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Private Governesses: What, Why, and Where.

  • Publish Date: Posted about 1 year ago

The idea of a private governess might, at first glance, feel old fashioned, outdated, and a little stiff. However, a governess might be the ideal solution for your needs - closer to a teacher than a nanny, a private governess builds a relationship with your family, and ensures that your children receive a quality education, in the comfort of their own home. 

There’s often some confusion over what exactly the role of a governess is. Some people pull their ideas straight from the pages of Jane Eyre, or Emma, and are surprised when they learn the truth. Keep reading for Greycoat Lumleys guide to exactly what a private governess can do for you. 

Where does the idea of a governess come from? 

Governesses have been around for centuries - historically, life as a governess was quite difficult. Job turnover was high (as children eventually grow up and no longer need tutelage, and thus governesses had to move from family to family), pay was relatively low, the role was isolated and the hours were long - we can promise that it’s not still like this! Traditionally, governesses were employed to teach ‘the three r’s’, which were reading, writing, and arithmetic. Additional subjects like history and languages were added as the children they were in charge of grew older.

The role of a governess now often varies depending on the exact educational needs and age of the children they are employed for, however they are still generally employed for teaching, sometimes in conjunction with an existing nanny.

What is the role of a private governess? 

One of the most common questions on the subject concerns the difference between a governess and tutor, as both are responsible for teaching your children. However, a tutor is generally in charge of providing supplementary education, improving upon schooling that your child has already received or is receiving, or helping children who have challenges with particular subjects.

A governess, on the other hand, is responsible for the full-time education and social skills of the children they are charged with. Perhaps you’re looking for a private boarding school level of education, but you don’t want to send your children away from home for long stretches of time - a private governess (or governor) might be the perfect solution!

The role of a private governess is also different from a standard tutor in that they are often employed on a live-in and permanent basis, working 6-10 hours a day for the majority of the week. An advantage of a governess over a tutor is that they have more time to build a valuable relationship with the family they are involved with, which can only improve the quality of the education that your child receives.

People are also often slightly confused on the difference between a governess and a nanny. As we said, a governess is responsible for educating your children, whereas a nanny is responsible for childcare outside of schooling. If you are looking for a nanny instead, we’ve got plenty of top quality candidates. Alternatively, if you need someone who might be able to take care of both childcare and some schooling, we might have a candidate to suit your needs. Just get in touch with us, and a member of our friendly team will be all too happy to help.

Would a governess be suitable for me? 

Another advantage of a private governess is that since they are teachers, they are often multilingual. If you like the idea of someone who will not only teach your child the usual school subjects but also have them speaking a second language fluently, a governess might be the perfect fit for you.

Our governesses/governors are willing and able to work abroad, often travelling with families, and due to our extensive connections and global reputation, we are able to place candidates with families in the UK and all over the world in part-time, full-time, live-in, live-out, permanent and temporary positions.

If you’re interested in hiring a governess, or want to discuss your needs and options, get in touch with us today.