Surval is that rare establishment, a fully boarding school just for girls - where they can be girls! Because they do not have to worry about boys, they can come down in the evening in pyjamas, curl up to watch a movie and enjoy chilling with their friends. Life in an international boarding school is an exceptional experience. Each student’s room-mate may come from any part of the world, and her customs and traditions may be very different. Part of the fun is getting to know each other; how each celebrates festivals, what food each enjoys (or what they cannot eat); what activities each is involved in at home; girls will be astonished both by what is different and what is similar. One of the great strengths of an all girls’ school is the friends whom girls make for life, and that invaluable network of independent, thoughtful women which will stretch across the globe to build on for the future.
Surval is a small community, a family, where all girls can live together happily in a physical location which is safe. The facilities are outstanding. The whole school, both teaching and boarding, is housed in a former hotel, with views from every window that are the envy of all who see them. Bedrooms are for two or occasionally three girls. For the first term, rooms and roommates are chosen by the Headmistress, ensuring where possible a good mix of nationalities. From the second term girls change rooms, and are able to choose a roommate. All rooms have en suite facilities, almost all have balconies with a small table and chairs for relaxation or study, and all have a fridge. In the basement is a fitness room, and a jacuzzi, which many girls enjoy after undertaking a variety of sports. A large games room provides a Wii, karaoke, table football and a large screen for DVDS: a great place to relax, sing, dance or watch films with friends.
Food is excellent and our chefs produce delicious three course meals, with soup or salad, followed by cold and hot options at lunch and supper. Girls are encouraged to make suggestions about menus and there is a monthly themed supper with cuisine from a particular country. On these occasions, girls work with the chef to choose and prepare their national cuisine. Girls who take the cookery or pastry classes cook and prepare meals for the school community. On Saturdays and Sundays girls have a long brunch from 9am to midday, which allows a longer rest in bed, and they often come down in pyjamas at about 11am, and then having ‘dressed up’ go down to Montreux mid-afternoon to have lunch out; or they can have school lunch and stay in their rooms, the library or other areas of school. It is a ‘family day’ when they can be independent, or can enjoy the activities organised by duty staff.
On weekdays girls come down to breakfast in the dining room and return to ensure their rooms are tidy before registering with their form tutor; then lessons begin. They develop habits of independence and tidiness, and begin to take greater responsibility for their own lives. There are resident staff on each floor of the building and a member of staff on duty at night. They are always available to take care of girls who may feel unwell, or perhaps a little homesick, at night.
What does ‘full boarding’ mean?
It means that we are very unusual in that all girls, and many teachers, live in the school building throughout the term time, weekdays and weekends. Surval is a family, 24 hours a day seven days a week, and girls live as a family with the usual laughs and occasional falling out, but above all a great sense of togetherness. This way girls always leave with friends for life, and come back 20 years on with the same friends to reminisce.
What do girls do at weekends?
Above all, weekends are the family time: a time to be, rather than having to do things organised for you. No lessons, a relaxed atmosphere and a different timetable make Surval girls the envy of many others. They can come down to meals in pyjamas, they have the option of a long brunch from 9am to midday, and often appear for breakfast at 11m, returning to dress up and then going down to Montreux or elsewhere for lunch mid-afternoon. Older girls are independent and can travel widely at weekends; younger ones can do so more locally with friends; and each weekend day the duty staff will lead an optional activity, from white-water rafting to laser games, make up and style analysis, to a day of creativity in the art room. Trips and excursions abound. Weekends are the chance to show initiative and develop independence. Or, in an all-girls school, to come down in the evening in pyjamas and dressing gown and watch a movie with your friends.
How will my daughter be looked after-especially if she is a bit homesick at first?
Every girl is in a small class of no more than 10, and her Form Tutor is responsible during the day for all her academic and pastoral needs. Girls often choose to talk first of all to the Tutor, but they may also choose a particular teacher, one of the boarding staff, one of our young GAP student team, or a deputy or the head. Everyone is here for the girls and each individual is known well by a number of staff.
At night the boarding staff have a rota and are on call all night to ensure that girls are safe, happy and well - that no one is sad or perhaps unwell.
How can my daughter get in touch with me? Is she allowed a mobile or ipad to make contact?
Because we are a fully boarding international school with families living all across the globe, it would be inappropriate to prevent girls from using mobiles, ipads and laptops. Girls have free use of these technologies all day-except in lessons and at mealtimes of course-and they are encouraged to be in contact with you at the most sociable hour for you. Our Wi-Fi goes off at 11pm and after that we expect silence so everyone gets some sleep.
What happens if she is ill?
If a girl wakes up feeling unwell, either she or her roommate will ask the housekeeper, or the deputy Head, to see whether she needs medication, to stay in bed, or to make an appointment with the doctor. Some girls think if they have a slight cold or a period, they should stay in bed all day, but we encourage them to get up and shake off any minor ailment, whilst being sure that anyone with a temperature or obvious illness should be treated appropriately. Our doctors are only minutes away, and in the event of an accident, two hospitals are within easy reach.
How do you ensure my daughter is safe?
The safety and well-being of students are an absolute priority at Surval, and procedures are in place to make sure that all precautions are taken whether on a field trip to another city or country, or in the everyday operation of the school. As one parent stated, “Surval takes my daughter’s safety very seriously. “
At the school, girls have 24/7 supervision; a resident, teacher or pastoral care staff member, lives on each dormitory floor. Most importantly, staff members know where the girls are at all times including at night and on weekends because the clear policy for leaving the premises, signing in and out, and curfews is known by all students. Parents sign a contract with the school that sets out consequences for unacceptable behaviour. In addition, a code of conduct is upheld by all members of the school community, allowing it to function smoothly and for the benefit of all community members. We are very proud of the way our girls behave, and we believe they are safe, as well as confident enough to deal with any unexpected event.
Surval Montreux is housed in a former hotel with all the facilities one expects of Swiss hospitality. It offers girls comfortable and spacious boarding rooms for 2 or 3 girls, all en suite. Boarding staff live on each floor.