Founded in 1923, Ecole Internationale is the oldest international school in Geneva and in the world. In fact it was the school which developed International Baccalaureate programmes to cater for the children of diplomats who were often changing the countries and schooling systems. Ecolint, as it is also known, has three campuses: La Grande Boissière, Campus des Nations and La Châtaigneraie. Apart from the different location (left and right banks of lake Geneva and canton Vaud) they offer different curriculum and qualifications. La Grande Boissière and La Châtaigneraie are bilingual (although the combination of English and French is a little different), while in Campus des Nations the language of instruction is English and French taught as a foreign language.
La Grande Boissière
La Grande Boissière is the oldest of the three campuses. It is centrally located on the left bank of Lake Geneva and it is easily accessible by the public transport. Each of the primary, middle and secondary schools has its own separate building. There is also a villa, a beautiful 18 century chateau, housing the pre-reception classes. The campus is very proud of its new modern arts centre, which includes music studios, exhibition space, a 200-seat theatre, drama studios and a 400-seat auditorium.
The curriculum is mostly developed by the school itself. As I was explained it is a mixture of English, American and Australian curriculum for the English dominant classes and a similar mix of the curriculum from the francophone countries in the French dominant classes. In the secondary school there is a choice of either the IB diploma or the High School Diploma.
In primary, the education is bilingual with either English or French dominant, but there are often an English and a French speaker in the room at the same time. The middle school offers an English class and a French bilingual option, while in the secondary school (years 9 to 12) students can study any subject in either English or French.
Campus des Nations
Campus des Nations is the newest of all campuses and it is split between two locations on the right bank of Lake Geneva: Pregny (ages 3 to 7) and Saconnex (ages 7 to 18). This is the only campus which offers the complete IB programme – Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme and Career Related Certificate Programme for students who have chosen a more career related approach to their education. The language of instruction is English and French is learned as a foreign language.
You can read more about my visit to its school at Pregny here.
Ecole Internationale campus La Châtaigneraie (or La Chat as it is also known) is located in Founex, canton Vaud. La Châtaigneraie offers a bilingual education for children from 3 to 18 years old and it is the only Ecole Internationale’s campus offering Swiss Maturité.
In primary school children are taught the IB’s Primary Years Programme, in the middle years students follow La Chat’s own curriculum, while the secondary school allows a choice of studying towards IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme or Swiss Maturité (including the bilingual option). The French national diploma, Diplôme National du Brevet, can be taken at the end of the year 10.
Until year 4 the teaching is split approximately 40%-60% between English and French. As of year 5, the education becomes fully bilingual with the 50%-50% split between the languages. German or Spanish are introduced as part of the curriculum starting from year 7.
You can read more about La Châtaigneraie here.
All three campuses offer the after school care until 6 pm and a wide range of extracurricular activities including sports, culture and leisure: cooking, robotics, chess, gardening and many others.
Ecole Internationale runs the Mother Tongue Programme which provides tuition in as many as 19 languages. Subject to tutor availability and demand it is generally possible to arrange lessons in any language.
The school also has a strong Extended Support Programmes for children with moderate to severe learning needs taught by specialised staff. There are specific staff/student ratios, admissions criteria and procedures for entry to the ESP.
Ecole Internationale is an inclusive school and accepts children of all academic abilities. Applications can be made online and submitted at any time during the year. Subject to availability of places, new students can join throughout the academic year up until 1 May.
In addition to the previous school reports, the applicants have to submit an essay written by a child or a recent drawing (self-portrait) if the child cannot write yet. Although the school does not require students to sit any entry tests, the principals may ask to meet the child.
Unlike some other private schools in Geneva, which apply the cut-off date liberally or move it to the end of October, in Ecole International it is set at 31 August and applied strictly for pre-reception, reception and year 1 classes.
LA GRANDE BOISSIÈRE
Route de Chêne 62 – CH-1208 Genève
tel: +41 (0)22 787 24 00
CAMPUS DES NATIONS
Route des Morillons 11 – CH-1218 Grand-Saconnex
tel: +41 (0)22 770 47 00 (Saconnex); +41 (0)22 748 14 50 (Pregny)
Chemin de la Ferme 2-CH-1297 Founex
tel: +41 (0)22 960 92 01 (Primary); +41 (0)22 960 91 11 (Secondary)
website : www.ecolint.ch