It is stipulated by British laws that all boarding schools in the UK shall promote and ensure the physical and psychological health of each boarder, including those above 18 years old. The Home Office in charge of the issuance of visa should also consider the needs for protection of children welfare. Therefore, all the international students studying in the UK must be provided a guardianship including local arrangement of travel, reception and accommodation.
All international students studying in the UK must have a local guardian, aged 25 or above, UK based, within 2-hour drive from home to school and available to school 24 hours a day in case of emergency. So if the child does not have a relative meeting these requirements in the UK, then a guardianship organization need to step in for offering a local guardian as well as a host family.
The guardian ≠ someone from the host family
Many parents would mistake the host of the home stay family for the guardian of their child. Well, in fact, it’s not true.
Generally, the role of guardian is taken by the head of the guardianship organization, or the local coordinator appointed by the guardianship organization. The coordinators will visit the child’s school and host family regularly, then relaying the comment to the child’s parents.
The host family is another concept. It has nothing to do with guardianship, rather, it’s more like a place in which accommodates the child. The guardianship organization selects appropriate host families based on the child’s family’s preference, such as whether they prefer local families or Chinese families, families with a child of the same age or not, whether they accept single-parent family, etc. Even though it’s nearly impossible to find a perfect match, the guardianship organization tries its best to fulfill each client’s requirements.
Tips: If you’re not satisfactory with the current host family and want to select a new one, you need to talk to the guardian at least one term in advance, because the boarding fees for the host family are settled on a term basis.
How to choose a guardianship organization?
Generally speaking, the UK schools will provide a referral list of the guardianship organization. And large overseas study service organization also have similar lists for their clients.
It’s recommended that parents choose an AEGIS (The Association for the Education & Guardianship of International Students) accredited Guardianship Organization. AEGIS was founded in 1994 by a group of established Guardianship Organizations and UK boarding schools. The core work of AEGIS is the accreditation of Guardianship Organizations through a rigorous programme of inspections, led by ISI and OFSTED-trained inspectors.
For more information, you may visit the official website of AEGIS: http://www.aegisuk.net/