Learn more about our New Principal Mrs. Woodhouse

21 May 2024

As Patricia Woodhouse prepares to return as Principal, it was great to catch up with her to see how she is feeling about her return to her former position.

Patricia served as Principal at Surval from 2016 - 2021 and is delighted to be returning.


Why Surval Montreux?

I love the true internationalism of the school and its location – in the heart of Europe, with so many educational, network and travel opportunities for Surval girls to relish.

There is a real revitalising energy and dynamism at Surval and every year it regenerates. The school is shaped by the girls and this makes it such a special place. Surval brings quality and diversity to the Swiss educational platform and is the most fulfilling school I have worked with.

At Surval Montreux, with its stunning backdrop, a girl can expect to extend her personal horizons and discover her true self. Our girls leave Surval fully prepared for the future and with a real sense of social and community responsibility”

 patricia woodhouse

What skills and experience do you bring with you?

“Before my time as Principal at Surval, I held two headships at excellent girls’ boarding schools in the UK. I have worked in education for over 30 years, with roles including Deputy Head, Housemistress and Director of Music.

Over my long career in education, I have learnt much about the needs of adolescent girls, and what makes a good School an outstanding one. I am committed to delivering a modern and forward-thinking education, equipping each and every girl with the confidence, tenacity and resilience to succeed in life. This is achieved through delivering an exceptional academic offer and extra-curricular enrichment, which enables these young women to stretch and challenge their knowledge and skills. I have seen Surval students move on to some of the most demanding universities in the world.

With my previous Headships and experience as a Housemistress in British boarding schools, I have genuine understanding of the pastoral needs of teenagers living and

learning away from home, and the importance of ensuring each girl feels valued and that they belong. I believe life as a boarder should be happy and family-focused.”


How was your previous experience at Surval Montreux?

“My time at Surval holds the fondest memories and achievements of my career. I introduced key values into the Surval Education, so that all girls benefitted from the focus on Social Enterprise, Global Perspectives, Language and Culture.

I spent much time developing the ‘Futures programme’ to help girls, irrespective of their length of stay, to identify their best next steps after school. The School also forged networks within the local community and further abroad so that girls could benefit from their unique Swiss home.

I threw myself unreservedly into school life, creating a home from home for students, personally hosting Chalet Soirees, evenings out, leading Ski Thursdays, Swiss Tour, international trips and weekend excursions.

During the pandemic I ensured girls could stay at Surval throughout, providing a safe place for those who could not return home, enabling them to make the most of Swiss life and active learning whilst the rest of the world locked down.”

surval montreux principal   surval montreux


How was life after your time at Surval?

"After 5 years as Principal I left school to take a sabbatical. The breadth of my own Surval experience inspired me to explore my own social and cultural prospects once the world reopened post-pandemic.

I have spent the last three years residing in the Canary Islands. Whilst immersing myself in my local community, I have used this time to learn Spanish and have completed my CELTA training to teach English at a private language school on my island.

I have also served on finance and pastoral teams of my local church, set up charity projects and completed my Yachtmasters’ sailing certificates.”


What are you most looking forward to?

“I have missed Surval Montreux and Switzerland and I’m delighted to be returning. It is a second home for me. I have always been proud of the school, it’s achievements and the world class experience girls receive; I am excited to continue the journey and to steer it forward.

Serving as Principal at Surval enabled me to have global conversations that were hugely impactful in both my professional and personal life and I look forward to further developing these global perspectives for the young women at Surval. 

Our world is ever changing with new challenges constantly arising. I believe that in order to secure the best future for themselves, girls require the correct skillset and flexibility to meet and overcome any challenges. Helping girls achieve these skills is at the heart of the Surval experience.”


patricia woodhouseMrs Woodhouse will soon be visiting Mexico, if you would like to arrange a personalised meeting or a call, click here or enquire now for a September place at our all girls international boarding school in Montreux. 

Trip Information

3-4 June in Mexico City  

5-6 June in Monterrey

Get in touch with us to book a personal one to one meeting with our Principal Mrs Woodhouse

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