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“Strongest” agent vetting launched for UK boarding

British Boarding Schools’ Network has introduced a new initiative for agent members that the organisation says will provide the UK boarding school sector with the “strongest agent vetting process”.

Membership is only granted to agents who meet the BBSN's high standards, and many applications are turned down or deferred until the agent has gained more experience, the network said. Photo: BBSW

BBSN includes some 250 school members

The “rigorous checks” new agent applicants face include three reference checks, Zoom interviews, along with further checks and requirements.

The BBSN Agent Membership Programme formalises the work the organisation has been doing for the past 17 years, it said, and started with current agent members in October last year.

“We wanted to provide formal recognition for the vital role that our professional educational agents play in the recruitment of international pupils into British boarding schools,” BBSN director Suzanne Rowse said in a statement.

“We listened carefully to what our members told us they would like and sought the views of experienced staff from both schools and agent member organisations.”

The enhanced membership program will “provide validity and evidence of rigorous quality assurance of agents for our member schools and to the client families our agents work with”, she continued.

Two levels of membership include the BBSN Approved Agent status for those that have passed all vetting checks and met membership requirements.

The BBSN Trusted & Approved Agent status – set to be introduced in mid-2023 – goes a step further and features additional requirements and acknowledges “long-standing” agent members that have been fully engaged with the network.

More than 470 agent offices applied for Approved Agent status within the first week of launch. BBSN includes some 250 school members among its network.

BBSN added that many agent applications are turned down for failing to meet standards or deferred until the agent has gained more experience, with membership “seen as a privilege”.

“The new program gives our member schools increased confidence that they are working with high quality, reputable agencies, thus protecting their UKVI sponsor licence,” Rowse added.

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