Centre is Swiss by name, but not nature

WHEN education chiefs chose a working title for a new education centre in Suffolk, little did they realise it would trigger a diplomatic incident.

Danielle Nuttall

WHEN education chiefs chose a working title for a new education centre in Suffolk, little did they realise it would trigger a diplomatic incident.

But it emerged yesterday that the new South West Ipswich and South Suffolk centre - known as the SWISS centre - has seriously cheesed off the Swiss Embassy in London.

So much so, that the embassy has written to Suffolk County Council chiefs to voice its concern about the name of the further education centre, which is set to replace sixth forms in the area.

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The move has come as something of a surprise to project leaders, who pointed out that there were many examples of the use of the term “Swiss” with no connection to Switzerland - including Swiss Cottage in London and Swiss roll.

Bob Dool, director of the SWISS Partnership, said: “We haven't chosen a name for the centre yet. We have got SWISS Centre as a working title and clearly before we do choose a name for the centre we would want to involve the new governing body when it's established and young people in some way and think about the brand and a new image for the centre.

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“The Swiss Embassy did get in touch with us to ask us about the naming of the centre and they considered it may be best to avoid that.

“We have not made any final decisions yet on what to call it. There are a number of different names with Swiss in it across the country that haven't got anything to do with Switzerland. There's Swiss Cottage in London and Swiss roll.

“We have said we will talk to the Swiss Embassy about it when we get to the point of naming the centre. It's just a working title at the moment it's not the name of the centre.

“We are still using SWISS as a working title.”

The SWISS centre, if given the go-ahead, will cater for 2,000 youngsters aged 14 to 19 in and around Ipswich and will be built on land to the south of London Road and Scrivener Driver.

It would open in September 2010 and would replace the existing post-16 education at Chantry High School, Claydon and Thurleston high schools, Westbourne Sports College, and Belstead and Thomas Wolsey special schools.

But a spokeswoman for the Swiss Embassy in London said yesterday it considered the use of the term “Swiss” for the centre as “misleading”.

“In our view, this is misleading because Swiss is an adjective for something connected to Switzerland,” she said.

“This can give the impression to the public this school has a connection with Switzerland and it's not the case. That's why we have expressed concern about that to the school and we hope this change can be done.

“We've had other cases similar to this in other countries. Normally, in most cases, people haven't realised the implication and an arrangement has been made and there is a change of name.

“We will see what happens when the project is finished.

“We have foreign schools abroad which are supported by Swiss funds. In this case, it's misleading in our view. We hope we get a positive answer.”

The spokeswoman could not confirm whether legal action would be taken if the name was not changed.

“I cannot tell you what steps we would take,” she added.

A planning application on the new SWISS centre has been submitted to Suffolk County Council and a decision is expected to be made at a meeting on September 4.

Swiss by name not by nature

Swiss roll: A type of sponge cake baked in a rectangular baking tray before being filled with cream and jam and rolled up.

Despite being called Swiss, it did not originate there and isn't widely consumed in the country. Its exact origins remain a mystery and it is regarded by many as typically British.

Swiss Cottage, London: A landmark of north-west London in the Borough of Camden. The name is associated with a pub built in the early 1800s which opened as The Swiss Tavern and is now called Ye Olde Swiss Cottage. The pub's original name may have been named after a contemporary opera.

Swiss Tony: A fictional car salesman on BBC comedy, The Fast Show, and a sitcom of the same name which was launched on BBC3. Swiss Tony is not Swiss. His accent was based on Sean Connery's.

Famous Swiss people

Roger Federer: Professional tennis player, world number one.

Philip Senderos: Arsenal defender.

Ursula Andress: First Bond girl

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