The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Host families needed for Norwich School’s international students

An educational consultancy, partnering with Norwich School, is looking for more families willing to host an international student at the cathedral school from next September. Diana Gwynn, Guardianship Manager at Gabbitas consultancy explains.

Gabbitas has been partnering with Norwich School for six years now to provide host families for their international day students and the Homestay programme has been growing each year. Currently we have 27 international sixth formers (from Hong Kong and China) at the school and are looking for more families who would be willing to host an international student from next September.


  • Students are at least 16 years old and are mostly from Hong Kong, with a few from China
  • They are in the UK to study for A levels and most will then stay on in the UK for university
  • Gabbitas is the student’s guardian in the UK but we find and vet host families for the students to live with. We have a 24/7 emergency number and provide advice and support throughout to hosts, students and parents and work closely with the school.
  • Host families are reimbursed at a rate of around £29 a day during term time (including half terms) and at a higher rate of £35 a day if the student does not return home at Christmas and Easter and hosts are happy to continue hosting them over these periods. The reimbursements are not seen as taxable income.
  • The requirement from the host family side is to provide two meals a day while the student is at school, with three meals a day over weekends and school holidays. Students need their own room with a bed, desk and wardrobe and access to a bathroom (although this does not have to be ensuite). Students are responsible for their own transport costs.
  • The Homestay programme is popular with international parents not just because it is cheaper than boarding school, but also because it provides a fuller immersion into British culture and provides a home from home within a family setting, not a boarding house. It can be a very rewarding and life-long relationship long after the student has left.

To date in Norwich we have primarily recruited host families from the parent body and continue to do so, but we also need to look more widely and churches have been a good option for us in other towns and cities.  We have a range of host profiles – from grandparent age to younger couples as well as families with similar aged children.  The main thing is to want to do it and be prepared to provide a welcoming home.  A home within easy reach of Norwich School on public transport is also vital.

If you are interested and would like to know more, please contact Diana Gwynn, diana.gwynn@gabbitas.com.

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