Parent Newsletter November 2021

Dear parents,

I hope this newsletter finds you all safe and well.

By today you will be enjoying the first day of our half-term break. Let’s hope we all have a special time with our families.

The importance of family life has been stressed this week when we have all read about the very sad loss of a 16 year old pupil from a local school.

How can we ever imagine the loss of a child?

We sent flowers from our ACM community and a private letter to the Principal of Guadalpín School expressing our condolences and support.

It is indeed 3 years ago this week that we mark the anniversary of the loss of one of our own pupils Richard – Please keep his family in your thoughts. 

On a much happier note, our school continues to enjoy wonderful moments and experiences some of which I would like to share with you.

Enjoy Alessandra Tertychna Year 12 in recent success in the International Grand Prix tournament of Rhythmic Gymnastics competition. I have personally known Alessandra since she was 8 years old. I am amazed at her humility!! She is a future Olympian I am certain.

Alessandra trains a minimum of 3 hours a day, she balances this with her studies of A-levels. Never once have I heard her ask for an extension of homework or deadlines. She is truly committed to her sport and yet through intensive self discipline, manages her academic studies as well as her sporting process.

One day I am certain I will be sitting in my armchair watching her compete in the Olympic Games, well done Alessandra!

Staff leavers:

Like many international schools we sometimes have to say goodbye to staff during the academic year.

Miss Ocean, and Miss Hill both leave us for personal reasons connected with family life.

We thank them for their great service to our children and wish them every success and happiness.

We welcome to the Primary Section: Valentina Pantaleo and Louise Clyburn.

In the Secondary Section we bid farewell to Esperanza who leaves for maternity leave and welcome Ms Carmen for replacement.

We bid a sad farewell to Mrs Antonia Postigo who took early retirement due to ill health. We thank her for 26 years of dedicated services – Thank you Antonia.


Since my last newsletter there have been 2 Covid cases. A whole Reception class and 2 staff had to self isolate for 10 days. They have all returned to school safe and raring to go!

Thank you to all the parents who supported their online learning, it isn’t easy when you are 4 years old!  


Thank you for your patience regarding the road works. The Town Hall intends to further develop our current road system to ensure greater safety for all of our pupils.

Whilst it will include disturbance – the benefits once it is completed will be huge. I would like to remind the Primary parents that they can continue to use the top gate by the Sports Hall to drop off their children at the bus stop. 


I have repeatedly reminded parents that dogs are not allowed on the school premises. This is in the interest of the Health and Safety of all our pupils.

Last week alone, myself, Fran the guard and Miss Eldred, the Primary Head was asking, an average of 6 parents a day to remove their dogs from the premises. Please support us on this matter.

Aloha College Marbella Parents Society

Following the recent communication of the formation of a new group of parental support, I am delighted to welcome:

Mrs Cruz
Mrs Doyle
Mrs. García
Mrs Gorgé
Mrs Mayne-Knezovich
Mrs Parker
Mrs Worthington

We will begin with an informal coffee morning for these parents to make some plans for the rest of the academic year.

I am really looking forward to working alongside such a positive, hard working group of mums.

Thank you and congratulations to them all.

Christmas Bazaar

One of their first tasks is to help with the traditional decoration of the school for the Christmas period. The children love Santa’s Grotto, Christmas trees and fairy lights.

Please note that due to Covid restrictions there will be NO traditional Christmas Bazaar, however, ideas are already being shared about the possibilities of a Spring or Summer fair – when the restrictions are lifted. Watch this space!

Raffle tickets

Despite no Christmas Bazaar we do intend to carry out our traditional Christmas raffle draw.

Each child will be issued with a book of 5 tickets which they will be asked to sell at €2 each. This of course is not compulsory.

Tickets will be issued immediately after half-term and the raffle will be drawn on Monday 20 December.

Prizes include a Playstation 5, a bike and star prize school lunch, served by Mrs Batchelor, Mr Escobar and Ms Eldred!!!



The Reception outdoor area has gained some wonderful planters that now allows both classes to access the outdoor provision all day, keeping each class separate.

In Nursery, they have been forming friendships and speaking about our families. Each class spoke about the 3 Bears (from the story Goldilocks and the 3 Bears) and all the different characters they have in their family. The children have also been focusing on different emotions and begun to learn some techniques to calm ourselves down when they bubble over! 

Key Stage 1

The children have given an incredible amount of focus to their poetry in literacy, which has resulted in them requesting to perform their poems to the class. We are hoping to add these performances into Creative Arts Week after half term. 

The Toys from the past lessons have been a huge success, with children experimenting with some old and new games at playtimes. Watching the children play some games that their ancestors may have played many years ago has made the teachers feel a little older than they might like! To finish this half term, the children have reviewed their learning so far and have talked about what they will focus on next; we can’t wait to get back to school!

We also want to celebrate that Lucy Matthews won ‘Player of the Week’ for a girls´ football team she plays in at the weekends – well done, Lucy!

Lower Key Stage 2

If you think your children came home with a slightly bigger smile than usual then it is probably because Year 3 and 4 have been applying their chef skills and making chocolate in their IPC lessons!

In English, Year 3 have also been developing their on-screen skills by producing some videos about the features of non-fiction texts. 

Meanwhile, over in Year 4, where they have been learning about and creating Transient Art pieces, the classrooms have been awash with varied, creative designs. 

Miss Eldred was thrilled to see Year 4 watering the new seeds planted on the terrace and everyone has been popping in to see the shoots starting to appear. Their little green fingers haven’t stopped there; they have been gardening all over school!

We have received so many fabulous Art competition entries already, who knew there were so many beautiful pets at home?

Upper Key Stage 2

Year 5 and 6 were privileged to receive an Introduction to Secondary video from the Head Students with a follow up Live Online Q&A where the children could ask any questions they may have about life in Secondary. Ainoa and Marcus were so reassuring and motivating, sharing their honest reflections. 

We have announced to the children the winners of the House Captain application process. As you can imagine it was an extremely difficult decision as all the applicants were worthy candidates. The teachers finally came to an agreement and are pleased to announce that our 2021-2022 Primary House Captains are: Libby, Sergio and Nikita.



IGCSE Sports Science Assessments

At Aloha College Marbella, our students are encouraged to learn through a wide range of activities, both in the classroom and also in our local community. We want to support students to develop not just academic skills, but also those that could benefit others around them- perhaps even, one day, to save a life!

As part of the IGCSE moderation process we were fortunate enough to be able to offer the aquatic activity of life saving as part of our practical course to Year 11 Sports Sc at the San Pedro municipal pool.

It was an intense three day course in which our students needed to work extremely hard, learning how to effectively rescue casualties in a variety of demanding water conditions. Students were taught how to enter the water correctly using shallow dives and straddles and to perform a range of contact and noncontact tows. All pupils had to learn how to safely land a casualty and perform life saving CPR, by the side of the pool.

Skills were learned, practised, graded and ultimately filmed as evidence to send to the examiner. These are invaluable life skills being taught and we are delighted to say that all candidates scored very highly on the Cambridge Grading system.

We would like to congratulate all students who took part and we are looking forward to taking the Y10 IGCSE group later in this academic year.


Our Year 12 students recently participated in a special residential trip to Cortes de la Frontera; a beautiful Andalusian village tucked in the stunning hills and countryside of Cádiz. The purpose of this trip was to provide students with an experience to foster strong relations with each other and their teachers; outdoor team-building pursuits; strategy games and a unique opportunity to explore and experience techniques in Emotional Intelligence including meditation, mindfulness and reflection, which is a key element of our school curriculum and ethos. This trip also fulfilled a significant CAS experience for those on the IB programme. On 14 October a coach filled with very enthusiastic students in full song departed from Aloha for what would be another special, fun packed experience to join their collection of happy memories of life in Aloha College! See what the students had to say for themselves below:

“This trip was a fantastic learning experience for me since it taught me that we must trust people in circumstances when we must work together and concentrate. It also demonstrated how rejuvenating nature can be for clearing my thoughts. Cortes de la Frontera was a fantastic trip since it forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and collaborate with students I would not normally work with. Unquestionably a worthwhile experience!” -James Rapaille 12FTA

“A few weeks ago, our Year 12 group embarked on a trip to Cortes de la Frontera, a small town in the Andalusian mountains. The main focus of the trip was to grow as a person and really connect with ourselves and grow closer as a collective. This was achieved by completing an array of activities and games. We did things such as team problem-solving activities and mindfulness workshops. Personally, it helped me connect more with my mind and my emotions and helped me be more self-aware about my emotions and how I can develop myself into a more well-rounded individual.” -Tom Marionette-Pearson 12MI

“The goal of this trip was to spend some time with each other and practice mindfulness. This trip was especially important for CAS development as we did varied activities in nature. I really enjoyed this experience as it encouraged me to spend time with my friends, connect with my classmates and benefit from some time outdoors, because of this trip I managed to disconnect from my daily routine and practice mindfulness.” -Lior ParienteJimena 12FTA


On the 19th and 21st October, students in Year 9 and 10 were involved in a talk led by Chris Spencer and his colleagues from an Addiction Center in San Pedro. They were invited in to inform students about different types of addiction, addictive behaviours and the impact that addiction has on people’s lives. They shared their own personal stories with our students, which they found insightful and quite eye opening. The Year 9 and 10 students found the talk very engaging and we received very positive feedback from both year groups. Here is what some students had to say:

“I really liked the talk about addiction because it really opened my mind and made me think about what I might want to do in the future as a job. It completely fascinated me and I would love to learn about psychology because I find it really interesting. I’m very pleased that we had such an amazing opportunity to experience this talk.” -Lara Baghai Ravary Y10

“In my opinion, the talk we had about addiction benefited everyone. Throughout high school, people have ideas about trying new things and these things can cause addiction. The woman who talked about gaming addiction was really interesting and showed how easy and dangerous it can be. Being in front of a computer or mobile phone is not good for our health or mental health.” -Claudia Arguelles Rodriguez Y9

Your children keep all of our days happy

Finally, please enjoy 4 of our reception/nursery class interpreting Senior staff, debating traffic issues!!!  

Enjoy a wonderful half-term 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.