If you could build a school for the students, what would that school look like?
This was the question that our Headteacher, Dr Hugh McCormick, started with. During his years as a teacher in the UK, he constantly wondered what the ideal school might look like, and whether he might be able to build it himself.
The story begins a stone's throw from the Thames
In March 2020, Dr Hugh McCormick founded a college in London dedicated to helping students affected by the pandemic.
Copperfield London supported many young people as they battled with the most unpredictable educational conditions.
To the Alps
After months of hard work at Copperfield in St James, Hugh was presented with the opportunity by British business leader, John Porter, to open a school in Verbier in the Swiss Alps.
One visit in November 2020 was persuasive enough: the challenge now was to recruit students, staff and find a campus.
By January 10 2021, Copperfield's 12-strong team was ready to open its doors to 30 curious students and their families.
10 months later, and our team now comprises former concert cellists, members of the Swiss Armed Forces, experienced leaders from Swiss boarding schools, and our student body continues to grow. We are on course to be at capacity for winter 2021/22.
Why a school?
In any school, one can sense what the community focuses upon. This might be league rankings for exam results, university placements, a comfortable lifestyle for the staff, or even profitability for the owners.
It was central to the founding vision of Copperfield that our focus be community itself. This means creating strong and secure links between students, staff, parents and the broader community within which the school lies. This is because we believe that schools find themselves in a unique position, with a responsibility to support children in the challenging journey to becoming adults. A school must serve its community.
The centre of that community must be the students. This is essential to Copperfield. In every decision that the school and its team takes, from an issue of pastoral care to the expansion of facilities, the first and fundamental question must be: is this serving the best interests of our children?