Le Pensionnat Surval was first established in October 1961, in Leysin. The school started in a chalet above the valley, which was the origin of the name ‘Surval’, but it has since then had two different locations at Clarens and Basset before moving to its current location on the slopes above Montreux, overlooking Lake Geneva through the acquisition of a former luxury hotel. From the start the school was developed as a Finishing School, but over time the school also started offering the American High School Diploma as times changed and there was less demand for Finishing Schools. In May 2012 Surval was bought by British Education Group, Bellevue Education, which has 10 private day schools in England as well as the private boarding school Gstaad International School in Switzerland. Following the acquisition the school name was changed to Surval Montreux, to emphasize the location, and a new Headmistress was appointed. Mrs Penelope Penney has been a head in England for over 25 years, most recently for the prestigious boarding school; Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for girls. Her brief has been to help transform the school into an international, all girls’ boarding school within the British tradition, and with a new and robust academic curriculum. No longer a Finishing School, Surval now offers, in addition to the High School program, the IGCSE and Advanced Level, and a MasterClass for highly academic and ambitious girls. Students can join the school at age 13+ for Foundation year. As well as the offers of the programmes listed they can take the new Liberal Arts course. The ‘new’ Surval begins its courses in September 2013, and aims to provide an inspiring, stimulating, innovative school experience in a stunning and safe location.
About the school
- Long description:
At Surval Montreux we are committed to an exciting, challenging, enriching and genuinely unique opportunity for girls. Surval is a small international boarding school for girls between the ages of 13 and 19. Set in a stunning location in the slopes above Montreux, it looks out across the Lake Geneva to the mountains beyond and encourages us all to lift our eyes.
It is here that we offer girls the opportunity to love learning, to develop and grow intellectually, personally, and spiritually, and to become leaders. Without the possible distractions of boys, girls have not just equal opportunity but every opportunity to take the lead. Far from being forced into stereotypes of behaviour, they are encouraged to take risks, to give things a try and to learn from failure. They will be the leaders of the school community, helping to make decisions about their facilities and enrichment courses: leaders in the classroom without gender bias in the subjects they study: they will have leading parts in the plays they produce, in musical activities, in sport, and in the charities we support both locally and further afield. We aim to give them the initiative, the imagination and the integrity they need to become good influential leaders in the future.
Every door is open to them as they develop into independent young women who have grown up in an international community and do not just tolerate, but truly understand, the value and importance of the beliefs, customs and traditions of others. They will be girls who will bring their intelligence, their understanding, and their sense of social responsibility to the service of the communities in which they will live.
We are proud of what we believe they can achieve.
- Dorm facilities:
Surval is a small community, a family, where all girls live together in harmony in a physical location which is safe. The facilities are outstanding. The school is housed in a former hotel, with views from every window that are the envy of all who see the photographs. The bedrooms are for one, two, or occasionally three students, and all have ensuite shower rooms. Most have a balcony, all have television and some, with parental agreement, have fridges.
Food is excellent and our three chefs produce delicious three course meals, with a ‘light’ option at lunch and supper. Girls are encouraged to make suggestions about menus and there is a monthly themed supper where food from a particular country is offered. Girls who take the cookery or pastry classes cook for their meal, and we also have a number of special events where they prepare meals for visitors or girls. On Saturdays and Sundays girls have a long brunch which allows a longer rest in bed, or the chance to use the fitness centre, to run or play tennis before breakfast-or to skate in the winter time on the tennis court which is flooded and frozen.
Girls are woken by music in the mornings, come down to breakfast in the dining room and return to ensure their rooms are tidy before lessons begin. They develop habits of independence and tidiness -easier for some than others!- and begin to take greater responsibility for their own lives. There are resident staff and some ‘'veilleuses de nuit' who keep an eye on the girls at night to ensure all are able to sleep peacefully.
The housekeeping staff, under the direction of the housekeeper, Madame Horta, work tirelessly through 7 days a week to ensure that the cleanliness and presentation of the school matches hotel standards. Girls are expected to make their beds and keep their rooms tidy. They are asked to take their laundry bag to the laundry each Monday, and to collect their clean laundry on a Thursday.
The dining room is one of the great attractions of the school. It is set for tables of four, with one long table down the middle of the room, so girls can eat in small groups or join a larger table if they prefer. The housekeeping staff take great pride in the dining room which is always a civilised and pleasant place to eat. Meals, cooked by our team of three chefs, are delicious. After a substantial breakfast girls also have a break for coffee, hot chocolate or other drinks and a small snack. Lunch and supper are three course meals, always healthy and enjoyable. Special diets are catered for and these must be communicated in advance.
The Library, completely refurbished in January 2013, has comfortable seating with chesterfields and club chairs. Girls can read from the substantial array of new books, or watch films in the evening when study time is over. The large tables in the window and down one side of the room are for supervised study in late afternoon and early evening.
In the basement are a sauna and a Jacuzzi room which are enjoyed by girls after a spell in the adjoining fitness room. A large basement room is being converted into a games room where girls will be able to play table tennis or billiards, try Karaoke, watch DVDs or just chill out with friends.
- Dress code: Casual
Social life & attractions
No school course, however well designed, can be complete in itself. An integral part, not an add-on, must be the whole concept of enrichment, taking the girls beyond the syllabus and classroom learning to stretch their minds and inspire them further in all areas of their personal development. Our enrichment programme does this. Girls will have the opportunity to try a wide range of activities, academic, creative, sporting, dramatic and musical, as well as participating in charity work locally and in the wider world.
Enrichment opportunities include debating and public speaking, with the chance to participate in the Model United Nations and European Youth Parliament competitions, sometimes with our partner school, Gstaad International School: Young Enterprise; Charity work with Cartons du Coeur, and with international charities in which our alumnae play a prominent part: singing to and entertaining those in local homes for the elderly, or junior schools; chess, board games, Chemistry and Maths clubs, reading groups; International Award (known in Britain as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme); music and drama groups.
Famous People Who Attended This School
Why Should You Choose this School?
Surval Montreux offer girls the opportunity to love learning, to develop and grow intellectually, personally, and spiritually, and to become leaders. Without the possible distractions of boys, girls have not just equal opportunity but every opportunity to take the lead. They will be the leaders of the school community, helping to make decisions about their facilities and enrichment courses: they will have leading parts in the plays we produce, in musical activities, in sport, and in the charities we support both locally and further afield. Through offering an international curriculum consisting of British IGCSE & A Levels, American High School Diploma, Foundation Year and the Liberal Arts Programme, girls can gain a quality education allowing them to go on to an international education in the country of their choice. Complementing the education they gain at Surval is the diverse enrichment programme we offer the girls, through a combination of sports, culture and excursions. With other European countries right at the doorstep we ensure that the girls learn about Swiss and European culture, not only in the classroom but through cultural excursions. At Surval the girls will make friends for life from all over the world, as the school has a great international mix of students joining us from countries such as China, Mexico, Russia, UK, India and Saudi Arabia.