A British education on the Côte d’Azur
TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL | PHOTO © MOUGINS SCHOOL
In the heart of the Côte d’Azur, just northwest of Antibes and southwest of Nice, lies a small corner of France, which is very British indeed. Since it first opened in 1964, students from the ages of three to 18 have come to the Mougins School to receive the very best in British education.
Every year, some 500 students attend the custom-built campus close to the technology park of Sophia Antipolis. Students come from over 40 countries, but despite being a non-selective school with a high proportion of non-native English speaking students, examination results are well above the British national average. The majority of the school’s students subsequently go on to further education at the world’s most prestigious universities.
State of the art facilities for arts, sport and science
“Academic excellence is a priority, of course, but we are also strongly committed to both sport and the arts and know how important they are in enabling students to reach their full potential,” says Brian Hickmore, headmaster. The school’s impressive facilities include a superb, fully-fitted gymnasium and a synthetic football pitch and high court.
Budding musicians can take part in a wide range of instrument lessons from violin, guitar and flute to drums and piano, and Mougins also stages regular theatre, musical and concert productions in its professionally equipped performing arts hall. The art department, meanwhile, includes classes in fine art, photography and textiles, as well as the use of the school’s own printing press, and sciences are equally well catered for with custom-built laboratories for physics, biology and chemistry and fully equipped IT suites.
Learning in the wider world
A wide programme of field trips include visiting Barcelona and Madrid whilst studying Spanish, cultivating artistic knowledge in the galleries and museums of London and Paris, or studying history in Berlin, Belgium and northern France. Closer to home, weekly trips include visits to San Remo in Italy, local olive oil mills, perfume factories, cheese production, coastal studies, tackling rock and mountain climbing on France’s Via Ferrata, as well as various geography field trips.
An active PTA supports many of the student activities and fund-raising, and organises a number of social activities for parents. These range from visits to local sites of interest, coffee mornings, a hiking club, specialist guest speakers and relaxed dinners where parents can socialise.
Relocating can be a challenging experience for families and the school administration can help negotiate the pitfalls of settling into a new country, making the transition as smooth as possible.