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Boarding for International SEN Children

Basic considerations

Parents sending their children from outside of the UK will need full boarding for 7 days per week because their children cannot keep coming home each weekend. Whereas this is the norm for mainstream boarding schools, it is actually quite unusual for some specialist SEN boarding schools, when they cater more for UK parents who want their children home at the weekends. Furthermore, those SEN schools with only weekly boarding are unlikely to have Tier 4 status with UKVI to enable them to issue CAS letters to obtain a visa for their child to attend a UK school. Currently parents with nationalities inside the EU or EEA do not need visas, but this may change in the future.

Thus an international parent from outside of the EU / EEA will need to obtain a visa from the UK Embassy within their country, but be aware your chosen school will need to be a full boarding school with Tier 4 Visa status

Alternatively some international parents are prepared to relocate to live near the chosen school, in which case you will need a different type of visa.

Education Advisers does not give visa advice, but we can refer you to specialist legal firms which help with visa application problems.


UK Law mandates that foreign residents must appoint a guardian for each child receiving full time education in the UK.

The guardian will accept legal responsibility for the child and also has the power to take decisions regarding emergency medical treatment as well as registering the child with a local family doctor. A guardian also provides the child with a place to live during school holidays, exeats (periodic closures of the school in term time), illness or school expulsion.

Guardianship Services

In addition to the legal requirements guardians often perform many other services, such as:

• Liaising with school on academic or pastoral problems

• Supervision of child’s finances

• Travel and airport transfers

• Purchasing school uniform

• Home stay before or after terms

• Excursions and holidays

• Accompanying child to dentist or optician

The costs of a guardian can be anywhere from £1500 to £5000 per annum, depending on the quality of the firm and the services you need.

There are numerous guardianship companies with differing reputations and variable degrees of service. Let us find you a trustworthy firm which also suits your budget.

One such company is Bright World, who offer a comprehensive range of guardianship services for children attending UK boarding schools and universities.

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