The key differences between a Governess, a Tutor and a Nanny

The word Governess is a very old word that dates back to before World War 1 mostly in Europe, where, if there were no suitable schools nearby, especially in the countryside, the family would employ a Governess. The trend is gradually becoming popular again, particularly within wealthy households, this is mainly for personal security, the flexibility to travel and live in various places, and the advantages of a tailored education. A Governess is usually a qualified educator, who is employed to educate school age children in a private household. This can either be a Live-in or Live-out position, and no domestic duties are involved. The Governess would plan her day, around a typical school day and all subjects would be covered, the subjects would vary according to which curriculum the children in her charge would be following. The main difference between a Governess and a Tutor, is that a governess is responsible for the full-time education and social skills of the children, whereas a Tutor gives supplementary education to improve the level of the student, or to help slow learners keep up with their fellow students.

A Tutor is a qualified teacher who gives extra tuition outside the conventional education system, usually to help underachievers or to improve the level of high achievers. Tutors are usually employed on an hourly basis, but many Tutors are now employed on a full-time basis, and this is particularly useful when a family are travelling.  Live in male Tutors are also coming to the fore, especially when a family are looking for a Tutor/Companion for boys, as they have more in common with them.  There is also another popular position and that is the position of a Tutor/Nanny, which combines extra tuition for the children, social skills and some basic nanny duties, and this usually includes being responsible for the children’s clothes, etc.

A Nanny on the other hand is usually a person who provides childcare in the home for one or more children, and the Nanny is employed on a live-in or live-out basis.   The majority of Nannies have a qualification, e.g. Norland or NNEB, and many families prefer a qualification plus a specified number of years’ experience, although some families prefer experience as opposed to a qualification.

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Written by Suzanna Harwood for Harmony at Home International Childcare Agency. All Rights Reserved, 2017