There is no doubt about Geneva’s international credentials. Global institutions? Tick. Multilingual? Tick. A short hop from numerous European countries? Tick.
It is no surprise that it is well supplied with international schools then. Yet when it comes to spacious campuses with standout facilities, parents may be disappointed by what is on offer in Geneva itself. Generally, when it comes to Switzerland’s most famed international schools, the most exclusive — and expensive — are further afield.
This is why our selection below features boarding schools as well as some of Geneva’s best-regarded day schools.
Learn When Luke Shelley, director of Tavistock Tutors, an international education consultancy, recommends Aiglon College for its “outstanding facilities”, he is not referring to a swath of tennis courts or a new science lab. Rather, he means the coeducational school’s breathtaking location in the Swiss Alps; one that means games lessons involve skiing, hiking and boating. Physics might mean stargazing from the school’s mountainside observatory. Ninety per cent of the school’s 360 pupils, aged 9 to nineteen, board. This is the only practical option for families living in Geneva, which is almost two hours’ drive away. Sixth formers take the international baccalaureate diploma. Last year they averaged 34.43/45 points, compared with 30.4 globally.
Pay*: SFr106,200 ($110,712)
Live A six-bedroom villa with a swimming pool is available in Chêne-Bougeries, a suburb located about 4km from central Geneva. But anywhere should be convenient, as there are no school-run constraints.
Available through Knight Frank, price on application
British (national curriculum of England)
Learn It is “well worth waiting for a place” at the Geneva English School, reckons the Good Schools Guide International, which also rates its “idyllic setting” close to Lake Geneva’s western shore, about 12km north of the centre of the city. The coeducational school has taught three to 11 year-olds since opening in 1961, establishing a senior school on a nearby site in September 2016. Pupils follow the British curriculum, but are well schooled in French.
Pay SFr28,550 ($29,376)
Live Between the primary and senior school campuses there is a brand-new, three-bedroom apartment with views of Lake Geneva.
Available through Bernard Nicod, almost SFr1.5m ($1.5m)
Learn Institut Florimont is located in the western suburb of Petit Lancy. Its reputation for academic rigour means that expat children compete for places with Swiss offspring. Of its 1,500 girls and boys aged three to 18, Swiss natives are the largest group, followed by French students. Pupils can choose between the French, Swiss and international baccalaureate systems. There are two language tracks — French and bilingual French/English — so non-French speakers may struggle. In 2016 the school averaged 14.5/20 in the French baccalaureate, beating the national average of fewer than 12. Students go on to leading European and American universities.
Pay SFr23,400 ($24,081) (French curriculum only)
Live A traditional Swiss village house with four bedrooms in the small commune of Soral is a 20-minute drive from the school.
Available through Savills, SFr2.65m ($2.76m)
Learn Families seeking US-curriculum schools in Geneva face a limited choice unless they are happy for their children to board. In that case, Tasis, The American School in Switzerland, close to Lugarno, is worth a look.
For day pupils, the Collège du Léman, which also accepts boarders, offers American high-school diploma and Advanced Placement courses, alongside other curricula. Currently there are 1,802 students aged two to 18, representing more than 100 nationalities. In 2016, 68 students took AP courses, collectively passing 75 per cent of them at grade 3 and above.
Pay SFr35,700 ($36,742)
Live A four-bedroom house is available in Coppet, a village five minutes’ drive north of the school. Train journeys from Coppet station to Geneva take 10 minutes.
Available through Cardis Immobilier, SFr3.6m ($3.75m)
Something different Parents whose children use after-school clubs might consider choosing cheaper state-run activities over those provided by schools. According to the Good Schools Guide International, most communes offer tennis, football, arts and even circus-skills clubs. As a bonus, it can be a good way for children to improve their French.
*Fees typically increase as the child moves up the school. The figure given is the cost of annual tuition for final-year students, and does not include additional payments such as registration fees.
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