Interview

100% British school to open in the Principality

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British School of Monaco

The founders of the private school, named “The British School of Monaco”, which will open at the end of October, explain the establishment’s unique features.

80 students are about to join Monaco’s newest school, located at 8 avenue de Fontvieille. It will open when building work is completed, which is expected to be in late October or “early November at the latest”, founders Olena Sullivan-Prykhodko and Luke Sullivan hope. Principality residents for around ten years, the couple is very excited and confident about the launch.

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Founders Luke Sullivan et Olena Sullivan-Prykhodko – © The British School of Monaco

“We have worked with over 1,000 families in Monaco,” says Luke. Having created Modelex, a company specialising in tutoring, the private education expert has grasped parents’ expectations in terms of education. “From now on, parents in the Principality have a choice. There are the all-French schools, the International School of Monaco (ISM) with both English and French, and in a few weeks time the British School of Monaco, where education will be provided 100% in English”, explains Luke, who is eager to welcome the first pupils.

We have worked with over 1,000 families in Monaco

The figures show that there is a real demand. 80 students were selected out of some 500 applications. “This year, we are opening for Year 1 (Kindergarten) to Year 5 (CM1), but the maximum capacity of the school is 96 pupils”, next year, Year 6 (CM2) will open, and the school will be running at full capacity with children from 5 to 10/11 years old, Monegasque residents for the most part, of different nationalities. “We might have  a pupil with a German father and an Italian mother or a Russian father and a French mother… This creates a lot of opportunities but also complexity”, believes the Bristol University graduate.

“An extraordinary community”

Parents are therefore not concerned that the school is new, on the contrary, they are in fact very involved. “They ask us every day what they can do to help the project along,” says Luke. There is dedication, excitement, and a lot of challenge on the teachers’ side too. They come from the United Kingdom and will have to follow the British curriculum.

The style of teaching is different, in particular the communication and relationship they have with the pupils. “We invested a lot of time and money recruiting teachers because we were looking for very competent and motivated people,” Luke admits.

The support and recognition by the Government of Monaco and the Monegasque Department of National Education, Youth and Sport have also been essential in turning the project, which began two years ago, into a reality. “We worked hand in hand,” say the founders, adding that the curriculum, available on the school’s website, has been fully approved by the authorities.

Educating tomorrow’s citizens

It’s no secret that English is considered by many – especially employers – to be an important language to master. But it isn’t just about the actual subjects such as English or mathematics. Teachers have the important task of educating tomorrow’s citizens. To do this, they need to tie the school’s values into each lesson: self-integrity and responsibility, respect and kindness for others, and courage and curiosity about the world.

The founders also place great emphasis on the well-being and mental health of each student, using the American “Mind up” programme. You can’t do your best in class if you’re not psychologically and physically at ease. It’s all related.”  A weekly class is devoted to well-being, food and hobbies, so that “students get used to talking about their feelings without being judged.”

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Enrolment is still open

For those who are interested, enrolment is still possible. Selection is made following a meeting with the parents, the submission of an application form and an appointment with the child who will take a proficiency test. “The level of English is not a deciding factor for us. We look at the child’s abilities as a whole,” explains the former 2018 National President of the Jeune Chambre Economique de Monaco. Annual costs are 35,000 euros for tuition, plus application and registration fees.

All the relevant information is on the school’s website.