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What is a guardian family and why does my child need one when at a UK boarding school?

Many parents who come to us for education advice live outside the UK. Making them aware of the requirements for a guardian is an important part of the advice we share with them.

All British boarding schools insist that any pupil whose parents are resident outside the UK has a UK-based guardian, appointed by their parents, to act as the local in-country contact in case of emergency and to ensure that the child is well cared for at exeat weekends and half term holidays if they are not planning to return home.

A guardian family, sometimes called a host family, provides a much needed break from the hectic school routine at weekends and half term holidays, with a welcome change of scene – a home-from-home where warm, long-lasting friendships are created. Having a supportive and caring family who will take an interest in your child’s wellbeing will offer you reassurance that they are safe, well cared for and happy.

Committed guardian families are often professional people who have current or past experience of education. They will attend parents’ evenings on your behalf so they can share relevant education advice, watch your child play in music concerts or sports matches and keep in regular contact with both you and your child so they can act quickly should any concern or issue arise. Should your child remain with the same guardian family throughout their time at boarding school, long-lasting, trusting relationships will grow, as they progress through their time at school. Indeed many children come to see their guardian as their ‘English’ family.

If you do not have family, a friend or colleague based in the UK, who is fully aware of what this role entails and is happy to take on this responsibility, it is vital that you seek the assistance of a quality guardianship organisation to help you put these arrangements in place. Your child is a long way from home and you will want to be sure that they are well taken care of and happy. We have trusted partnerships in place with accredited guardianship organisations and are very happy to recommend service providers to families who come to us for education advice and for assistance with choosing the right boarding school.

It is a bit like having travel, home or car insurance, if any emergency situation arises with the most precious thing of all-your child, you will want the reassurance that there is someone based in the UK, who will be on-hand to offer them support.

If your child requires a visa to study at a boarding school in the UK, you will also need to submit the details of your UK guardian arrangements when communicating with the school regarding the visa application.

To find out more about our Guardianship services or any other education advice, please get in touch with our team of friendly consultants.

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