Nannies / Home Childcarers & Au-pairs

Reading Family Information Service

This page looks at the difference between nannies and au-pairs.

Next review date June 2024

Nannies (Home Child Carers)

Nannies are employed by families to look after their children in the family’s home; they will be accountable for all aspects of the children’s childcare. Families are responsible for checking the nannies have the correct qualifications and checks before starting. Nannies are employees so all tax and national insurance will be the families responsibility. Nannies can be registered with Ofsted, provided they have a childcare qualification, insurance and an up to date paediatric first aid course certificate, on the Voluntary Childcare Register however  they do not have to be. Employing a registered nanny may entitle you to help with your childcare costs.

Nannies can work out more economical than other childcare if you have a large family or if you need very flexible childcare. Nannies wages will depend on the hours they work and whether they live in with your family, or come into the home on a daily basis. Nanny share may be an option.

Most nannies will have some form of childcare qualification, the National Careers Service has information on possible qualifications.

For more information about becoming a nanny and the duties nannies provide please visit the PACEY website (Professional Association for Childcare Early Years). Visit government website for information when employing someone to work in your home.

 For more information on Ofsted and the registration process please visit Ofsted or contact them on Tel: 0300 1231231.

Reading Family Information Service (FIS) do not hold information on registered nannies, however local nanny agencies details are available on the Reading Services Guide (RSG). Parents /carers are responsible for ensuring relevant checks are carried out inc DBS, safeguarding, insurance, pediatric first aid, registration etc please visit Ofsted for more information.


Au-pairs are not childcare providers they do not usually have a childcare qualification and should not be left in sole charge of young children. Most au-pairs are students who come to the UK to study and improve their English skills, they are not employees instead live as part of a host family. They can do light household tasks and babysitting for pocket money, however they must be able to continue with studies and attend language courses.

Visit the government website for more information concerning au-pairs and if they need to pay income tax.  For more information on au-pairs and becoming a host family please visit the British Au-pairs Agencies Association BAPAA.

Related Advice

Childcare - Frequently Asked Questions Childminders Day Nurseries Out Of School Care Pre-Schools Childcare Providers

Page last reviewed: 13/11/2023

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