PREPARED TO SUCCEED
With more than 50 different nationalities represented in its student body, cultural diversity is at the heart of Greengates School in Mexico. “Awareness and critical appreciation of this diversity are fostered in all aspects of school life,” says Dr Clarisa Desouches, the school’s CEO. “No student leaves Greengates with a simplistic view of the world.”
The school was founded in 1951 by British expats who wanted to prepare their children for sixth form in the UK, and started with just eight pupils in a small house. Today, the private, co-educational day school is based in a leafy, purpose-built campus and has around 1,300 students, aged between three and 18. Located 10 minutes from the centre of Mexico City, it caters primarily to the country’s diplomatic and multinational business community, and is recognised as the capital’s leading British international school.
While there is always a core of long-term, locally based students, the nature of the school means that pupils come and go, and Dr Desouches says this makes for a very welcoming environment. “Annual turnover averages 20 per cent, so in any given year about one student in five is new to the school, and usually new to the country,” she explains. “Most of the ‘old hands’ have recent memories of their own experiences as new arrivals and go out of their way to welcome newcomers.”
An international curriculum
Greengates offers the University of Cambridge’s IGCSE certificate, the International Baccalaureate and the International Primary Curriculum at primary-school level, and consistently outperforms schools around the world in exams. Subjects are taught by specialists in their fields, and most teachers are employed directly from the UK. Instruction is in English, but pupils are also required to study Spanish at the appropriate level.
Pupils enjoy enviable facilities on the campus, which covers 20,000 sq m and includes two libraries with media centres, nine science labs, four art studios and an indoor swimming pool. More recent additions include an adventure playground designed by renowned Mexican architect Javier Senosiain and an organic learning garden, where pupils study agronomy and hydroponics. Produce from the garden is also used in cookery lessons, in which pupils make salads, smoothies, hummus and the like.
Among the world’s best
Academically, Dr Desouches says the school aims to “combine breadth and depth”, while fully equipping its international students for their next move. “While the curriculum is based on the British system,” she says, “Greengates School accepts children from a wide variety of educational backgrounds, and successfully prepares its pupils for further studies anywhere in the world.” Students have gone on to study at some of the world’s top universities, such as Brown, Stanford, Cambridge and the London School of Economics.
Dr Desouches adds that the school’s legacy for its pupils is not only a superb education, but the many happy memories they take with them. “We now have several second- and even third-generation Greengates School students,” she says. “Our alumni clearly value their time at the school, and find it an excellent preparation for degree-level work and beyond.”
Greengates’ multinational setting provides an environment where pupils from all cultural backgrounds can thrive, and prepares them to succeed on the global stage. “We encourage our students to develop character, respect and reflection in a learning environment that honours individual differences,” says
Dr Desouches, adding that students are motivated to become socially responsible along with achieving academic excellence.