“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education.”
– Martin Luther King.
As per the above quote, education signifies everything that bolsters a child’s ability to think critically and build character. Education institutes worldwide are striving to create growth inducive and friendly ecosystems for students to ensure the all-round development of children.
While Switzerland is home to a varied population in its demography, it portrays a rich cultural diversity. The need for bilingual schools is also evident in the country.
Haut-Lac International Bilingual School has been relentlessly aiming to provide Swiss students with an authentic international experience and ensure the international students feel at home with the Swiss language and culture for more than 30 years.
In an interactive conversation with The Knowledge review, the Managing Director of the school, Anne-Marie Harwood, shares the story of its inception and its journey of its captivating emergence.
Haut- Lac, Making a Difference Since 1993
Haut-Lac was founded in 1993 by two families, who are still at the helm today. The four Founder-Directors, Anne-Marie & Neil Harwood and Grainne & Jean-Louis Dubler, ensured Haut-Lac to remain a family-oriented and truly bilingual international school as it grew from 13 students in 1993 to 600 by 2022. By knowing their students and staying abreast of developments in education, they were able to adapt the programs offered to continue meeting ever-evolving needs.
The Haut-Lac International Bilingual School is located at a mesmerizingly scenic location overlooking Like Geneva and 20- minutes away from the nearest ski slopes. The school has maintained a welcoming family atmosphere since the first day of its establishment in 1993. The school now welcomes approximately 600 boys and girls aged 3 to 18 on two bright, modern, and fully-equipped campuses in St-Légier, a small town between Lausanne and Montreux. And as of August 2022, 11 to 18-year-old boarders can stay within walking distance of its school campuses at its new Boutique Boarding House.
On an academic front, Haut- Lac has attained excellent academic results with 100% IB Diploma pass rates and entry into top European and American Universities. With a high percentage of French and English native speakers (over 50%), the school provides: Two options, depending on the student skills: either Truly bilingual (English and French) or predominantly English teaching streams.
At Haut-Lac International Bilingual School, every child gets their chance to shine, whether in class, at a sport, on a stage, at a debate club, or elsewhere.
A Breeding Ground for Talent
Haut- Lac International Bilingual School offers an inclusive ecosystem that would nurture young talents, imbibe a sense of belonging among its students, and prepare them for the future. The school envisions to attain success by its simple motto; Live Learn and Achieve.
Haut- Lac believes and strives to inculcate strong values such as Respect, Perseverance, and Open-Mindedness among its students.
Quality and Advanced Learning
The school facilitates consistent quality education by ensuring regular in-house and external professional development. Haut-Lac school also collaborates with experts in education and bilingualism regularly. The school believes in sharing best practices among colleagues.
IB Middle Years, Diploma & Career-Related Programmes at the Haut-Lac International Bilingual School – offer an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to learning that focuses on developing academic knowledge and soft skills such as communication, collaboration, resilience, etc. The school believes in student-led learning, wherein students play an active role in learning programs.
Using the ‘Mantle of the Experts’ and the Interdisciplinary learning programmes, the infant and primary sections become prepared for their future work environment.
At Haut- Lac, students develop their local and civic engagement through House Team charity initiatives, the IBMYP Service as Action component, and the IBDP CAS component. The school has a dedicated Digital Education program with a 1-to-1 iPad Scheme from P3-MYP4, Laptop use from primary to secondary section, robotics programs and clubs, internet safety, and appropriate device use modules.
- Haut- Lac places learning in real-world contexts.
- Students learn to set up and run projects involving contact with local and international individuals and businesses.
Recognition, Awards, and Accolades
Haut- Lac International Bilingual School has won several awards and accolades for its contribution to the field of education; some of the awards are listed below:
- Top 10 IB World School in Europe
- First Athlete-Friendly Education Centre (AFEC) accredited by the World Academy of Sport (WAoS) in Switzerland
- Mantle of the Expert Quality Mark Award
- Primary Science Quality Mark
- Duke of Edinburgh International Award authorization
- Ski Racing Academy run in partnership with Ski Zenit
- Accredited by the Council of International Schools
- Member of several Swiss school associations
Special Programs and Initiatives
At Haut- Lac International Bilingual School, students are prepared for their future participation through several student engagement and development programs; some of the programs are listed below:
- The school gives responsibilities to the students through Student Council roles, Digital Leader positions, Global Citizenship Ambassador roles, House Captain and Ambassador roles, etc.
- University Counselling Service.
- Over 150 after-school clubs, involving sports, the arts, music, the digital world, academic support and more.
- Breakfast club from 7:15 to 8:00
- After-school supervision until 18:00
- Regular ski outings during the Winter term from P1 to DP1
- A term of swimming lessons for Infant and Primary students
- Activity & Language Camps during the Winter, Spring and Summer holidays for 4 to 15-year olds
- IB Sport & Study programs for high-performing athletes
A Glimpse of the Future
Haut-Lac envisions continuing its journey as a leading Swiss IB World School. The school strives to drive pedagogical innovations and teaching quality consistently.
Founder’s Word of Advice
When asked to give out a word of advice for the educators who are venturing into the education space, Co-Founder of the Haut- Lac International Bilingual School, Anne-Marie Harwood, expresses, “As educators, our primary objective is to prepare young people for the challenges of the future, so we need to keep looking ahead and never stop innovating.”