How does it work on arrival to the UK?
Airport Guardians staff are in Heathrow Airport on all main school travel days. They will:
- Be in Terminal 3 where the school coaches depart from;
- Be in other terminals as needed;
- Never be more than a few minutes away from students in need;
- Available to help orientate students and parents;
- Able to perform Unaccompanied Minor duties;
- Able to help resolve any issues that crop up like lost luggage or possessions, late or early arrivals, immigration issues, etc;
- Be a friendly face and always kind and welcoming.
Arriving students should:
- Have a charged up mobile phone;
- Turn their phone on when they land;
- Answer the phone when it rings – it may well be our chaperones;
- Look for the Airport Guardians chaperones in the bright red jackets when they come into the Arrivals hall;
- Ask for help by calling +44 20 3355 2858.
- Make sure their child’s phone has credit;
- Tell their child to save some battery for when they arrive;
- Remind their child to turn on their phone (or turn off Aeroplane Mode) when they have landed;
- Call +44 20 3355 2858 on the day if they have any concerns
Why is GTMatrix transporting my child?
Travel and welfare solutions can be run by schools themselves or outsourced to GTMatrix. Schools often struggle to provide this service, as travel often occurs outside school staff contracted hours. Travel to and from London Heathrow to schools based some considerable distance away can be onerous, and on arrival days school staff often need to stay overnight at the airport to greet the first flights landing at 04:45, not leaving until the last arrivals at the end of the day.
On departing travel days staff need to be at the airport from the first through to the last flights. The requirement to offer Unaccompanied Minor services sometimes necessitates all four terminals being covered at the same time.
GTMatrix is set up to provide this service to schools, with dedicated teams covering both airport and transport, and based locally to where they are needed.
How does your Unaccompanied Minor service work?
We provide the following Unaccompanied Minor (UM) services to all UK airports, whether it is carried out by our team of Airport Guardians or our specially selected Driver/Chaperones, the service follows the same format:
Airport Guardians – based at Heathrow (LHR) on main school travel days
Coach Chaperones – School specific.
Driver/Chaperones (DC’s) based at all other airports, including BHX, MAN, and LGW.
Once a UM booking has been received (via our booking form or via the school portal) an Airport Guardian or DC will be allocated. Wherever possible this assignment is given to the same AG/DC each travel day, so your child will see a familiar, friendly face on arrival.
All relevant information about the AG/DC required by the airline will be communicated to parents, guardians and school 4 days prior to the travel day.
For departure flights, the chaperone will accompany the student from arrival at the airport and will be with them throughout the check-in process, helping with any paperwork, until the flight is called and they are handed over to the airline staff. This process usually takes between two and three hours.
On arrival flights our chaperone will be in the arrivals hall 30 mins after landing. They will identify themselves to the airline and sign for the student before accompanying them from the arrivals hall to their waiting transport (arranged by GTM). This process usually takes around one hour, depending on immigration, COVID protocols at the time of border entry and the student having the correct paperwork.
All GTMatrix chaperones are Enhanced DBS checked and part of our team.
Unaccompanied Minor chaperone services at all major UK airports are charged at £84 for outbound (departures) and £42 for inbound (arrivals).
Additional correspondence with airlines relating to UM service should not be necessary, however if we are required to call central reservations for example, this takes 10-15 minutes and is charged at an additional £18. All waiting time and parking beyond the allowances mentioned above will be chargeable at £30 per hour plus the relevant hourly parking charge (approximately £12 per hour). Any extra fees that the chaperone has to pay for on behalf of the student will be charged at cost plus an admin fee of £30.
We can book any required travel in the UK. We currently serve transport needs for parents attending 52 UK private schools and associated Guardianships.
When a school contracts GTMatrix, we run an analysis of the costs required to offer a robust, caring and Sponsored Student-compliant service, plus contingency and profit. This cost is divided by the average number of travelling students. We are careful to ensure our costs are reasonable, however full airport oversight and Sponsored Student-compliant travel-day governance does come at a cost.
Your child’s school will re-charge the cost of transport to you through the school bill. Any specific enquiries about costs should be directed to the Bursary at your school.
Schools have minimum standards that they need to adhere to in terms of a safe and robust travel protocol – these protocols are laid down by the UK Home Office.
Note: Even though not all journeys are to Heathrow and include Airport Guardians, it is included here for transparency.
How do I pay for your service?
The cost of travel is added to your school bill. Following each travel day we submit a full schedule of all students who travelled with us to the school, and the school adds this to your account. No student is ever asked for cash or to pay on the day.
On a “Main Travel Day” (the published date on which the whole school returns or breaks up):
Heathrow airport will be staffed with our Airport Guardians team who all wear red jackets.
Coaches will all have a chaperone on board, also wearing a red jacket. Each chaperone can be contacted by SMS. Please visit the relevant page for your school by using the sub-menu on this page for further information.
Taxi drivers will greet arriving students in the international arrivals hall. They will carry a name board with the student’s name. Students travelling by taxi should walk along the line of waiting drivers and look for their name.
On all other days:
Arriving students will be met by a taxi driver in the international arrivals hall. The driver will cary a name board with the student’s name. Students travelling by taxi should walk along the line of waiting drivers and look for their name.
Departing students will be dropped at the airport terminal unless we are advised that they should be accompanied to passport control or unless they are travelling as a UM.
GTMatrix monitors every journey and is constantly in contact with drivers and students.
When communicating with GTMatrix always quote the student’s full name (including any adopted Western name) and school attended.
All bookings must be made using a booking form, either your school’s form or our form. Bookings by email are not acceptable.
If a student is flying, we need the flight number. All flights are monitored and bookings automatically adjusted for early or late arrivals.
Arrivals from Europe – taxi drivers will walk into the terminal 30 minutes after landing.
Arrivals from outside Europe – taxi drivers will walk into the terminal 60 minutes after landing.
How do I contact you on a travel day?
Our central phone number is +44 20 3355 2858. This number is attended throughout each travel day and during office hours on non-travel days. Outside office hours there is a menu option to be connected to the emergency mobile phone.
In addition, each school has a dedicated SMS number which is monitored by the chaperones both before and throughout each travel day. Please ask us for the dedicated number for your school.
What qualifications do you have?
The founders of GTMatrix have a long and proven track record in business setup and management.
We recruit chaperone teams specifically for each school we look after, drawing team members from the local area. We hire from various backgrounds, including teaching, airlines, personal assistants, Police force – most of our staff are semi-retired and are delighted to work with our team for up to thirty days per year. We look for very organised and thorough individuals. Our staff are all mature, experienced and above all, compassionate and kind individuals who value their time with the students.
All our staff are enhanced DBS vetted (Government vetting service – suitable for adults working in the care of minors)
How do I book travel for my child?
Each school has its own booking form, please contact your school for more information. However GTMatrix has a general booking form which can be used by all parents. Please click through to make a booking.
Further information and resources
Please see the menu in the left hand column.