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Continual Professional Development course for nannies?

(29 Posts)
AndBingoWasHisNameOh Tue 05-Feb-13 09:18:59

We have a nanny who looks after our 13 month old DD. She has been with us since the autumn and is very experienced although doesn't have much in the way of formal training save for first aid.

I was wondering whether we should look into training courses for her to do that might help her develop skills that would help with DD. More of the theory of child developemnt, learning through play or something like that? Perhaps also food hygiene certificate? I'd be happy to pay up to a few hundred pounds and give her paid time off to do it for a few days if worthwhile. There is no need for language training.

DH looked at me like I was bonkers when I suggested this but I work in a profession that requires a certain number of hours of training per year to keep the registration so to me it didn't seem so odd.

So, good idea or patronising? If a good idea any suggestions for courses?

fraktion Thu 07-Feb-13 21:32:18

Ouch.

I once told employers that it was entirely up to them what they did but my insurers would expect me to take every reasonable step when I was responsible and I would be following the NHS and manufacturer guidelines unless they could produce a signed letter from a paediatrician. I wasn't opening myself up to that kind of liability.

And I'd be reporting the HV angry

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 07-Feb-13 20:04:01

'like mixing standard formula powder with room temp water'

This is one of the areas where my comments were not welcome. The HV told them it was OK apparently! Don't get me started on newborn in a moses basket on the back seat of the car....

I've got a work review due soon, I'm going to bring this up and see what they say. My current employers are very supportive generally so it will be interesting to see what they say.

fraktion Thu 07-Feb-13 19:24:03

I'd love to grin

I truly feel that nannies are getting a raw deal with CPD. There's a limited range of specific courses and access to LEA training is jealously guarded. I also sense that nannies themselves would participate more if there were more accessible and affordable courses, but those are kept for nurseries or CMs and the Govt's non-stance on nannies doesn't help. There was no mention whatsoever of them in More Great Childcare, no notion of supporting 30,000+ early years workers who need to access that training possibly even more than nursery workers because they're autonomous and rely in their own knowledge and judgement to do their job. It's isolating and it risks the perpetuation of outdated and potentially dangerous practices like mixing standard formula powder with room temp water or putting babies on their front to sleep without medical guidance.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 07-Feb-13 19:11:51

It's spotting the good course from the bad prior to dropping hundreds of pounds to do it though.

Perhaps you should start your own school of nannying Frak? grin

fraktion Thu 07-Feb-13 16:43:05

A good course should present both sides, though, and (crucially) equip learners with the capacity to assess evidence for themselves in the future.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 07-Feb-13 14:54:27

Don't get me started on shifting from one side to the other! That's another reason a lot of these courses drive me nuts.

fraktion Thu 07-Feb-13 14:37:54

Ah but the research before that was in favour of scheduling.... There are many situations where that kind of routine is a better choice and that's valid. As I said there are up and down sides to both, which nannies should be aware of. If a parent doesn't want an opinion on it they won't ask the question, they'll just say 'I expect you to follow GF'. I picked that because it's deliberately controversial and always shifting from one side to the other. Come the day a parent wants advice, a nanny, a childcare professional, should be able to give it.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 07-Feb-13 13:47:15

Thanks for you comprehensive reply frak grin

It's interesting to hear different views and an interesting sneak peak into your recruitment method. My first job I'm pretty sure it went; can speak English, doesn't look like a serial killer, would you like the job?

I think it would be great if there were a few specific courses recommended by Ofsted for nannies to do. I think as Nick says, there are so many that you wonder which ones are of any use. I think it would increase the number of nannies doing them.

'probably cite the latest research that demand feeding has been linked with higher IQ.'

I think this is interesting, because I wonder how many parents want to hear this? I think nannying is unique in that you are not free to look after the child using best childcare practice, to an extent you have to put this aside and go with what the parents want. My current MB is a Gina Ford mum, that's a valid parenting choice, my view on it isn't wanted. I think if I turned up talking about her baby's reduced IQ, I probably wouldn't have the job.

fraktion Wed 06-Feb-13 23:12:19

The OFSTED course is terrible, or rather the expected content is. Really, really basic. But it would count as CPD on child protection procedures etc which have changed over the last 10 years or so.

Mrscupcake23 Wed 06-Feb-13 20:05:08

I think experience is better than courses. Have just done a course to get ofsted registered complete load of rubbish not helpful at all. No one ever fails it anyway as they keep sending it back to you.

Done the food hygiene course but really don't need it to nanny.

I'd love the offer! My employers are supportive of training but on my time, which is fine but can be frustrating when there its an interesting topic on a weekday! I haven't fine any accredited training but do extra research at the moment. Like I'll chat to my boss about theorists and research a particular point if it's related (Ilove theories at the moment though!) Or I'll ooo up stats about breast feeding in other countries after a discussion on it. I'm currently writing out a summary of where charge is on eyfs as whilst I use it as a guide I haven't fully used it and boss was interested soI'll show her that and a rough plan of action for each area.

I would love to do accredited courses but at the moment I'm finishing my level 3 and have just started my scout woodbadge training which will keep me very busy at weekends this year if not next year too. But both sets if bosses love that I do scouts too so it works grin

Well watch this thread though as I want ideas for ater on smile

fraktion Wed 06-Feb-13 14:37:22

OP it depends what kind of CPD you think your nanny would be interested in doing. MNT do good courses but focused more on young babies. There's a nutrition course but it's London based. The OU do courses but that's quite a commitment.

Outraged Questions questions wink

'frak do you think your process is representative of the average nanny employer (if there is such a thing!)? I can't imagine any of my employers have ever looked that closely at applicants qualifications. Knowing a lot of the mums who have nannies, I highly doubt they did. Given some of the 'haven't a clue' questions we get on here, I doubt they've gone into checking who has accredited their nanny's qualifications.'

Of the average employer, probably not, but it should be close to what an agency or someone who has worked in the sector or HR does. Most people are bogged down in the major qualification - level 3, CACHE/BTEC/NVQ, early years/childcare and education/CCLD, whatever else that the CPD barely gets a look in. Seeing as I know at least the major qualification titles, awarding bodies and dates when they were offered by heart I don't really stress about that. It gives me more time to delve. Best in mind as an employer I have been sent a handful of CVs with any CPD on at all, and I'm including the MNT maternity practitioner and training done in nurseries in that. I suspect ex-nursery nannies have things they aren't declaring.

'Out of interest what is your approach when you receive job applications. Do you go through and chuck any unqualified nannies in the bin, then sort through the rest in order of who has the most courses? Do covering letters count for anything? Would you ever interview an unqualified nanny? Or a nanny who hasn't done anything since originally qualifying? Do you think gut instinct is important at all or is it a 'who looks best on paper' deal?'

First I check my non-negotiables (EU passport, French or English MT level, availability etc) then my desirables (age appropriate experience, qualification, CPD, good GCSEs etc) and if they don't tick all essentials and at least 50% of the desirables they don't go into the 'priority pile'. Some are an either/or, particularly relating to qualifications/experience.I do read covering letters if attached, as an employer I've rarely had them sent to me. It's usually a brief email along the lines of 'I'm interested in your job this is my CV'. Gut instinct plays at interview, it doesn't help me decide who to interview. Courses do not a good nanny make - the worst nanny we interviewed was from a highly regarded trainjng college but had no warmth or communication skills - but someone who qualified 20 years ago and has done no training since isn't, IMO, helping themselves. Experience doesn't speak for itself, a lot more is asked of nannies educationally these days and education, particularly early years, is quite a fast moving field. I would rather see experience plus short courses than an NMEB who has done nothing since. I have interviewed nannies with less than 5 years experience who haven't done anything since which I feel is acceptable, just about. I have also interviewed a totally unqualified nannies (nothing after GCSE) or nannies without childcare qualifications but related higher educational qualifications (psychology degree etc). That makes me sound like I've interviewed hundreds of nannies to work for me. I haven't, I've interviewed maybe 10 British nannies? From the 2 nannies I've employed 1 had done CPD when working in a nursery and 1 hadn't specifically done CPD courses but read a lot. That came out entirely accidentally, it wasn't anywhere on her CV and I nearly didn't interview her, but I mentioned on the phone we loosely follow attachment parenting and she burst out 'I've read about that yadda yadda yadda' which demonstrated that she actually had, and not just a sensationalist article online. (And yes I do phone and then in person interviews, it's easier than interminable email exchanges).

'I get the bit about it looking good on a CV, my question is do they actually improve the quality of care? Do you think if you had video footage/could observe nannies with their charges or read references or something you'd be able to pick out the ones with 'extra courses' against the ones without? What differences would you expect to see?'

Based on other early years settings I would expect childcarers to be able to use it in their work. For example if they've done a specific training course on schema I'd expect them to be able to identify and naturally extend a schema presented by a child. Someone without that training may not be able to a) identify or b) extend. A nanny with Montessori training may incorporate that into their style of care, for example by encouraging eye contact when speaking or by using Montessori materials like sandpaper letters. I don't know whether I'd be able to identify a nanny with diversity and inclusion or supervision training, and behaviour management would be a tricky one too as done people seem to naturally have a whole array of strategies and deploy them appropriately. I doubt I could pick out the ones with courses over those who've read extensively but I'm fairly sure I'd be able to identify those engaged in CPD, which doesn't have to be courses as it can be guided reading, over those who haven't. However as there's no requirement for CPD imposed even by professional associations the odd course remains the best way to demonstrate that professional engagement on paper. And yes, I firmly believe CPD improves the quality of care - but again that CPD doesn't have to be courses. It just happens to be, from an employer's perspective, trustworthy evidence. If someone has done the MNT sleep course, for example, I know they've done more than just read a book about sleep training methods. I'm then likely to engage in conversation about what they learnt and that gives them an opportunity to show their theoretical background and understanding, which probably makes me more favourably disposed towards them. Someone who tells me their method of sleep training is CC because that's what they've always done and it's what their first MB told them to do isn't displaying the same attitude. Ditto demand feeding vs routines - I'd expect someone to be able to intelligently engage in the up and downsides of both and probably cite the latest research that demand feeding has been linked with higher IQ.

I accept I'm an anomaly though! I have experience of educational research, working in various EY settings and have studied some of the qualifications myself. I'm probably a nightmare employer but I personally value learning and engagement with theory in conjunction with practice rather than people creating their own personal theories.

That's a mammoth post. Well done for reading.

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Wed 06-Feb-13 12:31:20

Thanks for the feedback. If anyone has details of specific courses or suppliers they could recommend, mthat would be helpful.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 05-Feb-13 23:56:42

frak do you think your process is representative of the average nanny employer (if there is such a thing!)? I can't imagine any of my employers have ever looked that closely at applicants qualifications. Knowing a lot of the mums who have nannies, I highly doubt they did. Given some of the 'haven't a clue' questions we get on here, I doubt they've gone into checking who has accredited their nanny's qualifications.

Out of interest what is your approach when you receive job applications. Do you go through and chuck any unqualified nannies in the bin, then sort through the rest in order of who has the most courses? Do covering letters count for anything? Would you ever interview an unqualified nanny? Or a nanny who hasn't done anything since originally qualifying? Do you think gut instinct is important at all or is it a 'who looks best on paper' deal?

I get the bit about it looking good on a CV, my question is do they actually improve the quality of care? Do you think if you had video footage/could observe nannies with their charges or read references or something you'd be able to pick out the ones with 'extra courses' against the ones without? What differences would you expect to see?

fraktion Tue 05-Feb-13 22:42:22

I check against ofqual, look at the various accreditating/awarding bodies etc. OCN beats 'college of nowhere' for example. If it's delivered by a professional organisation then it's a fairly reliable indicator, ditto an LEA or in-house nursery training. Likewise the OU has external validation. I Di check the courses out. I'll look and see who the LEA lists as a trainer or lists the LEA as a client for example. Online TEFL courses don't get my vote. But again very few nannies are doing these courses and the ones who do stand out. I'll take someone with a CELTA ideally with TYL extension over someone with an online course, but I'll take the online course over nothing.

I have a bit more faith in courses as balanced and targeted learning with suggestions on how to incorporate it than I do someone who's read a book. I suppose it's the quality of the knowledge. Some people are happy to just read something without looking at the publication critically. For a course someone has verified that those books are suitable.

References feed into it as well but you can't implement knowledge you don't have and at least if the certificate is there it's justifiable to test that knowledge.

At the end of the day it's about demonstrating, and CVs are used as filtering tools. Someone who shows that they're knowledgeable by listing training or by other means is going to beat someone who hasn't. I've seen nanny CVs where they've contributed to blogs or publications and listed that as an interest, which is proof without them doing a course that they're keeling themselves up to speed, but that's literally two or three people ever from nannies that I've interviewed as an employer, that I saw working for an agency or with one of my current hats on and one of them was really rather niche.

forevergreek Tue 05-Feb-13 21:56:56

My employers have paid for the things in regard to their family needs ( mainly in regards to special needs- so therapies/ medical needs or training in what was needed etc)

Generally I pay myself for whatever I feel like doing next. So atm I am studying something that isn't needed in my current position but is of interest to me ( and could become relevant at any time even in same position I suppose).

I think training opportunities should be availiable like in other jobs. The problem being when if usually in the week as most jobs we do as nannies have no back. ( like you might in say an office)

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 05-Feb-13 20:22:46

forever that's really interesting, you sound very passionate about it all smile.

I think you're right about standing out from the crowd and being ready to work with all different families. I think being able to link why the courses are relevant and worthwhile is very important.

Have your employers ever offered to pay for any of your courses? Do you think they should? Should training opportunities be available for nannies like they are in other jobs?

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 05-Feb-13 20:18:16

frak accredited by who? What do you look for in terms of who accredits it and what courses?

'Someone who has read around hadn't necessarily read widely or isn't necessarily able to put what they read into practice'

Someone who has done a few specific courses hasn't necessarily read widely either have they? If anything I'd argue they're more likely to have only studied what was covered on their course i.e. reading to pass, rather than reading for interest. Not everyone obviously, but I've been on training with people who are doing it for a certificate/something to add to their CV, rather than for the knowledge IYKWIM.

I'd also argue that unless a certificate is based on a practical exam, there is no guarantee that they can 'put what they've studied into practice'. There's also no guarantee that even if they can put it into practice, that they will. Those sorts of things are surely better discovered from references? For example, you can have a food hygiene certificate, but that's no guarantee you will follow what you've been taught. A phone call to the previous employer asking about the nanny's food hygeine is probably a better test?

forevergreek Tue 05-Feb-13 18:23:56

Nanny nick- vaguely , I did understand human nutrition with the open university for the main part

forevergreek Tue 05-Feb-13 18:21:04

Yes I do think they are worth it. For example I know how to cook very well ( general cooking), but the cookery school taught ( and still as still go to top ups), things like foreign dishes from scratch and understanding what spices do what/ how etc, pastry ( sweet and savoury), nutrition etc.

I could and do just read and teach myself things but I think people def look at qualifications and all the little extras now. In London the diversity of people is huge and i think having these things help greatly in the work environment. For example if a Russian family wanted me to work for them having just arrived in the country, knowing basic Russian food, having experience of teaching English as a foreign language are going to help. It makes the family see something on paper they think they need

Nannying ( especially in London), is very competitive now. Everyone who can afford it wants the best of the best. My clients have included royalty, a listers, children with no English, children/ parents with severe special needs, premature babies/ multiple births the list goes on. I never know who I might need to work with next. Having the knowledge to a degree before these situations arrive mean I am always one step ahead of the game as it were.

nannynick Tue 05-Feb-13 18:14:57

There are so many courses online now that I do wonder how many, if any, are of any value.

Cookery school sounds good, did they do about nutrition?
I have done Maternity with MNT.

fraktion Tue 05-Feb-13 17:53:19

And yes, as an employer I value accredited training because in confident about quality. Someone who has read around hadn't necessarily read widely or isn't necessarily able to put what they read into practice.

fraktion Tue 05-Feb-13 17:52:07

I think making the offer is a good idea. All nannies should be keeping up with the latest developments but with one of my professional hats on I see a lot of 'deskilling' of nannies compared to early years workers in nurseries who don't know where to find the info. Nannies on MN are an anomaly in that respect.

I would suggest caution though, as there's a lot of rubbish around.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 05-Feb-13 17:50:42

Do you feel that they make you a better nanny? Do you think you could have learnt what you did through a book or other means without doing the course? For example, could you have learnt to cook, by buying a book and teaching yourself?

Any employers, would a certificate make a difference to you? Is a certificate in cooking worth more/less/the same in your eyes as references saying 'she's a great cook'.

Sorry for the hijack OP, just find it interesting!

forevergreek Tue 05-Feb-13 16:23:15

I have mainly been doing courses through the ou or through specialist companies according to what they are. So cooking trough leiths cookery school, sleep through a sleep centre, a few such as maternity with mnt. Tefl teaching direct with Tefl, montessori direct with them etc..,

I haven't done any with the LEA I'm afraid so can't comment on them. The reason I have done the above is they are available at weekends or private study etc. they have cost me a fortune over the years but I will still continue.

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