Highly appreciated and possessing an arsenal of knowledge in childcare, the Norland Nannies are a select group of women responsible for caring for the heirs of the most distinguished and select families in the world.
By Ana Marisol Angarita
The Norland Nannies are professionals trained in the UK to take care of the young heirs of the British and international high society, as well as the children of the affluent elite and all who seek a high level of care, education, and discretion for their young ones.
Their rigorous training in the exclusive British institution Norland College and their impeccable manners that evoke those of Mary Poppins—Walt Disney’s perfect nanny—allow them to meet the classic challenges presented by children from privileged homes.
These experienced nannies are a treasured asset for the most prominent families in the UK. And being inestimable and discrete, their services are often passed from one generation to another. They form an exclusive group of specialized women characterized by their white gloves, beige uniforms and felt hats, which clearly distinguishes them from the rest of the household staff.
More than changing diapers
These nannies have a much higher level of training than the rest of the domestic staff. Their duties include sewing, embroidering, ironing, cooking healthy and balanced foods, changing diapers, bathing children, and helping with homework— as well as improvising fun games to keep the toddlers entertained. Part of the training is to know the habits, tastes, and needs of their employers.
The Norland Nannies are characterized by their ability to confidently handle the requirements of small children whose parents travel frequently. They are skilled in taekwondo and martial arts to deal with any dangerous situation, know first aid, and are trained on racing tracks so they can drive at high speeds if they need to flee the paparazzi. They also know how to react in case of a kidnapping.
For these nannies, discretion is of the utmost importance, and the privacy of the family is always highly respected.
A long and thorough training
The historic city of Bath in southwest England is home to the Norland College, a school where—since 1892—women have learned to take care of future generations of elite families.
It is also an extremely selective institution, and only accepts a maximum of 80 applicants per year. The students prepare for a degree in Early Development while learning practical means and tools for the care of children.
During their initial three-year training, aspiring Norland nannies are trained using dolls that have a built-in chip that makes them cry like a real baby.
Subsequently, students spend a year with a family. "Only after having completed that year may the student qualify as a Norland Nanny," said Aby Searle of Norland College in an interview with azureazure.com.
The executive added that this practice ensures that future nannies have the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to maintain the high standards expected by the institution.
Looking for a Norland Nannie
The iconic Norland uniform highlights its graduates in critical public events and situations, such as the media attention the Spanish nanny Maria Teresa Turrión Borrallo received during the christening of Princess Charlotte of England—daughter of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. However, these nannies do not always wear this uniform, so as not to attract attention and to respect the privacy of the family.
According to the website of Norland College, its graduates can earn around US$89,000 annually if they work in London and US $111,000 each if they work abroad.
When it comes to selecting a nanny, Norland College recommends they should have a degree in childcare, a current certificate in pediatric first aid, and a criminal background check—as well as references from previous jobs.
The institution warns that it is necessary for a nanny to adapt both to the children and the family’s dynamics, so the recruitment process should include a practical test with the prospective family. ■
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