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2020-08-21 12:20:45

Schools in England vs. Schools in Switzerland - what's the difference?

Schools in England vs. Schools in Switzerland - what's the difference?

Schools in England and Switzerland are in demand among parents all over the world due to the traditions of quality education, a wide range of extracurricular activities, and excellent living conditions. A rich learning history, qualified teachers, outstanding graduates - all this unites the best boarding schools of the 2 countries. What are the differences? And whose children study in these schools?

Access to world universities

The British national school system has several stages:

  • basic (3-5 years)
  • initial (5-11 years old)
  • average (11-18 years old)
  • highest (18+).

From the age of 16, future students enter the Sixth Form, after completing their studies, they take the A-level and receive a certificate that allows them to enter prestigious universities.

Swiss schools offer education in several programs:

  • International Baccalaureate
  • Deutsche Abitur
  • British A-Level
  • American National Advanced Placement Program
  • french undergraduate
  • Swiss Maturité
  • Some Swiss schools offer to take the AS and A-level exams in parallel along with the American PSAT, SAT and SAT subject tests.

What's better? The choice depends on where you plan to go. A-level is the "gold" standard of British education: it is accepted by the best English universities, universities in Australia and Canada, European universities also accept certificates from British schools. International Baccalaureate is accepted almost everywhere today, but national diplomas have a more limited range of applications.

Comfortable stay

The best boarding schools in the UK and Switzerland provide students with an individual approach and care for each student. In addition to high-quality classrooms, laboratories, dormitories and common rooms, boarding schools have their own theaters, swimming pools, courts, fields, serious sports tracks, and entertainment areas. Schools provide free time and space to relax, recover from a busy day, and take your time.

Accommodation conditions in Switzerland and Great Britain differ: Swiss boarding schools are distinguished by greater attention to comfort, the atmosphere of expensive schools is similar to hotels, but British boarding schools are traditionally more ascetic - there is everything you need for sleep, rest, food, hygiene, horseback riding, tennis, a rich library, but even in expensive schools a modest atmosphere in the "rooms" is preserved.

Additional lessons

What do boarding schools value for other than high academic standards? For an extensive extracurricular program. Many students spend the entire academic year on campus, and outside of the classroom provides great opportunities to make new friends, learn additional skills, stay in shape, and express your creativity. Boarding schools offer a busy after-school schedule: homework preparation, choir practice, soccer and swimming, cocoa with friends, and getting to bed on time are the best basis for healthy and fulfilling leisure activities. The types of activities offered vary from school to school and include a wide range of team and individual sports, theater, art and dance studios, bands, vocal clubs, outings, excursions, local sightseeing, and international travel.

Modern working parents are not ready to devote more than half of the working day to accompanying students to clubs, for some even daily trips to school are an excessive waste of time. The boarding school allows the student to live a full-fledged educational and extracurricular life, not to depend on the parent's schedule. Separation from parents is compensated by a calm schedule, opportunities to regularly attend tennis lessons, flute, choir, orchestra or chess club, play sports, climb trees without suffering from a lost childhood.

The strong point of British schools is sports (football, rowing, swimming, equestrian sports). Swiss guesthouses offer skiing, hiking, and mountain lake trips.

Supervision, security

Studying at a British / Swiss private school full board provides international students with an exceptional level of safety and care. A boarding school abroad is a great place to develop a child's confidence. Guest speakers and intensive workshops throughout the year provide additional opportunities to develop students' interests and talents in a safe, supportive environment. Students see what they can achieve, get the right support, build healthy self-esteem, and develop independence. As they get older, students receive new responsibilities that develop leadership skills - looking after younger students. Studying in the upper grades of a private school is more like studying in college, helping to prepare for life at the university. By adapting to life outside the home at an early age, students feel more prepared and ready to attend university than students who live with their parents under 18. Such opportunities are equally provided by schools in the UK and Switzerland.


Private school students come from different countries, but the ratio of representatives of different nationalities is different. British boarding schools were originally created for internal use, so the percentage of foreign students here does not exceed 20. Swiss boarding schools are focused on an international contingent, a different ratio is observed here - no more than 40% of representatives of the same nationality. The multicultural environment of schools in both countries allows you to make friends, communicate with people from all continents, and learn a foreign language for international communication.

Studying of foreign language

Learning a foreign language in a foreign boarding school is fast - students improve their English in order to learn, communicate, understand their peers:

  • In UK schools, students study in English, study foreign languages (French, German, Spanish, Italian), a second foreign language (Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic) in high school.
  • Switzerland has four official languages - French, German, Italian, Romance. Private schools offer education in English, students choose foreign languages among several available options - French, German, Italian, Spanish, individual schools offer to choose Russian, Chinese, Arabic. Daily communication allows you to practice, master conversational turns.


The cost of education in Swiss and English schools is quite high: the average price in the first is 70,000 $ per year, in the second - 50,000 $. Despite the high cost of educational services, private secondary schools annually accept a large number of foreign students.

Whose Children Go To Independent Boarding Schools? They attract expats, children of families who have moved from other parts of the world to work, parents who want to give their children a universal education for admission to a foreign university, to ensure their stable future.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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