Elite nannies learn martial arts to foil kidnap threats to wealthy childrenSWNS

If you thought the school run was fraught with perils, spare a thought for the kids of the rich and famous who risk everything from paparazzi to kidnap threats while they're out and about.

In fact, the dangers are so real that a new breed of nannies is being taught martial arts in a bid to keep their privileged charges safe.

As well as foiling kidnappers, the elite child minders are also being taught stunt driving and how to deal with nosey paparazzi photographers.

The classes are being taught at Norland College in Bath, Somerset, which has been training professional nannies for the rich and famous since 1892.

The college has added martial arts classes and skid pan training to its curriculum to meet the needs of modern wealthy parents.

Norland nannies are considered the most prestigious and are the favourites of royals, celebrities and the super-rich.

But their Mary Poppins-style brown uniforms, felt hats and gloves makes them instantly recognisable and vulnerable to robbers and kidnappers.

Elite nannies learn martial arts to foil kidnap threats to wealthy childrenPA


Parents worried about their children being held for ransom or being chased by photographers are requiring their nannies to know how to deal with potential attackers as well as master the traditional skills of first aid, sewing and cooking.

The trainees - who pay £36,000 for the four-year BA Honours degree course - are now being taken to Castle Combe Racing Circuit in Wiltshire for lessons in how to drive at high speed in any weather conditions.

The classes teach the nannies driving techniques, such as skid pan control, that will help them safely get away from pursuing photographers trying to take pictures of the children in their care.

John Yeo, a driving instructor who normally trains bodyguards, told the Telegraph: "We put them under as much pressure as we can. If we're putting all the pressure on them and they can still pull the car out of a situation quickly and efficiently, it's been a good reward.

"And we know when they go out there and that happens they've got the best chance possible of keeping safe."

The would-be nannies also undergo Tae Kwon-Do self-defence training where they learn to manoeuvre prams away from potential kidnappers and give themselves the best chance at escaping or alerting attention.

Lucy Draper, 24, a student at Norland College, said the new lessons are essential to her training as future clients are likely to be targeted by paparazzi and kidnappers: "It teaches you how to look after your charges so if you have them in the back in dangerous situation you know how to cope. I definitely feel a lot better and more prepared now."