After attending an open day, Ellie’s heart was set on studying at Norland. As she embarks on her Newly Qualified Nanny (NQN) year, Ellie discusses how much the placements have helped in her development, student life in Bath and how graduating with two qualifications provides value for money.
“As our third and final year of studying has drawn to a close and our Newly Qualified Nanny year (NQN) is now in full swing, it seems the perfect time to reflect upon the three incredible years we have had at Norland. From bake offs, to dissertations, to endless nappies changed and bottles filled, our time at college has helped shape us into the creative and unique nannies we are now.”
“When I attended the Norland open day I was instantly sold and knew that it was the place that I wanted to study. I am a very practical person and having heard about the course and how practical it is, I knew this was the right institution for me to go to.”
“I have always really enjoyed looking after and caring for young children. When I moved to Bath in 2010, I lived at a school with my family and we lived on site for my Dad’s job. There were lots of other families that also lived on the school site, most of which had children that I was lucky enough to look after. This is really where my love for childcare began.
“I’d heard of Norland because I went to school in Bath, but I didn’t really know much about the college nor the course. When I finished my A levels, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to study at university so I came to the conclusion that I was going to take a gap year and work in a British school in Malaysia where I had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant and sport coach within the prep school.
“During my gap year I applied to Norland and Cardiff Metropolitan, and received offers from both of them for their early years courses. When I attended the Norland open day I was instantly sold and knew that it was the place that I wanted to study. I am a very practical person and having heard about the course and how practical it is, I knew this was the right institution for me to go to.
“It’s really hard to pinpoint just a few things that have stood out because my time at Norland has been incredible. However, if I had to pick out something, it would be the placements that we do throughout each year. At Norland we are lucky enough each term to spend between four and six weeks putting our knowledge from lectures into practice working with families (daily and residential), working in schools (nursery upwards and special needs schools) and experiencing working on a hospital maternity ward or within the paediatric department.
“I’ve absolutely loved all my placements, and still babysit and nanny for the families that I was placed with, it’s great to see how much the children have all changed and developed! If you are looking for a practical course, then Norland is definitely the place for you! If you are thinking of a career that involves looking after children, then I cannot recommend Norland highly enough. Even though Norland predominantly focuses on the skills of a nanny, post-training you can go into teaching, work in hospitals, set up a business or nursery. The course is amazing and so diverse that you are always learning something new.
“One of the main reasons why I was contemplating coming to Norland was because I really wanted to move away from home, live independently with friends and enjoy the ‘social side’ of attending a university. At points throughout my training I felt that I had missed out on some of the appealing aspects of a traditional university, like playing for a netball team. In the end it didn’t bother me that I wasn’t part of a social team sport because I had the chance to join a local netball team and gym where I was able to meet new people.
“There are two other universities in Bath which means you have the chance to meet new people who are a similar age to you and have different friendship groups outside of Norland. I was lucky enough to live with my family for the first two years of studying at Norland and reflecting on this it was the best decision as I was able to save money and could visit my friends’ houses when it suited me, I didn’t feel like I missed out at all.
“Even though Norland fees are higher than standard UK undergraduate degree fees, my parents and I worked out that if I studied at Norland it would be more beneficial for my career in the Early Years. At Norland, you graduate with two qualifications; a degree in Early Years Development and Learning and receive the renowned Norland Diploma, hence the higher cost, which is not like most universities. Unlike a normal university where you may only have lectures three times a week, Norland fill the weeks with both practical and theory-based lectures meaning we are in college from 9am until 4.30pm Monday to Thursday.
“There are lots of opportunities for babysitting and nannying outside college hours which means nannies have the chance to help pay fees and save money for themselves. Also, I know friends that live rent free (food included) with families in Bath in exchange for childcare which also has been appealing to many trainee nannies.
“After I have completed my Newly Qualified Nanny (NQN) year, I would hope to renew my contract with my current family that I am working for and look after their child for a few more years. In the future, when I have my own children, I would love to work in a hospital on the maternity ward as babies are my favourite stage. Having experienced working on a maternity ward during my studies, this has made me really want to work in such a rewarding environment.
“The best thing about being a Norland Nanny is the endless opportunities you have. There are so many nanny jobs worldwide which is great if you want to live in a different country and experience a diverse culture. The training you receive at Norland is incredible – I never in a million years thought that I would be able to cook nutritious and tasty meals nor sew a child’s apron or fancy-dress outfit, yet this has all been possible with determination and encouragement from the staff at Norland. It’s crazy to think how much I have achieved during my time at Norland and developed as an early years practitioner.
“I really recommend that you visit Norland for an open day if you are thinking about applying. The open day will give you a great insight into student life and you’ll be able to speak to current students and lecturing staff and have any questions you have answered. The Early Years Development and Learning degree is so interesting and there are so many elements to it which can all then be applied within your practice.
“What makes Norland so unique is that there is no other course in the world like it. I feel privileged that people are going to see that I am a Norlander when they read my CV. Norland is a tight-knit community whereby every member of staff knows you and you know them, unlike other universities. Whenever you need to talk to someone about personal issues or anything to do with your assignments, the staff are always there to help in college, over the phone or by email.
“My time at Norland has been so memorable and is one of the best things I have ever done. I am so glad I went to an open day and took my parents guidance rather than following the crowd with going to a traditional university. If I could, I would do it all again.”