Donnybrook Homestays

"Family Homestay Accommodation Specialist for London and UK "

Mini-stay Students
(School and Youth Groups visiting the UK for 2-7 days, no tuition)

Requirements and Guidelines for our host families hosting short stay students.

1. The mother/father member/s of the host family must be 18 years or older, but no older than 70 years and have no criminal record relating to child safety. Either parent, or their children over 16, must be available between 6.30pm and 8.00am daily whilst hosting our students. Families can be couples with or without children, ladies with or without children.

2. Our students are usually here to improve their English and to experience family life. Families should therefore have English as their main spoken language and we request that you speak only English whilst they are with you. Students will normally be accommodated in two's in the same family. Occasionally students wish to stay in threes and even fours.

3. We would like and our students expect to live as temporary members of the family. Therefore, except in our larger houses, no more than two students will be placed in one family. There should be no other foreign students staying from any other school or organisation in the family at the same time who speak the same language. They must ALWAYS be of a different mother tongue and ALWAYS sleep in a different bedroom.

4. It is important that you are friendly and welcoming and make the students feel 'at home'. Please try to include the students as much as possible in normal family life. Please invite and encourage them to sit downstairs with you in the evenings. Most students are nervous and wait to be asked into the living room. They do not want to be in their bedrooms alone all evening. Please try to eat dinner with your students but if you have eaten earlier it is important you sit with them and chat about their day during their meal and be sociable. Please do not leave them on their own to eat.

5. Houses should generally be clean and tidy and in a good state of repair and decoration throughout. Please advise us if you are decorating whilst our students are with you.

6. Each student must have their own single bed. Camp beds or students sharing a double bed is not acceptable unless previously agreed. A small chest of drawers and some hanging space is needed. All bed linen must be clean and fresh for each new guest. Many families already protect their mattresses with waterproofs. We strongly recommend this preventative measure. Some students forget to bring towels so please keep some spare available for their use if necessary. Please be aware that some students come from hot climates and may feel the cold at night. An extra blanket placed at the end of the bed would be appreciated. Please ensure there is some type of heating in the bedroom during the evening and 1st thing in the morning. We appreciate that most families turn the heat off over night.

7. Female students need to know how to dispose of sanitary items so please provide plastic bags and a bin for this purpose in the bathroom/toilet.

8. You must never allow any student to smoke in their bedroom. If you are a non smoking family please advise your students they must only smoke in the back garden (if at all). If you do allow smoking indoors please let them know where this is permitted and provide ashtrays. Do be very careful. We advise all families (smoking or otherwise) to fit smoke alarms in their homes as an added security. An extra smoke alarm in the students’ bedroom would be a good idea to prevent any “secret smoking”.

9. Families are expected to pick their students up from a central meeting point on arrival and must help them on departure day to return. Please bear in mind that on these days they will have luggage. If you do not have transport and you are walking please help young students carry their bags.

10. Students are required to be punctual in arriving at the meeting point in the mornings as they have visits booked for them in London and cannot be late for these. Please wake your students up in plenty of time. They can be dropped 20 minutes before meeting time if necessary. Better early than late! I appreciate that sometimes coaches are late in the evenings but we are trying to insist that groups respect evening times so it is important that families are also not late in the evenings.

11. Families are not expected to give juniors a key unless we occasionally request this.

12. Some students can make their own way to the meeting point each morning and back home again in the evenings if you live within 10 minutes walk AND they are over 14 years of age. Please ensure that these students have a good map of the route. (A photocopy of street map is ideal) Junior students must NEVER travel by bus on their own, only with you. If they are younger or you live further away please escort them at all times. In the past students have got lost, had accidents or been attacked so you will be informed on a group by group basis of this so please read your confirmation letter carefully. Please ensure anyone accompanying your students is 16+.

13. 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. Students are advised never to use the family's telephone without first asking permission and that all calls must be paid for if not reversed. Please insist on being paid immediately. Donnybrook Homestays cannot be held responsible for any telephone charges. Students who have moved families due to cancellations and changes on the group list especially need to ring home as their parents become very worried when they cannot contact their children. This is done by ringing the international operator 155 (no charge) and asking for a 'collect' or 'reverse' charge call.

14. In the event of the non-arrival of any student we try to be fair to all families and ensure nobody who is expecting students is left without any at the last minute. For this reason if you are booked for three students, it may be that you only take two to allow another family to still take two where one of theirs did not arrive. Likewise if one of yours is cancelled on arrival we will try to replace with another student from elsewhere on the group. We very rarely give any family only one student.

15. Mini-stay students are NOT allowed to go out in the evenings without you, or a family member /friend 16+ or a Group Leader with them. If any students under 18 have been given permission to go out on their own, you will receive this in writing or be told this by us or their teachers. If you let your students out without our or their teachers’ permission, we may remove them and you will be held responsible, as you disregarded instructions, should your student come to any harm. If your students go out without your permission please ring their leader or us to report this to immediately to cover yourselves. The teachers will then take responsibility to find their students and take appropriate action with them.

16. Students over 18 are usually allowed out but please read your confirmation letter for individual groups to check this. Some older groups request students/adults have keys, you will be informed of this if necessary when given the booking.

17. Students should have a reasonable breakfast such as cereal, 2 slices of toast+butter +jam and a hot drink. Some families may prefer to give a cooked breakfast so if this is normal for you, your students would be very appreciative. Please put all breakfast food on the table every morning as students are reluctant to ask for anything.

18. Dinner should consist of 2 courses, a main meal and a desert or soup and a main course. Please put a jug of water on the table and offer bread. Larger portions of filling food is better than smaller quantities of more expensive ones. Growing teenagers get hungry, so we suggest more rice, pasta or potatoes with their meal.

19. Packed lunches must contain the following: 2 rounds of sandwiches (4 slices of bread filled with cheese, egg, cold meat,etc), a fruit, crisps, cake or biscuit (eg penguin, club) and a drink. Drinks can be orange/lemon squash in refillable bottle, can or carton. It is your responsibility to make sure lunches are not forgotten. Make sure your student has it as they leave the house. If you give your students lunch boxes, remember to only use plastic bags on departure day. Spot checks on packed lunches will be made. Families not providing the above or a suitable alternative will be docked £1 per lunch.

20. When it is meal time, put the food on the table . Don’t just ask if your student is hungry or would they like to eat now. Students very often misunderstand and can reply no in error. Then they complain later to their teachers that they are hungry and that they were not given any food.

21. Show your students how to work your shower, bath and toilet. Your system may not be obvious to a foreign child. All families must have a plumbed washbasin either in the bathroom or in the students’ room and either a bath or shower and at least 1 internal toilet. We recommend your students shower or bath at night otherwise you must get them up in plenty of time in the morning, which can be difficult and a strain on the bathroom. Please bear in mind the hot water situation in your house when planning this. If you do not have a shower, please consider this for the future.. It makes life much easier for all concerned and is more economical for you. Also a separate or second toilet helps.

22. If the student breaks or damages anything, please inform us immediately. We cannot help once your student has departed.

23. If you have any problems with a student which you cannot resolve, please contact us as soon as possible. If we need to move a student you will be paid on a nightly basis.

24. In case of illness please contact us or the students’ teacher if your student cannot come to the meeting point. If necessary call your doctor or take your student to hospital casualty.

25. Junior students must NOT be left at home on their own without a responsible person (16+) in charge at any time. If this person is not a direct member of your family who is known to your students and registered with us please let us know so we can advise the students who will be looking after them as some students can be alarmed when an unfamiliar adult suddenly appears in your absence. Similarly if someone else is collecting or delivering them to the meeting point we need to know who this is.

26. For safety reasons as we are all working with children, if you rely on another person to help you look after or transport your students please ensure that this person is well known to you as being reliable and honest and trustworthy, does not have a criminal record and has no negative child related history. If you regularly use the same person to help you, please let us have their details for our record.

27. Families must not use or allow any drugs whatsoever to be used in their houses at any time during our students stay

28. It is essential that the person or persons who are supervising our students whilst they are in your house refrain from excessive drinking of alcohol. This has happened on occasions and our students have been very frightened with the situation.

29. Communicate, be cheerful and welcoming! Students then generally respond in a likewise manner. Remember many are nervous in a strangers home, particularly if it is their first time away from home.

30. If your circumstances change after you have registered with us please keep us informed and up to
date. We need to know if different people come to live with you or leave, if you acquire any new pets or lose existing ones and any new/extra telephone numbers including mobiles, faxes, e-mails. All this helps communicating with you. Also any other change in circumstance.

31. Group Leaders assume all responsibility for their students at all times throughout the stay as long as families keep to these recommended guidelines. If you do not keep to the guidelines and anything happens to your students you could be held responsible.