Interviews

Nanny Natter

Surrey nanny Ophélie Chauveau joined the British Association of Professional Nannies (BAPN) when she visited the Nanny Zone at Childcare Expo in March. Here this bubbly 30-year old French childcare practitioner tells us why and gives us her views on issues close to her heart

Why did you become a member of BAPN?

I want to get more involved and I think that being part of a professional association is always a good thing. Anything that can enhance our status professionally as nannies is important – too many people just think of us as babysitters.

So what do you think about Ofsted regulation for nannies?

I feel very strongly about it. I am Ofsted registered. I did it initially because parents wanted to use their childcare vouchers, but I actually think it is very important and I believe all nannies should be qualified and that they should all be Ofsted registered. I have an NVQ Level 3 and am working towards my degree and also a Level 3 OCN as a maternity practitioner.

Being registered with Ofsted and being a member of BAPN in themselves do not make me more of a professional, but they do make me appear more professional to families. In my opinion, the EYFS should be compulsory for nannies to follow too. If nannies don’t know about the EYFS and don’t follow it, then I don’t think they can support children’s learning effectively. And if childminders have to follow it, then I don’t see why nannies shouldn’t.

All that said, I do think that Ofsted could do more with nannies.

Do you find your nationality and language skills an advantage in the marketplace?

When I first arrived in the UK about seven years ago, a lot of parents were keen on a French-speaking nanny, but more recently, even before the Brexit vote, families are not looking for that and they seem to prefer their children to speak English first and learn French later and in fact, some families have not wanted me to speak French to the children.

But actually the older the children are, the more reluctant they are and I believe that before the age of two is the best time; they don’t even realise they are learning!

You have a child of your own who is not quite two, how do you manage with work?

I am a nanny-with-own-child and take my son to work with me. It was hard to find a job where I could take him to work; parents think it’s ok for a childminder to have their own child but for some reason they think nannies can’t and should have a reduced rate. For me it is about making a compromise and the family is accommodating me having my own child when I work, so I accommodate them by reducing my rate.

I think it’s a real advantage for families, especially for an only child; they have the benefits of a childminder but from their own home. Their child is being socialised but it doesn’t matter if they are still in their pyjamas when I get there!

April/May 2017

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