8 reasons why students need an educational guardian while studying in Ireland

To complement the outstanding pastoral care at Villiers School, all international students are required to have an Irish resident guardian.

At Villiers School, we welcome students from all over the world. Our pastoral care team works to ensure all international students are effectively supported as they integrate into school life.  The school’s pastoral system is very strong, and to complement this, we ensure that effective arrangements are made with an educational guardian.  

Our international students are part of a diverse community of people who care for each other and flourish as individuals, celebrating diversity and forging lifelong friendships. Living in a foreign country, in unfamiliar surroundings, away from the comforts of home and perhaps, having to communicate in a different language, can sometimes be a challenge.

“Ensuring you have a supportive and trustworthy guardian for your precious child is a necessity. It will alleviate the stress of sending your child abroad to study in a strange country, far away from their parents and family. The guardian will deal with all your child’s needs, no matter how small, just like you would.” 

NORA GALLAGHER (EDUCATIONAL GUARDIAN)

During term time, the school is legally responsible for each student’s welfare and undertakes parentally delegated responsibilities.   There are times (e.g., during exeats, illness, midterm, holidays, etc.), however, when the school must be able to hand over these responsibilities to a properly appointed guardian. 

All international students are required to have an Irish resident guardian whilst studying at Villiers. We must ensure that each student, whose parents are domiciled overseas, has a competent and caring guardian who fully understands their legal and pastoral duties.  Some parents choose to appoint a family friend or relative, but where this is not practicable, professional educational guardians can be appointed using reputable, and ideally accredited, educational guardianship agencies. 

“When my children went abroad to school, I wanted to know that they would be cared for in the same way that they would be at home. I wanted a ‘point of contact’, both for me and for my children. The primary responsibility of a guardian is to ensure the safety and welfare of the student in partnership with both the academic and pastoral team in Villiers.”

AUDREY MURRAY (EDUCATIONAL GUARDIAN)

Here are 8 reasons why having an educational guardian is so important for international students:

  1. Guardianship provides an additional level of support for an international student whilst s/he is in Ireland and allows the student to have another trustworthy adult outside of the school to whom s/he can turn for assistance, advice, or advocacy.
  2. The guardian is familiar with the school’s rules, regulations and policies and supports Villiers School’s aims and values.
  3. As the person with shared delegated parental responsibility, the role of guardian complements the requirement of Villiers boarding staff to act in ‘loco parentis’.
  4. The guardian ensures that legal documents such as visas and registration documents are kept up-to-date and renewed/updated when necessary.
  5. The guardian assists the student to arrange airport transfers for overseas travel, and it is the guardian’s responsibility to ensure that the student reaches his/her destination safely, and often accompanied.
  6. Where parents are unable to travel to Ireland to settle their son / daughter into school, guardians are available to assist with the purchase of books, uniforms, and any other items a student may need. 
  7. The guardian is available for the student, to attend parent-teacher meetings and other school events which a parent may not be able to attend.  Guardians are encouraged to maintain regular contact and are warmly welcomed to visit the school.
  8. The guardian provides safe and suitable accommodation and appropriate care and supervision for the student in an emergency, or during periods when the student cannot be accommodated at the School, including periods of illness.

“As a guardian, I am, for all intents and purposes, the student’s parent while they are in my care. I provide a feeling of security and offer guidance by helping students to integrate into their new surroundings.”

KAREN (EDUCATIONAL GUARDIAN)

It is the primary responsibility and choice of a student’s parents to appoint an educational guardian. Villiers School can provide details of recommended agencies or individuals who have acted as guardians to students from the school in the past, but parents must fully satisfy themselves as to the suitability of their chosen educational guardian. 

The school is not the agent of any of the agencies provided, accepts no legal responsibility or liability for any guardianship arrangements. The school does, however, expect the guardianship arrangements to be satisfactory.

“We visit our students every week in September and then once every two weeks, this gives parents security and when your child is in another country that is very important.  When you are making the emotional and economic investment to send your child abroad, using a professional guardian provider is a necessity.”

NEIL NORTON (EDUCATIONAL GUARDIAN)

Find out more about the international student programme at Villiers School here.

Find out more about our recommended guardians here:

Nora Gallagher – Website: Guardianship Ireland – Email: isgi@bwe.ie

Neil Norton – Website: EDEX – Email: neil@edex.ie

Audrey Murray – Email: audreymurray66@gmail.com