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The Norland nanny: “Mary Poppins meets James Bond”

Hand-brake turns are after lunch. Patrick Ward/Popperfoto/Getty

With their uniform of “tweed blazers, white gloves, beige pinafores and brown bowler hats”, the nannies-in-training at Norland College “cut incongruous figures on the modern landscape”, says Saskia Solomon in The New York Times. At £15,000 a term, the 130-year-old college’s four-year nannying course is more expensive than an undergraduate degree. But for career prospects, it’s a no-brainer – on average, seven job offers await each graduating “Norlander”. And just a few years in, most can expect to fetch six-figure salaries looking after the offspring of “bankers, royals and celebrities”.

Norland’s quaint get-up – the uniforms were originally pale blue but switched to brown due to a dye shortage in World War One – hides the myriad skills acquired on its “high-octane” programme. As well as nappy changing, food prep and nap scheduling, Norlanders learn to fend off potential kidnappers and shield buggies from paparazzi. Retired spooks teach them “cybersecurity methods”. They even receive training in “martial arts and evasive driving techniques”. No wonder the British tabloids call them “Mary Poppins meets James Bond”.