The Swiss International Schools Guide encompasses the most important region of Switzerland’s International school sector: Canton Vaud. With over 6,000 students situated in the region, many representing the families working for multinational companies like Nestle, TetraPac, Philip Morris, General Mills, and others, a comprehensive guide to regions’ private, english-speaking and bi-lingual schools was a knowledge gap that needed filling. For the expatriate posted to Switzerland, the consideration of an appropriate schools for the family’s children is among the most important and vexing decision one may encounter.

This Guide is a tool to mitigate the dilemmas families face over choosing a school, providing critical information, analysis and commentary to help parents make the proper initial choice of which school will best foster their objectives and meet their children’s needs. Equally, this book provides guidance when parents feel a change of schools has become desirable. We have found, over the years, that many families posted to French-Speaking Switzerland decide to change schools, sometimes within a very short-time frame, as their initial choice did not match their expectations and desires.We have seen parents agonize over school choices, often forced into making critical educational decisions with little to guide them, except the glossy and understandably biased literature provided by the schools themselves.

As many families arrive in Canton Vaud because of job relocation, the decision over schooling is usually combined with the added issues of navigating a new country, culture and language. Most parents, many of which have no experience of Swiss life, possess scant resources with which to make an informed judgement, often within the short time-frame of a few weeks or even days, about which school would be most suitable for their children. Moreover, each schools’ uniqueness is not something easy to asses – not even for residents – let alone newcomers to the region. As such, it may be considered unsurprising that there is so much lateral movement between schools.

Educational consultants on the ground, where they do exist, are usually of limited help, as they are merely ancillary arms of re-location companies. Being ‘guided’ around various schools by a young person, usually in their 20s, who not only has no children of their own, but have never themselves attended the private international schools of Switzerland, would objectively appear as someone other than a person capable of imparting critical information. Few locals have any direct experience of, the international school system. Equally, managed tours, tightly controlled by the school, can only reveal so much. The Swiss International Schools Guide is created from direct interaction in evaluating the schools and is drawn from the insight and commentaries of parents who have sent their children these schools in recent years, as well as the students themselves. Our sources remain primary as our social milleu is located from within the school system. Some of us are British, some American, some of us are french-speaking Swiss nationals born and raised in the region.

Every one of the ten schools in Canton Vaud that this Guide covers, encompassing the regions of Morges, Lausanne, Vevey/Montreux and the mountain region of Chesiers/Villars sur Ollon, has unique properties. The Guide is an objective piece of research and commentary with the single aim of differentiating one school from the other to help parents make informed decisions.

The Swiss International Schools Guide to Canton Vaud gives families a localized overview of school settings, academic disposition, cultural demeanour and that which is sui generis to the parents and students of each school so that expats soon to depart for french-speaking Switzerland, as well as residents considering changing schools, may narrow the field of schools considered.

In an opaque system, the Swiss International Schools Guide provides guidance and clarity.