A small international school with big dreams gets a new location in Prague

The Leonardo da Vinci Academy school opens a new location in a landmark building in Prague’s historical center.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 18.08.2022 14:42:00 (updated on 18.08.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

This article was written in association with Leonardo da Vinci Academy. To read more about our partner content policies see here.

When Leonardo da Vinci Academy first opened its doors in September 2021, it consisted of just 14 eager-to-learn students. The first year represented the start of a dream to create a new school in the center of Prague aimed at providing high-quality, affordable, international education to young minds while firmly embedding Czech language, culture, and history.

Within one year, the school has grown to over 100 satisfied pupils from 16 different nationalities studying an international curriculum centered around Czech culture and European values.

The primary and secondary school — it is currently the only school in Prague providing a Czech, British and international curriculum for children from 5-19 years — has also been recognized by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) in Prague as a British Schools Overseas (BSO) and by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (MSMT).

In its first year, the school was also endorsed by the Database of International Schools which listed it among the 10 best Prague International Schools and the best IB pre-university education. 

This fall sees the next exciting chapter unfold for the school as it opens a new, permanent location. From September 2022, Leonardo da Vinci Academy will begin its new school year in a historic building in the center of Prague's Old Town on Dlouhá Street. The oldest parts of the building date to the 13th century and the space has been listed as a landmark since 1958 and has been part of the UNESCO-protected heritage zone since 1992.

The building was recently purchased by school founder Věra Komárová, who is also the owner of the Dermacol cosmetics brand. “As a mother, I want nothing but the best for my daughters, which is why I dedicated my time and resources to building a school that provides everything they and other children need to succeed in the world,” Komárová says.

The principles of the school lie in a new approach to education that combines respect towards the Czech Republic as well as insights from the best practices in international education. 

The school fosters a strong academic ethos; students studying at the Leonardo da Vinci Academy pass through a strenuous selection process, which includes a written test and an interview. The school has an on-site psychologist as well as teachers, who are trained to support all students, including those who are academically gifted. 

All students at Leonardo da Vinci Academy do the International GCSE exams at the end of year 11 and then will continue to also study for the Czech Maturita as well as for an international qualification, which will allow them to go to the top universities anywhere in the world. 

The school passed its British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspection with the second highest rating to become one of four accredited members of COBIS in Prague. According to the BSO Inspection report, issued in June 2022, Leonardo Da Vinci Academy provides a good level of education and care.

“Pastoral care is strong: the teachers know the students well, and welfare is a key school priority. The behavior of the students is good. Teaching is good, and as a result, students make progress in their learning,” the report writes.

“The curriculum blends UK requirements with the opportunities afforded to the school, being in the center of Prague. The leadership provided by the principal is very effective,” the report states.

The founding principal Justin Kilcullen-Nichols is an international educator with 15 years of experience. He has worked within the education systems of seven different countries.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning, we must continue to learn and adapt to the students in front of us. I’m most proud of the fact that our students come to school every day, happy to be in school and happy to be learning,” Kilcullen-Nichols says.

One parent of a Leonardo da Vinci Academy student said that her daughter was unhappy in her previous school. “I was worried about her mental and academic well-being. Her teachers were cold, and made her feel stupid if she didn’t understand something the first time,” the parent says.

“Moving to Leonardo da Vinci Academy was the best decision I have made for her. She is always talking about her classmates and teachers, or proudly presenting her projects to us at home. I’m pleased that both her English and Czech language have greatly improved and I am pleasantly surprised at her new interest in science,” the parent adds. 

The team at Leonardo da Vinci Academy is truly international. The school’s Czech and International teachers have lived, worked, and studied abroad, and share a passion for bringing their world experiences into the classroom to create engaging student-centered lessons. 

Students not only develop knowledge and a passion for learning, but also a strong awareness and understanding of social, moral, spiritual, and cultural aspects. This helps to open doors for students’ futures. Annual fees range from CZK 220,000 to CZK 259,000 per year. 

Those interested in seeing the school firsthand can register online to attend the open house days on Aug. 22, 25, and 29. Parents and students will be able to tour the school and meet the people behind the project.

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