Grounded in history,
focused on the future

The very best education since 1892

Emily Ward founded Norland in 1892. She recognised the need for early years childcare to be more structured, centered around the child, loving and nurturing. Prior to the introduction of formal training at Norland, children would be cared for by ‘untutored’ housemaids before going to school. Emily Ward was an astute businesswoman and an educational pioneer; she set up Norland as the first educational establishment to offer any kind of childcare training. Training at Norland was focused on the founding principles of Fröbel, the German educationalist best known as the originator of the ‘kindergarten system’, and adapted them to be relevant to the needs of young children and their families. 

She founded Norland on 25th September 1892. Her recently discovered notebook includes entries which date from 14th May 1892 through to 6th November 1919. The handwritten pages, some of which are on very fragile paper, contain personal insights into the life of Emily Ward in the founding days of the College at its original site at Norland Place, London. 

The black leather bound A5 book contains over 120 pages of first-hand accounts of the founding days of the College, or the Norland Institute as it was first known. The diary is also full of newspaper cuttings, invitations and documents which had been carefully secured onto the page by Emily, giving a unique insight into the time. Emily Ward’s legacy is immortalised through the Emily Ward bursary, which provides students with the opportunity to obtain a grant towards meeting the cost of their tuition fees. 

Through the ages

Along with its location, the curriculum at Norland has changed and progressed with the times to offer the most up-to-date academic childcare training courses and the highest practice standards in line with the latest research. Throughout its constant development Norland’s values have remained the same, with children being at the centre of all decisions and the Norland motto ‘Love Never Faileth’ being central to its values. 

Focused on the future

Since its founding, Norland has been recognised around the world as being at the forefront of early years education and training. This reputation continues with Norland now offering an intensive academic degree and skills based diploma programme, combining the most up-to-date research and knowledge with practical training. It is our students, past and present, who have been instrumental in establishing Norland’s position as the leader in early years education. Every Norlander carries the responsibility of maintaining our reputation to the highest of standards. 

2017 marks 125 years of Norland. Visit our history section here

The Uniform – a Norland professional

Emily Ward quickly recognised that Norland Nurses (as Norland graduates were originally known) needed to be recognised as professionals (and not mistaken for housemaids) so she introduced the uniform. Norland Nurses would not only wear the uniform when training at the college but also once qualified in the workplace - they were recognisable wherever they went.

The uniform is still a strong part of Norland’s tradition. In the same way that a professional nurse would be expected to wear a uniform, Norland students are expected to wear their uniform with pride, and to adhere to the strict uniform guidelines. Norland graduates are no longer expected however to wear their uniform when working in a family, unless the family specifically wants them to.

In 2013, and for the first time in 70 years, a new uniform was unveiled. Designed locally and produced by British manufacturers, the uniform was updated whilst still reflecting Norland’s distinguished heritage. Find out more about the uniform here.

  • Emily Ward founded norland in 1892

  • Pages from Emily Ward’s notebook dated 25 September 1892, the day the Norland Institute opened

  • Blitz period Norland Nanny helmet