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Love Across the Pond
Anglophilia. And, um, Yankophilia.
Child care jobs in the UK 
4th-Oct-2012 07:13 am
Hi all. I am wondering about child care jobs in the UK. Not nannying, but rather working in a pre-school or day-care type job.

Long story short: I'm American, currently living and working in Japan with my English boyfriend of six years. We want to eventually settle down in the UK, and are trying to make that possible, despite those strict new marriage visa laws... (Grrrr...:(

Should we one day be able to jump through all those hoops and live together in the UK, I'd need to find a job, of course. Does anyone know what the child-care industry is like there? Salary, job requirements,etc. Does a person need to have some sort of official training for such jobs?

While I don't have any sort of child-care certification, I HAVE spent the last 6 years working with children. (One as a live-in nanny, and five as an ESL teacher.) Currently, I teach in a school where I am usually the only adult present, and am responsible for the care and teaching of up to 15 kids at a time, ranging in age from 2 to 18. 95 percent of the time, I am alone with the kids; literally the only adult in the school. So far I have worked here for two years. It is a national chain of schools in Japan, and I could have references given by the native English speaking staff in the future.

Would that kind of experience be enough to get a job in a pre-school or day-care in the UK? (Assuming that I had the necessary visa to live and work there, of course.) If not, what could I do once living there to make myself marketable in the field?

Any advice or information is greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot! Am cross posting to another comm, sorry if you get a double post.
4th-Oct-2012 03:17 am (UTC)
My mother was an early years specialist and taught for all her career in Primary Education. My cousin who is the manager of a nursery. Myself I'm more on the academic side of Child Development (psych).

In order to work with children in the UK you really need to have specific training. Unlike the US, the majority of childcare in the UK receives state (ie govt) funding and as such is strictly regulated so that the service provided is transparent and as uniform as possible. Therefore if you want to work in the field you will need to be familiar with all the requirements such as the relevant Key Stages and the processes involving in inspections by OFSTED, which all childcare providers have to submit to. Even if you wanted to set up your own daycare the list of requirements is long and arduous (you have to have your house and garden inspected, for example).

However most importantly, you need to have a CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau) before anyone will employ you. As a non native citizen none of your records will be available to UK authorities. In order to get my visa for the USA I had to apply to the Police Force in every area I had lived and produce a clean, 'no trace' record from each one, that documentation was then submitted to the US authorities. I do wonder if you could manage to produce something similar from every place you've ever lived whether that would help? There is no way around the CRB check however, so it could be a catch 22.

As far as qualifications go it depends what you want to do. Teaching or management require a degree, either in Education or in anything plus a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education). Even auxilliary helpers and classroom assistants are required to have recogniseable child care qualification, but these are usually taught more as sandwich courses with time spent on the job as well as in the classroom. They typically don't take as long as a degree (but not always). My cousin as a manager was able to pick and choose between various places on her last job hunt (she had a small child at the time who was still a preschooler and managed to find a job where they weren't going to charge her to take her child with her to be cared for in the nursery).

My suggestion to you to go legit would be, when you get to the UK, to enroll in a college and get a recognised child care qualification. Bring all the references you can get your hands on, that will help you gain a placement during your training. Alternatively you could approach your local school and ask if they have any vacancies for classroom assistants, but you'll still need training for that. As to salary, it's not that great, as a nursery worker you'll be about on minimum wage. Managment and teaching is higher, obviously, but no one goes into any of these careers for the money!

If you don't want go that route there is a lot of au-pair type work out there or nannying for those parents who aren't too fussed about the background of who takes care of their kids.
4th-Oct-2012 03:37 pm (UTC)
US citizens can not be au pairs in the UK, the visa doesn't apply.

Apart from the advice about CRB (which can be obtained as an American, as I am
one and a teacher) your training will depend on what you want to do. Even to be a registered childminder (read- childcare in your home or clients) you will need to be OFSTED certified. Additional certification required if you want to tap into any funding)

Teaching assistants are generally expected to have an NVQ 3 or above. (college course)

However, you'll need to look at visa stuff first as childcare will not be a route you'd get an employing based visa with.
4th-Oct-2012 05:25 pm (UTC)
You can get an FBI background check that covers everywhere you've lived in the US. This is what I was instructed to do by the NSPCC when I was going through the process to be a Childline counselor. I'm currently a student social worker and have used this background check at all my placements and haven't had any problems with it.
4th-Oct-2012 09:23 am (UTC)
When I worked with kids (Keystages 3-5, so older ones) my employer did my CRB, and my overseas records weren't a problem, it just took a bit longer than my native coworkers' checks did. That was through a council, so perhaps that had something to do with it.

Also - if you can, get a NARIC certificate done. If you are looking to take a college childcare course (which you will need for your certification) a NARIC cert will make your application process much smoother. Don't be an idiot like me and wait til you're already *in* the UK to get it done ;)
4th-Oct-2012 05:23 pm (UTC)
A lot of childcare jobs in the UK will require you to have an NVQ. I've had several interviews for teaching assistant jobs, however, and they don't seem to. You will definitely need a CRB to work with children, but as someone else said, it will only look at the time you've been in the UK. I have an FBI background check that covers my time in the US, which I always bring to interviews and mention in cover letters and such.
11th-Oct-2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
You'll need some sort of formal child care qualification and a CRB check (although in the past when I've worked in nurseries my employer carried this out before I started). Salaries are poor, don't expect to earn much despite the hard work that looking after other people's children is.

Good luck!
14th-Mar-2013 12:19 pm (UTC)
If you are looking for a job, go to www.Josty.org

Edited at 2013-03-14 12:20 pm (UTC)
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