Choosing a guardian for international students in Ireland: what parents need to know

The vast majority of schools in Ireland will require their international students – i.e. their students who usually live outside Ireland - to have an educational guardian based in Ireland. Having one in place from a parent's perspective makes perfect sense. A guardian is a responsible adult over the age of 25 living in Ireland who can be there in an emergency on behalf of parents.

Parents who do not have a family friend to act as guardians can choose an accredited Guardianship Organisation, such as Boarding Schools Ireland, to act in Loco Parentis for their child.

Educational guardians act in loco parentis for parents when parents are not within easy travel distance;

Educational guardians look after students during the holidays when they cannot go home; they will keep in contact with parents and provide a vital link between the school and the parents that help support students throughout their time at school in Ireland.

As a parent, therefore, you want to find an experienced educational guardian.

How do you go about it?

It is often tempting for a parent to appoint a family member as their child's guardian; sometimes, this can be a practical option. Family members, however, do not always have the time or the lifestyle to be able to care for a young person. It can also be difficult for parents to require their relatives to do things the way they want them done, especially if their relatives feel they are doing them a favour by acting as guardians.


More often than not, the answer is to choose an educational guardian through an educational guardianship organisation. When selecting a guardianship organisation, parents must ensure it is fully regulated. In Ireland, you can contact - IFEG, The Irish Federation of Educational Guardians (https://ifeg.ie/). Here, parents will find details of guardianship organisations which safeguard the welfare of international students studying at schools and universities on the island of Ireland. IFEG employ a rigorous process to ensure that the safety and well-being of our students meet the highest standards of care. A child's welfare is too precious to be left to chance, and regular inspection ensures that the safety and well-being of international students are the top priority for the guardians.

Parents should build a relationship with their child's guardian and should not be afraid to contact several accredited guardians to find the one they feel most comfortable working with. Ask for references from the school and the guardianship agency. Also, talk to current parents about who they would recommend.

Guardianship is worth investing in; after all, parents are investing a lot of money in school fees, and they will want to protect that investment by making sure that they are happy for the rest of the time their child spends in Ireland, safe and well looked after.


Boarding Schools Ireland offers unbiased advice on Irish School Placement and extensive support for parents and students in all aspects of preparing for entry to Ireland. Please get in touch with us to discuss your particular needs. Email info@boardingschoolsireland.com