.

I have continued to pop into some live Primary School lessons and really do appreciate how much effort you have to make to support your children’s “focus”, particularly that of our young pupils. Daniel told me yesterday that he wished the coronavirus “had never been invented”! 

I am questioning whether we even need a newsletter this week as Year 2 in their Spanish classes have been reporting on worldwide news. – Congratulations – you were better than any newsreader I have seen or heard!

One annual event we always enjoy round this time of year is sharing the excellence of our IB Art students. Their efforts in these circumstances have been outstanding. I cannot begin to share with you how difficult it was for them to produce works such as these without being present in school. Please appreciate and enjoy some examples of these classic pieces. Congratulations go to Flavia Sinisi, Frederikke Niclasen, Lisa Xiao, Sofia Zaripova and Sofie Axen’s animation.


I am sure many of you are now enjoying walks and limited outdoor sport – I know I certainly am, I’m even being brave enough to swim! Remember when you clock up those kilometres, to submit them to the PE department: · ·  

As you are aware, reaching John O’Groats was not nearly challenging enough for our wonderful school. Please help us choose our next destination voting for Sydney or Hollywood here:  CovidKMChallenge_WhereNext 

Our initiative and efforts have now inspired other International Schools to do the same thing. Well done to all those families who have participated!

Have a lovely safe, restful weekend with your families.

Elizabeth Batchelor


Dear Parents,

In my Monday morning message (find my video message here) I encouraged children to continue to read as much as they can. I am thoroughly enjoying visiting all the classrooms on my ‘imaginary walk around school’. It’s an absolute joy to see all the children engaged and enjoying their learning. A special mention to Laura Eggens Y5 for her outstanding writing. One of the reasons I am so impressed is the amount of resilience and determination she has shown by drafting and redrafting her story ‘The Nowhere Emporium’ based on the book by Ross MacKenzie. For those budding authors who like to write I also suggested in my video they write a story, which can include illustrations. I know from the work being submitted that we have many, many children who like to write so I’m looking forward to receiving their ‘finished books’ which we will display in our library when we return to school. 

I have been hearing from Miss Bronagh, Don Sebastian and Don Angel about how impressed they are with the childrens’ attitude in PE lessons and we are all very impressed with the level of fitness shown in the videos submitted. They have asked me to mention Year 4 especially for their enthusiasm and determination as a year group. In the words of Don Angel ‘they are Superstars!’


Distance Learning of course means increased online activity which, whilst being both beneficial and enjoyable, can bring challenges for your child’s safety. Each week your child’s teachers will be explaining and posting activities on a different theme to help them stay safe. The activities are designed for you to discuss with your children so that you too are fully aware of their skills and any potential areas to address at home e.g. gaming and what it fully involves and the potential hazards. More information is also available on the Parent Portal.

NSCCU Isabella Kemp, NSERI Jesse Doyle
RCEMA Francesca Tye, RCJST Maia Rincón Tian
1KED Phoebe Still, 1MTI Shayan Katebiyan, 1LHO Emilia Osztrovszka
2LT Mariia Konenenko, 2ARS Cara Cartwright, 2FFO Sakiel Teran-Coniglione  
3EK Mina Kipcak, 3JCH Smilla Andersson, 3ESE Fernando Fay Pérez
4ITA Javier Aguilar del Río, 4ES Lea Hazout, 4SJD Valentino Franklin-Pellegrino  
5MAS Elena Fajardo Ventaja, 5ASH Felipe Simon, 5BWA Richard Laizan
6PSM Federico Tobal Koner, 6WA Chloe Herráez Alonso, 6CST Constanza Plaza de Barutell

Srta Encarnita: NS Alexandra Pearson, RC Sarah Abril Sinnwell,  Y1 Phoebe Still, Y2 Jasmine Katebijan, Y3 Julia Bendefa
Srta Rosa: NS Luca Sirejacob, RC Sophie Hurley, Y1 Ethan Boujnah, Y2 Pearl Eddison, Y3 Alexander Nayman
Don David: Y2 Malak Refaat, Y3 Ádam Ben Larbi Doncel-Moriano, Y4 Carlos Gutiérrez Coelho
Srta Laura: Y2 Lia Rincón Tian, Y3 Olivia Jimeno Sellitri, Y4 Lea Hazout
Srta Antoinette: Y4 Maddie Verinder, Y5 Laura Eggens, Y6 Mia Axioti
Srta Sylvia: Y4 Victoria Borowik, Y5 Mia Kinahan, Y6 Linnéa Andersson
Srta Ana: Y5 Yousef Toubah, Y6 Anatoly Praslov
Don Diego: Y5 Alexandra Savelyeva, Y6 Gennaro D’Aria  

PE AWARD CERTIFICATES – For outstanding commitment to At Home PE
NS Hunter Anderson, Y1 Qilu Cheng Zhang, Y4 Javier Aguilar Del Río, Y5 Mara García García    


Alexander Duwe García RCEMA – Alexander really is a shining example of our Aloha value ‘Effort’. He puts 100% effort into every activity, challenges himself to do the best he can and is a superstar during our Google Classroom lessons, always joining in with every learning opportunity. Mrs Salmon and Miss Emma are very proud of him.

House points results here

Aloha Value – RESILIENCE                              
Personal Goal – ADAPTABILITY

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Salmon
Headteacher, Primary


Dear Parents,

I have a very clear memory from my preteen years- I was about to start secondary school and the word “exam” terrified me. I noticed how stressed my older sister was as the examination period approached; I didn’t want to go through that!

This week you will have received a letter informing you about the end-of-year examinations your son/daughter will be taking this term. Who would have thought it? Mr Escobar was terrified of taking exams as a child and now, as head of secondary, he has suddenly forgotten that completely!  Let me explain a bit more about these assessments.

The first thing I’d like to say is that you or your children should not be worried at all. They are not end-of-year examinations that will determine whether any student passes or fails the subject – nothing could be further from the truth! These assessments are simply another way of knowing if there are areas where your son/daughter needs further support. We have been learning online for 6 weeks and I believe that now is the ideal time to have some further understanding and information about our students’ current progress. 

I am sure that you probably experienced a similar feeling to me when you read “exam” in the letter this week and perhaps wondered why Mr Escobar has come up with this strange  idea of examinations under  the current circumstances. It is precisely because of this situation that we have made the following changes to the regular end-of-year examinations:

  • They will be shorter and simpler assessments. 
  • They will be done in one week instead of two.
  • The marks obtained in these assessments will not be used in your child’s summer report.
  • Teachers will inform students about the material they must revise for these assessments.

Your children will probably have thought that, after these assessments, the year is over and the summer starts. I’m sorry to disappoint them but students will continue to cover the syllabus and lessons will be delivered until the end of term, including some exciting activities in the last week to replace the residential trips.

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.