Why a reliable Guardianship Agency can be Invaluable….
For many overseas parents, the need for guardianship can come as a surprise. Often parents only find out that they need a guardian once their child’s school place is confirmed. Some parents have relatives or family friends in the UK who can act as guardians. But if they don’t, and still need to find a guardian – how do they go about it? It can be a challenging and confusing task. It is not easy to find someone in a foreign country whom one can implicitly trust to look after their child and keep them safe when they are out of school and unaccompanied. This is exactly when a reliable guardianship agency becomes invaluable.
At Gabbitas, we have been providing guardianship services for over 100 years, and as good wine with age, our service with time has become more refined, bespoke and fine-tuned to the needs of every individual client. We painstakingly select our guardians, using our contacts with former parents and staff at the top UK boarding schools. We recruit from community groups and our networks in specific geographic areas. All guardian families and any dependants over the age of 16 are DBS checked (DBS stands for the Disclosure and Barring Service, which prevents unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children). Every single guardian’s home is visited by Gabbitas staff to ensure that the standards are high and the quality of provisions would satisfy our clients.
We pride ourselves on the excellence of our service and always go an extra mile for our clients. We interview prospective guardians and send families their full profile. We do our best to match each child with the right family, taking their tastes, preferences and even sense of humour into account. Of course, a host family will never replace their own, but children get a break from their school’s boarding house, stay with a British family in a home, eat home-cooked food and, if they enjoy it, help with cooking or baking. Their host family takes them to the cinema, excursions or a picnic in the country. Once their stay is over, they go back to school having had a different experience, having learnt about the culture of how people live in the UK.
When a child from overseas under the age of 18 comes to study in the UK, it is a legal requirement for them to have a guardian. A guardian should be a responsible adult living in the UK, who can be there, in an emergency, on behalf of the child’s parents. Why is the guardian needed if a child is living at a boarding school? Firstly, because many boarding schools in Britain have Exeat weekends – long weekends when the school closes completely for two nights – usually a Friday and a Saturday, and everyone must leave. Schools also have Half-terms – a one-week holiday in the middle of a school term. Both for Exeat and Half-term, all British students go home to their families, whereas international boarders cannot necessarily go home and therefore need a ‘home from home’.
Secondly, unexpected things happen: students misbehave and are asked to leave school for a few days. The school may be closed when your child arrives or leaves. The child might get ill and need be taken out of school. Force-majeure circumstances happen too: heavy snow, fog, storm or volcanic ash, these things do happen, and provisions must put in place in case they do. In all those situations, children need to have somewhere to go, somewhere where they will be safe, welcome and taken care of.
At Gabbitas, we do everything we can to make their experience as vivid and enjoyable as we can, by choosing the right family for them. We also provide a host of other services. Whether a student missed their flight, forgot their passport at school and remembered half-way to the airport, had flu with fever and had to be taken out of school – our guardians are there to help 24/7. We have so much experience, we have seen it all and do not judge, we are there to support our students through their precious educational journeys.