Adopted children in need of more support at school, report shows

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According to a recent report by Adoption UK, adopted children are falling behind with their studies, struggling emotionally and in need of extra support from teaching professionals.

The ‘Bridging the Gap’ report claims that “[Adopted children] are more likely to be excluded, more likely to have social, emotional and mental health difficulties and more likely to leave school with no qualifications.”

The report also includes the findings of which 4,000 adopted children and their parents were surveyed about their attitudes towards adopted children and school:

  •  79% of adopted children and young people agreed with the statement “I feel confused and worried at school”
  • Almost three quarters of adopted children and young people agreed with the statement “Other children seem to enjoy school more than me”
  • Two thirds of secondary-aged adopted young people told us that they had been teased or bullied at school because they are adopted
  • Almost 70% of parents feel that their adopted child’s progress in learning is affected by problems with their wellbeing in school
  • 60% of adoptive parents do not feel that their child has an equal chance at school

In light of these findings, Adoption UK wants better training for teachers to be able to support adopted children, particularly when they have experienced abuse, trauma and neglect. It also wants to “reduce the pressure for academic achievement at all costs and prioritise emotional and social literacy in schools, giving staff and students the time and space to develop meaningful, supportive relationships.”

The report and survey were undertaken for Adoption UK’s Equal Chance campaign, which hopes to give adopted pupils and equal chance in life through development programmes and access to specialised support.

Looking to employ new domestic staff to help with children’s education? Get in touch with our household staff agency today.

Do children have to go to school if it’s too hot?

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With summer in full swing and a suspected heatwave on the way, the UK has been enjoying some much-needed sun the last few weeks. But while our children finish the last leg of the school term, should we be worried about this increase in temperature? And can we keep our children at home if it gets too hot?

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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?’”.

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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.

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Warning over misleading sun cream labels for kids

Sun cream

A nanny in Manchester has warned parents and household staff to check UV ratings of sun creams and not just the factor. Carly King shared a post on Facebook when a child she cared for caught the sun while wearing a brand with factor 50+ but with low UV protection.

King also spoke to a friend whose little girl had been sunburned at a nursery and was not aware she had to check the UV ratings. According to Manchester Evening News, King said in her post: “I’ve seen so many people say ‘I used factor 50+ and my child is pink/red etc! When buying sun cream PLEASE make sure you check the UVA star guide! Ambre Solaire being one of the good ‘brands’ deemed very high protection at 3*** and a £7 bottle, but Asda own brand at £3 is 5*****.”

The nanny said she was disappointed that she’d bought into “trusted quality brands” but felt let down. King added: “The boy I nanny for was outside for 25 mins in 22 degrees! I covered him in cream every half hour and half hour before he goes out! Children burning whilst using spf 50+ shouldn’t be happening!”

Explaining why she posted this, King told M.E.N’s Manchester Family: “I was in Asda looking at sun cream for myself to take on holiday and on the phone to my friend who I mentioned. I was beginning to notice how misleading some of the sun screens actually are. I’d researched best cream for children in the UK to find one for the little boy at work.”

King went on to explain that she only became aware of the UVA/UVB ratings during her previous role at a company selling health products. She added: “Being a nanny I thought it would be a good idea to raise awareness and hopefully help others realise what to look for.”

Norland College students receive anti-terrorism training

Norland College training

Student nannies at the prestigious Norland College will now undergo anti-terrorism training as part of their course. The aspiring nannies are being instructed by the former head of UK counter terrorism on how to protect their charges from the threat of kidnappers and terror gangs.

According to an article in The Telegraph, the move follows growing demand for Norland nannies among the rich and famous, whose children may be targeted for ransom demands. The students are learning how to foil a possible attack and are undertaking self-defence lessons, along with evasive driving techniques.

Brigadier Paul Gibson, former director of counter terrorism, is also helping the students to learn how to avoid revealing potentially sensitive information on social media, which could be used to target the children. This includes posting any details on locations, frequent routines and favourite meeting places.

“The range of threats exposed to high net worth and high profile individuals and their families is extensive,” said Brigadier Gibson. “The role of the nanny in looking after their children puts them in a unique position to both be targeted and to act as a credible obstacle to actions such as kidnap.

“By understanding how a pattern of life is established through social media and direct observation, mitigating actions can be put in place to best protect the nannies and their charges. Our training provides the nannies with a foundation to think ahead and prepare for potentially threatening changes in their environment, a skill they can apply to every aspect of their lives.”

As part of the training, the nannies are advised to always keep an emergency bag at hand with spare clothes for the children and any other equipment they might need to make a quick escape. These additional skills are a far cry from the traditions of Norland College, which was established in 1892. The roles of private household staff are ever-changing to adapt to modern life and the threats posed, however as Norland College evolves with the times, it continues to maintain the high standard of training that has become associated with it.

Inside Norland College – training the world’s most sought-after nannies

Norland College in Bath is training the world’s most sought-after nannies, according to a recent article.

The piece in Business Insider delved into the inner workings of this prestigious childcare academy, which provides unique opportunities for nannies to work for celebrities and the Royals. Norland College has offered childcare training for private household staff for over 125 years. The academy was founded by Emily Ward and its graduates have gone on to care for Prince George and the children of Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, according to the article.

Mandy Donaldson, vice principal at Norland College, told Business Insider: “When they’re in uniform, they’re representing 125 years of history and quality.” The uniforms are old-fashioned, made up of a brown felt hat, a pale brown dress and a brown wool shrug, as well as white gloves in the summer and brown gloves in the winter. Male students wear a jacket, shirt, tie and trousers.

Though from the outside it appears the school has fairly stringent rules to follow in regard to composure and appearance, Donaldson insists the trainee nannies are not always on duty: “They’re in a city with other universities and lots of student life, so once they’re not in uniform, we want them to have fun and enjoy themselves.”

Students at Norland College graduate with a three-year BA (Hons) in Early Development and Learning from the University of Gloucestershire and covers a range of subjects. According to the report, the course aims to teach the trainees the theory of social and emotional development they need to properly look after a child. As well as the traditional childcare skills, the trainees are taught to prepare and cook elaborate meals, learn about nutrition, allergies and dietary requirements, sew, make clothes and plan parties.

Though there are many essential skills to learn to prepare the trainee nannies for private household staff roles, Donaldson added: “Every family and child is different – there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution, so they need to have plenty of different strategies in their toolbox so they can understand how the family operates.”

Real-life Mary Poppins handbook discovered

Amid the excitement of the upcoming Mary Poppins remake, a real-life Mary Poppins manual has been found.

According to a report in the Metro, the handwritten manual is by the “real-life” Mary Poppins, whose name was Emily Ward. She founded the most famous childcare academy, Norland College, in 1892. The college, training private household staff, was the first to offer any kind of childcare training, according to the article. The newly discovered manual was written by Emily 125 years ago and covers 1892 to 1919.

The notebook was found by Elizabeth Kerry, a lecturer at Norland College, while she was sorting through old boxes from the college’s previous site in Bath, Somerset. She told South West News Service: “As soon as I opened the first page and saw the handwriting and the date 1892, and I thought ‘oh my goodness, this is Emily Ward’s notebook’. I gently packaged up the book and brought it into the college for the team to see.”

Inside the notebook, Emily has written personal reflections as well as the training manual, expressing her vision for Norland College and her students. In the notebook, Emily wrote: “To the mother means freedom from some of the most wearying anxiety that comes with the care of children, more leisure for her own recreation; pleasure in the company of an educated equal and the help which comes in working hand-in-hand with another bent on the same object.

“To the nurse it means a home where the ordinary domestic virtues of no special market value are appreciated – a position of confidence and trust, a healthful life, and above all, the sense that the character of a future generation is to a certain extent, in her hands.”

The remake of the 1964 classic Mary Poppins will hit cinemas in 2018, with Emily Blunt taking the lead role.

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