Education guardians are appointed to care for international pupils in the UK, typically for pupils aged under 18 studying at independent boarding schools. With the UK Border Agency (UKBA) introducing requirements for suitable care for international pupils, it is now more important than ever for parents and schools to insist that boarders have competent and properly appointed education guardians.


What is an ‘Education Guardian’?

There are many misconceptions regarding the meaning of ‘education guardian’ and it is important to recognise the distinction between ‘education guardians’ and ‘legal guardians’.  Education Guardian is not a legal term and should not be used interchangeably with Legal Guardian. An Education Guardian is someone who has been appointed to care for an international pupil in the UK and who has been delegated temporary Parental Responsibility by the parent(s) or Legal Guardian(s) residing overseas.


An Education Guardian’s responsibilities usually include caring for the pupil as would a responsible and caring parent by, for example, being in regular contact with him or her and providing advice and support as needed. The terms of appointment and age of the pupil are key. For a pupil under 18, an Education Guardian will typically care and take responsibility for them if he or she is unwell, suspended or expelled.


The role may also include being authorised to make certain decisions concerning the pupil on the parents’ behalf, such as consenting to emergency medical and dental treatment and dealing with matters of a disciplinary nature. The Education Guardian may arrange travel for the pupil and provide or arrange accommodation (homestay). For an older pupil, the Education Guardian may play a lesser role and be appointed only to provide support and advice (mentoring) to the pupil on request.