InterStudies LSC Training 1: Placements

The aim of this course is to help you recruit host families and secure high quality placements for our students.

You will learn how to build up a placement area, and to ensure that you are recruiting the right host families for our programme. The course will cover:

 

Someting about help being available and feedback from training manager 

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Finding and recruiting host families

How to find and recruit host families for our students

Recruiting host families is an essential part of your role. Without good host families, we have nowhere for our students to live.

We work actively to recruit host families from head office. You can also do a lot to recruit host families in your local area.

In the first section, we’ll show you how to get the most out of the leads we send you from head office. Then we’ll look at what you can do to find host families yourself. 

Dealing with the leads we send you from head office

We advertise for host families on Facebook and Google. Watch the video below to learn more about what happens to when we receive an application. 

We’ll send you an email when we have a potential family in your area. Contact the family as soon as possible.

It’s important that you contact potential families within 48 hours. The quicker you contact them, the more likely you are to succesfully recruit them as a host family.

 

Video here - screencast

Move on to the next section to learn how to deal with the questions you'll get when you call a potential host family to follow up

It's a good idea to use an Excel worksheet to keep track of your leads. You can download a template here. Remember to save the file on your computer before you enter data!

Following up Host Family leads

You should

  • Call all your leads within 48 hours 
  • Talk to them about the hosting experience and start to form an impression of the family – do they seem genuinely interested in hosting foreign students?
  • If they are serious and sound suitable, arrange to visit them

You can see hear how Julie deals with the most common questions about hosting in the video below 

Video where Julie calls a HF

Answer the questions on the following pages to test your understanding of how to work with potential host families. Use the information you have received so far, as well as your own knowledge/ideas. Your answers will be sent to your training manager.

Why might a family be unsure if hosting a student is a good idea?

What arguments could you use to convince a potential host family that hosting is a good idea?

How could you assess whether a potential host family might be suitable when calling them?

Find potential host families yourself

Recruiting host families is one of the most important parts of your job as a Local Support Coordinator.

Word of mouth (telling people about our programme) can be an effective way of recruiting families, but you need to advertise for families in your local community as well.

You can order flyers and other marketing materials from our website. Login at www.interstudies.info. You can see a selection of our adverts above.

You should place flyers anywhere you think potential host families may see them, for example:

  • School notice boards
  • Libraries
  • Local clubs/Socities (e.g. WI, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides etc.)
  • Supermarket
  • Doctor/Dentist surgeries
  • Community centres
  • Charity shops
  • Church notice boards
  • Shop windows
  • And anywhere else you can think of...

When you are contacted by potential host families the recruitment process is the same.  Tell them about our programme and what hosting involves. You’ll also need to send them a link to the host family application form, which can be found on our website at www.interstudies.com

Activity: Advertising in your local area

List the places in your local community where you could place adverts. Include exact locations, and descriptions of who comes there.

You can also list websites or local newspapers / newsletters etc. which could be suitable for advertising for host families. Include descriptions, and prices for advertising.

Your list will be sent to your training manager

Screening - making sure our families are right for the programme

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Finding the right host families

Now you know how to recruit host families, great!

But, we need to make sure that they are the right families for our programme. We are looking for families who will:

  • Treat our students as family members
  • Include the student in their day-to-day life
  • Learn about the student’s culture – and teach the student about their culture

Watch the video below, where one of our most experienced LSCs will explain what kind of families we are looking for, and how you make sure you find the right families.

Video: Julie explains what we are looking for in a host family – why this is so important, and gives a basic intro to the idea of screening a HF.

The Screening Process

The screening process is the most important part of recruiting a host family. This is our quality control. This is where you can make sure that you find the right families for each of our students.

In this section of our training, we will make sure you know what kind of families you are looking for, and give you the tools to assess the families you visit, to ensure that they are suitable.

Here are some of the key qualities we are looking for in a potential host family.

The Screening Form

The screening form uses targeted questions to assess whether a potential family will provide what we are looking for. This is one of your most valuable tools when you are screening a host family. Watch the video below, where Julie will go through the screening form, and explain exactly what we are looking for.

Unless you are an estate agent, you’ve probably never assessed someone else’s home before, and the idea might be a bit daunting. In the next section, you can see Julie checking out a potential host family’s home, and interviewing the family. 

Video: Screencast of the screening form 

Now we know what kind of host families we are looking for, and how to fill out the screening from. Click to the next page to see Julie visiting a potential host family – and see how we put this into practice.

Visiting a family

Here are some practical things you need to remember when you visit a family

  • Make sure you know who all the family members are
  • Find a time when all the family members will be home. The student will have to live with all of the family – so you need to meet them all!
  • If they’ve completed a host family application form, read it through. Read the student letter carefully – this will give you a good idea of the type of family they are
  • Arrive in good time, so you can have a look round the area

You’ll need

  • A camera (the one on your phone is probably OK)
  • The host family handbook
  • The host family introduction leaflet
  • The host family screening form
  • DBS forms for everyone in the household over the age of 18
  • Paper and a pen/laptop/tablet to make notes

At the interview

When you visit a family, you need to look round their home, and talk to them to make sure that they are suitable. It’s up to you which order you do this in – but it can be a good idea to look round the home first, to break the ice.

Make sure the family is comfortable before you start the interview. Listen carefully to what they have to say, and avoid making on-the-spot judgements.

You can see Julie visiting a potential host family and looking round their home in the videos below. Pay attention to what we are looking for in the family home, and how Julie phrases questions to see if the family is suitable. 

Video 4: Looking round the family home

Video 5: HF interview

Key Points

  • Make brief notes while you are with the family, and fill in the screening form later – focus on forming an impression of the family and making sure they understand what hosting involves
  • Speak to everyone who lives in the family home – and find out how they all feel about the idea of hosting
  • Go through the host family handbook with the family, and give them a copy
  • If the family hasn’t already filled out the application form, then remind them to do so. Remember that the letter, pictures and information from the form will be forwarded to their student, who will be keen to learn as much about their family as possible

In the questions on the following pages you'll be asked to think about what you need to look for, and what questions you can ask to assess if a potential host family is suitable for the programme. Your answers will be sent to your training manager, who will be able to use them to help you prepare for the first time you screen a family.

When visiting a family, what should information should you find out about the local area?

What questions could you ask the family about the local area?

What should you look for in the host family home?

What should you look for in the the room that will be for the student?

How would you assess if the room is suitable for 1 or 2 students?

Interviewing the family

When you interview a family, it's important that you are able to assess whether they will be a suitable host. It's not possible to ask all questions directly.

In the following questions you will be asked to think about how you can phrase different questions to assess if a family is suitable.

What questions could you ask to assess whether the family will be able to adapt to living with an exchange student?

What questions could you ask to assess whether the family will treat the student as a member of the family, and as an equal to any of their own children?

What questions could you ask to assess whether the host family is primarily interested in hosting as an additional income?

How could you assess whether the family needs the extra income from hosting?

How could you assess whether the family would involve the student in their day to day family life?

Placing a student

The right family for each student

Finding good host families is only part of the challenge! A family that is a perfect match for one student might not get on with another student. It is important that we use the information we have about each student and family to find the right host family for each of our students – and the right student for each of our host families.

In this section we’ll show you what information to look for in the student’s application, and how you can use it to match a student with a host family.

Getting the match right now will save you a lot of problems later.

The student application

The student profile is our best guide to who the student is. The profile includes information about concrete things – e.g. if the student is allergic to cats, or is vegetarian – which we need to take into account when placing a student. The profile may also tell you something about the student’s personality – e.g. if they are shy, or very outgoing.

Read each profile carefully, and think about what kind of family each student would fit in.

 

Watch the video below to see what information Julie looks for when she is going through a student application

Video

In the activity on the next page you can try to match 6 students with host families.

Activity: Match students with host families

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  • June and Robert Carlson live with their son, Simon (15) and 2 dogs. The whole family is interested in sports, including swimming and football. They want to host to give Simon the experience of having a sibling, and to experience other cultures.
    Tristan, a 17 year old boy from Germany. Tristan speaks German and English, and studies French at school. He plays football, is a boy scout & enjoys going to the gym. Tristan has 2 younger brothers and a dog. Tristan doesn't have any special requirements.
  • Margaret and Steve Brown live with their son, Mike (14), and daughter, Katy (15). The family is interested in a variety of sports. They don’t have any pets.
    Simon, a 16 year old boy from Slovakia. Simon speaks Slovakian, German and English. He enjoys playing football and swimming. Simon is an only child and is allergic to cats & dogs. Simon would love to try having a host brother or sister while on exchange.
  • Katy Bennet lives with her twin daughters, Milly and Emily (age 11). Katy is an art teacher and enjoys music and running. Her daughters share her interests and play the keyboard. Milly is a vegetarian. The family has no pets & their home is very clean.
    Helga, a 15 year old girl from Germany. Helga plays the piano, and enjoys listening to music and hanging out with her friends. Helga is vegetarian and is allergic to pets and dust.
  • Susan and Mike Smith live with their son, Peter (16) and daughter, Simona (17) who both attend the local grammar school. Susan coaches the local netball team, Mike plays football and both Peter and Simona enjoy a wide range of sports.
    Michela, a 17 year old girl from Italy. Michela is academically very strong and is ambitious. It is important to her that she is placed in a good school. Michela does gymnastics at a high level, but is happy to try other sports while she is in the UK.
  • Leigh & Katie Jones live in a large flat in the city centre with their 2 daughters, Emily (16) and Julie (17). Both girls enjoy going to the gym, hanging out and listening to music. Leigh and Katie enjoy going to concerts and the theatre at weekends.
    Pia, a 16 year old girl from Germany. Pia plays handball at a high level and also enjoys music, hanging out with friends and shopping. Pia lives in a large city, and isn’t keen on animals or the countryside. Pia doesn’t have any special requests.
  • James and Emma Nicholson live on a farm with their daughters Yvonne (13) & Emma (15). As well as the farm animals the family has a number of pets. The family is happy to cater for a vegetarian.
    Julie, a 16 year old girl from France. Julie lives in the countryside and loves animals. She has 2 younger brothers and lots of pets. Julie is a vegetarian.

Getting the placement right

As you will have found out from the activity on the previous page, matching a student with the right host family is not easy. Sometimes there is no right answer. Sometimes more than one solution works. As you get to know the families in your area, you will find that you learn what type of student will work well with each family.

If a student is a good match for the family, then they are more likely to get on well, and both the family and the student will be able to have a great experience. If the student is not a good match, then they are less likely to be happy, and you may well end up having to move them to a new host family later.  

School Placements

If you don't know the area, or you've signed up a new host family, then you might not know all the local schools.  It’s always a good idea to ask the host family, as they will probably know which schools there are in the local area.

If you are looking for a school in England, the Ofsted website is a good place to start. You can access the website here: http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk. Watch the video below to see how you can find a local school via Ofsted.

Video - Ofsted website screencast

Contacting the school

When you approach a new school you should

  • Find the general contact details for the school
  • Call the school, and ask for the person responsible for admissions for students in that year
  • Obtain the direct email address of the person responsible for admissions
  • Send them an introductory email, attaching the student’s profile and a copy of the booklet Information for Schools

You can download the text for the introductory email here

You can find copies of the school acceptance form (SAF) and the booklet Information for Schools by logging in at www.interstudies.info 

Go to the next page to learn more about how to follow up and secure a school placement for your students. 

Following up with schools

Once you have sent an application to a school, you need to follow up.

Wait a couple of days, then call the school, and ask to speak to the person responsible for admissions. You need to:

  • Ensure the correct person has received the application file. If not, ask for their direct email, and send the application again, asking them to confirm receipt
  • Answer any questions they have about the student, or our programme
  • Establish whether they will accept the student. If so, you need them to email or fax the completed SAF (school acceptance form) back to us.

You need to follow up every couple of days until you get a result. In some cases you may need to visit the school to meet the admissions staff and collect the SAF

Watch the video below to learn how Julie deals with the most common questions asked by new schools. 

Video: Julie calls a school

Now try the activity on the next page, to see if you can answer the questions yourself.

Activity: Dealing with questions from a prospective school

  • What about funding?
    Most of our students come from EU countries, so you can treat them in exactly the same way as you treat local students.
  • What subjects will they study?
    Your school is free to decide what subjects you can offer. You’ll find a detailed academic record in each student’s application, so you can see what level they are currently studying at in different subjects.
  • Can they speak English at a high enough level to follow lessons?
    All our students are interviewed in English before they come to the country. Not all students are perfect when they arrive, but after a few weeks living in a local host family their level improves very quickly!
  • What about pastoral support? They are a long way from home.
    I’m the local support coordinator, and it’s my job to help the student with any pastoral issues while they are here. You can treat the student in the same way as you would treat any other student who moved to your school from another area.
  • What if we can’t offer them places in their favourite classes?
    Our students know that we can’t guarantee places in specific classes.

Keeping track of school placements

It's important to keep track of your progress with schools.

You can download an Excel sheet to keep track of school placements here

Remember to save the file on your computer before entering data!