In 1960, two Swiss educators, Francis and Inge Clivaz, identified the need for an international school offering quality education in Versoix, Geneva. They saw their city becoming a home ground for multinational organizations and people with different cultures and backgrounds. Geneva, however, lacked an academic institution offering international education. In May 1960, Collège du Léman (CDL) was incepted with a mission statement by its Founder, Francis Clivaz, “To educate and teach in a spirit of openness and tolerance so that its students become citizens and leaders of a world respectful of differences.”
In 2020, CDL celebrated its 60th anniversary. Both Inge & Francis shared a special message on occasion, stating, “Since the first day of CDL, we have lived together in perfect harmony. We learned from our differences and respected them!” Today, the school’s baton is passed onto its teachers and students to continue effective teaching and quality learning with the promise of shaping generations that harness differences, changing our world for the better.
What makes Education at Collège du Léman Unique?
Located between the city of Geneva and the countryside, the school offers a green vibrant campus with warm and welcoming surroundings. Students aged 2-18 years are offered multiple choices in the curriculum – enabling them to follow a personalised learning path. Its RISE values of Respect, Internationalism, Team Spirit, and Excellence unite a community of over 110 nationalities among students and 35 nationalities among teachers. There are three streams (Bilingual, Anglophone, and Francophone) and the possibility of completing various diplomas in French or English: Swiss Maturité, French Baccalauréat, International Baccalaureate, American High School Diploma, and IGCSE.
Its unique collaborations with MIT, UNICEF, and the Julliard School, further open doors to numerous career paths for its students. Moreover, the school’s infrastructure includes outdoor sports facilities for basketball, and football, a well-stocked library, drama, dance, arts & technology spaces, and boarding facilities. Collège du Léman creates a diverse and inclusive learning community for each student to discover and develop their strengths.
Personalised Learning Promoting Innovation & Creative Thinking
CDL takes a personalised route to create engaging learning experiences customised to each student’s strengths, needs, and interests. In turn, students can express their curiosity and develop innovative ideas through critical thinking. “As each student is unique and has different needs, the breadth of our options in terms of streams and diplomas allows each student to follow the path that is best suited for him/her and have an excellent success rate on exams,” asserts Pauline Nord, Director General, Collège du Léman. To support students to develop their strengths and passions beyond the classroom, the Geneva-based school offers over 100 extracurricular activities. During their holidays, students can also enroll in various camps and participate in activities as per their interests.
Pauline Nord further adds that students get the opportunity to participate in global competitions in multiple fields – sciences, arts, writing, music, etc., allowing them to challenge themselves and learn from students from around the world. This is an added advantage of being a part of Nord Anglia Education, a family of over 80 schools around the world.
A unique boarding experience
Justin Usher, Director of Boarding is proud that “Our school offers a structured, warm, diverse and down-to-earth environment in which students can grow into confident young adults. Our team is genuinely caring and always committed to providing boarding students with a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will shape them for life”.
Collège du Léman welcomes boarding students from 8 years old. The boarding community is a big family, in which students from all over the world can exchange and get to know each other. The richness in their community is an integral part of their core values. They celebrate diversity through culinary events and enjoy one international meal a week cooked by a Chef, or through special events such as the ‘Internationalism Week’ with activities allowing students to showcase their cultural backgrounds and learn from each other.
The House Parents care for the day-to-day needs of each student. Much more than caregivers, they are mentors, counselors and friends, available around the clock for any need, be it emotional, academic or practical. Wellbeing indeed has a central place in the school’s boarding philosophy. And because parents are at the heart of their child’s education, they learn through the weekly wellbeing bulletin about their children’s emotional balance, exercise and sleeping habits, as well as their joy and motivation.
To complete this unique experience, the school offers more than 100 extracurricular activities, regular weekend trips and holiday excursions. Students can follow existing hobbies or explore new adventures. From sailing to mountain activities, arts & crafts or photography courses – they propose a variety of activities all year long. These experiences are central to boarding life, and allow students to learn new skills while creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Quality Education Opening Doors to Renowned Universities
With a fully personalized approach to education, Collège du Léman achieves outstanding results. Over the last 3 years, the school had a 99% pass rate across the 5 diplomas, and 100% in 2022.
The excellence of the education provided allows students to be accepted into the best universities in the world including Imperial College London (Biochem), University College London (Law), U Penn – Wharton Business School, St. Andrews University, University of Glasgow (Medicine), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), University of Geneva (UNIGE), Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), HEC Montréal, King’s College, to name a few.
Prestigious Accreditations Testifying Quality Education
Over the years, the quality of CDL’s approach has been evaluated and certified by major international and Swiss accreditation bodies. To offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes, the school has completed an authorisation process conducted by the IB Organization (IBO). The school is also a member of the Council of International Schools, a community of members committed to providing high-quality international education.
Furthermore, Collège du Léman is a member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), which evaluates and guarantees quality education for all students, as well as a member of the Groupement des écoles suisses qui préparent au Baccalauréat français (GESBF), which is the Swiss interlocutor of the Académie de Grenoble, the competent authority for registration for the French Baccalauréat. It is also one of the 11 boarding schools approved by Swiss Learning. Finally, as a member of the Nord Anglia Education family of schools, the school is subject to strict quality controls and standards.
Global Access for Teachers’ Professional Development
The school has a caring community of talented and experienced faculty and staff members. Their role is to integrate students from diverse nationalities and backgrounds and to ensure a smooth start to their studies.
At the same time, the school ensures to offer a world full of opportunities to its academic staff to continue their professional development journey. As a part of the Nord Anglia Education family of schools, CDL’s teachers are given access to upskill and seek advanced training on technologies and modern pedagogies.
One of the finest educators and torchbearers of CDL is Pauline Nord, who has been the Director-General of the school since 2019. She is also the first female Director and has been with CDL since 1987. During her time at the school, Pauline Nord has held several senior positions, including the Middle School Math Coordinator, the Director of Primary & Preschool, and, more recently, the Academic Director.
Beating the Pandemic Times & Preparing the Students for the Future
“The most important thing for us throughout this period was to ensure a strong link between the students and the teachers, a quality pedagogical continuity, and to place the wellbeing of the students at the heart of the educational strategy,” mentions Pauline Nord. Hence, much like other global academic institutions, CDL also implemented distance learning, efficiently managed health constraints, and offered psychological support to its students.
To achieve these initiatives, the Geneva-based school leveraged digital technology to provide distance learning. This allowed the students to stay in touch with their teachers, friends, and the campus. Following Covid and the accelerated digitisation throughout the globe, the school prepares its students for the future by further developing learning beyond its walls and tailoring learning opportunities to inspire students to unlock and grow their strengths. Collège du Léman aims to provide an excellent academic foundation and equip its students with 21st-century skills—that will allow them to reveal their best selves and change the world for the better.