Unscrupulous operators exist in all sectors and educational guardianship is no exception. AEGIS has been safeguarding international students since 1994, and over the years has supported local authorities, and others within the sector, to ensure the best outcome for international students in difficult situations. This experience has provided us with critical insight into safeguarding issues within the niche world of educational guardianship.
AEGIS – First Port of Call
The AEGIS office regularly receives calls from local authority safeguarding partnerships when issues arise around the care arrangements of international students. Some recent examples:
The movement of international students, under the age of 16, by unaccredited guardians/hosts, every 27 days during lockdown in order to avoid private fostering checks. This is in fact classed as child trafficking.
Lack of reporting of a private fostering arrangement which involved international students who were unhappy and uncomfortable with their hosting arrangement, and who had been staying with the unvetted host/guardian for a long period of time. This was at the time when flights were not running and schools were closed. Unfortunately, this host was also acting as educational guardian to the children, so the children had been isolated and had no one to turn to.
Checking if a host who they had concerns about was known to AEGIS.
AEGIS Puts the Child First
The primary role of AEGIS is the inspection and accreditation of guardianship organisations, which we do through a rigorous inspection process based on the AEGIS Quality Standards, available to read here: AEGIS Quality Standards.
Schools will be pleased to know that our standards are based on the 1989 & 2004 Children Act and the most recent versions of the Department for Education Working Together to Safeguard Children and Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance. Our standards are reviewed annually.
AEGIS offers the highest level of Inspection & Accreditation
Our inspection team is made up of independent, experienced inspectors. They know what to look out for and the pertinent questions to ask during the inspection of a guardianship organisation. Our inspections are rigorous, ensuring the highest level of inspection and accreditation in the UK.
Just as schools receive inspection reports, each AEGIS accredited guardianship organisation receives a full inspection report.
As the accrediting body, if anyone has a concern about an AEGIS accredited guardianship organisation, we want to know. Our full list of policies and procedures can be found here: https://aegisuk.net/policies/
Is AEGIS Accreditation Guaranteed?
No, accreditation is not guaranteed. In order to be granted AEGIS accreditation, a guardianship organisation must meet all of the necessary requirements. Sharon Sverdloff, AEGIS Inspection Manager explains further:
“AEGIS offers two levels of accreditation – preliminary and gold standard. To attain either level of accreditation, guardianship organisations must undergo a thorough inspection to show how they are meeting the AEGIS Quality Standards. Whilst inspectors will work with guardianship organisations to improve practice where necessary, it is the case that guardianship organisations who are not able to meet our requirements satisfactorily will not pass inspection and will not therefore become accredited AEGIS members.”
We are always happy to hear from schools and support those looking after international students in any way we can. Please do contact the AEGIS office if you have any queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The safeguarding of international students, using vetted guardians, is vital not only for students and their families, but also for the reputation of British education. AEGIS’ accreditation and advice, and the passion of the team in such an important sphere, deserves support that StudyTravel is happy to give.” Nicola Lutz, Director, StudyTravel
“Safeguarding Associates for Excellence (SAFE) believe AEGIS plays a crucial role in safeguarding international students, inspecting professional educational guardianship companies to a high standard and in doing so ensuring that the safety and wellbeing of students in the care of guardianship companies are put first.” Fiona Lee, Safeguarding Associates for Excellence (SAFE) and former police specialist child