Since 1996, through developing a close association with Cothill House, Mowden has had the good fortune to be able to make use of the Château de Sauveterre, near Toulouse, where all children in Year 7 (11 – 12 year olds) spend a full Autumn or Spring term. At the Château, pupils are offered a unique opportunity to improve their written and oral French, as well as to develop personally and socially by acting as guests and hosts whilst living in France. The fine weather, delicious food and small numbers ensure that each individual is able to grow academically and socially. The term at Sauveterre is generally regarded to be the high point of a Mowden pupil’s prep school life, giving each one the self-assurance to approach the final year with a maximum of confidence.
At Sauveterre, the children are taught a full range of subjects entirely in French from the day they arrive. They study all subjects with a specific French slant, so History lessons for example introduce the pupils to major elements and events of French history, whilst Civilisation lessons allow discussion of the way the French state operates politically and practically. French literature, poetry and drama are all studied; all children act in end of term plays and many perform in concerts for the benefit of local friends and staff. Music, dance and sports are all taught by French teachers. Key subjects such as Maths and English are maintained throughout the term away.
Boarding life at Sauveterre is organised by English staff, who tend to all the pastoral, health and welfare issues of the children. The food is prepared by an excellent team of French cooks, who introduce French cuisine to the children in a friendly but interesting manner.
French is taught in structured classes by teachers who are experts at teaching French as a second language to beginners or competent linguists alike.
Each term at Sauveterre, stimulating activities are provided outside of class time, for children to explore the region and to meet local French people. Weekly visits to a local school, participation in local sports clubs and excursions to places of interest occur every week. The fine weather enables plenty of outdoor activity and in February all the pupils benefit from a full week’s skiing in the nearby Pyrenees. The Château has its own swimming pool, games fields, tennis courts and woods. There are extensive indoor facilities and completely modernised bedroom, washing and showering facilities.
Every day, fresh news photos are posted on the Château de Sauveterre website, which enable parents and friends to keep in touch with the children’s progress.