For Eleanor, nannying isn’t a job. It’s a vocation. Her dream of pursuing a career working with children began by being part of a big family. From there she discovered Norland, where she had “three of the best years of my life”. It was Norland’s extensive and varied placement experience that led Eleanor to discover her passion for working with children with additional needs.

Eleanor was awarded Norland Nanny of the Year in 2022 after her employers nominated her for her commitment and dedication to their child. Not only is Eleanor her charge’s nanny, but her role has evolved to also become her charge’s 1:1 support assistant at school following an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis.

We spoke to Eleanor about winning Norland Nanny of the Year, what makes graduate nannying such a special career, and how her Norland training has supported her in her career.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Eleanor and I’m part of Set 37. Before joining Norland in 2013, I attended sixth form at Farlington School in West Sussex where I studied A levels in Sociology, Psychology, Classical Civilisation and History.

Prior to attending Norland, I always had a passion for working with children. I grew up with two younger sisters and was also the eldest grandchild of the family with seven younger cousins! I loved spending time with my siblings and family and that is where my dream of working with children began.

I first heard about Norland through my mum. She had a successful career as a nanny when she was younger and is an inspiration to me. She first mentioned Norland when I was looking to apply to university and told me she knew it would be the perfect place for me. I also found out that my granny, whom I am very close to,  had a Norland Nanny growing up. Her name was Mary and my granny had a wonderful relationship with her. They remained friends throughout her life. I had the good fortune to spend time with Mary growing up. Learning that she had been a Norland Nanny made me even more determined that Norland was the only place for me.

A female Norland Nanny student with a male in the Assembly Rooms, Bath

How do you reflect on your time at Norland?

When I reflect on my time at Norland, I can truly say it was three of the best years of my life. There is nothing that can compare to it. I would say you have to imagine Norland as a real-life Hogwarts – it is a magical place filled with such inspiring people!

Not only did Norland provide me with my wonderful training but it was also where I formed some of my closest friendships. I am still friends with other students I met at Norland today and am loving seeing them grow up themselves – having their own careers and adventures in life, including starting their own families.

How did Norland’s training prepare you for your career as a Norland Nanny?

The training at Norland is unique. Not only do you undertake an academic degree, but you are given the opportunity to put all the theory and knowledge into practice during a range of wonderfully diverse placements. These build your resilience and confidence in yourself as a professional and give you real lived experiences that are second to none when you begin your first professional role as a Newly Qualified Nanny (NQN) after completing your academic studies. I don’t believe anywhere else could prepare you so well for your future career.

My favourite part of my training was the invaluable experience I gained undertaking multiple placements. I was able to work first hand and learn from inspiring practitioners and parents in multiple roles including within nursery schools, primary schools, family homes, the paediatric ward of a hospital and at a Special Educational Needs (SEN) school.

All my placements inspired me and have led to me becoming who I am as a nanny today. The one that really cemented where I wanted to take my career was my time at an SEN school in Bath, where I developed my passion for working with children with additional needs.

a group of Norland Nanny students stood in their uniform outside Bath Abbey, Bath

What does it mean to have won the Norland Nanny of the Year?

To have won Norland Nanny of the Year is the biggest honour. I cannot thank my current family who nominated me enough. It really is a privilege and I feel so appreciated and valued. I truly am passionate about my role as a Norland Nanny. To me, it is not a job, but a vocation. I strive to give my all to every child in my care. To have this recognised and acknowledged with the winning of this award is so meaningful to me.

Can you tell us a little bit about your current role with the family that nominated you for Norland Nanny of the Year?

I feel very lucky to be working with the family who nominated me for the Norland Nanny of the Year award. They are without doubt the most wonderful family; kind, caring and truly treat me as part of the family.

I have the privilege of caring for their incredible son who is now six years old and have been working with the family for over two years.

During my time with the family, my charge received a diagnosis of ASD. This has meant my role has transitioned. I am now not only his nanny but work daily at school as his 1:1 support assistant.

It has been incredible to see my charge grow up over the past couple of years. He is so intelligent, funny, kind and caring. He has taught me so much including all the flags of countries of the world, which he has completely memorised!  He is my little best friend and my own family love him too as he sometimes visits my mum and sisters who love to spend time with him!

I am thankful that the family trusted me enough to allow me to work with my charge as his 1:1 at school. I feel so lucky to be able to see him grow and learn daily and to be able to support him to achieve whatever he puts his mind to!

I also get to work with a wonderful team who support him, including his teachers, therapists, other nannies who have supported him and his incredible parents.

I love every minute of my day!

A female holding a baby smiling

How did you feel when you found out you won Norland Nanny of the Year?

I felt overcome with emotions when I found out the news that I had won Norland Nanny of the Year. My employers made me feel so special and celebrated with me which made it even more magical! The staff I work with at my charge’s school also made me feel so appreciated and all congratulated me.

What advice would you give to someone who was considering Norland?

My advice to someone who is considering studying at Norland is please do it! It will be the first step on the most incredible journey of your life. You couldn’t wish to study anywhere else if studying early childhood is your passion. You will have the most fulfilling career, wonderful training and meet inspiring people along the way!

What do you love most about what you do?

I love every minute of every day. It is the most rewarding experience being a Norland Nanny and I will never take it for granted!

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