Donnybrook Homestays

"Family Homestay Accommodation Specialist for London and UK "

Greenwich School of English (GSE) Language students

Requirements and Guidelines for our host families hosting students attending the GSE.

General Introduction
The Greenwich School of English was established in 1986 and now offers a variety of all-year-round English courses to students over 16 years of age.

The school is at:

259 Greenwich High Road
London SE10 8NB

Tel: 020 8293-1444

Our Students
The students come from many different countries and are of different ages. However, most of our students are young adults (16 - 28 yrs.). They come to Britain for a variety of reasons, be it to learn English for business or for pleasure, but they all want to benefit as much as possible from their short time in this country.

This is why the Host-Family accommodation we offer is one of the most important part of our general service to the students. They choose Host-Family accommodation in order to improve their English further outside the classroom and in order to get to know a little more about our culture and the British way of life.

Our requirements
We expect our families to welcome our students into their homes and to treat them as part of the family whilst they are staying here. Students do like to eat with you as often as possible as this offers them the opportunity to speak and practise English in a normal and practical situation which is the main purpose of their visit. Try to be at home when you expect them to be. Students feel very lonely and isolated when left in the house alone too often, especially early in their stay.

These students are all adults and therefore responsible, so they expect to be given a door key and be allowed to return home during the day to study if they need to. Not all of them want to go sightseeing every afternoon particularly when it is cold and wet. Also some may want to stay late in London in the evenings so again need the flexibility of a key and returning when they want.

Being able to communicate and understand is the purpose of their learning English so please help them to understand exactly what you are saying to them. Very often the student “thinks” they have understood but have in fact “Not understood”. Daily we have strange comments from students regarding their family which results in us contacting you to resolve certain issues. Unfortunately this sometimes leads to the student moving because of their embarrassment of the misunderstanding. Neither us nor you want this so please be especially attentive to this matter.

Host-Family Standards for Adult Language Students

1. Our students are here to learn and practise English. Families should therefore have English as their main spoken language. Students of the same nationality will not normally be accommodated in the same family, unless this is requested.

2. We would like our students and they are expecting to live as temporary members of the family. Except in special circumstances, previously agreed with us, no more than two adult students can be placed in one room. There must be no other foreign students, of the same mother tongue as our student, from any other school or organisation, in the family at the same time. They must always be of a different “mother tongue”.

3. It is important that you are friendly and make the students feel 'at home'. Please try to include the students as much as possible in normal family life.

4. Houses should generally be clean and tidy and in a good state of repair and decoration throughout. This is important. Please advise us if you are doing any major redecorating or building work whilst accommodating our students.

5. Students are required to be punctual in attending lessons so houses should not be more than 30 minutes travelling distance from the school.

6. Families are sometimes expected to pick their students up from a central meeting point and as they have often been travelling for a long time it is usually a good idea if a meal or snack has been prepared for them according to their time of arrival. Always offer a drink please.

7. We would ask families to provide all adult students with a front door key. Please be aware your adult student, especially those staying for several weeks/months, may want to return home during the day to study or rest. At weekends they may also want to stay at home at times. They will not want to go out sightseeing everyday and they will develop more “living with a family” and less “holidaying with a family” habits. Hopefully your relationship with them will develop more into a friend than a guest.

8. Students make their own way to the school each morning, however on the first day we would be grateful if families could give them clear instructions how to get to school. Students should arrive by 9.30am on the first day of the course. It is important that you know the exact location of our school in Greenwich. The address is :

        259 Greenwich High Road, Greenwich, SE10 8NB (next to main post office)

9. We would be grateful if you could supervise a reverse charge call for those students who would like to let their family know that they have arrived safely if necessary. This is done by ringing the international operator 155 (no charge) and asking for a 'collect' or 'reverse' charge call. In general students are advised NEVER to use the family's telephone without first asking permission and that all calls must be paid for. Please insist on being paid immediately. The Greenwich School of English cannot be held responsible for any telephone charges. Many families have now taken out “call barring” with their telephone operator. This secures your line in your absence and we suggest you investigate this.

10. If the student breaks or damages anything, please inform the school before they depart. We are unable to help you with reimbursement of this if your student has already left.

11. In the event of a non-arrival we will try to place another student with you for the same period as soon as possible.

12. If you have any problems with a student, which you are unable to resolve, please contact the Accommodation Officer as soon as possible. We will try to assist you and your student resolve the situation. However if you are then not happy to keep them or when we cannot persuade the student to stay, we reserve the right to remove a student immediately and accommodation will be paid for on a nightly basis. If payment has already been received by you, we will require that the overpayment is refunded to us.

13. In case of illness please contact your family doctor if possible or take your student to the chemist or hospital casualty and inform the school immediately if your student cannot come to school to report their absence.

14. Students should occasionally be free to admit their friends at reasonable times if previously arranged with the host-family.

1. Students should have a single room unless otherwise requested. The room should be of an acceptable size.

2. There should be a good natural light as well as adequate electric lighting.

3. There must be a wardrobe for clothes and storage space for personal items. If possible a drawer or cupboard should be lockable or please advise your student where they can keep their valuables.

4. Other basic furniture should include: a mirror, a full-size single bed, a small table or desk for study, a chair, a bedside lamp and a waste paper bin.

5. The bedroom should have adequate heating included in the basic price.

6. Bed linen should normally be changed once a week

1. Students must have reasonable use of hot water (once daily use of bath/shower) at no extra cost. Most students prefer a shower so we recommend that you have either an electric power shower or a plumbed in shower over your bath. An additional shower cubicle for those families with space would be a real asset especially for those who have a growing family and regularly accommodate students. Investing in a shower of any description will make life much easier for everybody in the house as it is much quicker and more economical on the hot water.

2. A separate toilet is also fast becoming “a must”. If you have any spare space we thoroughly recommend an extra “loo”.

1. A substantial breakfast should be provided for the student every day, unless he/she requests otherwise. We suggest cereal, toast with butter/jam and a hot drink. Some students may like to try an English breakfast at the weekend if this is usual for your family.

2. Students should have one main meal per day, usually a hot one in the evening. This should consist of a main course and a desert. Students receiving full-board should also be provided with a reasonable and varied packed lunch. This should be 2 rounds of sandwiches (4 slices of bread), filled with cheese, egg, cold meat etc, a packet of crisps, a slice of cake or biscuit (eg club or penguin), a fruit and a drink. The drink can be squash in a small refillable bottle. It does not need to be a can or carton unless you prefer this.

3. If a student gives reasonable notice of missing a main meal, then a cold snack or sandwiches should be provided if requested.