Our story

Our vision and beginnings

It all started with our vision of establishing the best school for children and young people in Basel. A school in which students, teachers and staff can flourish and invest in their strengths. A place where learning is fun and new horizons are opened up. A community in which students, parents, teachers and staff feel at home – whether they are permanently based in Basel, have recently immigrated or are only in the city for a few years.
In 2009, the merger of Academia Sprach- und Lernzentrum AG with in-tuition AG enabled us to make this vision a reality.

That same year, the first 16 young people began the four-year IGCSE/A Level programme at Basel Schifflände. This British curriculum takes students’ strengths into account and provides an internationally recognised qualification.

In addition to our Secondary School, we also opened a bilingual day school in 2010. We were then able to offer continuous bilingual teaching in English and German from Kindergarten through to Secondary School. We started with ten children at the lovingly designed Schifferhaus in Kleinhüningen.

First steps beyond Basel

From the very start, it became clear that the A Level programme was ideal for those looking to attain a Secondary School qualification while working, or alongside a career in sports or music, due to its flexibility and focus on individual strengths. From 2009 onwards, we launched the programme in Basel, then in Aarau, Bern, Lucerne and Zurich.

In 2014, Academia took on learn in AG in Reinach (Basel-Landschaft). A specialist in tutoring and remedial lessons, learn in AG was founded in the 1990s and had since become the largest learning centre in the region. Through this merger, Academia became the market leader for tutoring and remedial teaching in the Basel area.

A German-language Primary and Secondary School was also opened in Reinach, which gave young people the time to develop their full potential without the pressure of premature academic streaming.

Further growth

In 2015, the Schifflände premises in Basel became too small. The Secondary School moved to Margarethenstrasse, and then to Heuwaage in 2018 as the English-language academic Secondary School continued to grow.

The move to Zurich

In 2017, Academia remained largely unknown in Zurich. That changed when, as part of the succession plan, it took over the Terra Nova International School in Küsnacht (Zurich). The bilingual day school was founded in 1996 and comprises a Kindergarten, a Primary School and, as of 2019, a Secondary School.

The first school class started at the English-language academic Secondary School in August 2019, directly opposite Sihlpost by Zurich main station. One year later, over 30 students attended the Academia school in Zurich – despite coronavirus.

Lockdown meant that over the weekend of 14/15 March 2020, classes in all schools had to shift to remote lessons. Thanks to the huge commitment and creativity of everyone involved, we were able to take on this challenge. With the help of lessons that were live-streamed from the classrooms to students at home, online learning, projects and assignments, we were able to continue teaching at an appropriate level without interruption during those difficult weeks.


Reorganisation was a key topic in 2020. The individual divisions were more clearly positioned thanks to new, independent branding and a fresh corporate design. Since then, Academia Schools has grown continuously and launches attractive offers every school year: Academia Bilingual School opened a second location in Winterthur in August 2021. At the same time, Academia Primar&Sek in Reinach piloted a music profile at its secondary school.
In 2022, Terra Nova Bilingual School added a bilingual pre-kindergarten to its offering, while the Academia International Schools in Basel and Zurich launched a unique bilingual pre-IGCSE programme (Years 7 and 8).

With our six brands Academia Primar & Sek, Academia Bilingual School, Academia International School, Academia Matura, Academia Nachhilfe and Terra Nova Bilingual School, we are equipped to actively shape the future and continue to offer our students the best possible school environment – from summer 2023 with a Academia International Schools’ third location in Winterthur and an English and Music profile at Academia Primar&Sek.

Academia Schools is currently managed by the following team:

Ludovic Allenspach, Co-CEO Academia Schools, Managing Director Academia International School, Basel
Karin Altorfer, Principal Academia International School Winterthur, Division Manager Academia Nachhilfe
Jarrod Brauer, Principal Academia Bilingual School, Basel
Roman Meier, Co-CEO Academia Schools, Division Manager Matura, Managing Director Academia International School Zürich
Michelle Negro, Principal Academia Primar & Sek
Peter Petrin, Co-CEO Academia Schools
Elizabeth Suter, Principal Terra Nova Bilingual School by Academia
Stephanie Wimmer, Head of School Academia International School, Basel
Lawrence Wood, Principal Academia Bilingual School, Winterthur
Celina Steiner, Head of School Academia International School Zürich