National Nursery Rhyme Week

This week is National Nursery Rhyme Week and a few au pairs wanted to share some rhymes from their native language.

Here are their contributions with an English translation – a great opportunity for you to learn a rhyme in another language!

If you would like to learn more nursery rhymes in English, the BBC has put together a great collection that you can find here:


Jaqueline, Ilford, Essexdutch

Evelien, Redhill, Surreyspanish

Gemma, Redhill, Surrey


Celine, London


Lisa, Maidstone, Kent

Smartaupairs Introduction Day 2014

A BIG thank you to all the au pairs who joined us yesterday for the annual au pair introduction day. A record number of 130 au pairs attended.

Here are some pictures from the day!

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After initial presentations by SmartAupairs team and guest speakers, the au pairs were taking part in group activities.

We would also like to say a special thank you to the guest speakers who joined us on the day:

Emma Dewey

Emma is an Early Years Childcare specialist and trainer with over 10 years’ experience working in Charities, Children’s Centres and Local Authorities throughout London.

Her company, Babyem offers a number of childcare courses, and in particular the following are useful for the au pairs:

  • OCN Common Core Skills & Knowledge Training
  • Paediatric First Aid Course
  • OCN Food and Nutrition

Tom from the Richmond English School

Tom is the director at the Richmond English School – the school offers au pair friendly language classes in South West of London

OZ from the International Friends tours

Oz is one of the tour guides at International Friends Tours. The company offers affordable, guided city breaks and small group tours and day trips from London. Our au pairs also receive a discount!

To find your au pair – please visit

Families in Australia, please visit:

How to register your au pair with Ofsted

A number of our host families have enquired about registering their au pair with Ofsted in order to make use of childcare vouchers.

There are many different stages to Ofsted registration and it can be a fairly lengthy process (usually 12-14 weeks). Please note that the process cannot begin until your au pair has arrived in the UK.

break for fruits

Current guidance on the subject from the British Au Pair Agencies Association (BAPAA) is as follows:

  • The au pair or nanny should call Ofsted and tell them that they want to become registered under the voluntary Ofsted registration scheme for home-based childcare.
  • Ofsted will send out a form in the post to be filled in.
  • The form must be returned with a valid Paediatric First Aid Certificate (further information below).
  • Ofsted will carry out a police check (even if the au pair already has a CRB).
  • If the person has lived in the UK for less than 5 years, then he/she will have to get a ‘good conduct letter/ certificate’ from his/her embassy which needs to be written in English or translated into English by an authorised translator. This depends on the country of origin of the au pair or nanny, so check with Ofsted first. Ofsted confirm that it is also acceptable for the au pair or nanny to get a police check from their country of origin and send it to Ofsted, but it must be an official document, on letter-headed paper, stamped and translated into English by an authorised translator.
  • Ofsted will then send through another form (called a verify form) that must be taken to the post office, together with a form of ID (eg passport) so that their identity can be checked.
  • The application fee, currently £103, must be paid.
  • Annually, on the anniversary of the registration with Ofsted, the fee becomes payable again, as long as the au pair wants to remain Ofsted-registered.
  • The au pair also needs a childcare (or similar) qualification from their home country, or from the UK, which is equivalent to level 2, or they must enrol on a Common Core Skills and Knowledge course (further information below).
  • The au pair is also required to have personal public liability insurance, most households have an insurance which would not cover the au pair if she has an accident so she would need to acquire on of her own.

Smartaupairs recommends Babyem’s Ofsted compliant courses:

Common Core Skills and Knowledge Training

The common core skills course is accredited at level 3 through Open College Network, providing au pairs registering with Ofsted with an official childcare qualification and covers the 6 common core skills areas required by Ofsted.

These areas are:

  • Communicating with children, young people, their parents and carers
  • Child and young person development
  • Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child
  • Supporting transitions
  • Multi-agency working
  • Sharing information

Ofsted compliant Paediatric First Aid

The paediatric first aid course covers all the necessary requirements for registration with Ofsted. Course content is as follows:

  • Planning for first aid
  • Dealing with Emergencies
  • Resuscitation of babies and children
  • Recognising and dealing with shock
  • Anaphylactic shock/Electric Shock
  • Bleeding, burns and scalds
  • Choking
  • Fractures

Childcare Vouchers/Tax Credits

Tax credits are payments from the government. If you’re responsible for at least one child or young person who normally lives with you, you may qualify for Child Tax Credit. (HMRC)

Family eligibility for tax credit depends on factors such as age, employment status, number of children, disabilities & other benefits claimed.  In general, the family needs to earn less than £58 000 combined/year to qualify.

Some employers also give out childcare vouchers.

For a family to be able to gain the tax credits or childcare vouchers, they have to employ a registered carer. The governing body in the UK is Ofsted and the au pair must register with them on a voluntary, home based childcare scheme.

The number for tax credits is 08453 003900, or for more information, please see:

Guide for Families:

  1. Contact Ofsted – ask for your au pair to be registered under the voluntary Ofsted scheme.
  2. Complete the form sent to you by Ofsted and return it with a valid first aid certificate(1)
  3. Ofsted will conduct a police check/CRB on the person – even if the au pair already has a valid CRB. If the person has lived in the UK for less than 5 years, which is the case with most au pairs, she or he would be required to acquire a good conduct letter/certificate from the embassy (in English or translated in English by an authorized translator).
  4. Ofsted will thereafter send you another form (verify form) which you would take to the post office (together with an ID to check your identity).
  5. Payment of the application fee – £103 – the fee becomes repayable annually as long as the person wishes to be registered.
  6. The au pair is also required to have a childcare qualification from their home country or from the UK which is equivalent to the level 2 or they have to enrol on a Common Core Skills and Knowledge Course (2) by contacting their local authority. For more information, please call Children Work Force Development Council on 01132 446 311 or on 0300 123 1033
  7. The au pair is also required to have personal public liability insurance, most households have an insurance which would not cover the au pair if she has an accident so she would need to acquire on of her own.
  8. The duration of the registration process is between 12 and 14 weeks (6-8 weeks to receive the CRB check).

(1)First Aid Course


The certificate must be for a paediatric first aid course – which can be either a 6 or 12 hour course. The family is required to make sure the course is suitable for the Ofsted Voluntary childcare scheme.


(2)Common Core Skills and Knowledge Course


If your local authority does not offer the course then you may contact a training organizer. One provider is MNT Training who runs two Common Core Skills and Knowledge courses. First being a 2 day course in London (costing £150/run monthly). You will receive a certificate and may have an assessment (but this is not required by Ofsted). Second course is a distant learning course for people who are unable to attend in London. The course cost is £150 and at the end of the course an assessment is conducted for proof of completed studies.

Information gathered by Sara Rahmani/Monica from Peek a Boo Childcare

Au Pair Induction & Online Training Course


Our au pair induction last Saturday at Eurocenters language school was a great success. The au pairs who attended liked our presentations, the free trial lessons provided and the chance to meet other au pairs. For us, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet so many lovely au pairs in person.

We now have a further unique opportunity to offer for au pairs; a brand new online accredited au pair induction course, delivered by Milton Keynes Language Center and agreed for Smartaupairs at half price!

To benefit from this half price offer –

Enrol your au pair online before 30 September as follows:

Enter promotional code SMART0909 (must use capitals) on

and pay by PayPal as instructed. The name of the student to enrol must be your au pair as this will be the name for the exam and certificate.

The course is designed to be a 30 hour course divided into 4 sections, covering topics such as Getting To Know Your Family, Health & safety, Food & Recipes and ‘Out & About’. Throughout the course your au pair will have access to support from a tutor plus a student forum. At the end of the course, when all the assessments/tasks have been completed successfully, an official certificate will be issued.

The Au pair course is one unit of a larger course titled ‘British Culture’; other units in the course being: British business etiquette, British heritage, People in history and Famous Britons.

We feel this will be a fantastic benefit for all au pairs keen to embrace the cultural experience!

CHILDCARE APPRENTICESHIP Qualifications for Au Pairs

017_38029_headerSmartaupairs offers Childcare qualification in collaboration with Smart Training NEW = NO upper age limit!

By offering au pairs the opportunity to gain a government funded recognised qualification such as a British Apprenticeship/NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) during their time as an au pair, they would have more quantifiable benefits from their year abroad, i.e. more to show for.  This would especially apply to candidates with a genuine interest in a career in childcare as British childcare qualifications are very highly regarded globally.

To the family this training also offers great benefits as they will get a very committed au pair with a genuine interest in childcare!

In close collaboration with an experienced training company, it was decided that the most appropriate qualification to offer would be the Apprenticeship in Children’s Care Learning and Development framework, which includes;

  • NVQ Level 2 in Children’s Care Learning and Development
  • A Technical certificate – Level 2 BTEC in Children’s Care Learning and Development
  • Key Skills in Communication (English language) and Application of number at Level 1
  • 12 hour Paediatric First Aid Course*
  • Learning about Employment Rights and Responsibilities

The NVQ is designed to train people who are working in face to face roles with children, young people, and families and qualifies an individual to work as a nursery nurse or classroom assistant.


The benefits to the au pair are

  • a recognised qualification in childcare from their year as an au pair
  • a chance to network with other students during monthly visit to training centre
  • home visits from training assessor
  • the opportunity to earn and learn; language skills and much more
  • improved employability in UK and Europe
  • no college to attend except monthly tutorials
  • professional support from training company throughout
  • work experience in a group environment such as a nursery or playgroup may be required depending on the family situation (in own time, with support)

The benefits to the family are

  • an au pair with long term commitment
  • an au pair with a real interest in childcare
  • a structured development program to enhance the care received by child/children as the au pair is learning
  • visits from professional assessor to monitor progress
  • no need for the au pair to attend college, just one monthly tutorial on a Saturday


This program is delivered as a joined initiative between the au pair agency Smartaupairs,, a member of the British Au Pair Agency Association and Smart Training, the UK largest specialist in NVQ training with almost 15 years of experience of delivering childcare and management training with a practical focus on the workplace and has helped thousands of learners to gain their qualification.


For families to qualify from the benefit of the Apprenticeship/NVQ au pair they would need to

  • Live in easy reach from smart training center (see list below)
  • Have at least one child under the age of 15 at the start of the program
  • Be able to commit a few hours every month to support the au pair with the assignments
  • Facilitate the au pair to attend monthly tutorials at the training center, always on Saturdays, this includes covering travel cost to training centre
  • Sponsor the 12 hour Paediatric First Aid training (approx. £85)

For au pairs to qualify from the benefit of the Apprenticeship/NVQ opportunity he/she needs to

  • Have confident English languages skills; speaking, reading and writing to prepare the portfolio to show competence to qualify
  • EU national, living in  EU for last 3 years
  • Stay in the UK with the same host family for 12 months
  • Not yet qualified to Degree level or equivalent
  • Have some childcare experience and a genuine interest in childcare, no formal prior qualifications are required, an assessment will be made by Smart Training to confirm  relevant NVQ level
  • Qualify for the 12 hour Paediatric First Aid in your own time during your stay as au pair
  • Have a driving license*
  • Fund the deposit and administration fee total of £200 (€300)

The family hosts and sponsors their au pair to do this Apprenticeship/NVQ. Both au pair and family benefit during the year that the au pair is with the family, as the au pair will be able to offer a great childcare and development program for the children. The ongoing benefit is for the au pair, as the qualification is for the individual.

The Apprenticeship/NVQ is funded by the government so the actual fee remaining is only to cover the First Aid training, payable by the family at approximately £85.

The funding includes full support from Smart Training, all books, all monthly tutorials, all home visits, registration with the awarding body, assessment fees and certification.

The au pair pays an administration fee of £200 to allow for initial language assessment and to find a suitable sponsor. £100 is refunded on successful completion within 12 months.

Our relationship with Smart Training means that the training is delivered by an experienced provider with their own excellent facilities and infrastructure. We believe we are the only au pair agency offering this unique opportunity. We expect this to be a great success with both families and au pairs.

* Au pairs without a driving license may find it harder to find a family sponsor.

**Smart Training have training centers for NVQ’s in Children’s Care Learning and Development in the following locations;

Bromley, Colliers Wood, Coventry, Croydon, Halifax, Hammersmith, Hemel-Hempstead, Hull, Huntingdon, Kingston-upon-Thames, leeds, Leicester, Greenwich, Luton, Maidenhead, Maidstone, Portsmouth, Reading, Romford, Ruislip, Slough, Southampton, Stratford, Tottenham, Watford, Wembley, York

If your family lives within no more than 40 miles of one of these locations and you are prepared to support your au pair’s monthly visit to the nearest training centre, you can register your interest for an Apprenticeship au pair with us now.

News Article on British Nannies

au pair with girl
January 4, 2008, article by
Today I read this in the paper and I really wanted to share this with you…
“Supernanny and other reality television shows about how to bring up children have pushed demand for British nannies overseas to record levels. Competition for good British child care is now so fierce that a fully-trained and experienced nanny can command an average salary of £40,000, with perks such as accommodation and food thrown in.
Jo Frost, from the original Supernanny series on Channel 4, has taken the English-speak-ing world by storm with her down-to-earth advice on dealing with tantrums, sleep problems, fussy eaters and potty training. Her shows, which include the BBC Three programme The House of Tiny Tearaways, have championed old-fashioned rules and routines for children.”
to read the article see:

This is one of the reasons why being au pair in Britain combined with the government funded childcare qualification that we offer are smartaupairs is such a great idea. If you are serious about a career in childcare, no matter where in the world, British trained nannies are high in demand so why not use your au pair experience to train and become a qualified nanny!