Nanny college looking for families to offer trainee placements

Nanny with child in garden

Norland College is looking for families to send their student nannies on trainee placements.

Norland College in Bath is renowned the world over for producing top quality nannies and ready-to-work staff for private households. Their graduates receive the education and qualifications needed to set them off on their childcare careers – ready to help out families across the country.

But before they get to take on the world’s most prestigious nanny jobs, Norland is looking for local families to send their students for placements.

After all, theoretical training can only get you so far. Real world experience is a fundamental ingredient that must be added to the mix, regardless of one’s chosen career.

The Placement

Norland took in a record number of students during this academic year and now requires more families with whom to place its student nannies. Speaking to the Bath Chronicle, the college said:

“We’ll be sending our students out to family homes for six-week blocks from January 2018 so that students can gain experience and pick up valuable skills based on the theory they’ve learnt.”

Norland has said that it would rather place nannies within local families as household staff are a useful service for the community.

For families that would like to welcome one of Norland’s finest into their homes, they must have two or more children under the age of three, and at least one of those children would need to be at home in the Bath area between Mondays and Thursdays.

The families involved would also be required to complete timesheets and fill in appraisals, helping Norland to keep track of their students’ progress.

For families that qualify and that would like to give the nannies of the future the start they need, contact Norland by email at Jo.Brimble@norland.ac.uk, providing your details and children’s ages.

 

Nannies as essential as “water and air” says mum of two

Nanny looking after child

A mother of two has admitted to relying on four nannies to look after her two kids.

Employing nannies and specialist household staff to help look after children is something many parents depend on, ensuring that their children have the care and attention that they so dearly need.

One mum who couldn’t agree more and fully appreciates the virtues of such services is Natalia Nikulina (37), who has said that the four nannies she employs to look after her two children are as essential to her as “water and air”.

Four nannies

Hiring four nannies herself, Natalia has all her bases covered. First there is the weekday nanny who collects Natalia’s two and three-year-old sons from day care, takes them off to the playground for a few hours of fun, cooks them dinner at home, and then puts them to bed, according to the New York Post.

Next come the weekend nannies, one on Saturday and another on Sunday. Her children’s nannies will at times be on duty for up to 12 hours a day, and just to make sure there are no nanny related emergencies, there is always a fourth nanny on call.

Natalia works full-time as a clinical social worker and is married to a full-time city employee.

“I love my children,” Natalia says, “but I’m not embarrassed to say the nannies are not just to provide child care when I’m at work – they provide mental rest for me [when I am at home] as well.

“I don’t see any way around it – [otherwise] I lose my mind, and then I can’t work. [Having extra help is] a must – water, air and nannies.”

But Natalia makes sure to note that when the nannies are working she isn’t just relaxing with her feet up:

“When I’m with the nanny, I’m never relaxing – if the nanny is with the kids, I’m cleaning up.”

We can’t all be in Natalia’s position of affording four nannies to help take care of our children, but those that do employ household help will understand just how essential the service can be.

Image Credit: Colin Maynard

 

Nanny employers must be aware of auto-enrolment pension changes

Man doing paperwork

Any family which employs a nanny or other private household worker will now need to contribute to their pensions, as the latest phase of the automatic enrolment rules come into effect.

The pensions shake-up – the first stage of which was introduced by the government back in 2012 – was always intended to bring even the country’s smallest employers into the contributions fold, but so-called ‘micro-employers’ will now have no choice but to get their paperwork in order as soon as possible.

As of the start of October 2017, anyone who employs a nanny, cleaner or other domestic staff member (including carers) must contribute the equivalent of a minimum of 1% of their monthly salary towards their employees’ pension pot, provided the worker is 22 years old or over, earns at least £10,000 per year and is not already enrolled in another workplace scheme.

Rupert Jones, writing in the Guardian, notes that – despite the long-established timetable for the rule changes – it is possible that some families may still be taken by surprise because “of course, many of the smallest employers don’t think of themselves as such – they are individuals who just happen to have someone who works for them”.

Further contribution rises on the horizon

Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of the Pensions Regulator, which has an informative help section designed to teach people who are employing workers for the first time all they need to know about their contributions arrangements.

Something else which is important to bear in mind is that employers’ monthly contributions will not remain static indefinitely, even if their employees pay does not change from year to year. Contribution rates are pencilled in for the start of the next two financial years (April 2018 and 2019), which will typically raise employer contributions to 2% and 3% of the employee’s salary respectively.

Image Credit: Rawpixel.com

Mattel scraps controversial ‘virtual nanny’ device

Baby sleeping

The US-based toy manufacturer Mattel has decided to scrap its controversial ‘virtual nanny’ system, Aristotle, following privacy concerns being raised by a number of campaign groups.

As we reported in January, Mattel announced plans at the start of the year for what it thought could have been a highly lucrative product – an artificial intelligence-powered device which had multiple functions designed to, in the company’s words, “aid parents…to make it easier for them to protect, develop, and nurture the most important asset in their home – their children”.

The various functions of the Aristotle device were supposedly to have included the ability to sing lullabies and tell bedtime stories, as well as being able to gauge when a particular product (such as nappies) was running low and automatically reordering them.

Perhaps most controversial of all, however, was the small camera which came with the device and was supposed to have acted as a visual baby monitor. Campaigners were quick to express their worries that the camera – as it was part of a connected device – could potentially have been breached by hackers.

“Aristotle isn’t a nanny, it’s an intruder”

In July, Mattel appointed a new chief technology officer – Sven Gerjets – who decided to review the feasibility and reputational risk of releasing Aristotle, eventually coming to the conclusion that doing so would not have been worth the potential consequences.

Gerjets’ choice will no doubt have been influenced by the extremely negative press Aristotle has received from some quarters ever since it was unveiled in January: Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an influential US group, released a statement arguing that “Aristotle isn’t a nanny, it’s an intruder. Children’s bedrooms should be free of corporate snooping”, as reported by the BBC.

Mattel’s decision will no doubt be welcomed by the many experienced and highly qualified nannies and other domestic household staff – and their employers – who will be all too aware that there can be no real substitute for the care and compassion of a real guardian.

Image Credit: Jenna Norman

Prestigious nanny college welcomes highest number of male recruits

Man straightening tie

Rightly or wrongly, the role of professional childcare has long been regarded as the domain of female workers. From Mary Poppins onwards, the image of a wise, maternal lady calmly overseeing our precious children is surely what comes to mind when we think of nannies, governesses and housekeepers alike.

With the possible exception of Mrs Doubtfire, there have been no famous male nannies – either fictional or real – in living memory. However, the recent intake numbers for arguably the most famous of all nanny training facilities show that, little by little, the days of professional domestic childcare always being classed as a job for women may be nearing an end.

This Telegraph article recently reported that Norland College in Bath, which it describes as “the world’s most elite nanny training school”, has just reported its highest ever intake of male pupils for its renowned Early Years Development and Learning BA degree.

‘Where do I sign up?’

Whilst this development has made headlines around the private domestic staff industry, it is important not to overstate the numbers of men involved – after all, only four of the 103-strong 2017 first year class are male.

Nevertheless, the very fact that this is a record-high number shows the extent to which being a nanny has previously been a profession so one-sided in terms of gender that being female could almost have been mistaken for a requirement.

Many within the sector, however, are now extremely confident that this apparently small step towards breaking down gender barriers could be the start of something much bigger, with the director of one agency being positively bullish about this prospect when questioned by the Telegraph: “With social barriers slowly-but-surely breaking down, we predict the trend to continue and for there to begin to be a balance in the numbers of females and males entering the sector.”

Being a nanny to the great and good can be a particularly rewarding career choice, and one of the new male recruits at Norland – 19-year-old Gregory Ridley – summarised why it is a path being taken by more and more young people, regardless of sex: “When my mates found out that I was coming to Norland at first they were really unimpressed. But then I told them about the salary and they said ‘Can I come?! Where do I sign up?’”.

Image Credit: Freestocks.org

Six-figure salary and supercar access offered in nanny job advert

Interior of Maserati

In August, a job listing for a nanny appeared which gained hundreds of applicants in a matter of days. The reason? Well, that may have something to do with the $129,000 salary, access to a range of supercars, and regular meals provided by a Michelin-starred chef being offered.

The perks available to those who successfully fill household staff vacancies advertised by the rich and famous are well-known, but it would be fair to say that the benefits of this particular job may surprise even the most experienced of nannies.

The family, who are based in London but also have homes in Barbados, Cape Town and Atlanta, have four children between the ages of two and 15, so whoever the successful applicant is will certainly have their work cut out for them, even if the rewards associated with the job are substantial.

Despite the high number of applicants, however, the family may struggle to find the Mary Poppins-like individual they are intent on hiring, as the job requirements include having a certificate in self-defence, 15 years’ nannying experience, and a degree in child psychology.

13-hour days await successful candidate

The advert also includes a warning that the successful candidate will be expected to work for 13 hours each day (this in itself will not come as a shock to the thousands of hard-working nannies across the UK), and may need to travel internationally up to three times each week.

Anyone who has already worked as a nanny will, of course, already be aware that it is not always a life of glitz and glamour, and can indeed be one of the most challenging of all occupations.

Indeed, Business Insider’s personal finance correspondent Tanza Loudenback was quoted in this Independent article as saying that “research on affluence suggests children coming up in wealthy households have ‘comparable levels of delinquency’ to lower-income households”. All potential applicants should be aware, therefore, that just because they will be well-remunerated, being a nanny is never a walk in the park.

Image Credit: Pietro De Grandi

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP celebrates family’s loyal nanny

Jacob Rees-Mogg giving speech

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Member of Parliament for North East Somerset, has taken the unusual move of putting his family’s nanny front and centre in a photograph of his sixth child’s christening.

The photo, which can be seen in this Telegraph article, shows professional nanny Veronica Crook – who has served the Rees-Mogg family for an extraordinary 52 years – proudly holding baby Sixtus in her arms, surrounded by the happy parents and their five other children.

Mr Rees-Mogg, who has recently become an unlikely social media celebrity to the point where he has had to play down reports of ambitions to become the next Conservative Party leader, previously spoke to the same newspaper about the pivotal role Veronica has played in his life and the lives of his children.

“Although nannies who cover more than one generation are rare, those like Veronica Crook – who looked after me and now looks after my four children – are pearls of great price”, the MP wrote.

Rees-Mogg praises ‘continuity and stability’ of nannies

With six children and a working life as an MP, it is understandable that Rees-Mogg relies upon the expertise of Ms Crook, and he was keen to praise the work done by nannies all over the country (something which should be reassuring for anyone who is considering contacting a private household staff agency for their own family’s needs): “They provide a continuity and stability for a family that is of inestimable value for the child and, indeed, the man.”

In our last blog, we wrote about the growing trend of so-called ‘helicopter nannies’, who are employed beyond the traditional length of time and on into a child’s late teenage years. Even Mr Rees-Mogg, however, accepts that still being dependent on his childhood nanny at the age of 48 is particularly unusual: “In my own case I have been blessed to have such a good, reliable and devoted nanny, even if it has led to me being deservedly teased about it from time to time.”

Image Credit: Shakespearesmonkey

More nannies being employed into children’s teenage years

Mary Poppins flying over London

The role of the nanny is traditionally seen as someone who flies into a child’s life (quite literally in the case of Mary Poppins, fiction’s most famous nanny), looks after them for their formative primary school years, and is then gone again in what seems like a flash.

However, a recent Telegraph article has revealed the extent to which this state of affairs is now quickly becoming a thing of the past, as so-called ‘helicopter nannies’ are being employed well into the teenage years of the children they were called upon to help bring up.

The phrase is an adaptation of the concept of ‘helicopter parents’, which tends to be applied in a negative way to mothers and fathers who are seen as being an overbearing influence and imposing themselves on every aspect of their child’s life.

It is perhaps unfair, therefore, to refer to the growing band of nannies looking after teenagers in these terms, as the reality is that these household staff company representatives provide an increasingly invaluable service in our busy modern world.

More ex-teachers becoming ‘helicopter nannies’

One of the most famous advocates of this new breed of nanny is the BBC television presenter Fiona Bruce, whose children are still supervised by a paid guardian, despite being 15 and 19. As she explained in an interview with the Daily Mail, “I’m working a lot and my husband works a lot, too, and it’s really important for me that someone is in the house when Mia comes in from school”.

The aforementioned Telegraph article quotes one director of a nanny agency as saying that many ex-teachers are now becoming ‘helicopter nannies’, largely due to the academic intelligence and diverse skill set that is required – and, of course, the attraction of excellent remuneration.

The source is quoted as saying that “with children aged 12 and above, [parents] want someone with a teaching or tutoring background, and some PA skills, so someone who is willing to do not just the children’s organising…but also someone who might book flights for the parents or do some background work on places to stay”.

Image Credits: Sikeri

Nanny to the stars shares her ultimate childcare tips

Crying child

One of the most famous so-called ‘supernannies’ in the world has spoken to the Daily Mail about what she thinks are the most important parts of parenthood – and it may not be easy reading for new mothers and fathers!

69-year-old Rachel Waddilove, who was speaking to the newspaper’s online Femail section, told an interviewer that the single most important thing parents must do is ensure their children do not become ‘kingpins’ within the family home.

Waddilove, who has famously provided live-in childcare guidance to celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Minnie Driver, spoke with passion about what she believes are parents ‘becoming much more fixated and children becoming the kingpin.’ She explained her exasperation over how so many mums and dads ‘fall about to make sure the little person has got everything they want, and that’s not really how it should be’.

The Exeter-based nanny, who has three children of her own and has confirmed that she has no plans to retire any time soon, spoke of the importance of laying down boundaries which children can learn to respect. Most vital of all, she says, is enforcing a strict routine when it comes to turning out the light: ‘It’s really important that children know that they have to stay in their beds. [Otherwise] you have children up at 5am, and by 8am everyone is knackered’.

New parents must have a social life, says Waddilove

Despite Waddilove extolling the benefits of having a clear structure when it comes to childcare, however, she is also keen to point out that parents cannot be afraid to enjoy a little flexibility in their own lives, if they wish to maximise both their and their children’s happiness. ‘You must have a life’, Waddilove explains, adding that mothers in particular should not ‘have a routine that’s so strict you have to be back at certain times or can’t go out…get out and see other people’.

With the busy modern world full of so many competing demands, being a successful parent can sometimes feel like the most difficult job of all. However, with the assistance of expert private house staff like Waddilove, mothers and fathers can get the help they need to balance their personal and professional responsibilities, and be able to truly appreciate the most rewarding experience of their lives.

Image Credit: Ellyn.

Would you take £50,000 for being the nanny in a haunted house?

Ghost

If you speak to any nannies or other household domestic staff about what they think is the most challenging part of their job, they may provide any number of answers: meeting high expectations, juggling responsibilities and impeccable time management are all things that successful household workers need to become experts at.

It is unlikely, however, that constantly being bothered by ghosts would rank very highly on the list of most nannies’ complaints. Nevertheless, this is exactly the reason why a family based in the Scottish Borders are desperately struggling to fill the otherwise attractive vacancy in their household – a job which is now worth £50,000 to the successful applicant.

This bizarre story – which has been reported on by a number of media outlets, including the Telegraph – came to light when the family in question advertised the role online. After it was noticed that the listing offered a surprisingly high level of remuneration, the mother of the two children who require looking after felt compelled to explain the situation: ‘Five nannies have left the role in the last year, each citing supernatural incidents as the reason, including strange noises, broken glass and furniture moving’, she said.

Family ‘Happy to pay above the asking rate’

The stories surrounding the supposedly haunted house have inevitably led to questions over why the family continue to live in the property, but the parents remain defiant despite their unenviable record at retaining nannies, explaining how their home is ‘lovely, spacious [and] historic…with spectacular views’.

Insistent that the family themselves have not been on the receiving end of any nasty supernatural surprises in their almost 10 years of living there, the mother added that she understood why securing a long-term employee has been difficult, and that the family is ‘happy to pay above the asking rate, and feel it’s important to be as up-front as possible’.

The job involves looking after a five and seven-year-old pair of siblings and, at the time of writing, is (unsurprisingly) still open to applicants!

Image Credit: Jordi Carrasco