Birkbeck Research Report – BAPAA’s Response 

December 8, 2014

 #aupairproject and the official Au Pair Scheme in the UK and Au Pairing after the Au Pair Scheme

On 16th October 2014, BAPAA were invited to attend a breakfast briefing at Birkbeck University where Dr Rosie Cox and Dr Nicole Busch presented their findings of a recently completed research project on Au Pairing, migration and childcare in the UK.

Following this launch of findings, Au Pairing in the UK has come under the public spotlight with negative articles in National Newspapers and radio show discussions.

The #aupairproject research has especially highlighted the dangers for both Au Pairs and host families using ”Internet only platforms” where there is no self-regulation at all. Using an Internet matching site there is no agency to mediate and oversee an Au Pair placement ensuring the rules of the Cultural Exchange are followed. There is no support on offer to the Au Pair or to the host family, no benefits for the Au Pair or for the host family, no emergency helpline or agency number to call if the Au Pair or host family are having problems and in need of assistance.
We are grateful to both Dr Cox & Dr Busch for exposing these findings as it really does reinforce BAPAA’s ongoing concerns relating to the internet recruitment of Au Pairs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Photo Competition Winners Announced!

May 28, 2014

The annual Smartaupairs photo competition was opened earlier on in the month, when many au pairs joined us for the BAPAA Boat Trip.

Since then, we have received a number of lovely photos and have had a tough time deciding on our winners! Finally, we have selected Britt from the Netherlands and Monique from Germany, and both will receive a £20 Amazon voucher.

Thank you to everyone who sent a photo to us – here are the winners and some of our favourites!

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Considering an au pair as an alternative to a nanny?

August 2, 2013

Smartaupairs recognises that a number of our host families have employed nannies in the past, however as their children get older and the amount of care required decreases, they have found the au pair program to be a more suitable and cost effective option.

Smartaupairs has collaborated with Sara Dawkins, active nanny and freelance writer, in order to discuss the reasons why you may wish to consider hosting an au pair as an alternative to employing a nanny.


1. Changing Roles and Costs

As your children become older and more independent, you will find that the hours and care required from your nanny will be reduced – you may no longer need a full time carer for your children.  However, if you are employing a nanny, you are still obliged to pay a full time salary. An au pair can provide the same set of eyes to watch your children whilst putting less strain on your budget.  Although you pay for an au pair’s room and board plus pocket money (beginning from £70 per week and in the vast majority of cases, below the tax threshold) this is by no means the hefty hourly wage associated with nannies.

2. Sharing Ideas 

An au pair is more than just a live-in babysitter. A great deal of cultural understanding and enlightenment can be brought into the home due to the nature of the au pair program. Whether you are learning new recipes or about festivals and traditions in your au pair’s home country, the sharing of information can help your family to discover different cultures in a fun and interesting way. As the majority of au pairs are non-native English speakers, there is also the opportunity for your children to learn a new language.

3. Different Attitude

Many families prefer more the more relaxed atmosphere of an au pair as opposed to the rigid professionalism of a nanny.  For au pair candidates, the program offers much more than just the chance to earn money – they have the chance to experience everyday life in the UK, perfect their English and become part of a host family. Many au pairs and families form a bond that lasts a lifetime and often visit each other long after the placement is over.  It is this relationship that makes the program special and for this reason, many families prefer it over having a nanny who may view their role as nothing more than just a “job”.


Co-Author Bio


Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of  Learn more about her:

Smartaupairs Team attend ‘Kent 20/20 Vision Live’

April 26, 2013

The Smartaupairs Team attended ‘Kent 20/20 Vision Live’ at Detling Showground yesterday. The event included an exhibition, guest speakers and interesting workshops.

We very much enjoy attending events like these, which help us to evaluate the service that we offer and inspire us to use new and innovative ideas to improve what we do.

At Smartaupairs, we are keen to discover and develop in order to deliver the very best au pair experience to our candidates and host families.

Many thanks to the event organisers – we’re already looking forward to the next one!


TNT Magazine Australia

March 28, 2013


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SO excited about our page in the TNT Magazine about becoming an au pair in Australia,

can you imagine how many young travellers from all over the world will be reading the magazine this weekend whilst exploring Australia and then decide that being an au pair is a great way to ‘live as a local’ and ‘travel for less’


NEW – evening consultations Smartaupairs Australia

March 10, 2013

As many of our host families find it difficult to have the family consultation during the day due to work commitments, our au pair agency now offers telephone consultations two evenings each week.

On Tuesday Juliette is available to talk to families at 7, 8, and 9pm and on Wednesday Jan is scheduled to talk to families, also at 7, 8 and 9pm.

Before we can book a family consultation, we do ask for the letter & pictures to be sent to us so that we can discuss your requirements in detail and answer any questions you may have.

Ready to book your consultation? click here to book your call

During your call, we

•           Get to know your family better

•           Answer your questions & give advice

•           Explain our introduction process

•           Start your search with an activation fee

Expect our chat to take approximately 20-25 minutes.

We look forward to helping you find a nice au pair!


Claire ‘changed’ as she cycled 800km in 8 days for charity

February 26, 2013

From each au pair placements, we set aside a few $$ for charity. My friend and fellow Business Blueprint member was going to ride the 800km challenge to raise $10000 for Hands Across the Water.

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This charity started when, in 2004, countless Thai children were left alone and homeless by the Boxing Day tsunami.

When I asked Claire how it went and told her I was inspired by her achievement, the answer below came by email; straight from the heart…..

“Hey Nicole,


It was honestly amazing. The whole thing can seem really daunting… but it’s honestly been life changing for me.


Susan was inspiring. Her mental toughness and continued positive attitude meant that she was never going to stop. To me, it seemed that some people who were more physically capable than her struggled because they didn’t have as much of those things.


I have no doubt in my mind that you would be up for the Ride. And that it would leave a lasting impression on you.


I found that meeting the past riders was inspiring as well.  People from all walks of life, who are committed to something bigger than themselves. Who are not afraid to stand up and make a difference, even when they know its going to hurt.


Meeting those kids, hearing their stories and experiencing their openness and love for each other has changed me in ways I can’t really articulate yet. All I know is that I can’t walk away from this now…


When I signed up that day in Sydney in April last year, I couldn’t fathom how I would be changed. I just knew two things. If I signed up I’d be changed, and if I didn’t, nothing would change. “

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WOW….. is all I could manage after reading that;

Here are a selection of images from the 2013 Hands Across the Water Ride, 800km from Bangkok – Khao Lak.

The temple pictured (with bike riders in the foreground) is the place where the story began for Peter Baines. 
Peter arrived at Wat Yan Yao in the days following the tsunami to find 3,500 bodies lying, mostly unidentified.

This is the end point for the final leg of the southern ride.

It’s a pretty emotional arrival as you come over the bridge and recognise the building from photos. 
The kids are out the front waving, and suddenly the ride is over.

And just to remind you, registrations for the 2014 ride open on Friday :)

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