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Coronavirus Updates

Academic Guardians UK COVID-19 update, June 1, 2020

This statement serves to advise schools and overseas parents on the response from AEGIS our accreditation body, relating to the current COVID-19 crisis. This highlights the support services being offered to international students enrolled at UK boarding schools and who are under our guardianship.

AEGIS & AGUK continue to monitor the situation regularly and follow the advice of Public Health England (PHE):

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings

Scottish Government & Health Protection Scotland:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-re-opening-schools-guide/pages/related-guidance/

Public Health Wales:

https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/guidance-for-schools-advice-for-parents-or-carers/

AGUK also follow the advice and are part of Safe Schools UK who, in turn, refer to the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) and follow their Covid-Safe Charter – https://www.boarding.org.uk/userfiles/bsa/Covid%20documents/Covid%20Safe%20Charter.pdf

The latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential international travel for people residing in the UK.  For further details regarding specific countries please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

As an AEGIS Gold standard accredited guardianship organisation, we are still offering UK accommodation in homestay host families for students who are still in the UK and who have not been able to travel home. We can offer to support parents and students who are not under our care at this very challenging time.

Now the UK government is poised to impose a 14-day quarantine on international arrivals from 8th June. This rule will be reviewed every three weeks. We will continue to update this as guidance is made public.

Making Academic Guardians UK your child’s UK Education guardians

As an AEGIS Gold Standard accredited guardianship organisation, we have been praised by schools, agents and parents for our hard work, decisive and swift action during the COVID-19 crisis. We are a professionally structured organisations which is fully insured, trained in Mental Health and Child Protection.

Helping students to return safely to UK boarding schools

Without exception, we are committed to assisting schools and parents in the safe return of students in the Autumn 2020.

Coordination of Flights and UK travel

It is likely that some travel will need to be planned at the last minute as flights become available. We are available 24/7 throughout the summer break to facilitate the immediate assistance required for parents arranging flights for arriving students.

Safe Travel arrangements

Our dedicated team of drivers are experienced with picking up overseas students and who are now trained and committed to adhering to strict social distancing and hygiene standards.

Quarantine facilities

Where schools are unable to assist with quarantine, we are ready to assist with homestay host families who are prepared and equipped to provide the necessary support.

If boarding students display COVID-19 symptoms whilst at school

We follow Public Health England advice and are therefore not permitted to move a symptomatic student from their household unit. Homestay host families are not able to take over the care of students with suspected COVID-19. Schools also follow Public Health England advice and that of the Safe Schools UK and BSA Charters and provide isolation on school premises for such students.

If students display symptoms whilst at a homestay host family

Homestay host families sign up to a COVID-19 Charter and Policy when taking in students and would continue to care for students who display symptoms whilst at their home. With our support they would follow the prescribed medical advice, and we would keep the school and overseas parents fully informed of the situation.

School holidays

We will work closely with schools to offer clear guidance to students and their parents on the best course of action for the October half term and Christmas holidays 2020. If students remain in the UK, and are not able to stay at school, we will with be able to assist.

In the event of a school closure

In the event of a prolonged school closure, we would continue to follow the advice of the Department for Education and Public Health England. The procedure for guardianship organisations is set oout below.

Healthy students must as soon as is practicable either:

  1. a) return home
  2. b) be looked after by their parents
  3. c) be looked after by another responsible adult (family friend/relative 25 years+)

We will support the school with the student’s forward planning, providing they have not been to, come from or had contact with anyone from an affected area, by providing homestay host family accommodation for healthy students, while they make alternative accommodation arrangements. This may be with their regular long-term homestay host family or with a short term family. Provision of homestay host family has extended for several months so far this year when schools closed in March as flights were not available and some students are still in the UK with our homestay host families to this day.

Should there be a school closure and students at the affected school are displaying symptoms and/or awaiting test results for COVID-19, we are unable to accommodate these students in our homestay host families, due to the risk to the homestay host family and their wider communities. Any such student will need to remain within the school’s isolation provision, until they receive the all-clear, or are admitted to a medical facility. If a student receives a negative test result, we can then look to accommodate them as stated above.

If a student develops symptoms after being placed in a homestay host family and the school is closed, we will instigate the proper testing and isolation procedures and accommodate the student until they are given the all-clear or admitted to a medical facility.

As your appointed UK Education Guardian, we will ensure that your child is cared for in an environment which is robust, well co-ordinated and provides effective communication throughout. We are very much here to ease those natural anxieties you may have in making that decision to send your child to a UK Independent School or University. If you have any concerns, doubts or additional questions then do please contact a member of the AGUK team.

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UK Coronavirus Latest Announcement (11/05/2020 21:00PM)

The Boarding Schools’ Association has provided a thorough and clear review of the latest Government announcement as of the 11th May 2020.

Please click on the following link to understand what is being advised:

http://createsend.com/t/i-9C422BBE9C8B7DF42540EF23F30FEDED

If you would like to discuss any of the content in further detail then please do get back to our Educational Director – Andrew Kettle, either by email (andrew@academic-guardians.co.uk) or for current parents via the Teams portal and video link.

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UK Ofqual Announcement (Final Grading Guidance) (03/04/2020 15:00PM)

We trust that all our AGUK students and families are keeping safe and well, whilst we are all experiencing this ongoing and hugely challenging time for everyone.  We wanted to let you know that Ofqual have now published the details of how grades will be awarded for GCSE and A Levels. It may take some time to for your school to absorb the guidance and the relevant advice from Examination Boards on the process of GCSE A Level gradings, so we advise a little patience here. On initial reading it is broadly in-line with much of what has been suggested and the expectations of schools.

Generally speaking, the requirement will be for teachers to provide evidence to support the awarding of grades.  Evidence will have to be gathered and supplied to support gradings through the start of the Summer Term up until at least the 29 May, which is the earliest point at which examination boards can set a deadline.  Ofqual have clarified that work we can use for evidence includes:

  • Classwork/bookwork
  • Participation in performances (in subjects such as Music, Drama or PE)
  • Non-examined assessment (whether complete or not)
  • Results of mock exams
  • Any other records of student performance over the course of study

We are aware that several schools are providing optional assessments, scheduled for the start of the Summer Term. Ofqual have clarified that work submitted after 20 March can be included in the evidence, but that no pupil should be disadvantaged if, due to their circumstances, they are unable to complete work.

We hope that you will have a good knowledge of the grades likely to be achieved from reports and recent conversations with tutors. If this is not the case, it is important to inform you, that from today Schools are not allowed by Ofqual to share with parents or pupils the final grades that will be submitted.  We do strongly advise that you respect this guidance and do not contact individual teachers, tutors or Heads of Department regarding your child’s grades.   

For further guidance and initial queries the Ofqual document aimed at pupils and parents can be found here.

Additionally, do contact the AGUK team, or do look out for your invite to our Academic REACH program and an e-meeting with the Education Director, where you will have the chance to discuss all of this and more face to face, online.

Our contact details are:

Office +44 203 515 8880

Mobile 24/7 +44 7931 954 106 / +44 7823 321 993

Email office@acedemic-guardians.co.uk / team@academic-guardians.co.uk

Whatsapp +44 7931 954 106 (Dawn) / +44 7823 321 993 (Andrew)

Weechat              AGUK-REACH

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Coronavirus Latest Announcement (25/03/2020 21:00PM)

A few words from Dawn & Andrew

We wanted to express our gratitude to our wider AGUK community for their efforts and reassuringly confirm that our students are either safely at home with family or in the safe care of our homestay hosts. Now as a relative newcomer to Education Guardianship comparative to the established members, we’d like to take a moment to express our indebtedness to AEGIS. As accredited AEGIS members, during the previous 8 years we have seen our movement accelerate forward at tremendous pace raising the bar each year, demanding and expecting more than what was in front of us! Why? For exactly the situation we have been faced with now!

It is no small thanks to AEGIS, the minimum quality standards that they set, their ongoing support and the assurance from the team that this was to be the way forward. Indeed, as this global situation escalated into a pandemic it was very clear that all accredited guardians were prepared, ready, educated and had already inspired a generation of homestay hosts to think and be ready to support in the same way. In fact, such has been the overwhelming praise from parents, schools and the teams within, we feel blessed to be regarded so highly. I’m sure this is a universal message that all AEGIS Guardians have received, and we should reflect on the positive work that has been achieved during this unprecedented and unsettling time.

It has truly been a collective effort to ensure the wellbeing of all students in our care and beyond have been supported and safely looked after, even under the most disruptive of situations! To the AGUK team we wanted you to know that we will be ever grateful for your commitment, drive and overwhelming sense of care.

Thank you.

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Coronavirus Latest Announcement (24/03/2020 08:00AM)

The absolute priority of everyone in Britain needs to be protecting the health of the nation, with a requirement to adjust our behaviour to help slow the spread of the disease, prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed, and ultimately save lives. The way everyone can do this is by following the Government’s advice and staying at home. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening (23 March), people will only be allowed to take part in one form of exercise per day like a walk, run or cycle alone.

We’d like to reassure all parents who have children remaining in the UK that we are very much here supporting you and your children through this very unsettling time and can assure you that our homestay hosts are fully prepared to spend quality time with your children, during this National lockdown period, with adequate food supplies in readiness! Throughout this time the office will be operating, supporting and guiding parents, students, schools and homestay hosts. If you have any concerns do communicate with us by any method including the two 24/7 emergency contact numbers.  +44 7931 954 106 / + 44 7823 321 993.

In addition, for those students who are now embarking on a remote learning programme we are piecing together a mentoring assistance initiative, which will be summarised in more detail via a letter to all parents. We look forward to speaking to you all in the coming weeks!

Full Government Guidance: New rules on staying at home and away from others

PM @BorisJohnson gives an important update on #coronavirus #StayHomeSaveLives

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Coronavirus Latest Announcement (18/03/2020 21:00PM)

As of yesterday, Wednesday 18 March 2020 the UK Prime Minister announced the closure of all schools in the UK, effective as of the end of school on Friday afternoon 20 March 2020. Academic Guardians had been preparing for every eventuality and is now actively supporting those students who require immediate homestays before their scheduled flight departures. We are also aware that some students may need longer term homestays due to sudden flight cancellations and border restrictions. Whilst schools have been instructed to close, there are several schools who are able and continue to accommodate and care for boarders for as long as necessary and we are getting the latest updates from schools through the night.

The key message is ‘don’t worry’! We are fully prepared and so are our homestay hosts, ready and responsive to every eventuality. The team is here for you 24/7 – to provide clarity, reassurance and support any plans that need to be put in place. Even if you, at this time of great uncertainty, only need to hear a calming voice of support, to put your mind at ease!

Another significant announcement was that the Government has now acknowledged that the GCSE, BTEC and A-Level examinations will not take place in May and June.  They have given no further detail as to what the alternative will be but have promised “to ensure that all pupils will get the qualifications they need and deserve for their future and careers.” The reassuring message for those affected by this decision is the assurance that whatever alternative measures the Government introduce, they will be equitable for every student in the country. Unfortunately, there is still no clarity about plans for the International Baccalaureate Diploma, however we will relay to you everything we find out as quickly as possible.

Continued Support & Remote Learning

As you may be aware, significant preparations have been taken by schools to prepare for the remote delivery of the curriculum, using accessible online learning platforms.  Many schools have been running large-scale trials in readiness to allow for the school timetables to run as normal, for this prolonged closure period.  This is quite a significant break away from your current method of educational learning and will require the development of new skills when adapting to remote solitary learning. AGUK can and will assist with continued monitoring and mentoring support. We also have in place specialist subject tutors for those who feel they may benefit from extra help!

Your help!

In this rapidly evolving and hugely disruptive time can you please update us with changes in plans, flight schedules, homestay requirements as soon as possible. This will help us to effectively utilise our resources to meet the needs of everyone in our care. Thank you for your continued support, it is hugely appreciated.

Our contact details are:

Office +44 203 515 8880

Mobile 24/7 +44 7931 954 106 / +44 7823 321 993

Email office@acedemic-guardians.co.uk / team@academic-guardians.co.uk

Whatsapp +44 7931 954 106 (Dawn) / +44 7823 321 993 (Andrew)

Weechat              AGUK2018

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Government Coronavirus update (March 13,2020)

Following today’s COBRA meeting, the UK government has advised schools and other institutions to remain open. In addition to this, the Government announced:

  • People should self-isolate for 7 days if they have a cough or a temperature
  • People over the age of 70 shouldn’t go on cruises
  • UK schools cannot go on international school trips until further notice
  • Wash your hands

The latest Government guidance and information regarding the coronavirus can be found via the following link:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

In brief, the chance of getting coronavirus in the UK has only just been raised from low to moderate and in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the National Health Service is advising that you: We encourage you all to continue to observe strict hygiene measures to minimise the risk of the spread of the virus.

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Advice sheet – home isolation – GOV.UK

We are following the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Public Health England (PHE), National Health Service (NHS) and the Boarding Schools Association (BSA). If you would like to access those advisories yourself, they can be found at:

WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/

PHE: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

NHS: www.nhs.uk/conditions/wuhan-novel-coronavirus

BSA: http://boarding.org.uk/media/news/article/13293/BSA-Novel-Coronavirus-guidance-update-27-1-20

Advice is being regularly updated and the directors are meeting daily to adjust responses accordingly. The government has, as outlined above, advised schools to cancel trips abroad over the Easter holidays. We are supporting the necessary changes in plans on a continual basis. A number of pupils living abroad are now going home early for the Easter holidays before travel restrictions may imposed in their home country preventing them from travelling from the UK. The UKVI have determined that under these circumstances all early departure requests for Tier 4 students to travel home be regarded as authorised absences from school/college. Please inform us if you intend to arrange for your child to return home early, so that we can support and liaise with the school accordingly.

While the Prime Minister has said that scientific advice is to keep schools open and that closure could do more harm than good, this decision could easily change as the Coronavirus spreads (there are currently 596 cases with 10 deaths in the U.K.). All schools have advanced plans to continue teaching and learning through various means, in particular the virtual learning environment. Do find out from your school/college the process for accessing continuing support and learning resources and be ready to use it.

A Levels and GCSEs

One of the unknowns is whether Covid-19 will impact on the coming GCSEs and A Levels: Ofqual, the exam regulator, is looking at a range of scenarios with the exam boards. If Covid-19 outbreak reaches its height either just before or during the exam season, Ofqual is likely to give special consideration grades to pupils who under-perform if they are taken ill during the exams. Pupils who can only take part of an exam are usually given a grade based on an early paper. The other possibility is for exams to be delayed or, in extremis, for grades to be based on mock exam results or predicted grades. These are just scenarios and we will update you if we have further news from Ofqual. The exam boards will also inform the schools what to do if coursework deadlines cannot be met because of the enforced closure of schools.

Importantly, the current advice is that pupils should continue to prepare for the GCSE and A-Level exams. If at any point you feel anxious or concerned about any aspect of the current situation do reach out and speak to us, we are here to help and reassure you during this very disruptive and challenging time.

Our contact details are:

Office +44 203 515 8880

Mobile 24/7  +44 7931 954 106 +44 7823 321 993

Email office@acedemic-guardians.co.uk / team@academic-guardians.co.uk

Whatsapp +44 7931 954 106 (Dawn) / +44 7823 321 993 (Andrew)

Weechat              AGUK2018