Childcare, the way the rich like to do it

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She has enchanted many a dumbstruck child over the decades with her whimsical tales and far-fetched habits, but Mary Poppins is just a fictional character.

Or is she?

You will have to make up your own mind because the ladies we’re about to spend an hour in the company of here are about as close we’re going to get to the practically-perfect nanny.

This one-off programme checks in at Norland College, Bath’s quintessentially British 120-year-old childcare training college.

It sets to out to turn its pupils into elite 21st century Mary Poppins-esque nannies.

The college was founded in 1892 by Emily Ward, and these are nannies sought after by the rich and famous – including, most recently, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

It’s a college well-known for its rigorous rules, traditional uniform and clean white gloves.

And at £13,000 a year, the pressure is on for its students to succeed.

Liz Hunt, Principal of Norland College, says: “I’m carrying forward a great history and tradition from 1892 that this one Victorian woman started, and we often have conversations about what she would think if she could see it now.”

We follow the second-years of Set 36, including 19-year-old Laura Styles, who has always wanted to be a Norland nanny, and 20-year-old Georgina who told her mum when she was a little girl that she’d grow up to have 100 children.

She and the rest of the girls know when they’re on to a good thing.

One of the girls, Keziah says: “If you’re going to be a nanny you might as well go to Norland, because it’s the top of the top and it’s the best thing you can do.”

She and the rest of the pupils undertake academic lessons and training including cooking and sewing, alongside lessons in how to keep a baby happy.

The latter sees them looking after virtual babies.

They are also tasked with keeping the baby happy for 48 hours – and there’s no room for error, as they will be assessed on the results.

However there’s more to it than that.

They’re also taught advanced driving skills, including how to safely drive away from pursuing paparazzi and taking corners at speed in rain.

And with their first work placements nearing, there’s plenty to think about.

But it’s not all dirty nappies and endless baby talk.

Cameras follow the girls as they’re given a chance to let their hair down before having to think about what type of family they want to work for after leaving Norland.

While some of the girls may be as different as different gets, they all have one thing in common – they’re daughters of proud parents who believe that whichever family the girl ends up working for, they’re very lucky indeed.

These girls will be the best of the best once they’re qualified.

But will they be singing about spoonfuls of sugar and whisking their children off on magical trips?

That’s the question...