Our Area Managers and Host Families are the heartbeat of Pippa’s Guardians. But what do they do in their day-to-day roles, caring for our overseas students while they study here in the UK?

Elizabeth Leonard

Here, Elizabeth Leonard, Area Manager for Kent, discusses a typical day.

As an Area Manager for Pippa’s Guardians I am truly lucky to be looking after boys and girls from across the world.

While they are boarders at the county’s top independent schools, I am here as their UK mum, getting to know them and sorting everything from phones to uniform, offering advice on exam preparation and better time management and organising a home-from-home for the half-term breaks.

This is the difference at Pippa’s Guardians – we offer a truly personal service through our Area Managers.

So what does a typical day look like?

My morning starts with coffee while I’m replying to the emails, WeChats and WhatsApps that have been sent overnight from parents across the world.

They may be simple arrangements concerning holiday travel or more complex worries about their children.

After a couple of hours’ desk work and a muddy morning dog walk, it’s time to jump in my car for coffee in the city with one of my student’s mothers.

Claire* has flown over from Hong Kong and we’re having one of our regular catch-ups.

It’s always wonderful to meet parents face-to-face to understand first-hand what their concerns are and what their children are really like.

It turns out Claire is worried about her daughter’s time management before exams.

Getting up at 4am to revise for exams really shouldn’t be the norm, and so I agree to visit and help her better plan her time.

School doesn’t finish until 4.30pm but I’m looking forward to seeing a number of my students before supper.

At Pippa’s Guardians we visit our students at least once every half-term, as well as communicating regularly with them via phone and email, and there is no better way to get to know them.

In the meantime, I am off to see a potential new Host Family.

It’s a two-hour meeting where I meet the family, look round the house and make sure they understand the high level of care we expect for our students.

Deirdre and Graham Smith* have a large city-centre house with two spare rooms and now their children are at university they are looking to fill the void by hosting our international students for exeats and half-terms.

They are a lovely couple, and have a fantastic dog. Deirdre is a retired teacher who loves baking and gardening and I have no doubt that she and Graham will provide a cosy home for two of my students.

There is just time to pop to the shop to buy a card for one of my sixth-formers, Mary*, who has been invited to interview at the University of Cambridge.

I tell her they’ll be fortunate to have her and wish her all the luck in the world before putting it in the post.

Visiting students is one of the best parts of my role as Area Manager.

They are all so different. Some are really funny, others very academic. Some are incredibly chatty and others are harder to draw out. But, they are all children.

They are all away from home and they are all relying on me for advice, guidance and support.

I love it, and consider myself incredibly lucky to be in such a privileged position.

*all names have been changed