IF you want this choice position/have a cheery disposition/rosy cheeks, no warts!/play games, all sorts…/love us as a son and daughter/and never smell of barley water.’ With the news that Norland nannies have been forced to add anti-terrorism training to their carpet bag of tricks, it’s clear that the criteria for the perfect nanny have changed quite a bit since Jane and Michael Banks sang about her. Where is Mary Poppins when you need her?
Impeccably trained, Norland nannies are famed the world over and, as a lot of their employers are now oligarchs and the super-rich, as well as members of the Royal Family, students at Norland College, in Bath, are having to learn how best to protect their young charges from the threat of terror gangs. This includes self-defence, evasive driving techniques, social-media awareness and how to spot potential kidnappers. Would-be nannies are even being advised to keep an emergency bag of clothes with them at all times, in case of escape.
‘Our training provides the nannies with a foundation to think ahead and prepare for potentially threatening changes in their environment, a skill they can apply to every aspect of their lives,’ says Brig Paul Gibson.
Dr Janet Rose, principal of Norland College, adds: ‘When Emily Ward set up Norland 125 years ago, she was revolutionary about how childcare as a profession was viewed and was always thinking about the particular needs of children and their families. I think she would feel proud of the way we are moving the curriculum forward to meet modern-day challenges.’
AS the daughter of a racehorse trainer and a former eventer, horses have always featured heavily in the life of Suffolk artist Tory Lawrence; this deep connection informs her work, a selection of which, including Night Horse (above), is currently on show in her exhibition ‘Horses and Birds’ at the A&D Gallery on Chiltern Street, London W1, until May 30 (www.aanddgallery.com).