International Students Accommodation Policy

 Otamatea Christian School undertakes to comply with the accommodation provisions set out in Part 6 of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (Revised, 2013). The categories of accommodation that will be accepted by the school are:

  1. Living with a Parent
  2. Living with a Designated Caregiver

iii. Living in a Homestay


  1. To provide a suitable living environment conducive to study and a safe and supportive home life.
  2. To involve the Homestay Caregiver in the welfare of a student away from the student’s family and

home country.

  1. To assist the student to successfully integrate into the New Zealand lifestyle.
  2. To work towards the overseas parents’ peace of mind knowing that the student is well cared for

and happy in New Zealand.

 The following documents underpin this policy:

  1. The Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (Revised, 2013)
  2. Designated Caregiver contracts.
  3. Otamatea Christian School Guidelines for Homestay Caregivers Looking after International


  1. Designated Caregiver Indemnity Forms.
  2. All documents related to the enrolment of international students.


Otamatea Christian Schools International Students Director will also act as the Homestay Co-ordinator for international students when student numbers are 5 or less.  When student numbers reach 6 or more international students, requiring Homestay Accommodation, then an appropriate person within the wider School Community will be given the position of Homestay Co-ordinator.  the Home Stay Co-ordinator will also inspect designated caregiver accommodation and check to see that students living with parents remain under parental supervision during their stay in New Zealand.




  1. International students will not be permitted to rent a flat/room/house/apartment or live on their own.
  2. All accommodation queries and issues will be dealt with initially by the School Principal and then referred to the Pastoral Care Coordinator, the Accommodation Coordinator or the Board of Governors as deemed appropriate.
  3. For each student, the full name, current address, contact phone number, occupation and relationship to student of the Homestay Caregiver will be held.
  4. Any serious concerns relating to accommodation should be relayed promptly to the International Student Director who will then refer these to the School Principal or Board of Governors as necessary.

For all students not living with a parent:

  1. Any accommodation to be used by international students will have:
  • An on-site assessment to determine that living conditions are of an acceptable standard.
  • An assessment to determine that the accommodation type is not a boarding establishment or a “sleep out”.
  • An assessment of the Homestay Caregiver’s suitability and whether they will provide a safe physical and emotional environment.
  1. Each student will be interviewed at least quarterly to ensure that their accommodation is suitable.
  2. All accommodation residences will be visited at least twice yearly to ensure that they remain suitable.
  3. Police vetting will be carried out on all adults aged 18 years and over living in a homestay, or Designated Caregiver accommodation used by a student. Police vetting will be renewed every three years.
  4. Otamatea Christian School or their contracted agents will conduct follow-up visits if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the accommodation has become unsuitable.


  1. Students in the school homestay programme must make homestay payments 2 months in advance prior to their travel to New Zealand whether a long term or short term stay.
  2. Students must not make their own private homestay arrangements without the approval of the Board of Governors.
  3. Students staying in a homestay are required to exhibit appropriate behaviour.
  4. Where a student’s behaviour or demands are such that Homestay Caregivers can’t reasonably be expected to have the student continue in their care, the homestay service may be discontinued and the student may be sent home. A two week notice period is still needed.
  5. Where the homestay student wishes to withdraw from the programme, at least four weeks notice (1 month) must be given in writing to the Board of Governors so that they can make appropriate arrangements with the Homestay providers.
  6. If a student is at risk because of an undisclosed health issue, a new health issue, a failed police vet or for any new issue that puts the student at risk, then the school reserves the right to remove the student without paying any penalty homestay fees.
  7. Advice and support infrastructure for homestay caregivers will be provided by Otamatea Christian School.

 Designated Caregivers

  1. Parents of each student living with a Designated Caregiver are required to sign an indemnity document stating that the Designated Caregiver is a relative and that the parents have selected the accommodation for their child, subject to Otamatea Christian School approving the accommodation.
  1. On or before enrolment, Otamatea Christian School will meet and establish communication with the Designated Caregiver.
  2. The relationship between the Designated Caregiver and student’s parents will be checked to confirm that they are a bona fide relative.


The contracted Care Provider and Accommodation Co-ordinator will be responsible for:

  1. Providing a 24/7 emergency contact person for problems with accommodation.
  2. Selecting, monitoring and approving all accommodation.
  3. Providing a support infrastructure for Homestay Caregivers.
  4. Recording the results of all accommodation assessment.
  5. Recording the results of all quarterly student interviews.

This will be monitored by the school Principal and Board of Governors.


Otamatea Christian School will expect all Homestay Caregivers to:

  1. Provide a safe and friendly living and studying environment, including, but not limited to:
  • A first aid kit
  • Smoke alarms.
  1. Provide day to day care including:
  • 3 meals a day and access to snacks
  • Own room
  • Bed and bedding
  • Study desk and chair
  • Adequate bedroom furniture to store clothes, books etc.
  • Lamp and adequate lighting
  • Adequate heating
  • Transport arrangements to and from school
  • Bathing/showering/bathroom access
  • Laundry.
  1. Treat the student with respect.
  1. Make the student feel comfortable and part of the family.
  1. Notify the school if there are any changes or additions to the household.
  1. Notify the school immediately if there are any problems with the student e.g. medical conditions,misconduct.
  1. Notify the school immediately if the student seems very homesick or depressed.
  1. Look after the student in their home to the best of their ability.
  1. Give the student and Care Provider and Accommodation Co-ordinator a notice of 4 weeks if they are wishing to terminate the arrangement.
  1. Provide reasonable access to internet for the purposes of skyping family members or using email to communicate.  (Students will be expected to pay for their Internet usage.)
  1. Provide access to the phone should a student wish to phone home provided that all phone calls are paid for.

The Homestay Caregivers will not be expected to:

  1. Provide or pay for an internet connection for the students for purposes other than communication with home and homework unless prior arrangement for this is negotiated and all projected costs paid for. A homestay caregiver can ask for a bond which will be reimbursed once all bills are paid.  It should be noted that internet should not be used after 10 pm and it should be used in an open place like the kitchen or living room to ensure student safety.
  2. Pay for toll or mobile phone calls.
  3. Cook special food.
  4. Insure the student’s goods or pay for property the student damages or loses.
  5. Offer accommodation to visiting friends or relatives.
  6. Comply with unreasonable requests.

Students or their Care Provider will:

  1. Give 4 weeks’ notice if they intend moving out (unless a special arrangement for emergency homestay has been negotiated).
  2. Negotiate regarding holding of the student’s room when they are absent. Otamatea Christian School suggests:
  • If a student returns to the same homestay the following year and is going to their home country for the six-week summer holiday break, they pay a reduced fee of $75 per week for the holiday period.
  • When this happens the student’s room can be left with the student’s belongings in place as it is understood the room will not be used while they are away.
  • Some Homestay Caregivers may offer to store the student’s belongings. When this happens a small fee may be negotiated i.e. up to $25 per week.
  • If a student leaves Maungaturoto for holidays during the academic year, there will be no reduction in homestay fees paid. However, the Accommodation Co-ordinator can negotiate with Homestay Caregivers and students.

Communication between Students and their Parents

Students are to have weekly contact with their parent’s via email, phone or skype calls.

More frequent contact to be encouraged if the student is ill, homesick, or there has been a crisis at home.

A private area should be available for calls, preferably made from homestay, but calls can be made through the school if and when necessary.

The student is to keep a log of all calls, and show The International Director at weekly meetings.

Students’ who are reluctant to make weekly contact, should be prepared beforehand, by the homestay parent or a staff member.

The cost of any calls should be received from parents, or provision made for calling and or reverse charge calls to parents.

School communication with Parents

Prior to enrolment, communication will be established with the parent/s of each prospective student using the following: emails, phone calls, formal letters and text.  Depending on the language barrier, it may be necessary to use a first language speaker from the country of application.

In the case of emergencies, the International Studies Director Mrs Lynette Bell, should be contacted on +64-27892 0026. This is available 24/7, but a roster will operate on weekends and holidays. Likewise the International Director will phone parents should an emergency arise in NZ regarding their child.

In addition to twice yearly school reports on student progress and pace tests., the International Director will make a follow up phone call / skype call to discuss any issues.  If an international student does not speak English as a first language then a first language speaker will be employed by the school to be present if it is deemed necessary.

A monthly email will be sent to parents from the International Director, with comments from class teachers showing progress and/or concerns.  If needed, a first language speaker will be used to translate this.

While they are not personal, the weekly school newsletter will also be emailed to parents.

Damage to Belongings

  • Students should take care of their belongings while living in a homestay. It is the student’s and their parents responsibility to ensure they have adequate insurance cover to meet their needs. This may mean they purchase a “top up” second insurance policy.
  • Students must get additional insurance for expensive belongings.
  • If the student damages the property of the Homestay Caregiver, the student must pay the cost for repairs, unless the damage is covered by the Homestay Caregiver’s insurance policy.
  • If a member of the homestay family damages property belonging to the student, the Homestay Caregiver must pay for the cost of repairs, unless the damage is covered by the student’s insurance policy.
  • Otamatea Christian School does not accept responsibility for losses or damage to property or persons caused or suffered as a result of the home accommodation.

Homestay Payment

Payment in 2015 is $250 per week this is inclusive of GST and an administration charge. There is also a Homestay Placement Fee of  $200 which is a one of payment to secure the Homestay.   Parents are required to pay home stay fees a term in advance to the school which will then be paid into your Homestay providers back account by the school Secretary.  The school secretary is responsible for all these payments and any queries regarding these payments should be made directly to her via email:

If a student is absent from their home stay a retainer of $75 per week is payable to the home stay parents. Exceptions to this are negotiated directly with the host family. Students may not stay with friends, unless in the care of an approved responsible adult. Any arrangements to be away from the home stay must first be discussed with the Director of International Students and a, ‘Permission to Travel Form’ is to be completed.

At the end of the school year, most students return to their home countries. The board payments stop during this time. If the student is returning home the next year, he/she can either:

  1. Pack up his/her belongings and take it home or if convenient, leave it at the home stay, or
  2. If it is not convenient for the home stay to store it, we can make alternative arrangements.

If students are not going home during the holidays, families are paid as usual. 

Changing Home Stay/Change of Circumstances

If a student needs to change home stay for good reasons there is no extra charge for this. However if a student has to change home stay more than once because of his/her unreasonable demands or misbehaviour a further placement charge will be made.

If the signatory changes the students accommodation, notification must be given to the student and the homestay carer prior to the change.  Reasons for the change should be communicated clearly to both parties and to the student’s parents. All transfers and the reasons for these should be kept of this and filed in the International Student files.

A change of circumstance may include:

.  A change of health relating to a member of the homestay family.

.  A new criminal charge relating to a member of the  homestay family.

.  A change in the composition of the homestay household (if a new household member is aged 18

years or older a police vet must be undertaken).

.  A move to a different physical address

.  A change in household family structure, including a change of address or of household make-up.

.  Unresolvable issues between the student and the Host family.

.  Misbehaviour or misconduct on the part of the student.

.  Misconduct on the part of the Host family.


This policy will be reviewed annually in December of each year.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.