Following two faultless Autumn Exeat events, our latest WOW Award winner, Fi Williamson took some time out of her busy schedule to talk about her role with Bright World and the importance of the early rooming of students and Host Family allocation.
Fi and the rest of the Guardianship team have been working extremely hard over the last few months, preparing for the Autumn Exeat weekends and the lengthier October Half term holiday. Ensuring that all arrangements have been made for our students travel and their all-important host family stay during these times is a thorough process which Fi is all too familiar with.
“The first exeat weekend of the new academic year comes around very quickly and often as a surprise to overseas parents as it takes place during September. Their child has only just arrived at their new school and so we need to ensure that their first weekend away from school is an enjoyable and hassle free.” Fi explains.
After joining us as Accommodation & Travel Manager in 2016, Fi continues to make herself a necessity to the running of our Guardianship programme. Helping to guarantee that all overseas students who choose Bright World as their uk guardian are placed, quickly and efficiently with a safe, full screened Host Families, Fi also works hard to manage relationships with our Host Families and ensures that they are fully briefed and supported in all matters surrounding their hosting.
BW: Congratulations on winning a WOW Award Fi! In your opinion, what made the first exeat weekend of the year so successful?
Thank you! It is a pleasure to receive the award. To answer the question, almost every student we have placed has had a really great time and is actually looking forward to future half terms and exeats with their Bright World host family. So this to me is a great success and something to be very proud of. We have recently published some of the reports on our website (Click here to take a look.)
BW: How do you prepare for an event like this?
We have numerous checks in place to ensure that plans are 100% airtight and everyone has a job to do. Weekly meetings allow myself and Leanne to work closely with The Guardianship Care Managers, so that we can work together to match students with host families that best suit their needs. Reminder emails, confirmation emails and other systematic processes also help us to be super organised!
BW: What have you done differently this year to help improve our Host Family allocations for this academic school year?
This year, we started to room students much earlier and asked for plans from agents and parents earlier too. Ibos, our head office system is always evolving, and we constantly look at new ways to improve. Because of recent system changes, we can room students quicker and more efficiently then ever before.
BW: How important are Bright World Host Families to the running of the guardianship programme? How are they selected?
Without host families we wouldn’t be able to do what we do as there would be nowhere for the students to go when they are asked to leave their boarding house. Before hosting for Bright World, families have to go through a thorough application process where their house is checked, all residents over the age of 16 are DBS checked and they meet one of our local coordinators at their home.
A very important part of Bright World’s Safeguarding process involves speaking with our students to check that they have enjoyed their weekend and that they felt safe and happy with their Bright World Host Family. Our Local Representatives, who live close to our partner boarding schools help us to do this and submit reports to our Safeguarding & Operations Manager, Jenny Rumble. Here is an example of one of the recent phone call reports from Storm Copestake, following her Exeat phone call with guardianship student, Alice Feng from Caterham School in Surrey.
“It was lovely to chat with Alice this morning. She is having a good weekend and said her host family has been very nice and friendly. When I spoke to her she was on the train going to China Town with her friends for the day. She spent Saturday relaxing at home and doing her homework.”
You can read more student feedback following the exeat on our testimonials page. If you are looking for guardianship at a UK Boarding School or University, click here to enquire and to speak with a member of the team today.