Before our host families start receiving students into their homes we make sure the main carer has received safeguarding awareness training. Many of our hosts already have received training from their current employer but if not we have our own bespoke online programme that we offer to our host families free of charge. As another option to our own course, AEGIS, our accrediting body, offers a free online flip-through course to our host families. When you are ready to apply to become a host family for Bright World, we will send you links to complete both courses.
Your online safeguarding training is designed with host families specifically in mind. Awareness training will teach you what constitutes child abuse and neglect and how you can learn to spot signs that something is not right. Without training, which includes examples of behaviours and signs, you may not notice things and they may go undetected.
Our host families understand that international students sent to the UK without their parents are vulnerable and may be exposed to any number of situations where they may be abused. For example, cyberbullying is one area that they are particularly susceptible to as we have learnt over the years working with some of our students who have been victims of online fraud. As host families, you pay a pivotol role in recognising when something is not right and reporting that to us at Head Office.
A child who is being subjected to any form of abuse may well not feel able to tell anyone. They may be ashamed of something that they have done online that has led to them being cyberbullied or a victim of fraud. They may have been told not to tell anyone or they just may not think anyone will believe them.
Despite sometimes not talking about it, we learn from our training that they can show signs in different ways. They may stop taking care of themselves and look unclean and unkempt; they may lose or gain a lot of weight; they may be withdrawn and quiet when they used to be loud and confident. These changes can go undetected by people who see them every day at school but for our Local Coordinators and our host families who only see them a few times each year, they can really help in noticing that something is not quite right. They, in turn, know to report any concerns onto us, who in turn can inform their parents and the school.
It is so important that our host families understand safeguarding and signs to watch out for if there is something wrong when they are hosting children under our care.
We have had a situation where a host family reported to us that they are concerned about the eating behaviours of a student. The student had become very thin since their last visit and was not eating properly with the family. We were able to work with the school and the student’s Mother who came to live in the UK with the child whilst she undertook specialist counselling. This meant she could still attend school but get proper help and stay with her Mum each night. We are pleased to report that she overcame her issues well enough to return to full boarding and complete her education. If it wasn’t for the host family noticing the changes and issues and reporting it to us, then we would never have been able to help her.
To find out how to become a host family, and for a copy of our handbook, please contact our team direct on+44 (0)1273 835745 or fill in our online enquiry form below and we'll get back to you.
Find out all you need to know about becoming a host family for Bright World by reading our FAQ.