Boarding School Guardians act on behalf of international pupils’ parents while their children are studying in the UK.
Guardians have a responsibility to support the students in their care in ways that help them to thrive and make the most of their time at a UK boarding school. They provide a home from home (homestay), where the student can go at leave (exeat) weekends or other weekends by arrangement with the school, and during half-term and other school holidays.
The guardian acts as a link for the student: someone who will take an interest in their work and progress, who will attend parents’ meetings (and report back to parents afterwards), and generally monitor the academic and social development of the students in their care.
They are also a vital point of contact for the school – for example, in an emergency where a student falls ill and needs to be away from school for a time, and is unable to return home. The guardian will be expected to assist with medical and possibly insurance arrangements, and to keep in close communication with the school.
The guardian will also be contactable at any time 24/7 (emergencies), whether to talk about a problem that may have arisen, or simply to discuss travel arrangements, for example, for the end of term, when a student may stay overnight with a host family before the long journey home.
In the same way that nobody would expect an airline to fly without cabin crew, or a hospital to run without nurses, no school should expect an international student to be enrolled without a UK-based guardian. Parents need to be reassured that, as their children’s care is of the greatest importance throughout their time in the UK, schools, guardians and the parents themselves can work closely together to support it. The right guardian can make all the difference.
Ultimately, the guardian will do everything possible, to safeguard and promote the student’s welfare working closely and openly with the schools and parents at all times 24/7.