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Sarah frei webSarah Frei comes from England. After a BA at UCL followed by an MA at Exeter University, she headed to multilingual Switzerland to put her language skills to use.

In her many years at Brillantmont International School, a day and boarding school in Lausanne with a British IGCSE /A Level programme and an American High School programme for 11-18 year olds, Sarah‘s roles have considerably evolved, to reflect the fast-moving world in which we live. She started out teaching English language and literature before becoming Head of Marketing and Communication.

Sarah is responsible for all marketing, branding, communication and school events and also looks after the 4000-strong alumni network.

She is excited by the opportunities created by technology not only to communicate with the multicultural, far-flung school community but also to share knowledge and experiences about educational practice. At the heart of all those activities lies the driving force – the desire for each child to develop their full potential.


By Sarah Frei, Brillantmont International School

brillantmontblog schoolchoice1

The autumn holidays are already upon us and by now most children are nicely settled back into the school routine. Yet, there may be some children for whom, despite the best efforts of their teachers and their family, the start of a new school year has brought heartache. Perhaps the decision to relocate to Switzerland was a last-minute one, resulting in hastily-made decisions, based on spaces available rather than a real feeling of connection with the school. Perhaps there are other more complex questions of friendships and peer integration at play, which are having a negative impact on your child.

Everyone has their child’s happiness at heart, so whilst deciding to change schools might be a daunting task, it is not impossible. It may mean losing a school year, but is that such a big deal in the long-term? For those faced with this dilemna or for others in a less urgent situation, here are a few tips to help you choose the right school for your child.

By Sarah Frei, Brillantmont International School

brillantmont drama

There’s an English saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy “ to which I wholly subscribe! Education is not just about what goes on in the classroom. Of course, knowledge is important and we all want our children to achieve at school. However, let’s not forget the importance of “play” in a child’s developmental process. Extra-curricular activities provide the opportunity for children to thrive in a non-classroom situation, to develop new interests and discover new talents. Some children may find school challenging but can be transformed when taking on the leading role in a drama production or captaining the village football team.

In the Lake Geneva region we are lucky to have an incredible range of activities, sporting, cultural, artistic, creative right on our doorsteps (see Know-it-all passport for suggestions). So rich is the offer that simply choosing an activity becomes difficult. A word of advice however: whilst you may have been a talented dancer, forcing your daughter to take ballet when her heart’s set on rock-climbing, is going to generate some serious family discussion.

By Sarah Frei, Brillantmont International School

Brillantmont Graduation 2012 027 web

For many students across the world approaching the ages of 15 and 16, it will soon be time to decide which route to take to university and for some that involves a choice between two highly respected programmes – British A Levels and the International Baccalaureate (IB).

What are A Levels?

Receiving its name from the ‘advanced level’ at which it is said to be undertaken, an A Level is a two-year course of study in a given subject that is offered in schools around the world. Students usually choose three or four ‘AS Level’ subjects for the first year of study, before taking full ‘A2 Level’ examinations in the second. Universities usually ask for three full A Levels, but some students may choose to take more.

How does the IB compare?

The IB offers three stages of international education for students aged three to 19. The third-stage Diploma Programme, for those aged 16 to 19, is a two-year university entry programme comparable to A Levels. Students study six subjects at higher level or standard level, choosing from five distinct subject groups – languages, social studies, the experimental sciences and mathematics. The sixth subject may be from Group Six – the Arts – or the student may choose another from Groups One to Five.