|1. What are the Half Term Holidays and Exeat Weekends?
By tradition, all boarding students of primary and secondary schools in the UK are entitled to a long holiday in the middle of each academic term. They are called the half-term holidays. The first holiday that falls in mid-October is 16 days long. The other two holidays, each last for 9 days, fall in February and May respectively. Most boarding schools will also have one or two additional short holidays, each covering a 2-day weekend. They are called the exeat weekends.
2. When do the students need to stay with their host families?
As a general rule of the schools, all boarders have to stay off the campus and stay with their host families arranged by their guardians during these school holidays. There are practical reasons for this arrangement. On the one hand, it will allow the school staff to take a rest, or the school to carry out maintenance of the boarding houses during these holidays. On the other hand, it offers the overseas students an opportunity to stay with their host families so as to experience the life and culture of England. They may like to study, have entertainments and relaxation, or go for sightseeing and exploring places they like, hence broadening their horizons.
However, for safety reasons, all boarding schools strictly prohibit boarding students from staying with all hotels, travel inns, bed and breakfast, and the like. Students who are in breach of this rule will be punished seriously. Therefore, students are required to stay with their host families for many reasons such as those below:
- Seriously offending the rules in the school and expelled for a few days from their schools and boarding houses,
- Attending an entrance exam, or interview that is far away hence the students cannot return within the same day,
- Wrong dates on the flight tickets hence the students have to stay with their host families until the departure date or waiting for the opening of their boarding houses,
- Attending the work experience programme for one week during a half term holiday,
- To represent their schools and join the competitions or performance of various activities that is far away, such as Maths, music, drama and sports,
- To attend any University open days that is far away hence the students cannot return within the same day,
- To stay in a place far away for the purpose of sightseeing, or collecting samples and information for their school works etc.
3. How many host families do we have?
Our company has recruited over 300 non-teaching host families, falling into three main categories:
(i) Pure Chinese family – suitable for students who are new to this country.
(ii) Pure English family – suitable for students who are used to English life.
(iii) Mixed family (English husband + Chinese wife) – suitable for students who want to learn English, but prefer Chinese meals.
Most of them are Christian families with a healthy life style. They have a tender heart and a wealth of experience in looking after students from Hong Kong. Last but not least, they have a comfortable living environment.
Besides, we are working together in England with “Living Learning English” and we have 400 tuition host families. They are all qualified English teachers and our students can stay with these families during the half term breaks and major holidays so that they can
(A) learn English or to prepare for the IELTS English examinations.
(B) have tuition on subjects like Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and Maths
(C) choose a total teaching time of 3, 4, or 5 hours per day
(D) choose one to one teaching or sharing a teacher with another student.
4. How do we choose a family for a student?
At the beginning of the first term, our company will choose the most suitable family for a student, taking into account the student's age, sex and the geographical location of the school he/she attends. Other factors that will be considered include but are not limited to the price, the student's personality, the level of use of English the student expects and any special preference he/she has for food etc. Most students will be satisfied with the host families after their staying with them. Nevertheless, there may be individual students who may have difficulty in adjusting to the new environment or in mixing with the host family. Should this happen, we are always pleased to arrange for the student to try the other families of his/her choice during the next holiday until he/she is fully satisfied. Students with our company are therefore enjoying greater freedom of choice when compared with some English guardianship organizations that are not willing to do so for their students. As a matter of fact, by giving students a freedom of choice, we have never received any complaint in this regard.
5. How do we arrange the transport of student?
The guardian will cooperate with the host family in arranging the transport to and from the host family for the student and inform the school, parents and student accordingly. There are a number of possible options of travel arrangements. In deciding which option is to be taken, safety, comfort and price are always our prime concern.
(a) the whole journey is to be driven by the host family;
(b) the whole journey is to be driven by the guardian;
(c) the whole journey is to be driven by a taxi driver;
(d) the host family will pick up the student from a major city center where the student is driven to by a school bus;
(e) students over the age of 15 can travel on their own or with other students by coach/train/underground to a major city center where the host family can pick him/her up.
6. What should the student pay attention to when boarding with our host family?
Before a student moves into our host family, he/she will receive a set of guidance notes from our company. These guidelines will help to ensure that he/she can enjoy a safe, comfortable and pleasant homestay. Please contact our company for such details.