Bright World Managing Director, Lana Foster has been on a mission since the company’s birth in 2000. A mission to promote guardianship and the need for a good guardian.
Lana joins the other AEGIS accredited organisations who are constantly trying to spread awareness to overseas parents who are sending their child to boarding school in the UK. As a Marketing committee member for AEGIS (The Association for the Education & Guardianship for International Students,) Lana and the rest of the Marketing board members get together regularly to discuss their different approaches to this hefty task.
“but I live so close and my child will be flying home for the holidays, so I don’t need a guardian.” A common response from parents of students who are often disappointed but the unexpected extra cost posed by a guardian. Whilst we do all we can to urge these parents that there really is a good reason as to why the majority of Boarding Schools now insist on an AEGIS accredited guardians, our efforts are sometimes unsuccessful. It can take a large scale situation, such as last weekend’s fog chaos to prove our purpose.
We are very pleased to hear that UK airports are finally returning to normal after thick fog engulfed most of England and Wales last week. Among those affected were thousands of international students travelling back to school after their half term holiday. There is never a good time for fog to strike but for schools and guardians who are responsible for the safety of the students under their care, the timing could not have been worse.
30 of our guardianship students experienced flight cancellations during the weekend, with hundreds more diverted and delayed. 3 students originally bound for Leeds Bradford were diverted to Edinburgh Airport and arrived safely at school thanks to the quick actions of our guardianship team. A young girl who missed her connecting flight, due to delays was met at the airport by one of our airside colleagues to ensure she did not have to wait alone.
Whilst some students were able to reach school on the day of travel, inevitably there were those who required emergency host family accommodation overnight or those who missed their school’s opening hours. Our Accommodation & Travel Managers were able to provide families to cater for these students and drivers to ensure their safe transportation. This new department has provided us with the new foundation we needed to source families and drivers in these unforeseen, emergency situations, as well as helping us to be extra organised for the half term and exeat weekend school breaks.This behind the scenes department work closely with our Guardianship Care Managers to make sure that all our students have plans in place for their short holidays far in advance. This advanced planning really has paid off and has meant that we were ready and waiting when the fog struck. We hope that the quick actions of our staff during last weekend’s disruptive events will help overseas parents to see more clearly and that our good work will give our clients further assurance as to why our role is so crucial to their children.
A message from Lana, Bright World’s Managing Director
'I have to say how incredibly proud I am of our Guardianship team. The relatively new Travel and Accommodation Department have really integrated so well into the Guardianship Department. Claire, Leanne, Kate and Hannah have been working tirelessly since last June to prepare for the year ahead, making sure we have great host families who are all screened and revisited to maintain our high standards. This has freed up our Guardianship Care Team to offer a great service to our parents and agents, managing the day to day problems and organising the departures, arrivals and half terms and exeats so precisely and with such thought and care. I have always felt that we have been good at this but this year I think we have really excelled ourselves. Half term is always so busy and the first half term usually full of problems with last minute changes, cancellations etc. With the new teams in place and working together so well this year this was not the case. The half term was going completely smoothly........ until.......
FOG!!! Yes, on Sunday, when the majority of our students were returning from their half term, the weather took a turn for the worse and hundreds of flights were cancelled.
Yesterday morning, we had our usual half term debrief and apart from the Duty Managers being rather tired, the results were awesome. Yes, we had cancelled flights, yes, we had students missing connections and needing host families but the whole thing was organised quickly, efficiently and safely. If anyone asks me why they need a guardian ever again then I will not have any trouble answering. As well as all the times you know you are going to need us, remember those unexpected times you don’t know you are going to need us but you sure are glad you have us when something like this happens.
I wanted to write this post to say how proud I am of Bright World and the company it has grown into, particularly in the last year, and what an awesome team of people I am lucky enough to work with.’
"Bright World is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment."
Leanne Poole, Accommodation & Travel Manager and WOW Award recipient tells us how… After her recent win recent win of the first ever Bright World WOW Award, we catch up with our very own Accommodation & Travel Manager Leanne Poole to talk about her vital role in safeguarding international students on our Guardianship programme and to find out just how she has helped to coordinate a flawless September Arrivals.