Parent Newsletter December 2021

Dear parents,

December already!!

I hope this newsletter finds you all safe and well.

By today you will be enjoying the first day of our long break, I hope you cherish this time with your families.

The school is already alive with the celebration of Christmas ahead. Beautifully decorated Christmas trees all around the school whilst Santa’s Grotto eagerly awaits its first visitors.

The only way this happened was through a dedicated group of mothers and one dad who spent their own time making the school look magical for your children.

Nursery and Reception children have already prepared their Santa letters and will be posting them in the mail box placed in the Grotto very soon.

Raffle tickets

May I remind you that your children will need to bring the money and the unsold Raffle tickets in by Friday 17 December, we will not be able to guarantee they will enter the draw after the deadline, the raffle will be drawn on Monday 20 December.

Christmas Jumper Day

On Friday 17 December, we invite all pupils and staff to come to school wearing Christmas Jumpers.

On that day, please send in non-perishable food if you can. We want to collect as much food as possible which will be donated to a local charity.

True Athletes

We have some very impressive athletes in our school. We are proud to announce that Bruno Greiling has become the Andalusian Karting Champion. We want to thank his class teacher Mr. Tarry, his classmates and everyone who supported and believed in his success during the whole racing season.

We are also very proud to see Jasmine in Year 4 receiving a medal. Jasmine competed in the Campeonato de Andalucia and her team achieved the first place! She will now be competing in the Spanish Nationals in the upcoming month. Jasmine, we are supporting you every step of the way and wish you and your team every success. 



In Foundation Stage our new unit of learning Let’s Pretend: People Who Help Us has created an explosion of colour and movement. FS1 used Creative Arts Day as their entry point to the unit and looked at a variety of roles through their creative costumes. They discussed the different roles of people that help us in our school community. Weaving plastic bags and painting cardboard boxes to make fire trucks and police cars, FS1 also created beautiful art from things you might otherwise throw away.


Exploring a variety of dance styles, the children expressed themselves by letting their bodies move to the music in any way it fancied; Strictly Come Dancing, watch this space!


When they weren’t dancing, they were making music by playing percussion instruments, singing and even inventing their own songs!

Focusing on roles in the community, FS1 also learned about emergency services, their different roles and how they help us, as well as having our Special Guest Reader, Miss Eldred.


In FS2, the children focused on their musical talents and were shown how to play a range of instruments together, just like a real band!


If you have seen a glow streaming from the classroom windows, that will be the beautiful artwork the children created with inspiration from the story ‘The Dot’, by Peter H. Reynolds.

Key Stage 1

Partying our way around the world, the children in KS1 have begun learning about the multitude of Celebrations that can be found. They carefully compared different types of cultural celebrations from the clothes people wear, the food they eat, the reasons for the celebration and the many other traditions. We embarked on this international project by starting off with a celebration of our own, party hats, musical chairs and decorations included!

Key Stage 2

Year 3 and 4 got gooey with their new unit of learning called Material World. From making slime to labelling Mr. Tarry’s bike, they developed understanding of the many different properties of materials. 

During Creative Arts Week, some children expanded their entertaining skills in their Performance Poetry work. While others got inspired by the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, bending pipe cleaners and foil to make sculptures.

Parental Warning: Year 4 are now expert salespeople! They have been practicing their public, and persuasive speaking skills by using positive vocabulary to show how one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure; we think they could now convince you of anything!


Year 5 has entered the world of radio waves with our first Library podcast from 5ES. This was our trial, so watch this space for upcoming episodes.

As part of Diversity Week, Year 5 and 6 gave a warm welcome to the KS3 students who confidently gave the teachers a little rest while they presented inspiring sessions to educate about important and black people in history.


The children loved that Miss Octave found some time and invited the Primary children over to her special Music room for some singing. Thank you, Miss Octave!

Year 6 have been continuing with their light and sound investigations and proving that sound travels as a vibration by shouting at rice?! Apparently, if you shout at rice, it moves! While the rice was moving, Year 5 were making 3D ´out of this world´ models of our solar system as part of their Space unit.

The KS2 School Council voting was completed and has now been assembled, so congratulations to: Emma R – 3EKE, Elija S – 3JCH, Maria A – 3ARO, Roxanne B – 4AMA, Isabella S – 4KFR, Jemima B – 4CLA, Andres F – 5ESA, Sophia K – 5SDI, Shantal K & Alexandra B – 5ITA, Ruben C – 6PSM, Diego V – 6WAS, Adriana R – 6KF

Individual Primary Achievement

Every one of our children has their own special story and reason to shine, so to celebrate just a few this month…

We are very proud of and thrilled to announce Aloha’s first ever Primary Head Pupils who will work with our ACM Head Students to represent the school and pupil voice.

Nikita 6KFI and Dina 6WAS

We would also like to announce Honey 6WA who will be replacing Nikita, as Sevilla House Captain – well done Honey!

Our medal earning champion, Diego in NSERI, completed a charity run to raise money for a friend who is unwell.


Lucy 2EKE has won Player of the week in her football team (outside of school), for the second time in the last month!



For the first time in many years, we are delighted to be able to offer the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme to our students in Years 10 and 11. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the World’s leading youth achievement award. 

The Award concept is one of individual challenges, offering opportunities to set a personal goal and then work to achieve it. Participants are required to complete four Sections: Service to the Community, Skills, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey.

Following the Duke of Edinburgh  Bronze Award gives pupils skills, confidence and an edge over others when they apply for college, university or a job. They develop communication, leadership and teamwork skills as well making a difference to other people’s lives in the local community. 

Read more about the award on:

Pupils log their completion of the sections in an official Duke of Edinburgh online record book. Every Friday, they have been attending a Duke of Edinburgh skills club that helps them to gain a greater understanding of the award and become more prepared to complete it. Activities aim to enhance skills in team building, communication, fitness, physical preparation, map reading and orientation, route planning and more. They will also be completing the official first responder First aid course in January which will qualify them to attend anyone who has first aid needs. 

Recently students have hiked the Ermita de Los Monjes circular trail at the base of the Sierra Blanca mountain range above Marbella, an 8km mountain route that initially follows the Arroyo de las Represas then winds up the mountain path to a beautiful viewpoint. They enjoyed the challenge and the beauty of the environment. They are now planning their own route, using their map reading and orienteering skills in their expedition groups, to be completed after the Christmas holidays. 

We are delighted with the pupils’ commitment to this award so far and will continue to encourage and support them through their Duke of Edinburgh journey.


Congratulations to Krish Jain and Julian Zavaglia Polo who have been invited to interview at Stanford and Oxford university. We are very proud of Krish and Julian being invited to interview at these prestigious institutions. It is also very satisfying to know that Aloha College students have what it takes to be an attractive candidate for study at the world’s top universities! Of course, it goes without saying that we remain extremely proud of the achievements of all our students regardless of the place of study!


With so many fantastic mathematicians in year 13, this year’s Senior Maths Challenge was always going to be hotly contested. 20 students from years 12 and 13 took part in the challenge – a 90 minute battle to solve as many problems as possible without a calculator. The results were excellent with 9 silver medals and 6 bronze medals. The top scorer in the school was Ricardo Holmes who is studying A level Maths and Further Maths, closely followed by Danila Yakushev from the IB Higher Level Analysis class. Special mention must also go to Pablo Benet Vincenti from year 12 whose mark was the best in year 12 and amongst the best in the school.


Congratulations to Sophie Ergo in Year 12 who connected with people her age from around the world in the COBIS Global Social Leaders virtual leadership programme in November. This was a three day course to develop leadership skills, learn about local and global issues and how to make positive change in areas of personal interest or concern.


Selections for our comprehensive new Student Leadership Team are well underway with the appointment of the Year 12 Senior Leaders. Alongside our existing leadership positions we have introduced new roles which will support the Head Students in running their area of the school. Their first task is to appoint their teams, so applications are now invited from students in Years 7 to 11 to apply for their leadership positions. It is a rigorous process involving written letters, elections and interviews and we applaud all the students who take a risk and apply, who want to contribute to improving our school community. Our congratulations goes to all the successful candidates:

Pupil Voice: Javier Mendoza & Victoria Zugasti

House Captains:
Cordoba   –  Alexey Gudkov & Oscar Vigdal
Granada  –  Lucia Gomez & Maria Sanz
Sevilla  –  Alessandro Puglisi & Luca Hackett

Eco Committee Chair: Nacho Rodriguez

Prefects: Katya Ponomareva (lead), Nacho Rodriguez & Avisa Ansari

Learning Leaders:
Creative Arts  –  Avisa Ansari
English  –  Tilly Worthington
Individuals & Societies  –  Yassamin Ghassemi
Maths  –  Silvia Escarcena
MFL  –  Lior Pariente
PE  –  Joaquin Van Loon
PSHEE  –  Mia Windhagauer
Science  –  Pablo Benet
Spanish  –  Alessandra Tertychna
Technology  –  Cameron Spain


Since my last newsletter there have been a few cases of Covid in both Primary and Secondary school. May I remind you that all children must wear their masks at all times, we need to be extra cautious as the numbers in Andalusia are rising.

Finally, may I remind you that the school will remain closed from Monday 6 until Thursday 9 where we will welcome you all back for a 2 day week.

Have a lovely break.


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.