UK boarding schools take their responsibility for the welfare of international students very seriously and the appointment of a trusted guardian is a vital part of this.

A British education remains a favoured option for many families living overseas. As a Tier 4 (Child) Sponsor, boarding schools are required to ensure ‘suitable arrangements for any children for their travel to the UK, reception at port and living arrangements while in the UK’.

The majority of UK boarding schools require parents of international students to appoint a UK-based educational guardian. This person is expected to be over the age of 25 – though some schools insist on a higher age – and be living permanently in the UK. Some overseas parents have friends or relatives in the UK who are happy to undertake this responsibility, others have no-one to help them. If you have been unable to appoint an educational guardian for your child through your own contacts, or you are reluctant to ask friends or relatives to take on such a responsibility, then you will be advised by the school to approach an accredited Guardianship organisation

They offer a free initial consultation to discuss your guardianship requirements and to put together a bespoke service for total peace of mind – use the form below to contact them

Top five mistakes made with guardianship:

1. Leaving the decision to the last minute and therefore not carrying out adequate research on the options available.

2. Having an informal arrangement with a family friend who is unaware of the significant commitment involved.

3. Appointing an individual who is located a long way away from school and therefore unable to attend events such as parents’ evenings, on behalf of parents.

4. Signing up to a Guardianship organisation that does not recognise your child as an individual and therefore does not provide a service specifically to their needs.

5. Having an arrangement in place that does not allow for emergencies, leading to undue stress to parents and the child.

Using a guardianship organisation

It is important to choose an accredited agency as guardianship is an unregulated industry. Accrediting bodies include AEGIS (The Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students) whose aim is ‘To promote the safety, welfare and education in the United Kingdom of International Students aged 18 or under’. AEGIS brings together schools and guardianship organisations to promote the welfare of international students. For more information visit the AEGIS Website.

The Guardian Family Network

Our Guardianship partner – The Guardian Family Network is an AEGIS accredited guardianship organisation and a member of the Boarding Schools Association (BSA) certified guardianship scheme.

GNet offers exceptional guardianship support to international students studying at Independent Schools in the UK. They have a nationwide network of Homestay Families within easy reach of each school, appointed to support an individual student, assist with their transport, accommodation, daily support, and emergencies. Each homestay family is vetted to guarantee a high quality of care and accommodation and provide a safe, home environment for students. All families are checked and vetted through the Police, Social Services and Child Protection departments.

The GNet team monitor students’ welfare, travel and homestay family arrangements and offers a 24-hour, 7-day emergency service for students, parents, schools, and agents.

Dealing with emergencies

What is an emergency?

Perhaps a flight is delayed or arrives at a difficult time; maybe there are medical issues; a student’s behaviour warrants a ‘cooling off’ period out of school; or perhaps there is a malfunction in the school itself such as a break-down in the central heating.

Apart from emergencies, a good educational guardian will take an interest in the child’s development and progress, as well as supporting the school’s pastoral care. They provide a home-from-home environment for the student’s exeat and half-term holiday stays – and sometimes over the Christmas and Easter breaks as well. They attend parent/teacher meetings and report back to the parents as well as generally monitoring the academic and social development of the student in their care. The school has someone who acts as a link between them, the child, and the parent and who is an independent listener. At the same time the parents have confidence that if their child needs help or advice, someone is at the end of the telephone, email, or text to help support, encourage and advise their child in their absence.


‘I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you so much for your help tonight with the cancelled flight.. you were fantastic! As soon as it was confirmed that the flight was cancelled you got everything sorted out so quickly for the 3 girls and a guardian taking them in tonight and doing the airport run is so helpful as I would have struggled to find a car at this late stage to take them tomorrow. The service which you offer and the arrangements which you have made are second to none We wish all of our guardians were as helpful, organised and fantastic as you!

Travel Co-Ordinator, Windlesham School

‘They understand how a boarding prep school works, and we can rely totally on them relaying information to parents and responding to our requests. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.’

Headmaster’s PA, Ashdown House school

Interested to see how we can help?

Connect with one of our consultants to talk about how we can help with finding the right education solution for your child.

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