Children studying at UK boarding schools whose parents live overseas require a UK-based guardian family, who live close to the school, to offer them accommodation at their exeat weekends and half term holidays, as well as act as their ‘English family’ to be there in case of emergency, monitor their academic study, be the friendly face at the airport that welcomes them back to the UK at the start of each term and ensure they are well-settled and happy.

Watch the video to find out the benefits of being a Guardian Family for an International Student.

Click on the link below to hear a radio interview about the rewarding experience of being a guardian.

Guardian families come in all shapes and sizes from large families, couples without children or children who have flown the nest, retired couples to single mums. All have a common interest in offering care and support to children and teenagers from overseas. All you need is a little time and a spare room in your home

What does the role of Guardian Family entail?

The child will be living in a boarding house at school during the term-time and will return home to their parents during the long holidays at Christmas, Easter and over the summer holiday. The guardian family will be required to do the following:

  • Provide a bedroom within your caring home for the child at exeat weekends and half terms. Schools usually have one exeat weekend each side of half term, so during each term, this usually amounts to two weekends and a week during half term. Sometimes an overnight stay is required at the start or end of term, where flight times do not fit with school term dates.
  • Acting as the key contact with the Houseparents and tutor, to make sure the child is making good progress at school, discuss and resolve any issues and to confirm arrangements when exeat weekends and half terms are approaching.
  • Being there quickly if an emergency situation arises such as accident, illness, suspension or an incident which requires the school to close temporarily.
  • Attending school parents’ evenings and reporting back to the parents or The Guardian Family Network staff team on progress.
  • Attending school concerts and sports matches to offer support to the child as and when appropriate. (How much you do this is left to the guardian’s discretion and it depends on the individual talents and extra-curricular involvement of the child.)
  • Communicating successes and concerns to or The Guardian Family Network staff team or the child’s parents back home.


Communication and being well-organised is a vital element of acting as a guardian family. The experienced staff team at the Guardian Family Network will be on hand to offer you support and guidance should you have any worries or concerns while the child is in your care. We can also assist you if there are any teething problems while the child is settling in, or further down the line if things are not as you expected.

You will also be in regular communication with the Houseparents and tutor at the boarding school, The Guardian Family Network staff team and the child’s parents or their representative, if the parents do not speak English.

An ability to respond promptly to telephone calls and email is vital and having access to Skype is a useful way for the child to keep in touch with home.