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Are qualifications important when looking for a nanny?

(15 Posts)
chonky Tue 08-Mar-05 14:19:18

I'm currently trying to sort out some childcare for my dd (I'm looking at nurseries, childminders & nannies) and I was wondering whether I should look for qualifications when choosing a nanny? The women who looked after my brother & I when mum went to work didn't have any childcare qualifications, they were just lovely women

Ultimately, I'm just looking for someone kind & experienced to care for dd but I feel really green about choosing childcare and I don't want to be naive to the possible pitfalls.

If it's a 'yes' to qualifications what should I ask for when advertising please?

Meggymoo Tue 08-Mar-05 14:24:14

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chonky Tue 08-Mar-05 14:27:35

Thanks meggymoo. TBH I'm far more interested in the person than a bit of paper, but I just want to make sure that I'm not being naive.

uwila Tue 08-Mar-05 14:34:16

Chonky, I completely agree. I am interested in a person's real life capabilities, and I care very little about whether she forked out a lot of money for some formal nanny education.

I'm sure they learn some useful things in nanny training, but show me what youknow by treating my children well.

Also, I believe nannies can aquire very good skills simply through experience.

In a nutshell, experience matters, but qualifications don't (in my opinion).

Blu Tue 08-Mar-05 14:41:10

I don't think that qualifications are essential, but it does show that they actively chose it as a career they were interested in - and I think some form of reputable and thorouhg 1st Aid training for children would be very welcome.
But I'd take someone with 5 years experience (and excellent references) before a certificate and no experience.

nab Tue 08-Mar-05 14:45:33

Qualifications mean someone has taken studying seriously and knows the theory, but, and I used to be an unqualified nanny, it could also mean they didn't know what else to do and knew they would get paid more for having a qualifiation. Your instincts are the most important thing. If someone had the NNEB but you had a bad vibe and someone was NNEB-free but you felt comfortable which would you go for? A book which may help is The Good Nanny Guide. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have a contract, notice period and be clear about sick pay, holiday pay, phone use, visitors allowed and not. The list is endless. Feel free to ask questions. At the interview watch how the are with the children. Always go on your instincts. If it is a definite no that is easy, if it is a definite yes, that is easy too. If you aren't sure I would say no.

joash Tue 08-Mar-05 14:56:38

Personally, having had both (with and without qualifications) - I would definately go for those with - but they also need some form of experience with children to go with the piece of paper.

Prettybird Tue 08-Mar-05 15:28:48

My best friend's first - and by far the best - nanny had no qualifications, but loads of expererience. She was a massive support to my best friend as she knew far more about kids than best friend (who knew the technical stuff well, as she was a GP - but it is different in real life!) She was also about the same age as us - and is still a very good friend to my best freind, even though she now lives in a different area.

Best friend has probably gone through about 4 or 5 nannies over the years (not that she is a bad employer - she has 4 kids who range in age from 15 to 5, youngest with SN - and some of the nannies left the area with their partners, for example). I think some have had qualifications but the majority not - it was her instinct about how good they were with kids that she went by the most.

Ameriscot2005 Tue 08-Mar-05 15:31:33

The most important quality is that you feel happy with your nanny and that her day to day work is good. However, a first aid certificate and other qualifications might give some insight into her professionalism, career aspirations etc.

Issymum Tue 08-Mar-05 16:06:30

I don't think so. I've had three nannies, all of them excellent, none with childcare qualifications, although one of them had a degree in psychology and the other in media. The most important criteria are experience, gut feel and references, references, references. I try to take up references going years back and phone the referees. Watch out too for any unexplained gaps in a CV.

Beetroot Tue 08-Mar-05 16:08:35

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uwila Tue 08-Mar-05 16:19:49

I second the recommendation for The Good Nanny guide. There is a lot of really good advice in there, especially the interview section. ALWAYS check references.

Also, a really good website for the nitty gritty on employer responsibilities is

chonky Tue 08-Mar-05 16:23:40

Thanks everyone. I'm really glad that the consensus is to go with gut feel (along with the commonsense stuff). I'll see if I can get my paws on a copy of The Good Nanny Guide.

beachyhead Tue 08-Mar-05 16:57:14

I've had 8 nannies over the last 8 years (yikes - sounds bad, but all for different periods of time) and I've had 3 qualified and 5 not. I've tended towards qualified nannies when the children were babies or very small. However, good and long experience and a good gut feel can certainly override the qualification issue.

The only thing, and here comes a massive generalisation , is my qualified nannies have been more responsible, but a lot less fun than the unqualified. However, the qualified ones do tend to be more up to date with first aid, and tend to be more aware of nursery duties as well...

good luck

kama Tue 08-Mar-05 17:19:30

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