Parent Newsletter October 2021

Dear parents,

As our first term is now successfully underway we now present to you our first monthly newsletter.

We will share general school information and then some special events from the primary and secondary section of the school.

We welcomed 136 new students to our school and all appear to have settled well.  We hope all our new parents have been happy with the school to date.

12 new staff also have been settling in, thank you for supporting them. We welcome:

Primary Headteacher

Primary teachers

Secondary teachers

Raquel Gómez joins Belén Cerezo in the brand new Main Reception! Do you like their new uniform?

And if our new nurse Teresa thought she was going to have an easier life, she was badly mistaken…

Teresa sees an average of 30 pupils a day for various reasons, from a blister to an upset tummy. She thinks it is busier than the Costa-del-Sol accident unit!! (Rumour has it the children just love her!)


As you know we sadly said goodbye to Susan Robson, who retired after 29 years service. On her behalf she asked me to thank you for all your kind messages and gifts, she was quite overwhelmed. 


Fatima Fernández will assume Susan’s position. She will lead the Admissions department and act as my Personal Assistant (P.A) . I know she is going to be a great success.


We have communicated with you regarding our Covid Protocol which follows the Andalusian guidelines

We do not ever try to “Cut corners” regarding the safety of our children. We know that at times this causes frustrations but like you we hope the restrictions we follow will not be required to be in place forever.

To date ACM has had three positive cases of Covid since reopening. The guidelines were strictly adhered to with the appropriate people self isolating for the required ten days.

All people concerned are safe and well.


As we have new parents, and as a reminder to all of our established parents, we would like to remind the list of channels that allow communications between parents and school. Some parents have requested this and we think it might be useful. Click the link for more info:

List of School Communication Channels



Goldilocks and the Three Bears made an unexpected stop by our Foundation Stage. The children loved retelling and acting out the story and taking on the roles of all the different characters. The highlight was when they made porridge just like the bears! Measuring ingredients and mixing it all together, experimenting with different toppings such as honey, berries and sugar, selecting their favourite and… the best part, tasting it!


Gasps of excitement and claps of joy could be seen and heard in all of the Key Stage One classrooms as they began their new unit of learning in IPC, The Magic Toymaker. Children were invited to bring in their favourite toy from home as they began to learn the science behind what toys are made of, how and why. As budding Scientists, they also began to explore the types of forces used to make toys work. The excitement and enthusiasm have convinced us that we may have some expert scientists in our midst! Moving forward towards the end of term the children will be designing their very own board games. Watch this space Dragons Den!

Lower KS2

Exciting times in year 3 this week when they swapped their classroom for a Chocolate Lab!  They donned their lab coats and blindfolds, had their clipboards and research questions at the ready to test different types of chocolate. As scientists, they judged the chocolate by smell, texture, look and of course taste. The overwhelming favourite was… milk chocolate! A quote from our budding scientists, “This is the best ever IPC Entry Point.”  We wonder why? 😉

Upper KS2

Diego and Benjamin were brilliant when explaining how they worked out a challenging maths problem to the rest of their class. They explained carefully and clearly each step of the problem, inviting the other children to respond to their questions. Future teachers or professors in the making?!


Beach Clean by Carlota Loma  (YEAR 13)

For our CAS project, Camila and I decided to help the community by organising a beach cleanup for secondary. We created certificates and posters to promote the event and spread the word around school. It took place on Sunday 19 September at La Playa del Cable from 11:00h to 13:00h. We were delighted to see the number of people who attended, many more than we expected! We ended up being a group of approximately 20 students from KS4 and KS5 (Years 11, 12 and 13) and three members of staff ( Ms Menmuir, Ms Anais and Ms Pérez).

We handed each student a pair of gloves and a bag as soon as they arrived and immediately got to work. We collected so much trash, especially in between the rocks where there were ropes and fishing equipment which unfortunately ends up in the sea and entangles animals. The only inconvenience was the weather as it was very hot! When we had cleared the area, we handed out the certificates and thanked participants for coming.  We are very proud of what we achieved. It was a very successful event.

Co-curricular Leadership

To promote independence and leadership growth, within our co-curricular programme we have students organising, planning and leading a range of activities. From Year 13, Ricardo Holmes and Hesam Zakeri run a Coding Club for KS3 students. Julian Zavaglia and Marco Santaella are leading the popular Makers Club and Melika Shafiypour is organising the Debate Society. From Year 11, Tom Gainey and Lola Cooper are running the Drama Club for Years 7 to 10. Their commitment and dedication is commendable, as they are juggling this with their classes and homework commitments, and the students in their clubs can’t praise them highly enough.

Inter House Drama Festival

Hot off the press! We are currently in the early planning stages for the first ever drama festival, scheduled to take place in February. An evening of celebration for the creative arts, this event will be entirely student led and we can’t wait to see what they will produce. The festival leadership team are currently making their decisions about the event, watch this space for more information!

Year 10 & Year 12 Art trip to Málaga

There is nothing like seeing Artwork first hand, looking in a book or on the internet does not have the same impact.Therefore, it was very exciting to finally take our students out on the first school Art trip since the Covid Lockdown began. Year 10 and Year 12 Art students visited the Picasso Gallery in Malaga. 

Year 12 A Level and IB students took part in a cyanotype workshop whilst the Year 10s took in the permanent Art collection, gathering research for their portfolios. Following this, the two groups attended the Contemporary Art Centre where they were able to see a very wide range of artistic styles including film work by Bill Viola and Cindy Sherman, as well as installation work by the italian painter Michelangelo Pistoletto, action and object artist, and art theorist.

The students thoroughly enjoyed the trip and returned to school inspired and enthusiastic about creating their own new artworks. They will be following up their research in forthcoming lessons.


We hope you have enjoyed our main news. In two weeks time we will send our first monthly pastoral letter which will update and inform you of all what  we are doing in this important area.

In the meantime, please continue to check emails and school social media to keep up to date with regular news and information.

Have a lovely weekend with your family.


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.