Bright World Hub: Autumn 2020

news and updates from Head Office

Bright World Hub

Welcome to the latest edition of the Bright World Hub. It has been nearly a whole year since we set up virtual office, in what has been a very peculiar time for everyone, and we are certainly all missing each other's company. However, despite many new challenges, everyone has adapted to home-working very well and there has been plenty going on to keep everyone busy.

Christmas & Quarantine

girl in santa hat at desk

It has certainly been a very different first term to what we are used to. Perhaps the most significant additions have been our quarantine programmes, Christmas accommodation and the testing and transporting of students.

Normally when students arrive, they will go straight from the airport to their school. In a small number of cases, we may have to provide a night or two with a host family if they arrive before the boarding house opens. This year, however, many students have been required to spend two weeks in quarantine before they join their schoolmates. We have accommodated these students either in a specially-selected host family, or at our Quaratine & Settling In programme in Cambridge.

When it comes to Christmas, nearly all of our students fly home to be with their families. However, with many facing uncertainty over whether they will be able to travel freely, lots of our students are again requiring our assistance. With this in mind, we have been able to offer students the choice of staying with their host family, or at one of our residential Christmas programmes, in Cambridge or Reading.

anti-bullying week

odd socks day

The Bright World Team is always keen to support good causes, and there was no exception with Anti-Bullying Week in November. To mark the commencement of Anti-Bullying Week, Head Office staff, along with some Local Coordinators, all met on Zoom to display odd socks on their hands, in support of Odd Socks Day. The idea of this campaign is to celebrate what makes us all unique. As you can see, this was well represented by the team.

news from our departments

Here are some updates from each of the departments at Bright World. Though we continue to work at home for the foreseeable future, we are still very much a team, and all working harder than ever to ensure our students are well cared for.

guardianship care

Bright World guardianship care team

With rules and regulations changing as quickly as our Autumn weather, so have the plans of most of our students. It has been the job of our Guardianship Care Team to stay on the ball and communicate effectively with schools, parents and agents, to ensure that necessary arrangements have been in place at all times. A good example of this came after the Government's recent announcement of another nationwide lockdown. On the back of this, some schools decided to cancel their upcoming exeat weekends. Others decided to give students the option of staying at school. This of course created lots of extra work for the team, who suddenly had a lot of re-arranging to do.

One very new challenge the team have faced this term, is when students have been informed that they need to leave school to self-isolate. This has happened in the instance of another student in the same school house or "bubble" showing symptoms or testing positive for Covid-19. Some schools have been happy to for students to self-isolate in school, whilst others have required them to self-isolate outside of school, which means we have to spontaneously arrange a host family for them. We have also had to arrange quarantine for newly arriving students within host families, though there is only a limited number who meet with the Government guidelines for this.

Many of our students have been in touch with their Guardianship Care Manager to seek advice about Covid testing. Though we are not in a position to book any tests ourselves, we have been able to recommend certain clinics to our students, and to arrange transport to and from them. For younger students, we have been able to provide an escort while they are tested, by way of their driver accompanying and waiting for them.

The Guardianship Care Team continue to make plans for their students for the upcoming Christmas break, with many parents delaying their decision in wait of updated travel regulations. A small number of schools have decided to remain open this Christmas, whilst others have agreed to let students leave earlier than they usually would. For students who are not travelling home, the team has been busy arranging a host family for them, or booking a place for them on one of our Relax & Revise @ Christmas programmes.

safeguarding, accommodation & travel

Bright World safeguarding team

It has been business as usual for the Safeguarding, Accommodation & Travel Team, although there has certainly been a lot more of that business than usual. Lots of taxi journeys booked, and lots of host families arranged. The main hurdle they have faced, like with the Guardianship Team, has been the continuous changing of students' plans. Whenever new regulations or restrictions are announced, or changes are made to the UK's list of travel corridors, we find students suddenly altering their plans for the school holidays. While this generates additional work, it is all worthwhile when we know that our students are being looked after, whether that be at home with their parents, with one of our host families, or at Relax & Revise.

Historically most students go home for the entirety of the Christmas holidays. However this year with uncertainty over whether or not most students will be able to fly home, many are opting to stay with their host family. It has been great to see the willingness shown by many of our families, to allow students to share their Christmas celebrations with them.

As mentioned above, our Accommodation & Travel Team has also been busy arranging travel to testing clinics for some students. In many cases, particularly with our younger students, a Bright World representative has been accompanying them at the clinic. This has been very helpful for students who are perhaps a little apprehensive about the tests. Similarly, the Accommodation & Travel Team has received a lot more requests for The Airport Angels service, from parents who are maybe a little concerned about any additional checks and procedures in place at airports, currently.

Ensuring our safeguarding is always on point, Jenny, along with Lana and James, recently attended Designated Safeguarding Lead training led by Adam Lubbock, founder of Kings River Education. This training covered important updates to the main pieces of government safeguarding legislation in the UK - Keeping Children Safe in Education and Working Together to Safeguard Children. Training sessions also covered new safeguarding terminology and areas of risk for young people, particularly international students, who can often be more vulnerable due to the difference in culture.

sales, marketing & admissions

Bright World sales and marketing team

This term has also been very different for our Sales, Marketing & Admissions Team. Firstly, there is of course the absence of industry events. Usually, this is a very busy time of year in terms of workshops and education fairs. It is safe to say that our team has been practicing a lot of desk-based marketing this year. Having said this, they did attend a Virtual British Boarding Schools Workshop in November, which was just as popular and well-planned as it usually is. Cory met with schools to discuss the school placement side of things and was very happy to hear that things were on the up in most cases, in terms of student recruitment. Lana, Charlotte and Louis met with partner agents and enjoyed catching up and discussing guardianship and our Christmas programmes in more detail.

As with other departments, the main focus has been Christmas for the Sales & Marketing Team. This has also been a very different challenge for them, as they have been dealing with lots of enquiries from students wishing to attend one of our Christmas programmes over the holidays. This is the first time that Bright World has offered a residential option for the Christmas holidays. They have also been dealing with requests for quarantine upon arrival to the UK. Though this may be uncharted territory, the team has adapted well to handling such requests.

Aside from this, the team has been producing lots of content, across a variety of channels. As well as the usual news, blogs and emails, there have been weekly podcasts. Bright Sounds is our very own podcast channel, where all manner of topics have been, and continue to be discussed. There have been guest appearances from many partner schools, organisations and industry professionals. Lana and Charlotte also hosted a webinar recently, along with Mary Doody from Kings Education. This drew a very good attendance, whilst the trio discussed our Christmas programmes in great detail and took questions from attendees.

Stay safe everyone. Until next time,

The Bright World Team