Schuljahr in York
Long Stay Information Pack for 1 or 2 years at Huntington School
We hope the following provides detailed information on key aspects of the stay for those students interested in applying and studying at Huntington School.
We are not a ‘large commercial’ organisation and there are certainly NO agents, NO agent fees, NO large upfront payments and NO contracts! Our intention is to provide the relevant information for ALL the different aspects of a stay and to keep things as simple as possible.
Therefore please take your time and digest the contents carefully and only apply if you are confident in our provision.
If you do apply and are successful in being offered an ‘unconditional place’ at Huntington School, we will then email to you:
- A confirmation letter and details of our yearly ‘June Induction Programme’ at Huntington School (successful students and at least one parent must attend the June Induction)
During the preceding spring of the academic year we will then email you the same ‘Information Pack’ but it will have ‘additional’ appendices/information that will include:
- Emails of all the German students who have been offered unconditional places for the Sept start. We do encourage new students to make contact with other new students. Friendships can start here!
- Confirmation of arrival times, payment details, term times and flight details for those students wishing to ‘access our ‘Airport Pick Up’ service at Manchester Airport upon arrival.
- Confirmation of the ‘June Induction Programme’
Please ensure you bring your own printed FINAL spring version of the ‘Information Pack’ for the ‘June Induction’ as it will be used as a key reference document.
Application criteria for those students considering applying to Huntington School for a one or two year exchange.
- European Union (EU) Students who are 16 or 17 before or on August 31 for the following academic year - Sept 1 to June/July. (1 or 2 years stay)
*These students normally defer starting their Abitur by a year.
- European Union (EU) Students who are 18 before or on August 31 for the following academic year – Sept 1 to June / July.
*These students have normally completed their Abitur. (1 year stay only)
Please note: Funding for EU students guarantees NO tuition fees for students aged between 16-19 at Huntington School. If you are under 16 at the start of the academic year then Huntington School cannot apply for the funding and tuition fees are no longer free for students. Neither can the school claim for funding to any student who turns 20 in an academic year of study. Therefore the funding ONLY applies to any EU student who is between 16 - 19 during their time at Huntington School. A student who is 18 at the start of the academic year will therefore have the first year of study free but if they wish to stay for a second year, this is possible BUT there will be a tuition fee charge of £4k.
Points 1 and 2 are the minimum and maximum age ranges meaning any student within this age DOES qualify for funding and tuition fees are therefore FREE. Therefore a 17-year-old can apply to study for a 1 year or 2 year programme.
York is a wonderful and safe city of approx. 200,000 people. It is surrounded by a medieval wall and is full of old streets and is one of England’s premier cities for tourism. All the city facilities are within walking distance and the centre is always ‘buzzing’ with a modern day feel. York has two Universities and has a vibrant student culture. People who visit York are impressed by its tradition, beauty and heritage. It is the UK’s second most visited city after London.
About Huntington School:
www.huntingtonschool.co.uk Huntington Rd, York, YO32 9WT. Tel: 0044 (0)1904 752101
Huntington is a state school for 11-19 year olds and has 1500 students, of which 200 are in the Sixth Form. The Sixth Form has its own, modern and purpose-built centre which is separate from the other buildings on the school site.
Mr Tomsett (Head Teacher) believes passionately in encouraging foreign students to come and study at Huntington School. He appreciates that the English students benefit considerably from the influence of our European neighbours! We encourage students to apply for the short term ‘Embrace England’ short courses (for 13-18yr old students) and so use that experience as a ‘stepping stone’ for the long term stay. Although this is not mandatory, the benefits are significant as the student becomes familiar with York and living with host families and of course is introduced to Huntington School.
The coordinator of the ‘Embrace England short courses’ is Jim Tomlinson (firstname.lastname@example.org/alternatively email@example.com) and he is also responsible for guiding students through the application process of the ‘Long Term Stay.’ All applications need to be emailed directly to him.
The Director of Huntington School Sixth Form is Mr. Chris Hardwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) who is in overall charge of curriculum, staff and pastoral care for all the students’ enrolled. Mr. Hardwell works very closely with Mr. Jim Tomlinson and considers all applications.
Working with Mr. Hardwell is Jane Bertram (email@example.com) who is the ‘International Officer’ who specifically looks after the International Students and ensures they settle in quickly and offers weekly contact and support within the school.
The teaching pedagogy is broad and the students experience skilled differentiation, and assessment for learning strategies by highly motivated teachers. The School is extremely advanced in digital teaching and is an academy for training young teachers. It consistently receives excellent feedback from School Inspections so students will be receiving a high level of teaching. The feedback that the International Students give the teachers and the School is consistently excellent.
The School’s Sixth Form was judged to be ‘Outstanding’ by Government Inspectors and is generally regarded as the best Sixth Form in the City. The School’s core purpose is to:
‘Inspire confident learners who will thrive in a changing world’
Frequently asked questions by German students about Huntington School:
Q: Can I apply if I am under 16 on Sept 1st for the academic year?
No. You must be 16 no later than August 31st for the following academic year. As Germany and the UK are members of the European Union, it means Huntington School receives Government funding in exactly the same way as it does for British students. This funding pays for the teachers, books and classrooms etc. This is why there are NO tuition fees for German and other EU students to study at Huntington School.
If you are under 16 at the start of the academic year then Huntington School cannot apply for the funding and tuition fees are no longer free for students. Neither can the school claim for funding to any student who turns 20 in an academic year of study. Therefore the funding ONLY applies to any EU student who is between 16 - 19 during their time at Huntington School.
Some students do decide to complete their Abitur in Germany before considering a one year exchange. It is possible to do this but only if the student is 18 on or before August 31st for the following academic year. However, these students can only study for one year as they move out of the 16-19 funding range in Year 2. If they wish to study for a second year the can, but tuition fees will be charged at a cost of approx. £4,000.
- Students outside the 16-19 years of age do not qualify for funding.
- Non-EU students do not qualify for the funding.
Q: Do I have to do the short-term stay to be considered for the long-term stay?
No. We do consider applications from students who have not completed the short term stay BUT pending application numbers, priority may be given to those students who have completed the short stay or who are from our partner schools in the areas of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Hessen and Bayern.
Q: What English report grades do I need to apply?
English is a very easy language to speak compared to many other languages but it is very hard to write to a level which is necessary for A levels. Remember the German language has approximately five thousand words but English has approximately fifteen thousand words so extending your vocabulary is important and necessary. Speaking the English language is never a problem for German students but writing essays requires more effort and aptitude particularly in the construction of essays in exam conditions.
Consequently, we prefer German students to have a German Report Grade of 1 or 2 in English in the last report that they send to us as part of the application. We do accept students with a Grade 3 but we have found students who have this grade can struggle in their studies. If this happens, the student becomes overwhelmed and quickly falls behind and it can result in returning to Germany as they have not been able to study at a level to at least achieve a Grade E in their respective A levels.
Saying that, we have had level 3 students in English who have achieved excellent A level grades!! This has happened if they have been prepared to work incredibly hard. The dedication and work ethic therefore required needs to be fully supported in the reference provided by the German school. The reference needs to have the German school stating you are a conscientious worker who is prepared to work very hard to achieve good grades. If it does not, then the likelihood of being successful in the application is less compared to a student with a Report Grade in English of a 1 or 2. The reference also needs to make it very clear whether the student has the personality and capability to adapt to new environments and to be able to mix and make positive relationships. Experience has told us these traits are needed before arrival to England and the German school should not consider the experience as an opportunity to develop them if they are not already evident.
Please note, we do not accept students who have a Report Grade 4 in their English grade as the support they need can be so extensive that the pressure on teachers to support those students is too time consuming and to the detriment of other students in the class. The chances of a level 4 student achieving a Grade E or above are very small and this can result in Huntington School losing the funding for that student which provides the FREE tuition.
We have over 70 applications each year and we usually make unconditional offers to 15-20 students. So, your application needs to be as good as it can be and, as you can no doubt appreciate, your English Report grade is an important criteria for Huntington School.
Q: Can I change my courses if I think I have made a mistake in my application?
The courses you have applied for are: A levels in a range of subjects
You may be able to ‘switch’ your A Levels at the ‘June Induction’ or within the first few weeks of study... if your feel you have made a mistake. Please see Mr.Hardwell (Director of Sixth Form) if you think you wish to change – but please do it quickly as you will have to catch up with the work!
Please note: Huntington School reserves the right to cancel any of its courses if the student numbers are too low to justify the course running. We ask students to be aware of this and to note they may have to change course options if a course is cancelled. This may be relatively late notice in the summer as full enrolment is not known before then.
Q. Who is the International Officer?
Ms Bertram is the International Liaison Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she will meet you every week during the first weeks of term. After that she is available on a ‘needs must basis’ if you have any problems or requests. Ms Bertram works very closely with Mandy Tomlinson, Pastoral Coordinator (email@example.com) in ensuring the curriculum AND pastoral wellbeing of the students is closely monitored.
All International Students have ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ in the School but Ms Bertram is there to help you when you need help or advice about life in the School. She also works very closely with Mr. Chris Hardwell, Director of Sixth Form (firstname.lastname@example.org) to ensure you get the most from your stay.
Q. How difficult is the work? Will I have much homework?
The A levels are challenging subjects and you will be expected to work hard. You will be timetabled for approx. 25 hours (classroom contact with teachers) per week.
The A levels give more freedom of subject choice and means you do not have to study in areas in which you do not feel confident. Students have more time to study around the subjects, pending how many A levels you have chosen.
During non-classroom time for A levels you are expected to work in the Learning Resource Centre in the School during school hours and at home to complete homework.
Weekly homework is set for A levels and it must be handed in on time and completed to a good standard.
Please note: Although A levels do not have any educational weight with German Universities, the expectation to work and prepare and sit all exams is set by Huntington School. If a number of German students fail the end of year exams, the school is significantly compromised as exam results are a key measure of the School’s success. Each school in England is rigorously inspected and results are a factor for any UK state school. If a student fails to take an A level exam then the parents will be charged the examination fee and £2k (half the value of the tuition fees) as the school will not be able to claim the full funding as the exam has not been taken. We strongly recommend that parents and students are aware of this charge as it does underpin the importance of the academic aspect of the school and the importance of study during the stay.
The curriculum and associated study should be the key purpose for any student wishing to study at Huntington School. We ask this to be a key determining factor in a student’s decision to apply. The School will supply half termly reports combined with a pastoral update via Mandy Tomlinson. This information will be emailed to parents and we would appreciate it if parents can reply to Mandy confirming they have read the email or have any particular points they wish to make.
This process of communication is very important as we feel the experience should be shared with all parties and not just the student. We may ask parents to support any issues that may arise both in the School and in a Pastoral context. For example, ensuring work/revision is completed or making sure rooms are kept tidy etc.
Q. I am staying for one year but can I stay for two years?
Yes! Most of the German students stay for one year but we encourage you to consider staying for two years to complete your full A level qualifications. You do not have to commit to a second year until the end of the first year and it will depend upon satisfactory results. We do understand most German students have made a conscious decision to defer studying the ‘Abitur’ and will more than likely return to Germany after one year. However, this is not always the case and some students do stay for 2 years. If a student does decide to stay for 2 years, please be aware we cannot guarantee the same host will be available for the second year. We have one student called Julius, who came with ‘Embrace England’ short language course as a 13 year old and returned 3 times. He was inspired to apply to Huntington School and completed both years before being accepted at OXFORD UNIVERSITY! This was and is a remarkable achievement but does reflect what is possible if you decide to come to study at Huntington School for the two years of study.
Q. Do I have to take exams in the subjects I have chosen even though they do not count in Germany?
Yes! This is such an important aspect of the stay for Huntington School as the academic results are critical to funding and allowing you to have NO TUITION fees at Huntington School. Every student who attends Huntington School for a year must achieve between a Grade E – Grade A. This then guarantees the funding for EU students. If a student does not achieve at least an E then the School does not receive the funding necessary that pays for your teaching and all resources. We do not charge retrospectively for tuition fees if a student does achieve less than an E but as stated previously we expect students to have worked hard, completed all revision and be ready to complete exams or coursework. Therefore the academic emphasis of the year cannot be stressed enough. We often joke in our presentations in Germany that if a student wants to have sun but not work very hard then consider Australia or the USA! It’s far more expensive than York but students will get a sun tan!!
Q. How easy is it to make friends with other students?
Each International Student is allocated an ‘English buddy’ to help integration and to make new friends. There are other International Students (approx. 10-20 per year) at the school and naturally they do tend to make friends easily as they all have a common bond… they are all studying in a new school in a new country!
Making friends with the English students can be harder. We always stress to the International Students that the English students have already established friendship groups. They also realise your stay is for a short duration and their existing friends will still be there after your return to Germany. It would be exactly the same if an English student came to study at your school. Saying that, the German students are regarded as celebrities as the English students greatly admire they have come to England to study. They will ask a 100 questions so talking to the English students is very easy! The feedback all the German students give at the end of the year is how friendly the English are!
So to increase friendship groups, please try to mix by joining clubs, getting involved with sports teams etc. and introducing yourselves to the English students. With a little effort and perseverance you will make new lifelong friends. We always stress to German students to try and resist staying together as a group and speaking in German, especially in the common room where all the students mix at break times.
Q. Does the school have ‘extra-curricular activities/clubs?’
Many! Ranging from sport, theatre, music, community activities, support for younger students and charity work. Students will be actively encouraged to join in as this is the best way to meet new friends. However, we recommend you also join local clubs and societies outside school to extend your range, expertise and experience.
Q. Can I contact other German students to find out what the exchange is like?
Yes. We strongly encourage it, as the student perspective is all that really counts! The emails below are of some students who have studied at Huntington or who have studied at the school. They will be able to give you feedback on the school and their experience of host families.
Q. Can I work to support my study?
Yes!! Students can work as long as they are 16 or older. All you need to do is to apply and be interviewed for a National Insurance Number (NI) which you can do in York. It takes approximately 2-3 weeks to receive the NI number and then you can apply for a part-time job in the just the same manner as an English student.
We actively encourage you to seek work as it helps you meet new people and gives you some income to support you in your stay. However, you cannot work during the school day and it is important to understand undertaking too much work will affect your studies. Some of our students have undertaken Saturday jobs and can earn as much as £50-60 per day. This can make a considerable difference and it will not impact on your studies. Most English students will have a job at the weekends to give them some extra income. This is common practice with UK students.
To get an NI number you will need to contact York Jobcentre Plus direct:
- Call the Jobcentre Plus National Insurance Allocation Service on 0345 600 0643 and explain you are studying at ‘Huntington School in York’ for a year or two years and you wish to apply for a NI number.
You will be offered an interview in York and the purpose of the interview is to check your identity, your status as a student, and check that you have a legal right to work in the UK. You will be told what documents you need to bring with you to your appointment – these may include:
- Passport (If dual nationality, both passports, if possible)
- Confirmation of your address – Please ask your host for a utility bill that validates your address.
- Confirmation of study letter – this is supplied when you receive confirmation of acceptance at Huntington School. If you lose that then please see Mr. Hardwell (Director of Sixth Form) and he will provide another confirmation letter.
- If you have managed to get work but have not, as yet, got a NI number please provide name and contact details of employer and other evidence of employment, such as a letter from employer/contract/payslip.
Q. Will I receive reports and monitoring to show how my progress?
Yes. Students will receive reports and monitoring grades which show how you are progressing on the course. Students can discuss the grades with their teachers and Ms Bertram. Mandy Tomlinson will work with Mrs Bertram to formulate the curriculum progress reports and match them with a Host Questionnaire which aims to provide feedback from the host on key aspects of the stay such as eating and integration within the family. The questionnaire also provides an opportunity for Mandy to give a general pastoral overview. All these documents are emailed to the German parents and we kindly ask for acknowledgement of receipt and of course any general parental feedback to Mandy is always welcomed. It is also very important that the parents of the students are capable of speaking and reading English to a standard which makes communication with us productive.
Q. Can I make contact with other German students that will also be studying at Huntington School?
YES! We strongly encourage you do so and to help this process after we have received all applications we resend this information pack out, usually in January, with three extra appendices:
- Flight information for the arrival
- Final confirmation of the Induction programme in June
- Email addresses and locations of all students who have been provided a place on our programme. Students then usually make contact and the process of friendship starts!
About Host Families
Host Families are varied and do have different guidelines and attitudes towards students staying for a year or two years. For example, food, rules, family life and expectations of Host Families may differ from those of the student’s and indeed their parents.
Our challenge is to work with students and parents to ensure needs and expectations are matched and understood between all parties, thus ensuring students are: ‘HAPPY AND SAFE!’ However, we cannot guarantee a successful student/host relationship as this would be an unrealistic goal for us to achieve. The process is ultimately one built on human dynamics which does not fit into a fail proof formula. Experience has told us that a host/student relationship can fluctuate or be wonderful from day one! It is important to remember that staying with a host is certainly the best and cheapest way to integrate within a community but it should not be viewed as a replication of German family life but guarantees the following standards:
- The house is clean. Towels are provided and all bedding is changed regularly.
- The food is generous and provides a balanced diet of carbohydrates, fats, protein and vitamins and minerals.
- The host is friendly and welcoming. They will try and engage the students in as much conversation as possible during their stay. Initially hosts will try and give the students time to unpack, settle and get used to the new house, culture and routine. But they will soon try to have longer conversations once they get to know the students and everybody feels comfortable.
At our June Induction we facilitate a discussion forum between hosts and students/parent’s to discuss the following areas. We ask for each heading to have key notes and points of agreement to be stated. The following points are for guidance and the discussion can expand to reflect additional needs.
- Diet – Expectations / preferences
Hosts aim to provide a balanced diet. Our expectation is a limitation of processed food and fried food and lots of fresh vegetables, fruit and salad to accompany stable carbohydrates (rice, pasta potatoes) and protein (meats eggs etc.)
- Integration within the family – How much involvement with the family does the student want? Are they shy? Are they extrovert? Is integration or independence a key requirement of the stay for both host and student?
- Family Routine (during the working week and weekends) including work patterns, meal times, preparing food, keeping students rooms tidy, laundry, quiet study time, getting up in the morning!
- Access to the host house for the student / friends – use of key
- Security expectations of personal belongings, money etc. How is that to be managed?
- Contact – Use of mobile phone/ broadband. Remember: Happy and SAFE!
- Reviews – Encouraging regular discussions between host and student/German parent. How to facilitate and how to feel comfortable to have these conversations.
- Adult supervision within the home. What is expected by student/parent/host.
The above is an important part of the initial setting of getting the host family student/relationship right! It gives opportunity for host and student to establish an initial understanding and for German parents to be able to give input on key aspects of the stay. These key components are then reviewed via the host questionnaire (appendix 1) and through regular reviews by host and student.
We make every effort to ensure we do everything possible to make it an enjoyable experience for all concerned. It is important for students to realise that they need to make the same effort in adapting to a new life... this is a key part of the requirement for a student considering a long term stay in any country.
Therefore the following provides initial guidance on:
- Support and service provided by our Host Family Coordinator
- Selection of Host Families
- Support and service provided by our Pastoral Coordinator
- Support and service provided by Host Families
- Personal Insurance
- Methods of payment
- Principles of stay
1. Support and Service provided by our Embrace England Host Coordinator
Mrs Paula Pidd is our Embrace England York based Host Coordinator. Paula has a family of her own with husband Keith and their children. Paula has many years of experience hosting and coordinating Host Families for International Students. Her appreciation of what is required to be a successful host is critical to the students adapting to a new environment quickly and effectively.
- To select appropriate ‘Host’ Family’ based on student preferences stated on the ‘Huntington School Application Form.’ Please note: We make every effort to satisfy requests but we cannot always guarantee personal choices.
- Hosts are selected by Paula only after careful inspection of the house and training has been given on the type of pastoral care each host is expected to provide.
- Paula is available for contact by German parents during the initial selection of hosts. For example if any additional issues arise that we need to be aware of in helping select the most appropriate host and is not covered by the ‘Huntington School Application Form.’ Please email in English to email@example.com
- Guarantees at least one replacement host if, for whatever reason, the first host stay for the student has not been successful.
Please note: After each student has been allocated to each host and starts their stay all ‘Pastoral’ care for the students is coordinated by our ‘Pastoral Coordinator’ Mandy Tomlinson. This includes liaison with hosts. Please do not email Paula at this point but deal directly with Mandy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Paula Pidd's contact details are: email@example.com Tel: 0044 (0)7730326858 (Mobile)
2. Selection of Host Families
The underpinning requirement of any host family is that they are welcoming, supportive and the house is clean and tidy. These values apply to all our host families, whether they are a traditional two-parent, a single-parent family or a single host. Students can request different types of hosts depending on their preference on the ‘Huntington School Application Form.’ For some students who wish for more independence and less family interaction a ‘single host’ can be a popular choice. Other students may wish to opt for a more traditional family environment. We can put students together with the same host but with separate rooms or as a single student with a host. We do make every effort to satisfy choices but we cannot guarantee this as our overriding concern is the host has the key values we previously stated. Sometimes we may feel these are of greater value than a preferred option made by the student.
Most of the families have been hosting for several years and have hosted most nationalities. They are used to different types of students and different types of needs.
All hosts are carefully selected by Lou and checked to ensure safety and suitability via:
- Registration Form and home visit and accompanying training.
- Continual self-assessment via the ‘Pastoral Coordinator’ and accompanying questionnaires as stated in: 3. Support and Service provided by our Pastoral Coordinator
3. Support and Service provided by our Pastoral Coordinator
Mandy Tomlinson has worked at Huntington School for 25 years as a PE teacher. She fully understands the needs of students studying at Huntington School and the ‘Pastoral Support’ necessary for a supported but independent stay. She is married to Jim Tomlinson and has 3 children, Dan, Jack and Katie.
- To establish via a ‘presentation’ at the June Induction the desired relationship between student and host. Mandy will explain the emphasis of the stay is the relationship between host and student and discussing the balance of achieving the best experience that satisfies all parties. Mandy will mediate and support discussion forums between host and student to try and achieve this balance. Mandy’s role is not of a substitute host as this defeats the purpose of the above intent.
- Organise ‘Meet and Greet’ Airport Pick-ups for students at a cost of £35 per student per trip (please see 11. Payment details). This does mean parents can have peace of mind that their off spring will be met at ‘Arrivals.’ by Mandy Tomlinson and is easily contactable via mobile if there are any unforeseen difficulties. Consequently, German parents can say their good-byes at the respective German airport without incurring additional travel costs and know they will be quickly united with other students and so start the important process of making friendships. (For arrival dates and arrival times please see appendix 3) As we have student arriving from different German airports, we do try and organise a time when the various arrivals are close together. This usually defaults to an evening arrival time in the UK.
The students will then travel together on the train to York train station where they will be met by the hosts at the train station who will supply transport back to their respective house. As flights can be delayed, we cannot always guarantee the train we will catch so if you pre-book/pay for a train ticket please ensure it has the flexibility to travel on any train. Alternatively, students can purchase the ticket on the train on the day of travel. Buying train tickets is different in the UK than Germany as no ID or credit cards are needed to accompany tickets.
Alternatively, students can travel independently to York or with their parents to their host families on the designated arrival day and can therefore choose a different flight or arrival airport in the UK. We sometimes find German parents prefer this flexibility. Whatever means of travel you select from Manchester Airport or indeed any other UK airport please work out your estimated arrival time at your hosts.
We will ask for confirmation of your travel intentions on Induction Day in June.
Please note: For students wishing to return to Germany for a visit or during any of the school holidays, a direct train form York to Manchester Airport is available. As most students have already completed their arrival train journey (Manchester Airport to York) on the arrival day with Mandy, students are happy to complete this journey alone or with another student. We do not normally provide an airport drop off service for return journeys because of this reason. Please note Huntington School will not sanction any returns to Germany during week day term time for holidays, birthday celebrations etc. This also applies to English students who are not allowed to take holidays or days off during week day term time for any recreational reasons. Obviously, this does not apply for any medical or personal issues which may require a return to Germany.
- To be available for contact for students via *Embrace England Facebook, text, WhatsApp and mobile on a 24 hour x 7 days a week basis. We have discovered this is the quickest and most effective way of communication as opposed to email, which students seem reluctant to use. However, it is still a medium of communication that is available if the student wishes.
- To visit all students and hosts within the first 4 weeks of the long term stay to check on how students have settled. Visits from that point on to the host will be on a needs only basis.
- Liaise and meet with Huntington Schools International Officer to provide termly academic reports (please see appendix 1). Academic performance is the key criteria for the stay and we try and keep parents informed of subject progress. This involvement means parents can support and be involved in the study programme at Huntington School in exactly the same way they are involved with schools in Germany. Please note, a full report with teacher comment is provided once in the academic year. These are emailed to the German parents by Mandy and we kindly ask for acknowledgement of receipt.
- Liaise with Hosts, who complete termly host family questionnaires which address key issues such as diet, integration etc. These ‘closed’ questions have a sliding scale of 1 - 5 and give a gauge of reference for parents. These questions cover important components of the stay such as health and diet. More ‘open’ comments are provided by both the host and Mandy which give general feedback at the bottom of the questionnaire. (see appendix 2) These are emailed to the German parents by Mandy and we kindly ask for acknowledgement of receipt.
- Organise a mid-year review with students to assess all aspects of the stay.
- Arrange half termly ‘*Optional Drop In’ appointments at Huntington School for ALL students to meet together. This gives opportunity for ALL students to share experiences and to have the opportunity discuss any issues. Our intent is for students to be independent as it is part of the challenge to adapt to living in a new environment but we do feel it is important they know Mandy is available if there are issues they cannot resolve. Of course, if a student needs to see Mandy urgently, she is available to meet at Huntington School on any term time Monday between 12.25-1.20pm in the Sixth Form Common Room. This is by appointment only and please ring Mandy directly to organise the meeting at least one day before. Out of term time meetings are available but organised on a mutually convenient basis at a time to suit both Mandy and the student.
*We have discovered, it is best to keep the ‘drop in’ sessions optional. We find many of the students only feel the need to contact Mandy if they have a problem that the host has not been able to address/solve. However, we do encourage students to attend the ‘drop ins’ as it keeps all students connected, supported and cultivates relationships which improves communication and confidence.
- Mandy has the closest connection to all stakeholders involved in the long stay including students, school, hosts and other agencies or institutions that may become involved in the stay. Therefore we respectfully ask that any recommendations that Mandy makes regarding the health, safety or wellbeing of the student is adhered to by all parties.
* Please be aware that Jim Tomlinson cannot provide the daily/weekly/monthly pastoral care required for a young student although he may have been your initial point of contact. His prime role with Huntington School is to promote the long stays and to guide students through the application process, including the Induction Day at Huntington School. Even so, he will keep in close contact with Mandy on student progress and will organise a social visit with the students in the year.
Mandy Tomlinson contact details are: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 0044(0)1723 866188 (Land line) or 0044(0)7944622660 (Mobile)
4. Support and Service provided by Host Families
Frequently asked questions by students and parents about Host Families
Why do Host Families host?
Host families have different reasons for hosting. Many simply enjoy having International Students in the home as it brings breadth and range to their own families. However, for many host families, having International Students contributes to the monthly expenses of the household and therefore they may have other students staying in the house.
What will my bedroom be like?
Students’ rooms will have a single bed, a solid desk, a chair, a wardrobe to store clothes, adequate lighting and heating and storage areas for luggage. This room is the student’s private space to relax in. Therefore we encourage students to make it as comfortable and welcoming as possible by bringing photos from home, iPod etc. Remember British houses are generally smaller than German houses, which could mean a smaller room.
There could be extra students living with the Host Family during school holidays or as part of short stay programmes with other companies. However, this will never mean a student is asked to share a room. It is the student’s room for the whole year!
Students are encouraged to mix in the house and not to stay in their room. This may seem an obvious point to say but hosts want the student to feel comfortable socialising and mixing. This means interacting and becoming comfortable in the house and not feeling they cannot come out of their room. This then becomes a habit and is hard to break, especially if the student feels uncomfortable and very quickly a student can stay in their room and not interact. Of course, there will be times when students simply want to be by themselves in their room working or relaxing. The hosts will make every effort to encourage interaction and ensure a happy environment so we ask students to do the same. It’s all part of the experience of the year.
What will I do for meals?
Three meals a day are provided as part of the homestay package.
Breakfast may consist of cereal, toast and juice or pastries.
A packed lunch is provided for school – Host Families will be grateful to hear about any likes and dislikes students have. Please note: Money is not provided by the host to have meals in the school. If a student wishes to eat at Huntington School then that is there prerogative but it will be at their own cost.
The evening meal will consist of a cooked family meal. The food served will vary – sometimes traditional English food but more likely a combination of European/world food. Again, likes and dislikes are welcomed from the student to the host. After the meal, there will always be an option of fruit or a sweet.
Some host families would be happy to have help preparing the evening meal just as some families would prefer to prepare the meal alone. Hosts will explain if they would like help and students should be prepared to ‘help’ if asked. Most families would prefer that students didn’t prepare their own meals or use the kitchen outside of meal times. This is for safety reasons and to help families keep the kitchen a safe and tidy environment which is particularly important if there are several students staying in the house. Some families will encourage and will want a daily sit down meal with family and the German student. This encourages interaction and helps with bonding. Whilst other families maybe more flexible in their eating habits. Again, it is important for hosts and students to talk about their expectations and to work around them. We strongly encourage student and parents to have these conversations before the stay commences via the Induction or email before the stay commences.
Most Germans believe the English have beans and chips with everything! We promise this is not the case but again if food is an issue then discussion is very important between host and student. Food is a big part of anyone’s’ life and getting a happy balance is important to us and we really encourage conversations about food at the Induction thus giving German parents the opportunity to have an input about diet.
Students are encouraged to ask if they want something in particular (a cup of tea, a biscuit) as the family will either get this or give direction for the student to help themselves.
Do I have to do household chores?
Students may or may not be asked to join in with household chores such as setting the table, washing up and tidying their room. This is dependent on the Host Families preference. Some families are more independent and expect students to become an active member of the family. Again this is a discussion we encourage when at Induction.
Students must keep their rooms tidy. This is a key requirement of the stay.
What household facilities are provided?
Bathroom – Students will be required to share with all the family. Therefore students are expected to contribute to keeping it clean by mopping up water spills and to leave it tidy for the next person to use.
Washing Clothes – Weekly washing and ironing provided by the Host Family – they will tell students when to produce dirty clothes for washing.
Bed linen and towels – This will be provided and washed and changed weekly.
Internet – wireless broadband is typical in every home. Students are free to access and use when it is available. (Some families may turn the connection off when they retire to bed). Download movies or stream is not permitted as it can block broadband access and corrupt hard drives. Skype is welcomed but informing the family of use is necessary as laptop access can be blocked for the duration of the call.
What’s family life going to be like?
This varies in every family pending their structure, interests and attitude. Activities may include watching a film or TV with family members or other students. Evenings are normally the time to take a shower and relax and prepare for the next day. Remember some family members work during the day (or night) so consideration is important.
Weekends may bring occasional trips to shopping centres, cinema, bowling, swimming – these can’t be guaranteed, after all, it’s up to the individual family. However, students are always encouraged to make plans with friends and then they have the choice to join the family if they so wish.
Throughout the whole of this ‘Information Pack’ we encourage students and hosts to talk to each other and share their thoughts and opinions on how the stay is working. German parents may feel they want to talk to the hosts directly by email or phone if they have concerns or requests. This is a vital component of the stay and we encourage open lines of communication. Even though Mandy provides the overall support for the care and wellbeing of a student, she is not living with each student or host and many issues can and should be dealt with between the host and the students /parents concerned.
What if I have a problem?
In the first instance students should talk to the host family. This is an important part of the stay and hosts need to be aware of any issues/concerns they may have! We do not want students or hosts to ‘suffer in silence!’ but to speak freely to each other no matter ‘how big or small’ the issue is. Again experience has told us the German students can be fiercely determined to ignore issues or put up with them! Although such a trait is admirable…we don’t encourage it! We want hosts and students to be able to speak freely and reach compromises.
If the issue persists then Mandy is available to act as a mediator for both host and student.
Ultimately host families have the right to ask for a student to leave their care and we ask students and German parents to be fully aware of this. This is a very rare circumstance but is an option we must make available for a host family. The same right applies to each student. We will always endeavour to find one replacement host but cannot guarantee this as our standards for host selection is high and we never simply relocate a student to another host if they do not match our standards. Such a policy means we have a relatively small pool of host families who satisfy our criteria. Please remember this is a major difference between ourselves and big commercial organisations who have large host family data basis but little regard for quality. Please see ‘What shall I do if I have a problem with my Host Family or the Host Family has a problem with me?!’ for more detail.
What if I need ‘serious’ medical attention?
The National Health Service provides treatments/operations in case of emergencies. However, we cannot guarantee proper aftercare that may be needed for any planned major operation or any psychological issues. If we feel we cannot provide the proper after-care that may be needed, the student may have to return home to Germany to recover or to have the operation, if time and necessity allows.
If an emergency operation does occur and we cannot provide the necessary after-care, German parents are kindly asked to fly to England to provide the support needed until the student is fit enough to return to Germany to make a full recovery.
If a student does have to return home for medical attention and is intending to return to the host, then host family payment continues.
What about other household members?
Host Families may have children of their own or other students in residence during your stay. Respect is a very important factor shared by all family members – a student’s bedroom is their own space and the same applies to every other member of the household. Students must ask before entering another person’s bedroom. Normally the students will visit each other in their rooms and talk – but only after permission is granted. We don’t allow mixed gender visits to bedrooms.
There may be some rooms in the house that are not given access to for example the host parent bedroom, offices etc.
Students are asked to try to speak English at all times so everyone can be involved.
How will I keep in touch with my family in Germany?
We encourage students to use mobile phones or Skype for all calls home. The Host Family will almost always have a traditional land line but it can be very expensive to call abroad. It can also be frustrating for the families when their home phones are regularly busy. We encourage German students and hosts to discuss the best methods of communication.
How will I keep in touch with my Host Family in England?
When students are out of the house, it is important to have mobile phones switched on. Host families may need to contact students (if they are late or if plans change, etc.) We ask student to respect this request and to ensure they have charge and credit on their phones before leaving the house. There is nothing worse or worrying than a mobile phone not working for both parties!
Will I have my own key?
We generally provide a key on an initial trial basis with a view to that the key will be provided on a full time basis, if all parties (host, student and student parent) agree to this provision. Our requirements are that students under the age of 18 are not to be left alone in the property for any length of time, without an appropriate adult being present.
So the maturity and reliability of the student is critical when determining what is a reasonable length of time during the day (student are never left alone on a night) and the issuing of a key. We have to consider possible emergency situations such as the safety of the house becoming compromised if a key is lost or an accident occurring in the house with no adults present.
However, if any incidents or issues compromise any health and safety issues the host reserves the right to ask for the key to be returned at any time. If this occurs then the host will guarantee an adult will be at home at the agreed times of return.
Can I go out in the evening? What time will I have to be home?
Every family will have different ideas about curfews – what is acceptable to one family, isn’t to another! So we suggest the following as guidance, which allows freedom but guarantees safety to the student and peace of mind to the host family.
- Weekday (school days): 10pm.
- Weekends: 12 midnight (this can be extended with prior arrangement in the case of parties etc.)
Staying out later than planned without letting the Host Family know can be very distressful for the host family and we ask for students to be respectful of any agreed return times made with the hosts. York is a safe city, but a city, nevertheless!
Can I stay over at friends?
Yes. This is perfectly acceptable providing permission from the other family is given. Host families will also need to know where students are staying and the time they can expect them back. However, this option does not extend to families or friends visiting from Germany as it can compromise host insurance. We kindly ask visiting friends or families to book their own accommodation.
How do I get to and from school?
Host families are committed to transporting students to and from school on the first day if the trip involves a bus journey. York has a regular timetable to and from schools and the city centre and gaining familiarity with the bus routes promotes independence and mobility.
We encourage students to buy a (second-hand) bicycle as York is flat and has excellent cycle routes with provision such as bike racks. It is also free! Previous students have bought or loaned a bicycle to allow them the added freedom of getting to and from school, the city and their friends’ houses. Host families will help students find a bicycle and the necessary supporting equipment such as a helmet, high visibility jacket, lights and a lock. The cycle culture is different in the UK compared to Germany. Although there are cycle lanes, cyclists will find themselves integrating with traffic far more than they do in Germany. However, motorists do accommodate cyclists and after a small adjustment we find the German students adapt very quickly to the differences and enjoy the freedom a bike provides.
We make every effort to ensure hosts are within walking/biking distance of the school but we cannot always guarantee this so please be aware there may be additional bus costs involved for the student.
Can I drink Alcohol?
In Britain, the legal age for consuming alcohol is 18, not 16 as in Germany. Therefore students are NOT permitted to purchase or drink any alcohol during their stay.
Can I smoke?
In Britain, the legal age to buy cigarettes is 18 and to smoke them is 16. Smoking is not permitted inside or outside any host family home.
What about Pets?
Many families have a pet which can range from a dog or cat to a goldfish or a parrot! If you have an allergy against any pets then please inform Paula.
What shall I do if I have a problem with my Host Family or the Host Family has a problem with me?!
If problems arise and continue then Mandy will investigate and try to find a solution. Misunderstandings sometimes occur because of language difficulties or cultural differences leading to both sides feeling frustrated.
If it is not possible to solve the problems, Lou will look for another host family. She will always attempt to keep students in the same area. However, this is not always possible and students and parents should be prepared for this eventuality. Ample notice will be given and Lou will liaise with all parties to ensure a smooth and supportive transition to a new host.
We cannot guarantee a host’s circumstances will remain the same for the whole year and this may mean we have to move a student to another host. For example, work patterns may change for a host which mean they cannot supply overnight care, or circumstances may mean the host has to move house or stop hosting because of changes to their own health or to the student's health. As we do not impose contracts for students or hosts (see point 6. Principles of stay) the possibility of a host change is something all parties need to be aware can happen. Of course, all hosts all firmly committed to providing care for the full year and any change of circumstances is entirely unforeseen.
We cannot guarantee finding a replacement host family but we can guarantee every effort will be made to find a replacement host. If an eventuality occurs where a third host family is needed then once again we will try and satisfy this requirement BUT prospective hosts may be put off by a student who has not settled in two previous homes. It is also much more difficult to secure a suitable host mid-year when host changes are most likely to occur.
As stated previously, we only use hosts that have satisfied our host criteria. It is never difficult to find a host but we are extremely selective as providing an unsuitable host only leads to more problems and frustrations for all parties.
In the event that a second or third host has not been found by ourselves, then Huntington School and Embrace England will reserve the right to withdraw the student from the long term programme and the student will return to Germany. Neither the school nor Embrace England endorse students finding their own independent accommodation as pastoral care can no longer be provided to the level we want and need to provide.
What are my study expectations?
We expect students to take responsibility for doing homework and attending all lessons. If students have any issues with studying at home then inform the host family. Please note students are expected to work in the Schools Learning Centre if they are not in lessons or to relax in the Sixth Form Common room or participate in any extracurricular activities. This means students are not permitted to return home early (before the end of the school day unless agreed by the host family) as our policy is not to allow under 18’s to be left alone in the host house alone for any time great length of time. During the exam period, study leave may be granted by the school. Pending the family’s situation and desired preference, it maybe the student has to complete their study leave in the school. We do encourage this as all resources are available and teachers are at hand for any support that may be needed. However, some families are happy for students to remain at home during study leave but this is a negotiated process and may be determined by whether all parties are happy for a student to remain at home alone for a long period of time.
5. Do I need Personal Insurance?
The Insurance cultures of the UK and Germany are different. Generally speaking, English students do not have personal insurance policies as medical care is provided free of charge via the National Health Service. This also applies to German students during their stay but please bring your EU Insurance Card. Other key aspects or concerns are usually covered via other more general Insurance Policies such as ‘Household Insurance’ or ‘Liability Insurance’ which are provided by other bodies. Although not mandatory for the stay, we have found many German parents do decide to take out Personal Insurance for their son or daughter as it does cover all eventualities that may be unforeseeable.Please note: Embrace England does not provide nor has Insurance that covers any long term stays and does not accept any responsibility for any eventualities that may lead to insurance or possible litigation.
6. Methods of payment
Payment for hosts is paid on a monthly basis. We deliberately do not ask for all host payment to be paid up front as part of a contract which is a common feature of big commercial organisations. We want to give assurance to German parents that, if for any reason, the student ceases the long term stay, parents are only charged for the time spent in the UK (plus one month in advance that counts as a cancellation fee)
Monthly payments (irrespective of the duration of the month) of £600 are to be transferred to ‘Embrace England Hosts' bank account for an audit check that will be completed by Mandy Tomlinson on the 28th of each month. Please state student name in the transfer reference.
Obviously, exchange rates change so we kindly ask for German parents to ensure ALL payment transfers accommodate any rate fluctuations. Prompt payment is essential as this ensures hosts can be paid on time. Your cooperation in meeting this monthly deadline is appreciated. To save on overland back transfer costs, we recommend German students open an English bank account and the money is transferred via a domestic bank transfer. German parents simply transfer yearly monies into the UK bank account at the beginning of the stay and then transfer the monthly host family payments to the ‘Embrace England Host Account.’ There are no transfer costs for domestic bank transfers and as it is sterling to sterling, there are no exchange rates to calculate. Mandy Tomlinson will provide help and support in opening a UK bank account in September, if parents wish to pursue this option.
Please note: We do not send out reminders of payment to students or German parents as the transfer should be set up as a standing order. We feel this is unnecessary and creates a money centred ethos. This is neither our intention nor wish. Mandy Tomlinson will only contact German parents with reference to monthly payment if there is an omission of payment, a recalculation of monthly payment or an incorrect payment.
Bank Details for host payment:
Bank: NatWest: Embrace England Hosts
The first payment will be for September plus an additional month in advance as a cancellation fee (see bullet point 2 of payment details below for explanation). We ask for this to be transferred and be available for audit on the 28th day of each month. The first monthly payment may be slightly more or slightly less than the normal monthly payment of £625 as it will depend on the student’s arrival date. To calculate this monthly charge we simply divide the monthly payment by the number of days in the month and add or subtract to the first payment depending on the arrival day. The arrival day is determined by the start of the academic term which changes yearly. In general terms, students usually arrive late August or early Sept for the start of each academic year. The departure day is determined by the last exam date the student has scheduled in May or June. Exam schedules are not known by Huntington School until spring of the academic year and are immediately passed onto students by their form tutor. For the month of May, we do not require any payment as we simply use the month paid in advance at the beginning of the year.
Please note: For health and safety and security reasons coupled with ease of audit we do not deal in any cash payments. Cash payments can mean students can be carrying large sums of cash. This is an unnecessary risk and could compromise the security and wellbeing of the student. It is also difficult to audit.
If any damage in the house is a direct consequence of a student’s actions then this leads to the charge being passed onto the German family. However, this will only amount to a maximum payment of £100. Any greater cost will be offset, if possible, against the ‘Household insurance’ that the host has. However, a £100 contribution will be required for payment by the German host to offset Insurance excess. If this does occur then the host will supply details of their bank accounts for transfer.
Student Arrival Date: Sept 2nd
Huntington School Term Starts: 5th Sept 2016
- 1st Payment due: 28th August 2016: £625( Sept pro rata) + £625 (Month in advance in case of a cancellation of stay) = £1250 per student (pending Sept pro rata payment amount) Please note: If parents have chosen a ‘student airport pick up’ upon student arrival in the UK, please add the £35 for this service in the first Sept payment.
- Payments for £625 thereafter paid on the 28th of the following months:
Oct, Nov, Dec 2015 / Jan, Feb, March, *April, **May, June
*No payment transfer is required for May as this is accounted for by the ‘month in advance in case of cancellation' payment made in Sept 2016.
** Students will have finished their exams by late May/ early June 2016. Soon after, they will soon return to Germany. Consequently, the exact date is determined by the last exam that they take. Therefore, a prorate charge (£625 / 30 days = £20.83 per day) will be made for June and is to be transferred on the 28th May like all previous payments. After parents have established the departure date from the UK, please email email@example.com so she can calculate the June payment and inform you directly of the balance due for June.
Each month is a mandatory payment irrespective of whether the student is with the host or in Germany for the holidays or for medical reason and intends to return.
We have had students who wish to stay in the month of July. ‘Embrace England’ does not provide or take responsibility for accommodation for this month or thereafter. Any arrangements made between the host and German student are entirely separate to our commitment which stops at the end of June.
3. Principles of stay
We do not impose any “contracts” or “terms and conditions” as experience has told us the best way of securing a happy stay is all parties having mutual respect and flexibility. It is also virtually impossible to create a contract that covers all eventualities.
In respecting this philosophy, we have created the following core principles of stay:
- Students need to fully understand the information provided in the Long Stay Information about Huntington School and Host Families Pack and respect the rules and guidelines within it.
- Prompt Payment is made by the German parent via bank transfer to our referenced bank account on the 28th of each month. All months are of stay are paid in full or on a prorate basis.
- Students can only remain at Huntington School if they stay with one of the Host Families provided by Lou Knott as all of the Host Families are vetted and provide suitable and appropriate accommodation.
- A student is permitted to return to Germany during any of the school holidays if they wish. However, the Host Family has committed to the whole year and payments still need to be made during this absence. This is a standard requirement of any Host Family operating in England. We do politely request, a student gives at least 5 weeks’ notice to the host and Mandy Tomlinson if they intend to return to Germany. This does allow the host to plan accordingly for any periods of absence.
- If any medical or psychological condition occurs which necessitates a return to Germany than this request will be made by ourselves and accepted by all parties.
- If a student withdraws from Huntington School and returns to Germany before the end of the academic year, the additional month’s payment made at the beginning of the long stay will be retained as a cancellation fee since the Host Family will not be able to find another student as a replacement during that academic year.
- We want students to be always ‘HAPPY AND SAFE!’ This is our ‘mantra’ and we make every effort to ensure this is at the core of everything we say or do.
We provide both academic and half termly feedback to your student’s parents so they are fully involved in the experience. Obviously, the host plays a very important role in that process and your feedback will be emailed directly to each student family with progress grades from Huntington School.
Please insert first name and underline electronically the chosen score for each question. Upon completion please Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 – Excellent
2 – Good
3 - Satisfactory
4 - Poor
5 - Unacceptable
Q1: Settled and happy in the host environment?
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
Q2: Eating a balanced and nutritious diet?
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
Q3: Integrated themselves effectively with the host and other family members?
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
Q4: Treats their room and family common areas with respect, cleaning up after themselves as needed?
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
Q5: Generally polite, respectful and courteous.
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
Q6: Reliable and punctual.
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
Q7: Invited to and participates in family activities
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
Host Family Pastoral Coordinator Comment:
Grades A to E are rewarded to reflect the student’s current level of performance in each subject.
- Excellent effort – committed to getting the most of all learning opportunities available
- Good effort – a responsible and hardworking student, who tries their best all of the time.
- Insufficient effort - a student who does most of what they are supposed to do but is failing to push themselves or make the most of the opportunities available.
- Poor effort – a student who needs support or intervention 3.
- Generally satisfactory - more lessons missed than might be expected but any work missed is caught up.
- Unsatisfactory - absence is hindering progress 5. Unacceptable-student is unlikely to pass if this level continues
- Excellent - meets all deadlines and shows a high level of commitment
- Good - meets deadlines and generally works to a high standard
- Satisfactory - usually meets deadlines although work would benefit from greater commitment
- Unsatisfactory - more detail and time is needed, work is poorly presented and/or often late
- Poor - work does not show the ability or organisation to meet the demands of the subject