Our Guardians

Having a supportive Guardian enhances the pupil’s experience of studying at Boarding School and living away from home.

We require Durham School Guardians to take an active role in your child’s education and welfare, living close enough for the pupil to visit at weekends, half terms or at the start and end of term before returning home. 

Durham School expects a guardian, or host family parent, to attend parents’ evenings to represent the pupil’s parents and be in regular communication with teachers, House staff, the Head of Boarding & International Students and other relevant staff when required. 

A Guardian may be a relative or friend of the family of the boarder or a Guardian Agency can be employed to provide the Guardian services. 

A Guardian Agency must hold the Boarding Schools’ Association Certified Guardian Agency status or be accredited through AEGIS. In line with our Safeguarding Policy, International Pupils’ Policy and the expectations from the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration), we will check the suitability of Guardianship provision for each pupil. If this is not acceptable, it may result in the pupil being asked to leave Durham School until a suitable Guardian is appointed. 

For international pupils, they may become in breach of their visa regulations and they could be asked to leave the UK and return to their home country. The School does not recommend or arrange Guardianship on behalf of the parents. Parents and Guardians are expected to keep the School informed of their contact details and provide all the information requested so we meet the regulations stipulated by UKVI. 

In addition to abiding by all the laws in the UK, Guardians (or host families provided by the Guardian Agency) of Durham School pupils must:

  1. Be within two hours’ travel time of the school.
  2. Be at least 25 years of age.
  3. Be finished with full-time education.
  4. Be fluent in English and, ideally, the student’s native language.
  5. Be a guardian for three pupils or fewer.
  6. Be available to contact at any time.
  7. Be available to take pupils to appointments outside of school, if necessary.
  8. Be available to provide transport and care in the case of infectious illness or injury, exclusion from school or the immediate closure of school due to unforeseen circumstances until a return to school is possible.
  9. Offer a room with a bed, wardrobe, desk and storage facilities with access to WIFI, bathroom and kitchen facilities and comfortable living space within their house.
  10. Provide three meals a day.
  11. Follow the guidance of Durham School in case of an emergency relating to the child either on the School site or on a School trip, in the absence of the parents.

The Role of a Guardian 

It is essential that a Guardian can accommodate pupils when needed, and parents are asked to consider this when selecting a Guardian.

The typical role of a Guardian includes:

  • Transport to and from School; it is a Guardian’s responsibility to transport pupils to/from airports/railways stations and to accompany pupils to school on the first day of each academic year, whether or not parents are present.
  • Accommodation during school holidays and half terms and bridging the gap between term dates and flights to and from home.
  • Collecting the pupil in the case of illness, injury or exclusion. We would expect Guardians to be able to accommodate pupils in the event of any pandemic flu illness, should such accommodation be considered necessary by the School. In the event of the School having to accommodate a pupil in the medical centre overnight in the absence of Guardians, we reserve the right to pass on the staffing costs incurred to the parents.
  • Attending Parents’ Evenings, sporting events, drama and musical performances and any other School event to represent the parents and support the pupil.

It is essential that a Guardian can accommodate pupils when needed, and parents are asked to consider this when selecting a Guardian.

The provision of Guardianship is monitored by the Admissions Department, the Head of Boarding and boarding Housemasters/-mistresses, as well as by parents who employ the Guardian.

For all international pupils who are sponsored by Durham School and issued a CAS, it is imperative that Durham School has consent from both parents which includes the arrangements for their child’s application to the School, travel details, reception at the airport, onward travel to School and their Guardianship arrangements.

Details of travel arrangements and plans for the child during the holidays must be submitted to the Head of Boarding well in advance of each holiday. In the current pandemic, this must also include clear details of where the pupil will quarantine and results of any medical tests required on return to the UK. 

To comply with UKVI regulations, if the Guardian of an International pupil sponsored by School, is a family friend or relative or non-BSA-accredited Guardian Agency, Durham School has to be confident that this person meets the criteria set out above and will carry out checks to establish the criteria are met.

If you have any queries relating to Guardianship, please contact the Admissions Department on [email protected] or Kath Rochester (Director of Co-Curricular, Boarding and International Students) at [email protected].

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