Guardian, Homestay and Local Support

You are moving to the UK so will need someone local to help out every step of the way. We take care of all the essential details on behalf of your parents whenever they can’t be with you, helping you make the most of this wonderful opportunity.

How we support international students

Lorna Clayton, Director of Academic Families

Academic Families – Your UK Guardian

While you’re at boarding school in the UK, you are required to have an appointed guardian near your school. Your guardian will look after you on behalf of your parents - mainly during school holidays, half-term breaks or weekends away from school.

Think of your guardian as the link between you, the people who work at your boarding school and the host family you stay with during school breaks and holidays.

A guardian is like an extra helper and a friend.

Sonia talking about her time in the UK

What to expect from Academic Families

If Academic Families is your guardian, we promise we will:

  • Treat you equally, fairly and kindly.
  • Give you support and advice whenever necessary.
  • Help you have the best possible experience in the UK.
  • Match you with a welcoming host with a clean, comfortable home where you can stay when you're not in school.

What we expect from you

In return, you can help us ensure you have a great experience by:

  • Following the rules – Academic Families, your school and our homestay hosts have rules to make sure you stay safe and make the most of this exciting opportunity.
  • Treating others the way you like to be treated by being polite and respectful.
  • Respecting other people’s cultures, beliefs and traditions.
  • Not using language or behaving in a way that may be offensive.

Why do I need a guardian?

Although you might think that boarding school staff, host families or friends living nearby can act as your guardian, there are many situations that require a professional.

For example, Academic Families has local staff across the UK and are on-hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We can quickly fix problems such as helping you with your mobile top ups, or coming to the rescue if you get stuck in the airport or run out of cash while in town or on a school trip. We'll also organise your UK travel arrangements. It's important for you to remember that you can only travel with safe, security-screened drivers (never in an Uber).

Help and support when you need it

As your UK guardian, Academic Families will be contacted by your school if there’s anything we can help with about your care, welfare, education and safety.

During your time at a British boarding school, we will also help you settle in and adjust to your classes and boarding school life. For example, you can call or message us any time you are missing home or don't understand something at school.

We’ll also visit you at least once every term and we can attend meetings or events on behalf of your parents.

At least once a year, your school will have a Parents’ Meeting, which we can attend on behalf of your parents. We’ll meet your teachers to discuss how you’re getting on academically and with other activities like music and sport. We will also hear about your social life and find out how you’re enjoying life in your boarding house. We’ll then send a report to your parents, so they’ll know how everything is working out.

UK-wide guardianship support

Academic Families is based in the UK and has local staff spread out across the country. We regularly visits British boarding schools and our homestay families to make sure our international students are happy, safe and successful while studying in the UK.

Our UK-wide local support covers all emergencies and we’re here round the clock. Since we started our business in 2012, we have never found a problem we couldn't resolve!

UK map

Multiple levels of support

Academic Families offers continuous support from the idea of going to boarding school in the UK to the day you graduate.

Full Support

Basic Coverage

Emergency Care

Academic Families have helped me a lot. I don’t know how I would feel without them. Roni was buying me vouchers for my phone for the first two months because I just didn’t know how to get them. They helped me to get my laptop, and helped my parents to get me a phone for my birthday. Roni even took me to my Go-Karting test in Glasgow with the Saltire Motor Sports team!

Anatoly, 14-year old student from Russia

Have a question?

question mark

You'll probably have many questions about the exciting times that lie ahead. We are here to reassure you at each step along the way.

Message us on our Live Chat or complete our enquiry form and one of our team will contact you when you're available.

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Quality you can trust

Academic Families has personal and professional experience with boarding schools. Many of our staff attended boarding schools themselves when they were young or have worked in them. We have all lived overseas and most of us are mothers, so we understand how important it is to find the very best education for every child no matter where that might be in the world.

From our headquarters in Edinburgh to our local staff across the UK, our team regularly visits hundreds of British schools. Our excellent knowledge of the UK education system, accreditation by the Boarding School Association (BSA) and certification from the British Council means we understand UK boarding education from the inside and out, and know how to ensure the best education for each child.

In addition, our guardianship service has been Gold accredited by AEGIS (the Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students) since 2016 and also by the BSA, so you know, with Academic Families, you're guaranteed to have the best local support anywhere in the UK.

Moreover, our team are trained MHFA Mental Health First Aiders so we are qualified to support our students with any wellbeing and mental health concerns.


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