St George's School in Switzerland

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St. George's International School, Switzerland
Chemin de St. Georges 19, CH-1815 Clarens / Montreux

TypeIndependent, non-denominational, co-educational, day and boarding school
MottoLevavi Oculos
(I Have Lifted My Eyes)
Established1927 (1927)
  • Lorna Southwell
  • Osyth Potts
PrincipalMrs. Jenny Aviss
  • Atalanta
  • Diana
  • Minerva
  • Vesta
Alumni nameGeorgentians

St. George's International School, Switzerland (commonly referred to as St. George's) is a private, co-educational international school for boarding and day students aged 3 to 18. Its main campus is located in Clarens, Vaud, at the foot of the Alps and on the shores of Lake Geneva, approximately halfway between Vevey and Montreux.

Founded in 1927 as a traditionally British school, St. George's has evolved to become distinctly international, offering International General Certificate of Secondary Education and International Baccalaureate curricula in both French and English. The student body consists of more than 400 pupils, representing over 50 nationalities. The boarding section is available to students over the age of 9, and currently comprises about 70 students.


SGIS's (upper) secondary education (Middle and High School) is not approved as a Mittelschule/Collège/Liceo by the Swiss Federal State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).[1]


Situated in a 45,000 square metre campus overlooking Lake Geneva/Lac Léman and the Chablais Alps, the school's main building complex houses administrative offices, an assembly hall/theatre, a library, the boarding section, and purpose-built rooms for art, music and information technology as well as general-purpose classrooms. An extension to the main building houses classrooms, laboratories for practical work in biology, physics and chemistry as well as a kitchen and dining room, in which students are served a sit-down lunch every day.

The Senior School is based exclusively in the main building, while the Junior School uses both the main complex and a restored, traditional Swiss Chalet located on campus. Sports facilities include a large multi-purpose sports hall, seven outdoor tennis courts (including clay courts), basketball courts, and playing fields.

Junior School[edit]

The Junior School is a self-contained unit with Early Learning School and Foundation Stage to year 3 classes based in the Chalet and year 4 to 6 classes in the ground floor of the annexe in the main school building. This helps the students to integrate smoothly into the Secondary School.

The various sections of the Junior School can be referred to in the following ways: Early Learning School - from 1.5 years old. Foundation Stage – Year 2 is known as Infants or Year 1 and 2 are known as Key Stage 1. Year 3 – Year 6 are known as Juniors or Key Stage 2

Facilities include a well-stocked library, computer facilities, assembly room and kitchen. Infant children visit the library every Friday; Junior children visit the library as often as they need to change a book. Junior students share the extensive sports and dining facilities with the senior school.

Students are taught in small classes and the emphasis is on excellence in all aspects of school life.

A broad and balanced curriculum is offered in accordance with the British National Curriculum guidelines. French, English as a Foreign Language, Physical Education, Music and Information Technology are taught by specialist teachers.

From Early Learning School and Foundation Stage onwards, a multilingual approach enables students to develop their literacy skills in both English and French while maintaining their mother tongue.

Students from Year 2 have also the opportunity to be exposed to French through Music and PE, and to choose to follow their subject called “Topic“ in either English or French.

Senior School[edit]

The Senior School classes for students in years 6-13 are housed in the main building. Facilities include science laboratories, library/media centre, computer centres, art rooms, music rooms and an assembly hall/theatre.

Students in years 6-9 follow a broad, compulsory programme where emphasis is placed on acquiring good study habits and skills in the full range of subjects.

Our Learning Centre caters for Special Educational Needs or curricular support. Students in years 10 and 11 prepare for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). The syllabi and examinations are set and administered by the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE).

Students in years 12-13 prepare for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), IB Certificates or the High School Diploma Programme(HSDP). The IBDP is a two-year course of study for students aged 16 – 19. Administered by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) it is recognised internationally as a qualification for university entrance. The HSDP is also a two-year course. It is an accredited qualification giving students Credits which allow students to begin foundation courses in the United Kingdom or attend colleges in North America.

The Pre-IB Diploma Programme (Pre-IBDP) is a one-year course that has been designed for students aged 15–16, entering the school in Year 11, who want to build a solid foundation before embarking on their two-year IB Diploma programme.


During the year girls and boys from the age of 9 are accepted as boarders on a full-boarding or weekly-boarding basis. Students up to the age of 14 are housed in our off-site boarding house, “Les Sapins”. From the age of 14, students are housed in the main building in fully separated areas, mainly in double or triple rooms. There are also single rooms available at an extra charge and some dormitories for younger students.

Houseparents live with the boarders providing full supervision. Minor health problems are dealt with in the school surgery; any more serious illness or accident is referred to the school’s doctors who have their consulting rooms nearby in Montreux and the local hospital.

A full and varied programme of activities is offered after school each weekday. Boarders in Years 5-9 are taken out once each week at that time. For the other year groups, the privilege of going out depends on age and rank.

St. George's School believes that to promote the family feel and integration in the boarding section the full-boarders should be present during the weekends. As such parents are only allowed to take their children out of school on weekends specified by the school. There are 3 exeat weekends in the Term I,two in the Term II and two during the Term III. A full programme of compulsory excursions is planned for the boarding students.

Day students may board on a temporary basis (space permitting).

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Students are encouraged to participate fully in the wide range of extracurricular activities outside the classroom. After-school clubs in the Senior School provide an opportunity for students to participate in team sports, music, recording studio, movie editing or pursue other interests such as debating, rock climbing,combat sports and dance. After-school activities in the Junior School focus on three strands (competitive sport, recreational sport and creative arts), and are available in French and English.


House and Tutor System[edit]

St. George’s School has a House system, the purpose of which is to provide pastoral care, to monitor academic progress, to promote moral growth and to provide a framework for competition within the school. There are four Houses in St. George’s School which are named after four figures from Greek and Roman mythology: Atalanta (Red), Diana (Yellow), Minerva (Blue)and Vesta (Green). All students are assigned to one of the Houses when they join the school. Siblings who join the school at a later date can expect to be placed in the same House.

The Head of House is supported by six Tutors, each of whom is responsible for 10-12 tutees. Tutors meet with their tutees twice a day and are available as the first point of contact for parents wishing to discuss matters relating to their child.

The senior students in each House are given the opportunity to organise and lead the House. Two House Captains are supported by two Sports Captains. All of the students in year 12 are encouraged to take a part in the organisation of the House Play.

The Heads of Houses are supported by class teachers. A House Captain and two Vice Captains from amongst the older students are chosen by the staff to represent each House on a yearly basis. House points are awarded for a variety of reasons; exceptional work, improvement,trying, kindness, helpfulness etc. Each House Point is coloured in on the child’s House Point Sheet and when 15 have been reached the child receives a ‘Dragon’. Every month there is an ongoing competition to see which House has won the Dragon Cup.


In the Junior Department and in the younger years of the Senior School the timetable is based upon the British National Curriculum.

The school enters students for the International Baccalaureate, the Cambridge International Examinations International General Certificate of Secondary Education, College Board tests, Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music exams and Diplôme d'études en langue française, among others.

Class sizes vary from 2 to 19 students in the secondary school, with the average being about 10. In September 2006, the school adopted the International Baccalaureate Diploma for the last two years of secondary school. Currently offered: Higher and Standard Levels in English and French A1, English B, French B, German B, Mathematics (HL, SL and Studies), Economics, Geography, History, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Systems and Societies, Visual Arts, and at Standard Level only, Mother tongue A1(Russian, Hebrew, Spanish and Japanese) and French ab initio. St George's also provides a High School Diploma Programme (HSDP) for students aiming primarily for education in US Colleges and not wishing to take the International Baccalaureate. St. George's continues to offer the British IGCSE programme, through Cambridge International Examinations, usually taken in late spring of Year 11.

Notable alumni[edit]

Christina Onassis, businesswoman, socialite, and heiress to the Onassis fortune[2]

Glenn Close, American actress[3]

Angie Bowie, first wife of David Bowie [4]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Maturität - Maturité - Maturità" (official site) (in German, French, and Italian). Berne, Switzerland: Swiss Federal State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, SERI. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  2. ^ Wright, William (1991). All the Pain Money Can Buy: The Life of Christina Onassis. New York: Simon & Schuster New York. pp. 87–88.
  3. ^ "".
  4. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)