We know that funding your studies is a significant factor when you are deciding if Norland is the place for you.

More than one in four of our students (27%) were awarded a bursary from Norland to support the costs of their study in 2021/22. One of those was second-year student Olivia (Set 45). She recently participated in a Q&A to discuss how she funds her studies with the assistance of an Emily Ward bursary, working while studying, budgeting as a student and more.

If you have any questions, you can speak to Olivia on our chat to students page.

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Olivia. I’m originally from Cornwall and I’m part of Set 45 at Norland. Before starting my journey at Norland, I finished my Business Studies A-level and diploma at college and was to begin a career in business when I was accepted to study at Liverpool Hope University.

However, during the start of the pandemic, my heart and thoughts changed, and I decided that my vocation is to work with children. I’m a caring and gentle person, and I have a strong passion for working with children and their families and to making a difference to their lives. Fortunately for me, due to Covid, there were more students deferring so a place became available through Clearing that year.

After considering my options and my financial position, I decided to take a year out of education and save as much money as possible to pay for my fees independently and start in Set 45 in the 2021/22 academic year.

a woman sat by the sea

How did you hear about Norland and why did you choose to study here?

I first heard about Norland through my mum and nana as my mum had always wanted to study at Norland. I also heard about Norland through a trainee Norland Nanny I know, who was nearing the end of her Newly Qualified Nanny (NQN) year. The reason I chose to study early years at Norland was that I believed it would provide me with many opportunities that I wouldn’t get anywhere else. The degree and diploma equip students with everything they could possibly need to know for working with children and their families.

What made you change your mind from studying business management and marketing at a ‘traditional’ university to studying an early years degree and diploma at Norland?

I changed my mind as I knew that a business career was not the right one for me as my feelings had changed through the pandemic. I chose to come to Norland instead of a ‘traditional’ university to pursue an early years degree as I wanted to get the best out of my education for my future career. For me, I knew coming to Norland would provide me with many new exciting opportunities and experiences that I would never forget.

At Norland, we learn in small classes which has allowed me to thrive as I have been able to seek one-to-one support from lecturers for additional help with modules and assignments to succeed in the degree and diploma lectures.

a student smiling in her practical uniform

How was your first year? What were your highlights?

My journey so far at Norland has been absolutely fantastic. I wouldn’t dream of studying anywhere else! I’ve enjoyed every moment of it, through making friends in Welcome Week to starting my degree and the exciting sewing and food and nutrition lectures.

Starting the degree was nerve wracking as I took a year out of education, and I thought I’d be behind. With the amazing help provided by the lecturers, I’ve been supported the whole way through the degree and diploma so far. Every student is given a personal tutor who they can go to for support.

There are many highlights from my first year that I will never forget. Starting with making wonderful friends in the first weeks who have given me so much support, to attending a field trip in Welcome Week to enable us to get to know each other in our year group.

Another highlight of the year has been attending different guest lectures which have provided us with expert knowledge from the sector and helped us with writing our assignments.

The food and nutrition and sewing lecturers this year have enabled me to become more confident in a variety of different skills. In the first term, for example, I learned how to sew on a label for a child and basic sewing skills that enabled me to design and create a children’s apron in the second term.

The food and nutrition sessions at the beginning of the year equipped me with basic skills and knowledge about food and making and baking different style of dishes. My learning influenced me to take the recipes to my first family placement to provide the family with a nutritious balanced diet during my time working with them.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every placement from my first year. In our first year, we have four placements. I was fortunate enough to do five placements this year, as I completed a placement in the maternity ward at the Royal United Hospital in Bath for four days, which was an incredible experience.

I’ve spent four weeks in a school with a Year 1 class, four weeks in a nursery, three weeks with a family and three weeks in another nursery. The placements have provided me with a real insight for my future career working with children. The different placements have allowed me to grow in independence and confidence, encouraging me to believe in myself, and create activities to engage the children in play, to be creative and use their own imagination.

three students in uniform smiling with their hands in the air

How do you fund your studies?

When I was applying to Norland, I was advised to apply for the Emily Ward Bursary scheme to help me to overcome my financial difficulties.  

When I first found out that I had been offered a bursary from Norland, I felt very relieved knowing that I was able to come to Norland without having to worry about the tuition fees. It took a weight off my shoulders. The bursary has enabled me to earn money at my part-time job at the weekend to save for my second-year fees. 

Not only has it reassured me financially, but it has reassured and helped my mum who is a single parent to me and my little sister. Knowing that I was going to be receiving financial support throughout my studies has taken a great strain off us and helped me to achieve my dream of becoming a Norland Nanny. I’m very grateful for receiving this bursary. 

I also took a year out of education to work full-time at a supermarket, which has been the best decision I’ve made to overcome any financial difficulties before starting at Norland. When I moved to Bath, I was able to transfer from the supermarket in Cornwall to Bath which gave me a part-time job to keep me financially secure while studying. This meant I could save throughout my first year of studying to fund my studies.  

Prior to coming to Norland, I saved £6,500 which enabled me to pay my first-year tuition fees and have some money saved for my second-year fees.  

Recently, I signed up to the Marvellous Babysitting app, which is only available to current Norland students and Norlanders, as fully qualified Norland graduates are known. The app will allow me to fund my studies by babysitting for families in and around Bath throughout term time and will also give me more experience working with children. [Last year, some students earned £2,000 through the Marvellous Babysitting app, with more than £65,000 paid out to students and Norlanders].

In my second year, I’ll aim to use the app monthly if not more, as there are many opportunities to choose from in and around Bath. However, I’ll plan my jobs around my academic work, so I can achieve the best possible grades for the Norland degree and diploma. I’m also looking forward to using the job shop this year and will be more proactive in applying for these roles. 

What financial advice would you give to prospective students considering Norland?

The advice I would give to prospective students and applicants about overcoming the financial hurdles of studying at Norland would be to apply for the Emily Ward Bursary scheme to see if you are eligible, as the bursary has helped me significantly to fund my studies. Apply for the government student loans, as this has helped to cover some of my tuition fee costs and supported me with my living costs.

There are many part-time jobs available in Bath for students to work to fund their studies and living costs. Finally, make sure to budget your finances so you have an idea of what you can spend weekly as this has helped me this year to save up enough to fund my second and third-year fees.

a female student putting a pram together

Do you have any budgeting tips?

I have found that budgeting has really helped me in my first year to save as much money as possible for fees in my second year.

When I received my first maintenance loan from student finance in the first term, I worked out how much would go towards my rent, phone bill and car insurance, and then with the money left over I worked out how much I had to spend on living expenses, such as food and home supplies and other expenses each week.

Another way of budgeting that I have found worked well is to share cooking in the evenings with housemates.  Every weekend we did a food shop online and decided on the meals that we would like that week and split the total cost between us.

I was very fortunate in my first year to have a room with an ensuite. Each month, I paid £560 for rent, which included bills too.

Do you consider the benefits you’ll get once a fully qualified Norlander are worth the fees?

I believe that paying the fees to study at Norland is worth it as once I become a fully qualified Norlander, I will be able to access jobs and lifelong support through the Norland Agency. I also believe that Norland provides us with opportunities that we wouldn’t get anywhere else, ensuring we are equipped with the best possible knowledge to work as a nanny and an early years practitioner.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

In my second year, I’m looking forward to learning more about children through our degree studies and extending my knowledge. I’m also thoroughly excited to do a live-in family placement, as this will help to further increase my confidence and improve my practice. In the long term when I’m fully qualified, I’m hoping to travel the world with my career and work in different countries to explore a variety of different cultures around the world.

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