Norland, the world-famous specialist early years higher education provider, is proud to celebrate the graduation of its degree graduates alongside the 143rd cohort of fully qualified Norland Nannies.

On 22 March, Norland held its degree and diploma graduation ceremonies at the restored 16th century Bath Abbey. In the morning, the 144th cohort of students (known as Set 44) took their place in history as the newest Norland degree graduates. The graduands proudly wore the Norland graduation gown in its symbolic colours of brown, blue and gold to receive the degree certificate adorned with Norland’s coat of arms.

The newly designed graduation gown and coat of arms were unveiled in 2022 at Norland’s first degree-awarding ceremonies. Norland was granted degree-awarding powers by the Privy Council in 2019, a major step forward in its ambition to become the first specialist early years university in the world. In the same year, the 132-year-old institution achieved a gold rating for the third consecutive time in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2023 for its outstanding student experience and outcomes – the highest quality rating possible.

Norland students graduating in Cap and Gowns

In the afternoon, the 143rd cohort of Norland Nannies (known as Set 43) proudly graduated from the prestigious Norland diploma, having completed 12 months in employment as Newly Qualified Nannies since graduating from the Norland degree last year. Diploma graduates traditionally wear the iconic formal Norland uniform to receive their certificate and badge (featuring the speedwell flower that has been a treasured Norland emblem since the very first graduate badges were introduced in the early 1900s). The award of the prestigious Norland diploma officially recognises Set 43 as the latest cohort to earn the coveted professional title Norlander, or Norland Nanny, as fully qualified graduates are known once they have successfully completed both the degree and four-year skills-based diploma that is unique to Norland.  

The graduation ceremonies mark not just the academic achievement of Sets 43 and 44 but are an iconic rite of passage for Norland graduates, equipped to embark on exceptional and fulfilling early years careers. Commencement addresses were given by Dr Aaron Bradbury, Principal Lecturer for Early Years and Childhood at Nottingham Trent University, and Norlander Melodie Grose-Laite (Set 102).  

The occasion was especially poignant as the graduates will be among the first to have the opportunity to join the newly established Professional Association of Norlanders (PAN), enabling Norlanders to become members of a professional body and offering opportunities to become Norland-endorsed specialists in specific aspects of childcare through postgraduate qualifications.  

Norland students in their formal uniform throwing hats in the air in Bath Abbey

The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Bath (Councillor Dine Romero) attended the graduation ceremony, with The Deputy Mayor of Bath (Councillor Dr Bharat Pankhania) and The Deputy Mayoress Mrs Alison Pankhania attending the diploma ceremony.  

The Mayor said: “I was honoured to present special awards to students who have gone above and beyond the already high expectations of Norland College. Norland has a long history of providing exceptional quality training and it was great to meet staff and the students as they continue to develop the future for childcare.” 

Dr Janet Rose, Principal of Norland, said: “It is wonderful to be back at the Bath Abbey to celebrate with another cohort of students achieving their degree and Norland Nanny status.  It’s a particularly special year for us given that we have been awarded another TEF Gold. This national recognition pays tribute to the excellence not just of our courses but also to the opportunities afforded to our graduates, particularly now that we have our own professional association for our alumni.” 

Norland students in Formal uniform hugging at graduation ceremony

Founded in London in 1892 by education pioneer Emily Ward, Norland was the very first educational establishment to offer any kind of childcare training. In establishing Norland, Emily Ward created the profession of the nursery nurse and the training model on which all future nursery nurse training would be based.  

Fully qualified Norland graduates can look forward to outstanding employment opportunities and lifelong career support. Since its infancy, demand for Norland-trained professional early years practitioners has outstripped supply. Norlanders uniquely benefit from 100% employment opportunities through their own in-house employment agency. Last year, the Norland Agency had six permanent jobs for every Norlander seeking one and average starting salaries of £40,000 rising to £65,000 after five years, making Norlanders among the highest graduate earners.   

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