Many parents who plan to send their children to study in the UK are not aware of the concept of educational guardianship and the requirements of the British law. International educational company Best Start Education provides a highly personalised level of service covering all aspects of education in the UK, including guardianship services. We receive many questions from parents about the safeguarding of their children whilst they are living away from home. Here we present FAQs about education guardianship for international students to make it easier for parents who plan to invest in their child’s education in the UK.
Many parents get surprised when they hear that they need to find a guardian for their child even for a two-month language course in the UK. Is it true?
Best Start Education (BSE):
– Yes, it is true. According to the British law, every student under the age of 18 who is coming to the UK for full-time education for more than 7 weeks must have a legally appointed guardian. A guardian is required even for students of colleges and universities until the they reach the age of 18.
What are responsibilities of an educational guardian?
BSE: First of all, it is important to understand that there is a big difference in responsibilities of educational guardians and other kinds of guardianship, or custody. In many countries where our customers live, these concepts are used under the same term, which is very confusing. “Educational guardian” is not a legal term and should not be used interchangeably with “legal guardian”. An educational guardian is a link between the school, the child and the parents. Guardians monitor the academic progress of a child, attend parent meetings and report back to the parents. An educational guardian must be appointed by parents before the student arrives in the UK to be responsible for providing accommodation during exeats and half-terms, as well as arranging any transport when necessary. Guardians must provide the child with a place to live in case of illness, suspension or expulsion from school. They are responsible for attending school meetings such as parents’ evenings and acting on behalf of parents when resolving school issues; taking responsibility for a student during an emergency; providing a home for the student if he is unwell during term time; paying any extra expenses from the deposit (such as extra uniform, school trips, music lessons) on behalf of the parents if needed etc. Our guardians also take care of some other important aspects, such as arranging birthday celebrations, organizing flower deliveries and cakes for special occasions in your child’s life. We make sure our guardians are truly caring people and the real professionals.
What is the best way to find a guardian? Who can be an official guardian for my child?
BSE: According to the law, an educational guardian for you child can be any British resident over 25 years old. If you have a family member or a friend who is happy to pick up your child during exeats, it can work well. But in most cases our clients do not know anyone in the UK who wants to take on this responsibility, and in this case, parents may use a professional guardianship organisation.
How does your agency select guardians? What are the requirements?
BSE: We have several specialists in our company who have been acting as guardians for many years. They are UK citizens and education experts. We choose guardians who live not too far from the school and are able to come within 24 hours, if needed. Where host families are used, they will be responsible for providing the pupil with day-to-day care, accommodation and meals. All our guardians and host families must obtain certain clearance certificates from police before they can work with children. Every guardian of Best Start Education has a car and extensive driving experience as well.
Best Start Education is one of the few guardianship organisations fully accredited by AEGIS (Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students). This means that parents can be sure that their child will receive quality guardianship and support during their stay in the UK. Accreditation is a very thorough process, which involves checking all the documentation, visiting schools and our students, inspecting host families and getting feedback from parents.
We care for our students very well. Please contact us for professional advice you can trust and support you can rely on.
Tel. +44 79307 32407
Elena Colquhoun, MSc, PGCE, ACIL,
Director Best Start Education, qualified teacher and examiner