Regent Guardians was set up in September 2018 under the name Dukes Guardians, and welcomed its first students in January 2019, becoming Regent Guardians in September 2019. The Director has been involved in international education for more than 20 years
in both the UK and abroad in a variety of senior and managerial roles. The service provided by the Director is very personal and supportive one and she is the key contact for all her students. She is supported by consultants and contractors, as
and when they are needed, to support the students.
Regent Guardians undertook Stage One of the AEGIS accreditation process in 2019.
Regent Guardians are currently a small guardian organisation; at the time of the inspection they looked after 13 students at one college in Cardiff. Of the eight host families registered with Regent Guardians; two had hosted and the rest were yet to host.
The Supporting Inspector visited the College, two host families and met with three students.
The College, which the thirteen Regent Guardians’ students attend, is rather unusual in that it only closes to students over Christmas; therefore, it is rare that host families are needed.
The Supporting Inspector met with one member of staff, but the staff member had also asked other staff members, prior to the visit, for their opinion of Regent Guardians. They are all in agreement that Regent Guardians excel other guardianship organisations and are a very impressive company. The staff member spoken to has been in his current role for four years and has been working with Regent Guardians for 18 months. The college have all the contact details for Regent Guardians and describe the communication from them as excellent; they have also been given a link to all the necessary documents from Regent Guardians detailing their services and policies.
The Director of Regent Guardians attends the college most weeks; the students and staff are always made aware in advance of the visits, should they need to talk about anything in person. At other times, regular contact is made with the Heads of Houses via email and phone. End of term arrangements, including flight and transport details are always communicated to the college in good time.
Students only stay with a host family in the event of an exclusion, extended illness or during the summer whilst attending work experience outside of the city. Regent Guardians have lots of host families on standby; they recently stepped in to help a student from another guardianship organisation following an exclusion. All host family information is emailed to the College prior to the student’s stay.
The College describes how little touches from Regent Guardians make their job as a college easier. For example, a student recently broke their mobile phone, usually the College would deal with such matters, but Regent Guardians assisted the student. The College also accompany students to register with the police upon arrival to the UK, but the Director of Regent Guardians will happily go with students to the police station.
The College only had positive feedback about their dealings with Regent Guardians and look forward to working with them further.
The Supporting Inspector met with three students from Years 11 and 12; the remaining students were in the middle of mock exams at the time of the visit. They were very happy with the service they receive from Regent Guardians.
They feel they have all the necessary information to help with studying in the UK. The handbook was fully explained to the students and any questions answered. The sections on services offered and details of what to do should they experience a problem are of particular use.
The Director of Regent Guardians is in regular contact with the students via WhatsApp and email. Regent Guardians are very responsive to correspondence from the students and often message the students to check on their well-being, for example to check they have landed safely when returning to the UK. The Director is also a regular visitor at the College and students are aware in advance of any planned visits and can drop in to talk if they need to.
The students that the Supporting Inspector met are yet to stay with a host family, but they are aware of this service if needed in the future. The Director also attends parent teacher meetings and other events on the invitation of the students.
It is clear that the students have built a good relationship with their guardian and feel comfortable to call upon them should they need anything; special occasions are also marked by cards and gifts.
Twelve students responded to the questionnaire and most responses were positive. Only one student felt that they were not given enough information to help prepare for studying in the UK, did not find the handbook useful and would not know what to do if they had a concern.
The other students found the handbook useful, particularly the sections on; services provided, banking information, introduction to the city and how the guardianship organisation works. Only two students stated that they have stayed with a host family and that they get on well with them.
The Supporting Inspector met with two host families; one of which is yet to host, and the other, at the time of the visit, hosted once.
The first host family, who is yet to host for Regent Guardians, signed a contract with them in July 2019. The host has a background in education and ten years’ experience in hosting for other guardianship organisations.
Even though, they are yet to host, Regent Guardians has already made a positive impression on the host family and a good working relationship has been established. The Director of Regent Guardians has visited the property twice and has provided all the necessary documents and policies. The host describes Regent Guardians as reliable, helpful, efficient, knowledgeable and thorough.
The second host family the Supporting Inspector met with is a husband and wife who are relatively new to hosting. They have been with Regent Guardians for just under a year and decided to become hosts following a recommendation from a friend. It is clear that all the necessary checks have been carried out and the family are in receipt of all the relevant paperwork and information needed to carry out their role.
Up until the Supporting Inspector’s visit, they have hosted one student for one evening; they were given four days’ notice. The student was due to arrive in the UK on the Friday, but their accommodation would not be ready until the Saturday. All relevant information regarding the student was sent in advance to the family via email, including the student’s estimated arrival time. The family escorted the student to their accommodation following the visit and the Director of Regent Guardians was there to greet them all.
They describe Regent Guardians as doing a very good job, being easy to talk to, professional and good at keeping them up to date. They hope to work with Regent Guardians more as they really enjoyed hosting a student and learning about their culture.
The only point worth noting is although both host families were made aware of the name change of the company via email, all the documents they have are still in the name of Duke Guardians.
Five host families responded to the online questionnaire and the feedback is very positive. They are in receipt of all the documents and policies and describe the communication from Regent Guardians as excellent. One response stated they haven’t received a signed agreement from Regent Guardians, but they haven’t, as yet, hosted a student.
Ten parents responded to the Parental Questionnaire. Most feel they were provided with all the relevant information to help prepare their son/daughter for studying in the UK, only one stated they didn’t feel they have enough information but didn’t elaborate
further. All the parents are also in receipt of the parent handbook and relevant policies.
They are happy with the level of communication from Regent Guardians and know the emergency contact details should they need to use them.
One parent describes Regent Guardians as very organised, meticulous and were happy with how all enquiries are followed up promptly.
It was clear to the Supporting Inspector following the visits and after analysing the questionnaires from all parties that Regent Guardians are doing an excellent job; close relationships are clearly forged with students, colleges, parents and host families
and the personal touch is evident.
The only point to carry forward is to supply all parties with documentation carrying the new company name.
The aim of Regent Guardians is to care for their students as if they were their own children. They act as the bridge between parents and school: liaising with both, caring for students, and making practical arrangements, all of which enable the students to thrive. By spending time getting to know the students, meeting up with them regularly and maintaining contact with them, they respond quickly and effectively to their needs, to parental requests, to the School and in support of the host families. Regent Guardians’ staff always act professionally to support all their stakeholders and foster genuine friendships with those in their care. Through the meeting with the Lead Inspector and scrutiny of procedures and practice, the company demonstrated that these principles were seen to work on a daily basis in practice.
The guardian organisation has a clear organigram explaining all the different roles and relationships of those who work with the company. There are clear job descriptions for all those involved, including the drivers. The job descriptions all have terms
of reference, the purpose of the job, the main tasks and the skills required to undertake the job. There are no employees and they are all consultants, contractors or host families. They have all had the appropriate induction training, DBS certificates
produced and safeguarding training.
The parents and host family contracts are clear and informed and signed contracts were seen. The guardian organisation does not currently have a formal relationship with any educational agents, either in the UK or abroad, but may develop this area in the future. The company is aware that they would need a contract if this were to happen.
The neat Student Handbook includes a mission statement, details about what a guardian is, what a host family is and as a student what you need to do. Also, what to do if help is needed. There is an A-Z of guidelines covering the following areas; alcohol, anti-bullying, apple pay, arrivals, BRP, bank accounts, bed times, behaviour, birthdays, body piercings, British customs, child protection, contact card, curfews, dress, driving, drugs, electrical appliances, excursions, fire safety, host families, home sickness, language, laundry, meals, medical issues, mobile phones, money, online safety, parties, personal safety, personal hygiene, prevent, privacy, public transport, religion, routines, school rules, sexual activity, smoking, tablets and laptops, tattoos, taxis, traffic safety, valuable possessions, visitors, wellbeing and Wi-Fi.
The Parent Handbook is clear and provides a mission statement and explanation of what a guardian is, safeguarding and full contact details of the company. It gives informative details of what is provided by the local guardians and the host families and the transport arrangements. It gives details of what the parents need to do if they want to work with the company in terms of sharing information. It includes all that it needs to that is Iisted in Appendix 4.
The Host Family Handbook includes definitions of who does what in the organisation, information about the students and a helpful FAQ section. This includes information on when students get hosted, hosting the same students, the ages of students, whether a host can specify the gender, the number of students a host family can accommodate, provision, food, language, culture, religion, driving, pets, organising events, whether a host needs to be at home all the time, training, outside help, what to do if a student is unhappy, money, medical issues and safeguarding. There are appendices covering student needs, house rules, household checks, vehicle checks, expenses and payments and suggestions, concerns and complaints.
The inspector has seen a comprehensive statement of service that is sent to schools. This covers an introduction, safeguarding, pre-arrival liaison, transfers to and from school, visits to the school, emergencies, temporary guardianship, rules, host families, complaints and full contact details.
The insurance certificates have been seen and are all in date. They cover all required insurance relating to professional indemnity and public liability insurance. The initial checks and the annual checklist for host families includes a question to confirm that homestays have adequate home insurance and car insurance. This is recorded for each host family on the initial visit form then it is summarised onto an overall spreadsheet which includes all the checks for families who work with the students.
The guardian organisation has a safe, secure and efficient method of holding all the records required. Many of the documents are held securely on Google Docs, which is supplemented by a locked filing cabinet as well. Each student has their own file with the original documents in, parents contracts, induction checks and signatures and other such original forms. Most are then scanned onto the system and securely stored in Google Docs. The company has not had any safeguarding matters to deal with yet but they would be held securely in the pupil folders which are securely locked in the filing cabinet at head office, as would any feedback from any of the stakeholders involved in the business. There are two separate books seen and held in the locked filing cabinet. One is the business accident book and from the reverse any health and safety issues not included in the accident book. The other is the complaints log at one end and in the reverse is the book for noting any sanctions that have had to be issued. All four books are currently empty as there have been no issues but they are set up and ready should any occur.
All Regent documents include the 24-hour telephone number that connects straight to the Director of the company. There is an emergency plan and documents for aspects such as pandemic – the guardian organisation has evidenced their ability to cope as we are currently in the middle of a global pandemic and some of their students had to be in isolation before they travelled home. There are detailed plans in place to look after an individual student if they were ill or needing to be away from school for any disciplinary issues.
Regent Guardians has a comprehensive information sharing and data protection policy, in fact there are two, one for parents and students and one for third party contractors such ashost families and drivers. The policy gives information of how all the data is appropriately shared between all the stakeholders. It is laid out in a series of questions providing detailed answers. Those questions include; summary of how we use your personal data, what information do we collect, how do we use this information, withdrawing consent or objecting to direct marketing, who will we share this personal data with, cookies and how we use them, what rights do I have, how will you keep my personal data safe, how long will you retain my personal data and how to get in touch with the company. There is clear information about the data controller and clear reporting lines.
There is a very detailed safer recruitment policy that is in line with all statutory guidance and is clear to follow in the process of appointing new staff. The guidance has been seen to be followed in the appointment of host families. The Director has undertaken face to face safer recruitment training and the certificates were seen. Notes are kept in a structured form for all interviews with host families. There is a comprehensive single central record that is in line with AEGIS suggestions in appendix 9. It is all completed and the dates correspond to safer recruitment procedures.
There are standard forms for all expense claims from different parts of the organisation. There are also proformas for the invoices which will be submitted by the third party contractors such as drivers and host families. The Director would receive the invoices or expenses and they would be paid within days and always promptly. This was evidenced with individual requests.
All policies and handbooks have their publication date included in them as well as the review date when they are expected to be amended to account for regulatory updates. The annual self-declaration has been submitted to the AEGIS office.
The personalised service offered by the guardian organisation is comprehensive. The relationship starts with the families, parents and students, with emails, WhatsApp videos and usually WeChat. There are many personalised chats with the families, often with the students acting as translators initially. All the students are at one college and most fly into Heathrow with their families at the beginning of their first term at the end of the preceding week that term starts. The students and families all go to stay at the same hotel that is near the college. The company sets up meetings with the family throughout the weekend and they build up a rapport during this time. It is very personal with each family. The student induction will take place in the first week of term once the parents have flown home.
The guardian organisation has a comprehensive student induction checklist which covers going through the handbook and all the key features within it, particularly the safeguarding aspects and the behaviour guidelines. It covers a variety of aspects and especially what sortof host family they might like based on their interests and hobbies. The checklist gives the opportunity for students to ask questions and explains about the photo permission for marketing which is also included. The student needs to sign and date the induction checklist to ensure that the company has gone through all required aspects.
There are very comprehensive records kept of the transport arrangements. There is a database of all the travel arrangements with all the details included that go to all the appropriate people. Permissions for organising travel are included on the parental agreement. There is a database of all the taxi drivers that are used including their details and the type of transport that they can offer. Some of the drivers have an individual relationship with the guardian organisation and some are through taxi companies. If they are individual then the guardian organisation will do the DBS checks, ID and all other required checks. If they are companies then the guardian organisation will have been sent emails confirming that they have enhanced DBS and also copies of the ID for their actual cars so that the students can be told the cab numbers. This information is given to the parents, pupils and heads of the boarding house so everyone is aware of who is undertaking the trip. Some of the sixth form make their own travel arrangements but it all has to be passed by both the college and the guardian organisation. There is an online college system that the parents have to authorise and the pupil has to give the guardian the details including the car reg and timings. All the students are 15 and over and do not require child seats.
The guardian organisation keeps a single central record of all the host family information. This includes their ID, right to work in the UK, an enhanced DBS, overseas check if they have lived abroad and details of the references that are taken up. There
is a proforma for host family interview notes which includes all the information that is required in standard 6.2 in order to check all these aspects on an interview at the family home. It covers all the AEGIS minimum requirements as well as additional
areas that might be useful to the company. Each host family undertakes a self-declaration such as in appendix 7 and this is noted on the overall host family spreadsheet. There is a medical declaration proforma which includes both mental and physical
The annual check list for host families and the induction check list at the start of the relationship with the host families includes all the information that is required under this standard. It includes far more information than the minimum.
All host families have a short profile on them so that it is easier to match up the personalities, interests and hobbies of the students with various host families.
There is an emergency contingency policy which covers a major incident or an emergency such as the death of a student, a serious accident, an incident affecting the repatriation or a pandemic – of which we are currently in the middle of.
The Host Family Handbook is a very well written document that covers all these standards in the form of questions that provide the answers that meet the needs of this standard. Examples of questions that provide details aligned with this standard are; What do I need to provide for the students?, Is it a problem that I have got pets? and Do I need to be at home all the time when the student is with me?. There are excellent appendices covering student needs, house rules, household checks, vehicle checks, expenses and payments, suggestions, concerns and complaints.
The handbook details that they need to provide them with three meals a day. For example, it explains that breakfast can be fairly light and many of the students, especially the older ones, won’t want it too early! It also clarifies that one of either lunch or dinner will need to be a good hot meal and that students will need to know how and where to access snacks and drinks during the day. The handbook goes on to explain that older students may well wish to prepare food with the host family and how the company will inform the host family of any allergies or specific dietary requirements in advance.
The handbook details that clean bedding, towels and basic toiletries should be provided and the student’s laundry should be done for them unless they are older and keen to use the laundry facilities themselves and the host family are happy with that arrangement. The handbooks includes that some students might not like having their own personal clothing washed for them and will prefer to do that themselves.
The guardian organisation has an online safety and sexting policy based on Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2019 and provides details and advice on online safety, child sexual exploitation, sexting and other issues facing students today, including the monitoring of student. It gives guidance to the host families about cyber bullying, grooming and on-line exploitation and discusses training opportunities for them. The policy provides details of lots of online support as well.
The Host Family Handbook gives details about how to include the students in the routine of the family and make it their home for the time that they are with them. It details that if there were an incident they may only use reasonable, appropriate and lawful means of control and contact to provide comfort if in distress and to maintain safety and good order with the home. It provides examples of when they might touch the student, such as if they are crying you might put an arm around them, but to do this in a public part of the house and not their room. The handbook details that they must contact the company if they have to use any form of physical restraint and under no circumstances must physical punishment be used. One of the host families has CCTV but it is only in use outside.
The guardian organisation provides regular training opportunities for the host family, both during the annual visit and at other times when it is deemed necessary. They are always there to help and support the host families in any gaps they may have in their knowledge.
There is also a termly newsletter that goes out to host families so that they know what is going on in the sector and with the guardian organisation.
As previously mentioned the company has a very comprehensive spreadsheet for the annual check for the host families that includes all the requirements of this standard and additional areas that they feel may be useful to know.
The host family handbook details that Regent Guardians will revisit each host family at least once a year to offer support and to recheck the health and safety aspects at a mutually convenient time. Suitable notice will always be given. Accreditation from AEGIS requires that host families may need to provide access to their accommodation for purposes of inspection.
The guardian organisation has a folder for each student both physically in the filing cabinet and securely held on Google Drive as well. All the required information for this standard, plus several additional areas of information, is included and has been evidenced by the Lead Inspector.
Regent Guardians has a comprehensive child protection and safeguarding policy which relates in detail to all the relevant points contained in KCSIE and Working Together to Safeguard Children and covers all that is required by AEGIS. It is a clear document
and has appropriate information under the following headings; ethos, implementation, statutory framework, DSL, supporting children, dealing with disclosure, record keeping, confidentiality, procedure, communication with parents, managing allegations,
safer working practice, safer recruitment and KCSIE. It also includes useful appendices covering types of abuse, managing allegations and escalation, referral routes, how to respond to a disclosure, the Prevent duty and radicalisation, restraint
and a list of useful contacts. It has a cause for concern reporting form and also an easy to follow flow chart of what Regent Guardians staff should do if they are worried about a child in need or at risk. It is reviewed annually and updated if
there are any statutory changes mid-year. Going through the child protection and safeguarding policy is part of the written induction checklist for students, particularly how they stay safe and how they should report any concerns. The policy is
gone through in detail with all staff and the company ensure that the host family understand the process if there are any concerns. There is a 24hour contact number included.
The Director is the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and has the appropriate status and authority to carry out her role. She has had suitable training with the Local Authority and it is undertaken every two years. There is a clear job description so that everyone is very clear about what she will do particularly in terms of liaising with the Local Safeguarding Partners (LSP) and the DSL’s with the individual schools that the students attend. Since the companyhas been going there have been no safeguarding issues to liaise with the LSP about. The Director has contacted them to introduce herself and her company so that they know who she is should an issue arise. The Director has an education consultant who works closely with the company, she has been trained up to level 3, her certificate has been seen, and she would act as the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead in the absence of the DSL.
Regent Guardians host families complete the NSPCC online ‘introduction to child protection’ course or a similar alternative. This remains valid for 3 years. There is additional safeguarding training carried out by the company to host families and staff before any of them go near a student for the first time or host them. This training is done face-to-face although statutory updates at non-normal times will be done electronically and via the regular newsletters. The well-kept databases include the record of safeguarding training.
The Regents Guardians’ whistleblowing policy covers all aspects of whistleblowing within their organisation. It seeks to provide a culture of trust and openness amongst its staff and encourages honest and appropriate feedback on all aspects of its operations. It details qualifying disclosures and provides a comprehensive procedure. It includes the NSPCC details, both email and telephone number.
The company have a prevent/anti-radicalisation policy which covers all that is required by the government guidance. It is updated regularly and reviewed when applicable. There is a 24hour contact number for the safeguarding lead team. There is a student induction checklist and a host family checklist and interview notes for meetings with host families and students and their families.
The guardian organisation has a missing students policy which covers the steps to be followed by members of staff and host families in the event of child going missing. It considers five relevant policies, full definitions for all those involved, information on how to minimise the likelihood of a child going missing and steps to take if you think a child has gone missing. It takes account of the guidance in Children Missing from Education. The policy is also on the website and easily accessible for all interested parties. It includes a 24- hour contact number, both land line and mobile.
The anti-bullying and cyberbullying policy provides suitable guidelines for students and those looking after them. Some information is also incorporated within the child protection policy. It sets out clear aims and provides definitions of different types of bullying, including cyberbullying. It states that staff and host families and drivers receive basic training in this area. It gives the procedure that is to be followed and also provides further resources for the reader to access through the NSPCC, ChildLine and Think you know websites.
The company has a comprehensive staff code of conduct policy which signposts other documents but essentially reiterates the aims of caring for the young people as if they were their own children. The code covers safeguarding, welfare, communication, dress, gifts, language, meetings, photos, privacy, relationships, searching, smoking, drugs, alcohol and transport. This is also gone through in detail when the host family first joins up and is reiterated on the annual visit.
The company has a suitable policy on recording and responding to complaints within a timely manner. It covers informal and formal resolutions and also gives information about how to refer the matter to AEGIS. There is a separate book for complaints which is kept in a locked filing cabinet at head office which would be used for the formal written records together with any action taken as a result of a complaint. There have not been any to date.
The guardian organisation does not work with day students or engage in private fostering.
The company has a comprehensive statement of service that is sent to schools. It covers safeguarding, pre-arrival liaison, transfers to and from school, visits to the school, emergencies, temporary guardianship, rules, host families, complaints and full
contact details. The Director has access to the parent portal so can access everything required. They are included in all mail outs to parents on generic issues. They send at least one message per week to the students and they see them frequently.
In the College there is a dedicated guardians office and the students go and chat on a regular basis. Evidence was seen of the type of communication between the college and the guardian organisation which shows how much they support and care for