Boarding Programme

Independent Boarding

This programme is suitable for students aged 7 to 19 years of age with a boarding place at a UK Independent School. It is designed to give students a full package of care and meet the guardianship requirements of their school.  

The student will have the full services of the Alpha Guardianship Team, who are based up to approximately 60 minutes from the school.

This programme includes:

  • Local Guardian to the School – Alpha is within one hour travelling of the school applied for.
  • Transport arranged to/from the airport or Host Family with named driver or Alpha Team.
  • Regular Contact from the Alpha Team to student and school including school matters, trips and information as well as pastoral and academic support.
  • Regular Contact with school and host by the Alpha Team including school matters, trips, information and updates.
  • Regular Updates with parents/agents
  • Progress Monitoring of academic achievement, attendance and wellbeing.
  • Attendance at school functions e.g. Progress/Parents Evenings and Award Nights.
  • Doctors Registration
  • Bank Account opening with a UK High Street Bank
  • Control of Payments from Expenses Lodgement including pocket money, if requested
  • 24 Hour Emergency Cover with immediate contact should any significant event or incident occur.

Homestay Programme

This programme is suitable for students aged 11 to 19 years of age, with a place in an Independent school and wishing to live with a host family, or an EU student wishing to apply to a State school.  

The Host Family is carefully selected for each individual student with likes, dislikes, personalities, hobbies and pets all being taken into consideration, as well as distance to school. The Homestay option enables the student to experience British Culture and way of life, as well as great exposure to the English Language. It is designed to give students a full package of care whilst benefiting from living in a Family Environment.

This programme includes:

  • Host Family Placement in a carefully selection, fully checked Host Family with regular visits from The Alpha Team.
  • Own Bedroom.
  • Full Board Accommodation at weekends and holidays, with half board on school days.
  • School Application Service or application advice and support inc visit support and induction information
  • Transport to/from Airport with named driver or Alpha Team
  • Attendance at school functions e.g. Progress/Parents Evenings and Award Nights.
  • Host Family Accommodation arranged during Holidays, Half terms and Exeat Weekends with fully DBS checked and inspected Host, including transport arrangements.
  • Control of Payments from Expenses Lodgement including pocket money, if requested.
  • Regular Updates with parents/agents.
  • Travel Arrangements as required ie to local groups or activities
  • 24 Hour Emergency Cover with immediate contact should any significant event or incident occur
  • School Application Service or application advice and support is available, should a school place not already be found

University Programme

This programme includes:

  • Emergency cover 24 hours a day.
  • Liaison with the university to assist with application, arrival and throughout your time there, until no longer required.
  • Visa support letter if required.
  • Arrangement of transport to/from airport if required.
  • Arrangement of host family accommodation if required.
  • The Alpha team are available for support and advice.


Some of the most common frequently asked questions are addressed here.

Covid 19 – Are schools open?

All schools are planning to reopen in September and have put in measures to ensure students can social distance within the school buildings. Enhanced hygiene and sanitising procedures are being followed within schools to assist with this.

Covid 19 – I need to go into quarantine – will my Host Family be able to accommodate me?

Each of our host families have agreed to a Covid 19 Charter where they are happy to provide quarantine at the beginning of the academic term prior to school commencing.

Covid 19 – I need to go into quarantine when I arrive, will my school be open?

Most of the schools we work with are opening their boarding houses early to provide this facility. We recommend you check the dates for admission, and book your flights to coincide with these dates.

Covid 19 – I want my child to wear a mask

Masks are compulsory on public transport, in shops and crowded places. If you want your child to wear a mask in other places, this is perfectly acceptable. We recommend they always dispose of their mask responsibly after use.

Covid 19 – What about travelling to the UK?

Additional measures are being taken to ensure student safety when travelling, particularly as you travel from the airport to the school/host family. Your driver will be wearing a mask and will have hand sanitiser, wipes and additional masks available for you. Social distancing measures will be followed. A welcome pack of a drink and snacks will also be available.

Covid 19 – What happens if my child cannot go home for the holidays

Our hosts are available during term times and holiday periods to accommodate all students requiring homestay. Please notify us as soon as you can if you require this.

Covid 19 – What happens if my child gets Covid 19 when in the UK?

Any student displaying symptoms of Covid 19, will be required to self isolate for a period of 14 days, where they are residing – in the boarding house or homestay.

Medical treatment will be accessed for them as necessary and all NHS and government guidance will be followed.

Covid 19 – What happens if schools have to close?

Schools have already demonstrated that they are able to teach online, and should schools be closed for any reason, they will revert to these, already tried and test methods.

Given the current advice and policies, it would be hoped that whole school closures will be avoided.

For students in boarding, it is envisaged will remain in the boarding house until the school can reopen.

How good does my English have to be?

All students need to have a prior knowledge of English as they will be placed into an English speaking school, with all classes being taught in English. Some schools recommend students use a testing system prior to application to grade their English level to ensure they can cope with the level of English required for their studies as well as being able to communicate effectively and adapt to life in the UK.

How is my Host Family checked?

Each of our host families goes through a vigorous application and interview procedure, followed by the taking of references and DBS checks (Police checks) to ensure suitability. Our hosts have to attend training prior to having a student placed in their care, which provides additional information to the host regarding the student, such as transition to life in the UK and student safety, ensuring the best possible preparation for the host to care for the student placed in their home.
 After this process is complete, we endeavour to profile both the students and host families, matching as many requests and interests, likes and dislikes as possible. Once this is complete, we can introduce you to your new host family, enabling you to build relationships and get to know each other throughout the summer, prior to your arrival. Throughout your time in the UK under our guardianship, we remain in regular contact with you and your host to ensure your stay is an enjoyable one.

I have a special diet. Can you accept me?

Yes. We already have a number of students with specific dietary requirements from lactose intolerance to peanut allergies, coeliacs (gluten) to vegetarians. We endeavour to cater for all students and will find a host that is able to manage a specialised diet. If this is you, please state this on your application form, so we can make provision for you as early as possible. This may incur an additional cost.

I would like to continue some of the hobbies I had before coming to the UK. Is this possible?

Yes and we strongly encourage this. Tuition and additional lessons can be arranged and some schools are able to offer music lessons as well as school orchestras or choirs. Schools offer extra-curricular activities such as sports, crafts and academic subjects whilst other hobbies can be pursued in the local community. So whatever your hobby, ask, and we shall see what we can arrange.

I would like to request a particular type of family, is this possible?

Whether you would like a quiet, retired family or a family with children or no children at all, we will endeavour to meet any requests you may have. Please indicate your preferences on the application form.

My English is not good enough

We can arrange private additional English tuition to help your English improve from the outset of your time in the UK to ensure swift progress in your language skills. We also suggest that you converse in English with your host family whenever possible, as this will help you build your confidence, vocabulary and encourage you in your language development.

What happens if I don’t like my host family?

We understand that sometimes a placement just does not work out and although, if possible, we will try and facilitate any issues or concerns between student, host, parents and agent, sometimes it is necessary to move a student. When this happens we will liaise with all concerned to try and find a timely alternative, hopefully minimising any disruption to the students studies.

What will my host family be like?

Host families come from a range of different backgrounds and ages. They could be a single or married, families with or without children, white British or from a different ethnic background, working or not … Yet one thing that they do have in common is that they are English-speaking, have an interest in meeting young people from different cultures and a desire to make your stay enjoyable, providing a safe place for you to live and meet your daily needs.

The family you have been placed with has been especially selected for you, reflecting your requirements, interests and special requests.

Will you meet me at the airport and how often will I see the Guardianship Team after that?

We offer free transport dates when the majority of our students fly into the UK, and we personally accompany all of these trips ensuring students are met in the airport terminal, have got safely through customs and can retrieved all their luggage, before traveling to the homestay or school.

After this, the Guardianship Team will accompany you on your first day of school whenever possible, meeting the school staff and ensuring everything is in place for a smooth start at your school. You will then receive regular visits both at your homestay or school to ensure you are settling well along with interim communications. You are also able to contact us via phone, email, text, whatsapp and social media.

Outside office hours, we can be contacted by the Emergency phone, to which all students, schools and hosts have the number.

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