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Copperfield International School Verbier Switzerland 3 - 18
Copperfield International School Verbier
1936 Verbier
47 pupils, ages 11-18 | Mixed | Day and Boarding

Secondary School

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Our View

Just a few steps from the Verbier ski slopes, school settings don’t get much more knockout than this one. As you might expect from the world’s first ski-in, ski-out IB institution (you’ll find boots and skis lined up outside the classrooms), skiing is the main sport here. But Copperfield is much more than just an education for the winter season: this is a school with serious academic ambition – and the IB accreditation to back it up. It’s also recently joined the Dukes Education family, giving it even greater heft on the international schools circuit and opening doors to excellent links and opportunities all over the world. If you’re looking for a school with a difference, this is it.


In Le Hameau, a pretty, slightly quieter pocket of Verbier just 10 minutes from the centre of town. The school is walking distance from the nearest ski lift – with out-of-this-world views from its perch high up on the edge of the tree line. Anchored around a central cobbled courtyard and housed in ex-office space on the ground floor of several traditional chalet-style buildings, the school feels like its own little community. Hidden below ground is a fabulous 250-seater auditorium where pupils have music lessons, and the playground has been designed to double up as a multi-use basketball/football court.

Local buses run pupils right up to campus or parents drive and drop them off in the car park.


Dr Hugh McCormick is a former Oxford lecturer and investment banker who moved into teaching at Harrow and then Sevenoaks School. When the pandemic hit, he left Sevenoaks in order to continue teaching some of his pupils in a Covid-19 bubble, setting himself up as Copperfield School in London (with pretty successful results). Then, in October 2020, he moved to Verbier to start Copperfield International School with British investor John Porter.   

From our chat with Dr McCormick, we found him to be intelligent, hugely likeable and wonderfully passionate about Copperfield, which he is keen to firmly plant on the international education map. He’s also working to build an impressively strong team around him – and with a refreshingly international staff body comes a wealth of experience. Indeed, the calibre of staff that Copperfield has attracted so far just goes to show the real draw of working here.  

The stellar governor panel includes an ex-Eton headmaster, a former British diplomat and the head of Dulwich College Junior School – so it’s safe to say there’s a great deal of educational heft behind the school.   


Given the school’s relatively young age (it opened its doors in January 2021), numbers are still small – but they’re growing at a rapid pace. Children can join in any year group, and we’re told that once families come and visit and see the school for themselves, about 70 per cent sign up on the spot (we’d do the same). The school is non-selective, but there is pre-screening for maths and English where possible. All lessons are taught in English, so an excellent grasp of the language is essential. Some pupils have mild learning-support needs. Pupils looking to enrol in the sixth form are required to achieve high scores in their GCSEs, including 7s, 8s or 9s in the six subjects studied in the IB. Those hoping to join the school’s dedicated ski programme will work towards A-levels instead, freeing up more time to focus on skiing.  

Numbers swell in January (particularly in the lower years) as pupils arrive for the ski season – and with Copperfield’s winning combination of world-class skiing and superb academics, we couldn’t think of a better place to spend the winter months.

Before joining, pupils and parents receive a presentation on Copperfield’s Values, Routines and Expectations. The location means the school can be a transient community, so staff are keen to make the children feel comfortable from the get-go (the sensible thinking goes that pupils who feel at home and are relaxed also learn well). However, they also teach them how to say goodbye in an appropriate way when they do leave, and arrange detailed handovers with the next school to ensure continuity of learning.

Academics and destinations

Keeping classes small is a key part of the school’s commitment to individualised learning, and class numbers will never exceed 10. In Years 7 and 8, all students are expected to study Copperfield core subjects: French, English, history, maths, science, arts, and physical education (which includes skiing). Students can also choose between German and Spanish as a third language, and if a pupil wants to study a specific language, the school will do its absolute best to try and accommodate this by sourcing an external tutor. Children with learning-support needs are supported by a full-time SEND teacher on staff, as well as a resident school psychologist.

When pupils reach Year 9, they start working towards their iGCSEs, with computer science, photography, drama and music all recently added to the subject roster. In the sixth form, pupils can opt into either A-levels or the IB pathway, giving real flexibility around subject choices. Teachers are on hand to offer guidance and support pupils through the rigorous programme – but students are also encouraged to question and take ownership of their own learning.

The current Year 13 cohort are set to head on to universities all over the world, including Germany, the UK and the USA; last year, one leaver went to study fashion and business in Italy, while another joined the family business. The school’s university guidance programme is supported by Dukes, who frequently visit to run sessions for pupils, parents and the local community.


As you’d imagine, skiing is the main sport from the moment the snow arrives in winter until it finally disappears again in April. All pupils receive safety and avalanche training and learn mountain awareness skills, so they know the local mountains inside-out. The ski programme is overseen by former member of the Argentinian national team Fitzroy Madsen, who’s now an experienced coach from the École Suisse de Ski. Students ski for at least nine hours per week during the winter if they are part of the core programme; those taking part in the competition programme will ski for a minimum of 15 hours per week. The school has a small gym designed for strength and conditioning to support skiing, and students also have access to the large weights room at the Verbier Centre Sportif.  

In summer, the focus shifts to sports such as mountain biking, trampolining, tennis (students have exclusive use of Le Hameau’s two private tennis courts and lessons from Verbier’s very best coaches) and golf. Keen golfers will love the fact Verbier’s 18-hole course is right next to the Copperfield campus, with lessons up for grabs twice a week.   

Off the ski slopes, music is a big deal here and the department is headed up by Tatiana Alamartine, a professional pianist and composer, who’s just released her third album. Recitals and shows take place in the 250-seater auditorium, and in the winter there are occasional Copperfield Concerts where musicians from around the world are invited to perform for students, parents and the local community. Pupils take part in class music as well as individual lessons (piano is the most popular). Unusually, the school is also an ABRSM grading site, which means that music exams can be taken on campus.

Art (drawing, painting, photography, history of art) is taught weekly, with a brand-new, dedicated art studio in the pipeline; drama happens as part of an end-of-year show, rather than as a separate lesson.


Currently only available to secondary-age pupils from Year 7 upwards, boarding is a real growth area for the school. The boarding house is a 10-minute walk from the campus (and right on the bus route to school) and it’s swanky: think a four-star hotel with ensuite private rooms or only two sharing. Boys and girls sleep on separate floors, with a dedicated member of boarding staff living on each and pupils grouped together by age. There is also an open-plan living area and dining room, areas for study and a balcony with panoramic Alpine views (hands down the best we’ve ever seen from a boarding house).  

Boarding is fully flexible and students can stay for a few weeks during the winter months or the whole year. Pupils come from all over, including Turkey, Iran, Greece and the UK, so the school makes a real effort to arrange evening events and fun trips out at weekends, including visits to Christmas markets in the winter or swimming in Lake Geneva in the summer. Then, of course, there’s the skiing; two of the boarding staff are qualified ski instructors, so they’re on hand to take pupils out onto the slopes, and while pupils are allowed to go off skiing in groups, they can be tracked by staff at all times. That said, being a skier absolutely isn’t compulsory – while around half the boarders ski on a regular basis, the rest don’t, and golf and tennis are equally popular outdoor pursuits in the summer.

School community

Despite the small number of pupils, they are a brilliantly cosmopolitan bunch of 27 nationalities (the 30 teachers are equally diverse, with 17 nationalities between them). Most families live in or around Verbier, having relocated during the pandemic to work remotely; others arrive for just the winter season and the skiing (this tends to be the younger year groups, up to Year 6, and isn’t suitable for those on the iGCSE pathway). Community is important here: not just the parent community, but on a local and national level too. There is a café on site, which is a popular hang-out after drop-off, and lots of social events are organised to welcome new parents and increase the feeling of belonging. There is also a buddy system for new families to help them settle in.

Wellbeing is a top priority and begins each morning when the children assemble in their homerooms for a 15-minute check-in with their pastoral tutors. It is also a dedicated time to play with their friends, get organised for the day and have a moment of calm before lessons.

On Monday and Friday, this time is replaced by ‘Tings’ (an old Scandinavian term for the gathering of a tribe), a big part of the school week which takes place in the auditorium; on Wednesday, pupils do journalling, where they are encouraged to reflect on their recent few days at school. There’s also a weekly social and emotional learning session for each year group, run by the head of wellbeing. If there are any issues, parents contact their child’s homeroom teacher directly – as the school is small, pupils get 1:1 attention. After school, there is a study hall for supervised homework until 5.30pm.

And finally....

Copperfield might still be a relatively new arrival on the international schools scene, but its academic ambition, sensational location and serious commitment to wellbeing make this one to watch. For families living in Verbier (or indeed those who live elsewhere but would love this Alpine paradise to be their children’s base) and looking for a world-class education for their children, it ticks all the right boxes.

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Copperfield International School Verbier gallery image
Copperfield International School Verbier gallery image
Copperfield International School Verbier gallery image
Copperfield International School Verbier gallery image
Copperfield International School Verbier gallery image
Copperfield International School Verbier gallery image
Copperfield International School Verbier gallery image
Copperfield International School Verbier gallery image
Copperfield International School Verbier gallery image
  • Languages and bilingual streams

    Bilingual stream - English/French
  • Academic results

  • Sports

    Horse riding
    Real tennis
  • Fees

    Day fees per annum
    From 41,800.00 Swiss Francs to 46,500.00 Swiss Francs

    Boarding fees per annum
    From 71,800.00 Swiss Francs to 76,500.00 Swiss Francs

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  • SEND

    1 staff
    Sen co-ordinator: Sara Vacas

  • School Updates

    • Copperfield Education joins the Dukes Family!

      We are excited to announce that the founders and owners of Copperfield have decided to partner with Dukes Education Group to realise our vision of a world-class education in an epic mountain setting. This is great news for the Copperfield community.
    • Copperfield Celebrates IGCSE Results

      Our students have done remarkably well on their IGCSE examinations. Since we opened two years ago, in all examinations, our students have scored 8.7, 8.5 and 8.6 respectively out of 9.0. Over this time period, 81% of IGCSE candidates have scored the maximum grade of 9.0.
    • Copperfield Receives IB PYP Authorisation!

      Copperfield International School, Verbier, has been officially granted by the IB Organization to offer the Primary Years Programme (PYP). The authorisation of the PYP ideally consolidates the school's position to offer families a unique combination of skill-development and learning environment. Copperfield is the first school in Canton Valais to gain IB PYP authorisation, and the fifteenth in Switzerland. Copperfield is the twelfth school in Switzerland to have both the PYP and DP authorisation.


Rue de la Bérarde 10, Le Hameau, 1936 Verbier, Switzerland

+41 27 520 6100



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