Incepted in January 2021, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Copperfield International School is built upon three central pillars: academic programmes, co-curricular offerings, and students’ wellbeing system.
“Our vision is to educate students who are globally-minded, compassionate, confident, and kind,” shares Oliver Riley, Head of the IB Diploma Programme. As a result, students of Copperfield International School are academically skilled, fluent in multiple languages, accomplished writers and communicators, artistically driven and knowledgeable, scientifically aware and trained, emotionally resilient, physically fearless, generous of spirit and skill, and leaders who know how and when to both lead and follow. Above all, Copperfield students aim to become the designers of their own lives and create a better world for others.
But what sets Copperfield International School apart from other IB schools is its unique location – a beautiful and inspiring landscape with snowy vistas and towering fir trees, making the classroom learning experience exceptional. Copperfield International School is also the world’s only ski-in, ski-out international school situated in the Swiss village of Verbier.
Sophisticated Infrastructure, Small Class Size & Individualized Learning Approach
Copperfield International School is based in a small & compact complex called Le Hameau just outside the town, from where students can easily commute via bus. Whiteboards are fixed for students to use in collaborative projects within the classrooms, and smart TVs are installed for presentations. Other than these, Copperfield International School also houses a well-stocked and expanding library with books on diverse topics. The institution’s sports facilities include playground areas, basketball and tennis courts, and a weights room dedicated to the intensive ski programme. There is also a little café managed by one of the parents, where students, teachers, and parents can grab a snack.
Moreover, the class sizes at Copperfield International School are kept small, no more than 10 students, with a 3:1 student to teacher ratio. “We have regular faculty-wide professional development sessions during which our teachers discuss differentiation strategy and tactics and learning approaches for each individual student,” shares Oliver. He further explains that with parental permission, the Head of Learning Support conducts sessions and assessments on each of Copperfield’s students using the GL Assessment portfolio, a modern learning assessment platform. In its upcoming academic year, Copperfield International School will complement the GL Assessment portfolio using Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) testing. This will enable the teachers to give baseline scores to each student so that they can accurately measure the students’ progress and the specific areas in which they are best able to help them.
Giving Wings to Students’ Imagination & Creativity
At Copperfield International School, innovation and creativity are deeply ingrained into school life, starting from the curriculum plans to the shape of the desks in class. Every week, a unique course on ‘Personal Projects’ is dedicated to giving students the freedom to think outside of the box, showcase their creativity, and come up with innovative plans in the areas of their interests. One of the fruitful outcomes of this class was ‘Drip’— a fashion brand set up by a group of students who also developed & designed the brand’s website using sophisticated graphic design software.
Moreover, Copperfield International School uses the ‘Harkness Method’, involving students seated in a crescent formation to encourage an open-minded, collaborative environment with only minimal teacher intervention, as students take ownership of their work. During the school’s ‘Ting’ assembly, students regularly present their thoughts in front of the whole school on various topics such as tolerance, responsibility, and health and wellbeing, along with a take-home message. Likewise, quizzes and trivia are held for students of all age groups.
“We also regularly have guest speakers, such as award-winning National Geographic photographers and documentary filmmakers,” reveals Oliver. Most recently, UBS bank’s Area Manager was invited to Copperfield International School to deliver a talk on financial education for secondary school students, which resulted in a competition of who could create the most profitable financial portfolio.
Encouraging Professional Development of Teachers
A perfect balance of experienced vs young teachers is created at Copperfield International School who are compassionate, empathetic, and inspiring educators. The Verbier, Switzerland-based school also provides ample opportunities to staff, such as financial support to complete their post-graduate degrees through Moreland University, which grants an internationally-recognised qualified teacher status. Besides this, teachers can also enrol in various training programmes offered by the International Baccalaureate Organisation and Cambridge Assessment International Education to get familiarised with the latest curriculum and teaching pedagogies.
Briefing about the other sessions held at Copperfield International School, Oliver says, “Most recently, we had Paul Magnuson visit from Leysin American School’s in-house educational research unit, who shared with us concepts such as VUCA – Volatility, Uncertainty, Change and Ambiguity which got us to think about how curriculums can best prepare students for the real world, rather than just having a standard classroom environment in which success and progress are linear and highly predictable.” Through Paul Magnuson’s insightful lecture, the institution is now considering ways of incorporating VUCA into its own curricula.
Active Involvement of Parents in their Child’s Learning Journey
A very friendly and happy community is created and maintained at Copperfield International School between parents, students, and teachers. This is a place where everyone knows each other’s names and is open to contributing and participating in the school’s activities.
Right from organising coffee mornings to managing social events, the PTA group of Copperfield International School is exceptionally active. The parent body also participates in discussions and activities with enthusiasm and vigour as the student body.
Notable Achievements by the School & its Students
From the very beginning, the entire team of Copperfield International School has dedicated itself to creating a world-class institution. It holds true for the numerous achievements the school has received just over a short time. Copperfield International School became a centre offering IGCSEs and A levels qualifications with Cambridge Assessment International Education this year. The institution is also an International Baccalaureate candidate school for the Diploma Programme and the Primary Years Programme, awaiting accreditations in the coming academic year.
On top of this, Copperfield international School is also certified by the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM) to conduct music examinations. “Finally, we take great pride in being asked to be featured in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee commemoration book, which will showcase our institution,” mentions Oliver, the Head of the IB Diploma Programme.
Similarly, Copperfield International School’s students have brought prestigious laurels to the school by performing exceptionally in IGCSE examinations and achieving the highest possible grades. Other than academics, Copperfield students are honing their skills through the school’s unique programmes and becoming competitive skiers and talented musicians.
Defeating the Pandemic Times
Since Copperfield International School was incepted during the pandemic times, it was already equipped with state-of-the-art digital learning management systems and healthcare resources for COVID-19 testing. Only two weeks of in-person teaching were missed out of the entire academic session. The school continued via distant learning through Google Classroom and ManageBac for the high school students during them.
“We took the pandemic very seriously, with regular testing of teachers and students. Through this, the students developed a great sense of responsibility for the members of their community,” adds Oliver. Hence, even after the worst of the pandemic was over, the girls of the secondary school at Copperfield started an initiative as part of their ‘Community, Activity and Service’ class to help the more vulnerable people in town by delivering their shopping to doorsteps since they were unable to do so themselves.
Copperfield International School is training its students to become critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and lifelong learners of tomorrow through its IB curriculum to prepare students for the future.
Marching towards a Brighter Future
For a young institution such as Copperfield International School, the school has achieved a lot and is looking to add more feathers to its cap in the future too. “This coming academic year, we will be accepting up to four students worldwide on fully-funded scholarships as part of our ‘Global Scholars’ scheme,” excitedly shares Oliver.
For More Info: https://www.copperfield.education/
About Oliver Riley, Head of Secondary, Copperfield Verbier International School
Oliver Riley is the Head of Secondary at Copperfield Verbier International School. He worked as a research economist in a London based think before going to University. On graduation, he moved to Verbier to work as a teacher at Copperfield and hasn’t looked back since!