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【The Standard】How to pick the best guardian

Helpful Tips


sending your child to study in the UK can be a nerve-wracking experience. Many parents I speak to are fraught with questions like: “Will my child be happy in their new environment?” and “What if they struggle to make new friends?”

Choosing the right guardian to oversee your child’s needs while in the UK certainly helps to alleviate some of these concerns. Just as UK students would be expected to reside with their parents or legal guardian during term time, weekends and half-term, so are international students whose parents reside outside the UK expected to have their own education guardian.


The role of the guardian

Guardians have the legal authority to act on behalf of parents in matters affecting the child, and they are encouraged to show a genuine interest in your child’s academic progress.

A guardian will be responsible for looking after your son/daughter during half-term, accompanying your child to any necessary medical appointments, and liaising with the school regarding any pastoral duties, just to highlight a few duties.


Who can be appointed as a guardian?

The guardian must be a permanent UK resident aged 25 or over, and should live within a reasonable travel distance of your child’s school.

All guardians are required to pass a full criminal disclosure before being appointed.


Can my friend be the guardian?

Yes, but bear in mind that the responsibility of a guardian extends far beyond that of simply taking care of your son or daughter during the holidays.

While you may find it easier to trust a known family friend, they mightn’t be as qualified as an experienced guardian in terms of communicating effectively with schools on matters such as airport pick-ups, or handling emergency matters.


When’s the best time to appoint a guardian?

Keep an eye out for guardianship organizations throughout the school application period, but I recommend holding off on confirming your choice of guardian until you’ve decided which school your child will be attending.

This is important because it’s a requirement for the guardian to live relatively near to your chosen school, guardianship fees vary between different organizations and the school may be able to offer its own local guardians.

Once you’ve appointed a guardian, you should notify the school of contact details and inform it immediately of any changes.


Which guardianship organizations are legit?

In my experience, choosing one of the 40 guardianship organizations accredited by the Association for Education and Guardianship of International Students is one of the easiest ways of ensuring quality guardianship and support for your child. Examples include James-Lee Consultancy, Pippa’s Guardians and Bright World Guardianships, but a full list is available on the AEGIS website.



Mabel Chan is a principal consultant at Britannia StudyLink.

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