Around half of the schools we work with have what we call 'compulsory' exeat weekends. This means that the school closes completely for two nights - usually a Friday and a Saturday and everyone must leave. All UK-based students get to go home to their own family and all the school staff get a well-earned break. For the international boarders things are not quite so straightforward and they need to go and stay with their host family. Although some parents initially do not understand why their child has to leave school just for a couple of nights, once they hear from their child how much they are enjoying their breaks from school they realise that although they are an additional expense, exeat weekends are very worthwhile.
Sometimes, if a parent is using a family friend as a guardian, there can be problems when schools close for weekends and half terms. Family friends may have a sudden emergency or change of plan meaning they can no longer host. With no other back up plans, parents can find themselves without a solution.
In these instances, exeat weekends can become a strain and a worry for overseas parents. Having a professional guardianship agency arranging your holiday times means that should the chosen host family suddenly be unavailable, parents can rest assured that another solution will be offered, taking the worry away.
The phrase 'a change is as good as a rest' is true. Doing something different from your routine can be as refreshing as taking a break from work or school altogether.
A host family will never replace their family back home but if a student has a regular guardian host family they go to then an exeat weekend can be a very relaxing and enjoyable break.
Spending a weekend out of school means they get to stay in a home rather than a boarding house. They can get up later, go shopping (if they are old enough to go out alone) and relax in different surroundings. They can eat home-cooked food and even help out with cooking the family meals.
Students go back to school having had a different experience and with things to tell their school friends about and their parents back home. They have learnt a bit about the culture in the UK and seen what our houses are like and how we live.
As well as providing a home from home, a host family can provide an independent ear. Students get to know their host family and see them as someone they can trust and confide in out of school. If host families are concerned about their students they will feedback any concerns to us at Bright World. This is an important element of the safeguarding work we can do as a guardian.
In summary, exeat weekends do seem like an unnecessary expense for parents and they do cause a lot of work for guardians, but at Bright World we do really see the positive benefits of a break away from school for our students and so we are more than happy to organise them.
Read more about our guardianship programme.
find out more about programmes on offer during the Christmas holidays in the UK.
read our Relax & Revise brochure and find out about our other programmes.