What Is A Guardian, and Do I Need One?

What Is A Guardian, and Do I Need One?


Tower Bridge

For many years, parents living overseas have wished to educate their children in England. For these parents who are not resident in the UK, under British law and in accordance with the Children’s Act (1989), the Protection of Children Act (1999) and the Care Standards Act (2000) each child receiving full-time education (more than 12 weeks) must have a legally appointed guardian. The choice of Guardian is solely at the parent’s discretion.

Furthermore, The National Boarding School Standards (2002), boarding schools in England require parents to appoint a guardian who can be available at all times to act for parents and respond to the needs of both the student and the school. The international student should enjoy the same freedom as the home student – that is, to be able to have a break from the school during exeat weekends. A student’s educational experience in the UK is enhanced socially, culturally and linguistically by the opportunity to spend time with a welcoming family in a secure and friendly environment.

To make education in England possible and to safeguard the welfare of your child, a guardian acts on behalf of international student’s parents while their children are in the UK and take care of them during term time, school holidays and leave weekends. Must have a legally appointed guardian.

The legal reasons for this are:

  • The child must have someone who will bear all responsibility for him/her whilst abroad, and this person must be legally appointed by the parents and over the Age of 21.
  • This guardian has the power to make decisions regarding emergency medical treatment/operations, if required.
  • The guardian has the duty to represent the interests of the child in the court of England and Wales, or the court of Ireland, in the Immigration Offices, police and other legal institutions.
  • The guardian must provide the child with a place to live in case of illness, suspension, or expulsion from school.
  • The guardian must also register the child with a local family doctor (General Practitioner) and arrange public liability insurance cover for the child, of not less than one million pounds (£1,000,000).

In addition to the above legal reasons, a United Kingdom guardian is also essential to carry out the following duties connected with the child’s stay at school. So, when selecting a guardian you should look to see that the guardians supply an adequate, responsible, diligent and nurturing service with a minimum level of care, detailed as follows:


  • Be a 24 hour point of contact for parents, student, school and Host Family.
  • To represent the child’s best interests with the school authorities in the case of academic or pastoral problems.
  • Be on call to visit in case of emergency.
  • At the start of the academic year various items must be purchased for the child i.e. school uniform, books and equipment, name tags for clothing, bedding, telephone card etc.
  • Act on behalf of parents in case of an emergency or crisis.
  • Make appropriate arrangements for medical care.
  • Provide personal advice and support.
  • Keep you informed and consult you on matters concerning your child.
  • Establish a close liaison with you, your child and the school.

Guardian Appointed Host Families And Holidays

  • Exercise discretion regarding your son’s or daughter’s social activities and outings and sign consent forms for the school, if applicable.
  • Select a suitable Host Family for exeats, half-terms and other times when your child is out of school.
  • Maintain contact and make any necessary changes.
  • Liaise with the school over holiday and exeat arrangements.
  • Assist with the planning of school holidays and holiday courses.
  • Provide holiday guardianship.


  • Arrange travel between airport and school.
  • Arrange travel to and from Host Families.
  • Arrange any other travel within the UK.
  • Assist in the management of air tickets.
  • Book flights.
  • Assist with passport renewals and VISA’s.


  • Communicate with you, the student and the school on educational matters.
  • Assistance in school selection when a change of school is required.
  • Assist with choice of subject options.
  • Bring to your attention any educational problems or special needs and arrange specialist advice if necessary.
  • Attend parent-teacher meetings and some school functions.
  • Provide personal guidance when applying to schools.
  • Provide personal guidance with University or College applications.


  • Manage a personal allowance account.
  • Arrange payment of additional fees and expenses.
  • Arrange for the purchase and replacement of uniform items.
  • Assist with purchase of mobile telephone and run telephone account.

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