Caring for babies and young children is a rewarding and challenging career with many demanding responsibilities, as anyone with this experience will surely testify. This includes the often understated role of the nanny and we want to pay tribute to this professional role and the fantastic work that they do, caring for and educating those in their care. Parents and carers that are employing nannies express how truly valued, appreciated and greatly relied upon they are, in terms of the care and education of their young babies and children. Whilst some nannies will be newly qualified, others are experienced in specialist roles such as Maternity Nurse. Upon starting a career as a nanny it can be a difficult transition to suddenly find oneself with sole care of babies and young children, often living away from home and with little or certainly limited contact with their own friends and family. From personal care routines, wider family roles such as cooking and cleaning, curriculum involvement to play experiences, the expectations of the nanny have always been diverse. The role of professional bodies such as BAPN, the Association for professional Nannies, other reputable agencies, and organisations including Norland can play a vital role for Nannies and indeed for families, when establishing, maintaining and negotiating terms and conditions for the Nanny and many will promote social networks for nannies too.
BAPN states that: “A reputable agency will want to get it right for you first time and to make the recruitment process as smooth as possible. They should offer after placement support and advice regarding your legal obligations as an employer; contracts of employment; pensions; taxation and so on.”
An important feature of these professional bodies is to be able to support the continuous professional development (CPD) of the nanny during their career trajectory. Access to quality care and experiences in the early years is every child’s right, it is not a privilege or an entitlement and as The Nutbrown Review identified, qualifications held amongst the early years workforce influence such experience in both the short and long term for children.
Access to purposeful and manageable CPD is reportedly a challenge affecting the majority of employees across the early years workforce, as detailed in a recent Ceeda report. Level 2 Early Years Practitioners, Level 3 Early Years Educators and others in the sector often find it incredibly difficult to access CPD that is both accessible and manageable, and for those employed as nannies, this can be further complicated by working patterns, arrangements and accessibility. It is suggested that typically accessible CPD is developed with early years settings in mind. For example, criteria often requires team collaboration and evidence derived from working with groups of children or heavily demanding in curriculum engagement. CPD for nannies is potentially further hindered by factors such as availability and opportunity.
Nannies, as already discussed, are tremendously valued by parents and carers, they play an essential role within the early years workforce and yet the CPD to support their career progression is often limited and limiting in reality. The benefits of CPD and reflective practice are immediate, for the individual involved, the children and the sector as a whole. It would appear that limited and lacking provision for a vital group of the early years workforce may potentially prevent nannies from well-deserved career progression. Studying part time, juggling priorities and personal motivation can be hurdles enough with regard to CPD. On reflection, there is cause perhaps, for those responsible for providing a framework for career progression, to be reminded of the professional occupational role of the nanny, and to consider CPD provision as a serious omission, taking action through an inclusive offer that promotes progression across the whole workforce.
How can CACHE help nannies to access CPD?
Our heritage in learning and experience has earned us a reputation for excellence and leadership in care and education. Our continued dedication to those who care for children and young people means that our qualifications will continue to meet the needs of a modern workforce, including the role of nannies.
CACHE offers study programmes that can support the professional nanny by providing opportunities to develop their career and to specialise in areas of learning bespoke to their own professional needs and personal interests. There are qualifications from Level 1 to Level 5 of varying size and purpose and a range of topics including play, safeguarding, special educational needs, neuroscience, physical activity and nutrition and many more areas.
The following qualifications have been selected as useful and relevant to nannies, and will offer a very small insight into the wide and diverse range of programmes available:
NCFE CACHE Level 3 Award in Preparing to Work in Home Based Childcare (601/3527/X) - with a dedicated unit for Nannies
NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator) (601/2629/2) - with a recognised route taking into account prior learning achieved from the Level 3 Award in Preparing to Work in Home Based Childcare
Emergency Paediatric First Aid (M/615/3440/UNITCACHE) – this unit is for the learner to attain the knowledge and practical skills required to deal with a range of paediatric first aid situations.
We would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the contributions that Nannies continue to make to the early years workforce and for the positive difference that they make to the lives of babies, children and their families. A special thank you to BAPN for the opportunity to write this article.
Janet King, Sector Manager Education and Childcare for NCFE CACHE