We are delighted to report that only two of our students were affected by the disruption caused with cancelled or delayed flights due to the Super Typhoon Haima last week. Both students were fine and travelled safely on the following day.
It was all systems go for a while at the office on Thursday and Friday last week when Claire Taylor, Director of Safeguarding and Operations, called a crisis meeting on Wednesday, when she first learned about the potential grounding of hundreds of flights on Friday, when we also had tens of students leaving for Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai for their half term holiday.
A plan was put in place that would mean that every Bright World student likely to be affected was identified as a potential ‘risk’ and individual contingency plans were put in place depending on their age, location and what their school told us would happen if their flight was cancelled. Several of the UK boarding schools in question said that their students would be able to stay in for an extra night but the majority said that this was not possible as their staff leave the premises during holiday times. We as guardians were there ready to step in to ensure the utmost safety of our students.
We had regular update meetings throughout the day and on both days’ flights were checked one by one for updates. This is how we knew that the flights that were cancelled were not flying, even before parents did and were able to pro-actively tell them before they got to the airports.
“I was very proud of how the entire Bright World Guardianships team reacted to this potentially critical situation. If the storm had been one day later, over 100 of our students would have been grounded in the UK or subject to long delays. We had to plan for the worst case scenario with a plan in place for every single student just in case they needed us. Members of Guardianship Care team and Accommodation and Travel team offered to come in over the weekend to ensure all of our students were safe and quickly helped if they needed it. We called on partner institutions Inspiring Learning and Kings Colleges in Bournemouth incase extra overnight or daytime accommodation was needed. Members of team of Local Coordinators and host families who were already pretty full with those students staying in the UK, were also on standby in case extra overnight or daytime accommodation. We all knew it could go either way – no disruption or HUGE disruption. Luckily the former was the case and we sailed through the half term with little incident.
I often encourage parents to think of part of their guardianship fee as an insurance premium and to think of guardianship, in some ways, as travel or medical insurance. We all take it out in case we need it. We all hope we won’t need it but we really feel relieved when something does happen and we make one call and everything is sorted out for you, no questions asked by a pro-active team of professionals. We are certainly pleased we chose, maybe not the cheapest company, but among the most reputable and reliable.
Now when I am asked by a potential parent ‘do I really need a guardian?’ I will continue to say, with even more conviction. You may not know you do but I can tell you the answer is yes.”
Lana Foster, Bright World Managing Director
Our thoughts are with all those who were affected by this terrible storm in the Philippines and in China.