Guardian for private school pupil whose parents are abroad - should I do it?(17 Posts)
I was asked by friends of friends to become a locally based guardian for their daughter who will spend six months at a private school nearby. They are in Germany and said it was just a formality, but now I have been sent a quite scary looking contract to sign by the school - would it be madness to do this?
It sounds like a kind, helpful thing to do if you are able, but what exactly would the obligations be to you in the sense of 'dropping everything in xyz circumstance'. That's what would most concern me - if you are away from the locality for the day/weekend/holiday, would you be required to return for certain reasons?
I don't know! That's what worries me and I was hoping somebody on here might know...
If they were good friends of yours I would agree to it but if they are only 'friends of friends' - why haven't they asked someone they know well?
You would be the first point of call if the girl was taken ill/had an accident/was excluded etc etc....you would have to drop everything and deal with any issue which normally a parent would handle. The reason I know is because one of my friends is a guardian for an overseas boarder student in her dd's class at sec school. She has to be able to get to the school within an hour should any emergency occur.
The likelihood of such an emergency is low, admittedly. But I'd think carefully. It's a lot of responsibility.
I thought generally people got paid for this?
My friend is paid a small sum but it's hardly lucrative, I don't think.
Why do they need one at all?
DH was sent to boarding school from the age of 8 to 18 while his parents worked all over the world including the Middle East. He never had a guardian though on shorter holidays like Easter he would stay with his aunt in the UK as his parents couldn't always afford to fly him and his three brothers home .
Are there no UK-based relatives who could help in an emergency?
It's not just a formality. I work in this area and deal with guardians a lot.
You will be the legally responsible adult for your friends child. If he needs an operation, you will sign the papers, if he is ill, he may have to come and stay with you (depending on school policy). You may be in charge of visas and other documentation. You may be required to have them to stay at Exeat or for holidays.
The guardians I use and recommend charge a highish fee per child to reflect the level of responsibility. They are the adult I call for academic concerns, illness concerns, behaviour concerns, emotional wellbeing concerns, middle of the night child has disappeared out of the building concerns.....
Don't be fobbed off. Find out from the school what they expect.
Just be careful. The guardian is to all intents and purposes 'in loco parentis' after the school staff and so you would be responsible for her at all times.
She would need to come to you for exeats if not going back to Germany for the weekend, and possibly half terms and holidays also! You could be asked to give consent on behalf of the parents if they were uncontactable and authorise payments for school items again if the parents were not responding to calls or emails.
There are professional companies that offer guardian services for school children, if they have no UK based family or friends then they can pay for one of those if you don't want to do it. If they are friends of friends why don't they ask the friends?!
There are plenty of parents at dds school who would find it impossible to get there in an hour but in an emergency/illness you would be expected to act as a reasonable parent would.
What are the arrangements for exeat weekends?
My Dad used to do this as a career. He got paid £500 a month for being on call, taking them out (expenses were extra) when they had weekends etc and supervising them, usually in the nearest city to their school. Pick ups and drop offs etc. He ran, until he died, a fairly successful business - mostly "caring" for older teens of Russians.
Oh, worst case was having to pick them up after they were suspended and have them to stay for a week.
The immediate parents can't do it because they are in Germany as well
I've done it-twice. Once it was just a matter of giving her a home for exeats and half terms but she was very happy at school. The other was harder work because she was utterly miserable and remained utterly miserable for 3 years. But I think that''s quite unusual........
IME there is an immense difference between being the temporary guardian for a pupil who is already a settled boarder at the school, and the local guardian for a child who will be boarding at the school temporarily. There can be various issues at the start of boarding, and friendships may be even harder to form in a temporary situation.
If the situation was the former, then simply checking what is required for exeat and the general health of the pupil might give you a clue as to what was involved. For the latter you need to know much more about the school and the student. It is more of a risk, and I have known students to simply refuse to be at school - you would probably want some clear expectations as to how much support you would be required to give in such an eventuality.
We have UK based guardians for our DC at boarding school. We are also based in Western Europe. T b h the guardians have never been contacted and have never done anything as we arrange all travel arrangements either ourselves or directly with the school. On the odd occasion there has been an issue eg rugby injury the school has contacted us directly.
Assuming there are no ash clouds coinciding with a chunnel and ferry strike we can get to the school within five or six hours. It will be the same grom most places in Germany - which is just as quick as if we were based in Scotland. The one hour away rule mentioned by a pp sounds a bit OTT as very few boarding parents would be that close.
This sounds like an older child doing a short stay so the parents could get there in the unlikely event she was terribly homesick/ill. So I would be inclined to say yes as you are very unlikely to have to do anything.
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