2022 marks 10 years of Academic Families. We’ve learnt a lot since beginning in 2012 and we’re incredibly proud of everything we’ve achieved. To celebrate our anniversary, we’re sharing our top 10 achievements from the last decade.
When we started out, we had only a handful of nationalities under our guardianship. 10 years on we have hosted students from 65 countries and we’re proud to have built such a large international community. Currently our students span Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa. We’re looking forward to welcome more nationalities as we continue to grow.
Starting out in 2012, our team was our founder, Lorna, and an Administrator. Now we are a team of 17 including our Edinburgh head office and our friendly and supportive local coordinators in their offices close to schools throughout the UK. We’re UK wide and local, and fully support our students with fun things like birthday celebrations as well any emergencies.
Covid-19 turned the world upside down, and it definitely gave us a challenge when schools suddenly closed and we were tasked with getting students home safely. With a monumental team effort, we made sure everybody got to the airport safely and made it home. Some students wanted to stay in the UK during lockdown too, so our host families stepped up and we were able to match our remaining students with caring host families. We’re very proud of how we continue to overcome challenges posed by Covid-19 and support our students during these very challenging times.
Next on our top 10 achievements list is flying the flag for top British boarding school education around the world. We recruit students from around the world and match the best British boarding schools to their requirements. We’ve actively promoted our services at education fairs on three continents and run webinars across the world. Being able to meet and talk to students and parents about our British school placement and guardianship services is always a highlight.
Receiving AEGIS’ prestigious Gold Standard Award in 2016 was a definite highlight. AEGIS requires inspections to be carried out every four years to ensure exceptional guardianship and business standards are maintained and 2021 saw us retain our Gold accreditation. We remain very proud of the feedback from AEGIS’ inspectors:
‘Academic Families Ltd is a highly professional guardianship organisation. The very knowledgeable and experienced staff team share the strong vision to always put each child first and to provide a service they ‘would want for their own family’. Academic Families takes its safeguarding and child protection responsibilities very seriously and has forged strong working relationships with the schools it works with.’
We are also certified by the Boarding Schools Association for both our guardianship and placement services as well as holding the British Council Global Agent qualification and status – two achievements of which we are equally proud. In fact, we were the first guardianship company to have double AEGIS and BSA accreditation and the only education company to hold these top 4 accreditations – AEGIS Gold, BSA Guardian and Agent, and British Council Global Agent.
We also take the mental well-being of our students seriously and know how important it is especially with Covid interruptions. Our staff completed the 2 day training from Mental Health First Aid England and are certified and able to look out for signs that a student may be dealing with mental health issues. The award shows that we know how to take appropriate action and support students who may be struggling. Extra knowledge like this allows us to go the extra mile and provide the best care for our students.
Establishing our community of welcoming and caring hosts is definitely one of our greatest achievements. Our host families care for our students as much as their own children and form lifelong bonds. Some of our favourite stories include students who have joined in fully with family life and who then remain in contact with their hosts for many years, including inviting their ‘British parents’ to their wedding! Our success stories are a testament to how supportive and caring our families across the UK are.
Our half-term trips must be the very best guardian trips available and we’re very proud of them so they are a must in our top 10 achievements. Our international students love coming on our trips, and they’re always a highlight of our year too! In October we visit Dubai and our itinerary includes visiting the Burj Khalifa, exploring the desert, visiting waterparks and theme parks and we even fit in some shopping too. During February half-term we visit Switzerland for an exciting ski trip and see the sights of Geneva and in May we visit Athens in Greece. The Academic Families holidays are always action packed, so they take a lot of planning, but it’s always worth it when we see our students having the time of their lives and looking forward to meeting their new friends on the next trip.
We have a strong digital performance and use technology to enhance the experience of our students, parents and hosts alike. Launching our bespoke guardianship management system has enabled immediate online access to current information and our state of the art cloud based guardianship management system enables users to see all the relevant information, including transportation, hosting arrangements and student finance.
We’re invested in the success and happiness of each of our international students, so when they succeed, we know we have succeeded too! Some of our favourite celebrations are when our students accept to their prefered course at top UK universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. A large number of our students have also excelled in sport and music and we’re proud to be part of their success in UK education.
We know we’re doing a lot right when parents and students give us great feedback but even more than their feedback, we value their referrals. We continue to grow our referrals from international families and UK host families alike. Schools appreciate our professionalism and child-centred approach when matching students and agents are confident they can work with us to provide professional guardianship for their students. Our hosts often tell us how well we support them and better than other guardians they may have experience of. Our drivers and transfer partners also enjoy working with us and appreciate our business practice. We are proud of the exceptional service we provide all our clients and also the great relationships we have with our partners.
With such a busy decade it was difficult to narrow down our achievements to just 10. However, we do know that our highest achievement of our 10 years has to be that we proudly ensure our international students are Safe, Happy and Successful.
We couldn’t ask for more.
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