Host Families

at South Devon Steiner School, Dartington, UK


Host Families

Our students stay in host families, who are mainly members of our school community and are very welcoming, friendly and supportive. As our school is in the countryside, they live in different places – some in the nearby towns of Totnes, Buckfastleigh and Ashburton, and some in smaller villages or in the countryside. The families provide all meals (including packed lunch) and take responsibility for getting the student to and from school or other activities. They welcome the students into their family, and give them as many opportunities as possible to speak in English and using the English language in day-to-day life. Each family hosts more than one student at a time (usually 2-4 students) who will all have different mother tongues to ensure that the language of the home is English! Usually bedrooms are shared between two students. As far as possible we try to place students with those of a similar age and interest, and in families where we think they will have a good time.

Camp Supervisors

During our camp weekend, a set team of supervisors will join the international student group during day and night. Most of the supervisors are members of our school community who are usually hosting international students; some others will be SLS teachers or SLS staff. All of our supervisors are very supportive, friendly and a lot of fun to be around! The camp weekend allows our Summer Language students to spend a great and unforgettable time together with their international friends (they can live in different places–sometimes fairly far apart–when living with their host families as our school is located in the countryside). During the camp weekend, we will provide all meals (inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner) at school, take responsibility for getting the students to and from trips and activities and ensure that the language spoken most is English! In the event of camping out, boys and girls will be allocated to different bell tents and our large bell tents are shared between a maximum number of 10 students. If the weather doesn’t allow camping, boys and girls will be allocated to different indoor rooms. As far as possible we try to place students with those of a similar age and interest.

Host Family

If you apply before the Host Family Requests deadline (30th June 2023), we will try to take into account any requests (to be near a friend for example). After this deadline applications will only be accepted if there is a suitable space left in a host family, but it will be unlikely that we will be able to accommodate extra requests.

We expect students to fit in with the family as far as is reasonable – but the following guidelines should help students to clarify areas of uncertainty:


Speaking English:

The host family welcomes the students into their family, and gives them as many opportunities as possible to speak in English, and the students should try their best to speak only English, even with fellow students of the same mother tongue. If a student does invite a friend or brother or sister who speaks their language to the host family's home, they should speak English to each other when other people are present, as it is considered rude to speak a foreign language in front of people who do not understand it. The same applies during the weekend camp and in regards to camp supervisors and other international students.



The host family provides breakfast, a packed lunch (including a drink) and a cooked supper. The students are expected to share the evening meal with the family. Should a student, as an exception, wish to have a meal at another student’s house they must discuss this first with their own host family, who will then contact the other host family if appropriate. During the camp weekend we will provide all meals (including breakfast, lunch and a cooked supper). The students are expected to share the evening meals with the group.


Phone and Internet usage:

When students arrive, they can expect to make a short phone call to their families, to say they have arrived safely (if they want to talk for longer, please call them back). After this it is strongly recommended that families do not contact the student more than once a week (or twice at most). From experience we find that daily contact leads to students becoming homesick, and not engaging fully in the experience of learning English (it is normal to feel frustrated and upset after a few days of speaking a foreign language, but this soon passes if contact with home is not too frequent).

Similarly, although students will usually be able to receive emails in their host family (and if necessary during the camp), it is not advisable to email them every day (the same applies to texts of course). Students should not expect to be able to use the Internet, Facebook or similar networking and social media sites. Our course is intended to follow Steiner's principles; we try to give the students a real experience of English life, and we would prefer it if they are not 'virtually' somewhere else!​


The host family will either wash the students' clothes (at least once a week), or provide washing and drying facilities for the students to do this themselves.



The host family provides transport to and from school. This can be by car or by bus, or even by bicycle for those who live close. (If the student catches the bus, the fares to and from school are paid for by the host family - the host families will show the students where to get off the bus and how to get home). Hitch-hiking to and from school is not allowed.


Afternoons & Evenings:

A responsible adult from the host family is expected to be at home when the students return from their activities. Students are invited to share in the family’s afternoon and evening activities. If they wish to meet up with fellow students they might be given a lift by the host family (or be collected in the evening – all within reasonable distances), but should not expect to do this every day.


All students are asked to be at home in the evenings by 10:30pm on weekdays, and by 11pm, at the latest, on Friday and Saturday. It is vital that all students and families keep to this arrangement and have clear arrangements for contacting each other. Students should carry the home number and mobile number (if applicable) of the host family – host families should have student mobile phone numbers for emergencies.


Free days and free afternoons:

The host family is responsible for the students on the free days and afternoons after school. Some students like to spend this time with the family; others like to go out with their new friends. If they are going out without the family, students must talk to their family, before the free day, about where they wish to go and when and how they will return (be aware of English public transport and its limitations!).



Should a student be unwell, we ask the host family to inform the director of Live & Learn Language Ltd., who will be at school each day of the course. If there are any medical problems the host fami

lies, being ‘in loco parentis’, are asked to treat students as they would their own family, i.e. to treat at home for minor illness, and to use the family doctor or the A&E department at the hospital for more serious matters or emergencies. We will, of course, inform the student’s own family if a student is ill, or has an accident, but we ask parents to fill in the Parental Consent Form, detailing your preferences for treatment, in case it is not possible to contact you before treatment is needed.

We hope that ongoing communication and trust will make it an enjoyable time for students and host families alike. Staying in a host family is an important part of our programme, and gives the students a chance to practice what they have learnt in an informal setting, and it is usually a very happy experience.

Live & Learn Language UK is following and underlying the South Devon Steiner School's policies.

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