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【The Standard:The importance of an appointed Guardian】Guardian Angels

Boarding 101

An essential part of the UK independent school experience for Hong Kong pupils is having a well-suited guardian who can do much more for your child than you could possibly imagine.

With so many guardianship organizations now operating in the UK, I urge parents to choose a guardian with diligence and patience.

Most UK boarding schools require that international students have a legal guardian who is a resident in the UK.

Fortunately, most reputable education groups in Hong Kong match students with guardians.

If parents have to fend for themselves, the first port of call when hunting for a guardian might be the Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students.

With the need for parents to be wary of illegitimate guardian service organizations, families can be assured that organizations accredited by AEGIS have been rigorously inspected.

Hong Kong families would be committing themselves to the best practice in the guardianship of overseas students whilst being sure that their children’s welfare meets the UK Visa and Immigration Service recommendations.

Not all independent schools make it a condition of admission that an overseas student must have a UK-based educational guardian.

However, Hong Kong parents should not be thinking of cutting corners. Most children like to have a home from home and a host family to stay with at half-term and exeat weekends.

Children also need a trusted presence and someone to turn to when the going gets tough.

In addition to greeting children at the airport and seeing them off at the end of an agreement, guardians can do a great deal in between.

For instance, they may coordinate dentists’ appointments, help children to buy a UK mobile SIM card and sign a mobile contract, buy a school uniform and sports equipment, as well as to make travel arrangements within the UK.

If problems occur with immigration and visas, or a child requires urgent medical attention, guardians may have to step in and react.

The majority of Hong Kong parents have peace of mind in knowing that their child is in safe hands.

Some worrying is natural when one’s child is so far away from home but parents can believe in the quality of AEGIS-affiliated guardianship organizations.

I have heard many wonderful stories about how guardians have taken an active part in children’s school lives and helped them to make well-considered subject choices and given university selection advice.


Mabel Chan is a principal consultant at Britannia StudyLink. lucyqna

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