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The next step

After 50 years of teaching primary, Geneva English School will introduce a new state-of-the-art secondary school in 2017

Posted by Hannah Vickers | March 06, 2017 | International

A brand-new international secondary school for Geneva, Switzerland, will open its doors in September 2017 to deliver progressive learning within a state-of-the-art environment.  Geneva English School, one of the most respected international primary schools in Geneva for over 50 years will, for the very first time, offer an education for secondary students.

GES Secondary will combine innovative approaches for secondary learning with the school ethos that, since 1961, has focused on providing a caring, community-oriented, small school atmosphere that nurtures individual pupils with a global outlook.

Creating a new school from scratch means the environment will be totally fit-for-purpose for secondary students today. Renowned Dutch educational architect, Dirk Jan Postel, a partner at Kraaijvanger Architects in The Netherlands, is designing the interior environment. 

“In contrast with the school of the past (with classrooms along a corridor), we are creating an inspiring atmosphere with contrasting elements suited for different functions: soft and quiet; technical and dynamic; primitive and raw; sophisticated and refined,” said Dirk. “The space should not only teach the children knowledge, but enable them to co-operate, be creative in a group, and learn how to learn.”

Dirk has already created an interim space on the existing primary campus for an initial group of Year 7 students who, this academic year, are leading the way for GES into secondary learning. These Year 7 children are getting a glimpse of what life will be like next year when GES Secondary opens just three kilometres from the primary school. A single secondary classroom contains tessellating tables to optimise different learning opportunities; from individual work, to small or big group collaborations. There is also what’s called The Cube; a snug ‘room-within-a-room’ for quiet relaxed study and discussions, plus a white-wall (an entire wall-and-floor-whiteboard) allowing for the sharing of ideas and learning in an engaging, ‘think-big’ way.

GES has appointed highly skilled and dynamic teachers from England for the secondary school who are making the most of the interim learning space that Dirk designed.

Catherine Peart, who is leading the learning of English for the secondary students, said: “Even as an interim classroom, this space is so functional for learning. It enables teaching and learning that doesn’t waste time, that gives lots more options for the way we go about the learning, that engages the children. It’s fantastic having a new, purposely designed space for children to learn.”

Teaching and learning in the new GES Secondary will expand on what the Year 7 children are experiencing this year. From September 2017, places will be available for Year 7, 8 and 9 children (those aged between 11 and 14) and the school will then expand an additional school year each academic year.

Pupils will work towards the highly acclaimed IGCSEs (International GCSEs) at Year 11. “The English National Curriculum and its qualifications are recognised by the best universities around the world,” said GES Headmaster, Tim Meunier. “Combine these qualifications with inspiring, collaborative approaches to learning within a state-of-the-art environment and with the GES ethos at the core, and we absolutely believe we can succeed in developing individuals who are ready to embrace tomorrow’s world.”

Geneva English School is one of just a few schools worldwide that is accredited by both the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and by the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS), both prestigious organisations which represent many of the best schools around the world.  As well as ensuring high standards of teaching and learning, links to COBIS and IAPS provide GES with many opportunities for staff development, plus links with other member schools for exciting and inspiring global student partnerships and competitions. 

W: www.geneva-english-school.ch 

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