- Payment and supervision of the school
- Cultural diversity
- School selection
- Extracurricular activities
- Behavior rules
- How to work with the richest children in the world?
Institut Le Rosey is one of the most expensive and elite schools in the world. Located in its own 28-hectare park, the school features tennis courts, swimming pools, stables and a farm located inside a reconstructed 14th-century castle. Outside this territory, the school owns a campus in the Alps and a yacht on the waters of the Mediterranean.
Le Rosey's fees are 100,000 € per year: for this money, the educational institution offers a multidisciplinary "school for life" with a close network of students. This exceptionally high-paying institution is isolated from virtually the entire world, despite controversy over rising inequality and the emergence of a new class of wealthy people.
Le Rosey's educational model cannot be replicated on any significant scale, but tuition fees - as well as additional costs - are of little concern to the wealthy parents of most of the 420 students attracted from around the world.
Le Rosey is Switzerland's leading international boarding school, the oldest school in the country and arguably one of the most expensive in the world, with an alumni list never fully published. The educational institution was founded in 1880 by Paul Karnal, today it is headed by Christoph Goodin, the 5th director in 138 years. He notes that he is committed to "keeping Le Rosey at the forefront of education, combining tradition with innovation and creativity to prepare Roséens (students) to lead in a rapidly changing world."
Payment and supervision of the school
The school selects the smartest among the richest - talented students from ordinary families have little chance: 30 students attend classes because their parents teach on campus, and 3 more receive scholarships every year. The rest are paid at full rate. As with several other elite Swiss schools created in the late 19th century, control remains in the hands of a single executive family, who insists that prices, not profits, determine the face of the institution.
“I could have removed 10% of my expenses and added 30% to the fee, but our goal is not to make money,” says Christoph Goodin, the 5th headmaster of the school, a former student who started managing the family business in 2015 after an MBA at Insead and working as a consultant at McKinsey. "There were many approaches to buy us, but that would change the integrity of the school".
“We're against donations,” he adds, sitting in his glass-walled office overlooking the school's central courtyard. “We want to remain completely independent. We feel like we can do what we want without limits. I spoke with many leaders who could not exclude the child because the parents were donors, and others who spend 20-60% of their time on fundraising".
Switzerland's elite boarding house contains 150 full-time teachers and over 20 part-time teachers, with a teacher-to-student ratio of 1 to 10. Rachel Gray, head of music and arts, coordinates 350 individual lessons per week across a wide range of instruments, even bagpipes. “We have a lot to offer,” she says.
Le Rosey students receive an exceptional education. To preserve cultural diversity, the school has introduced a quota - a maximum of 10% of students are admitted from one country or language group. Students prefer to study in English or French, additional lessons are conducted in their native language.
Study programs: International Baccalaureate or Baccalauréat France, 30% continue their studies at the elite universities of the Russell Group (Britain) and the US Ivy League, 60% of graduates go to American universities.
Traditionally, the boarding house hosted the children of aristocrats, including Prince Rainier of Monaco, King Juan Carlos of Spain, and the Iranian Shah Aga Khan. In recent years, the list has included French hedge fund manager Arpad Arki Busson and American singer Julian Casablancas. Today, students from 71 countries study here, including Russia, countries of Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Rachel Gray notes that only the most successful candidates are selected: the competition is 10 students for a place in high school. They choose successful students in sports, academic work. The management notes that this school is not only for wealthy students who are interested in expensive things: students without a penchant for learning, sports or art will not find it easy to study here.
Le Rosey accepts students from 8 to 18 years old. The study is carried out within the framework of a bilingual curriculum, the school offers the study of language and literature in 25 different languages, so that students remain within the home culture.
Morning classes start at 8 am, lessons last 40 minutes. At 10:00 the Roséens rush for a cup of traditional hot Swiss chocolate or for a short break at the café. After lunch, classes continue until 15:30. Until the evening, students engage in a variety of sports, arts and technology - important aspects of local education. School rules stipulate that students must play sports for at least 1 hour daily, art - once a week.
The personalized day schedule includes up to 23 different activities per day to choose from, from indoor and outdoor swimming to football, tennis, athletics, yoga, pilates, horse riding and sailing. A little less than 100 lessons are available for students a year.
Music, art and technology play an important role in the educational program: 28 music teachers attend the school every week, more than 320 music lessons are held, students play and sing in a dozen pop / rock bands, classical orchestras. Students can become part of a theater troupe, learn how to cook, make virtual reality films, draw, work with a 3D printer, or help build a school nanosatellite, to name just a few of the activities on offer.
Le Rosey focuses on extracurricular activities, for which it takes lessons directly to the ski slopes. Competitions are held all year round, such as the traditional swimming around a nearby island on Lake Geneva.
The school's rulebook warns that smoking and drugs are unacceptable, and regular checks and random tests are carried out. The school provides traditional education: etiquette, table behavior, secular treatment.
Since 1916, when Henry Carnal, the founder's heir, traveled to Gstaad to cheer up a handful of students at the residence during the war, the school has moved all its activities to a second campus in the alpine resort. Until now, from January to March, students study on the "winter" campus, getting the opportunity to engage in seasonal sports. The main campus is located at Château du Rosey in Rolle (Switzerland) between Geneva and Lausanne.
The sleek new Paul & Henri Hall, with its glass-and-metal structure, state-of-the-art acoustics in a 1,000-seat auditorium, seems appropriate for the world's leading metropolis. Designed by Swiss architect Bernard Chumi, the huge steel dome brings together 3 main creative tools: culture, art, and communication. The large concert hall with 900 seats is used for conferences, performances, musicals, concerts and, of course, student performances. It attracts the world's best musicians with its conditions and appearance resembling a spaceship in the tiny Swiss town of Rolle on Lake Geneva. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, artists of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, famous soloists - Helene Grimaud, Maxim Vengerov, artists - Phil Collins, Avishai Cohen performed here.
A walk around the premises gives an idea of the costs. Carnal Hall, worth 45 million Swiss francs, opened in 2014 and is named after the founder of Le Rosey, who opened the school in 1880, modeled on British boarding schools. In 2022, a new science and technology center will open dedicated to entrepreneurship development, which will house student startups.
The school has an impressive open-space library and thousands of books, providing a relaxed atmosphere for study. More than a hundred Le Rosey teachers live on campus: they share housing, meals, sports and leisure activities with students. This forms a strong relationship between teachers and students, they feel at home.
How to work with the richest children in the world?
But does the "golden circle" of Le Rosey not limit getting a wide experience, communication with the rest of society? The teachers note that local students are the same students with common childhood problems. Christophe Goodin states, "Wealth is beyond the equation because they know they are all from rich families." He points to the school's partnership with Mali and Kenya and refugee projects in Greece. This helps students expand their understanding of the world, going beyond the VIP circle of the richest people. The school “didn't work” for a few students, including the children of some movie stars — the opportunity to study here isn't just about money.
Felipe Laurent, a 2010 Le Rosey alumnus and current director of communications, says if anything has changed, it is that his peers are going through a "quarter-life crisis" and are looking to build their own career paths instead of just inheriting their parents' wealth or a family business. New money brings a new type of student to school, but money is certainly still required.