another Christmas in the UK for boarding school students

Christmas 2021

If anyone had told us back in February 2020 that by January 2022 Covid-19 would still be seriously affecting us all, we would have found it hard to imagine. However, we are now nearing the end of the Autumn 2021 term, with most schools breaking up by 17th December and Covid-19 is topping our operational and safeguarding agenda for yet another Christmas holiday.

For the Bright World staff team, Christmas is usually a time for us to catch our breath and have a rest after a busy first term. All students go home to their parents and we even get to switch off the emergency phone for a week or so. Christmas 2021 and New Year 2022 will mark our second Christmas holiday where we will get no such break; in fact, we are going to be as busy as ever as we offer a lifeline to students who can’t go home and whose schools are closing for the holidays.

the journey home is not possible for so many

plane and covid

Although many students are able to travel home this Christmas, for those trying to return to Hong Kong or China, things are not nearly so easy, with lengthy hotel quarantine and the absence of direct flights to China among other considerations. The recent emergence of the Omicron variant means that even more students' plans are being affected by travel bans and restrictions.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Flight Ticket

Our students are allowed to travel back to Hong Kong as they are residents. However, they are not permitted to enter at all unless they are fully vaccinated, according to Hong Kong requirements. If they are residents and vaccinated, the difficulties do not stop there. They still need to have a PCR test taken 72 hours prior to travel from a recognised provider that reaches very specific criteria. On arrival in Hong Kong they are then tested again. Provided all those boxes are ticked, they then must travel to a Quarantine Hotel and spend 21 nights in total isolation there.  A booked room in a quarantine hotel is a must before travel and we hear that quarantine rooms in Hong Kong are few and far between now, so that is causing yet more barriers to our young scholars getting back home.

Unbelievably, there are some students who are determined to make that journey. Schools are allowing them to leave early and study online during part of their quarantine. This will enable them to spend at least a week or two at home with their family before returning to the UK in January.

Mainland China

Mainland China airticket

There are still no direct flights to China and the journey is long and complicated via a European hub. Testing is required both in the UK and in transit. Anyone under 13 or 14 is generally not permitted to travel unaccompanied and we do not advise this anyway, as so many things could go wrong on the journey.  On arrival back in China there is a 14 day quarantine in a government recognised hotel, which just makes the journey home unviable for many who need to get back to school early in January in the UK.

 For others, the timescales involved are simply making travel back home unfeasible.

According to the ISC Annual Census of 2021, there are 5,466 Hong Kong students and just over 6,000 from Mainland China in UK boarding schools, whose parents do not live in the UK, so this is the extent of the problem. This must mean that there are nearly 10,000 students needing somewhere safe and welcoming to stay for Christmas this year – this is a mind-blowing number. We are just pleased to be able to help the relatively small percentage under our care, as I know are the other AEGIS accredited guardianship organisations in the UK.
Lana Foster, Managing Director

a safe UK Christmas at no extra charge

host family at Christmas

This year all the boarding schools are closing, with the exception of a few, so as guardians, we are really needed at this time.

host family is the number 1 choice

We are, of course, stepping up to the plate and offering help our students and their parents. The majority are requesting a host family stay and Fi Williamson, Leanne Poole in our Accommodation and Travel Department have been working a lot of extra hours just to get through this enormous extra workload. 

residential options for those who want it

Some students prefer a residential option rather than a host family stay. With this in mind, we have teamed up with the experts to provide us with some solutions. Kings Education and SCL International College are offering fantastic options for boarding school students needing to stay in the UK. With these trusted partners providing top quality programmes, we are happy to offer them to our students and are arranging transport and short host family stays before or after if needed to tie in with the dates.

We have nearly secured a place for all of our students with weeks to spare, so we are very proud of Leanne, Fi, and Rebecca in the Accommodation Department, who have been pulling out all the stops to find host families for all our students. The Guardianship Care Team have been busy learning about and helping our parents and students with residential options if they request them. We are very impressed with all their hard work and determination to make everything as easy as possible for our students and parents.
Su Warren Director of Guardianships
Although we do have to charge parents for their host family accommodation or residential course, Bright World is not making any extra charges this Christmas. We are absorbing the extra work and are not charging parents any supplements. This is to keep costs down for them during these difficult times.
James Foster, Commercial Director

more information

stay safe host family

Host family accommodation

  • Bright World host families at Christmas

girl shopping in London

Accommodation in London for Christmas

  • High quality accommodation at SCL International