Norland College was founded in 1892 by Emily Ward who had recognised the need for early years childcare to be more structured, centred around the child and loving and nurturing. Prior to the introduction of formal training at Norland, children would be cared for by ‘untutored’ housemaids before going to school. Norland was the first college to offer any kind of childcare training.
The college was originally named the Training School for Ladies as Children’s Nurses, but it quickly became known as Norland Institute because of its location on Norland Place in London. Since its founding at Norland Place, Norland College (as it is now known) has moved to numerous locations, finally coming to Bath in 2003. Emily Ward focused her training on the founding principles of Froebel (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.
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.
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 by Somerset-based Lauren Cope, and produced by British manufacturers, the uniform was updated whilst still reflecting Norland’s distinguished heritage.
The formal uniform is worn for lectures at college and for formal college events. It consists of an elegant long brown woollen coat and a 1950s-style dress. Some aspects of the uniform have remained unchanged: white or brown gloves (depending on the season), brown lace-up shoes and the Norland hat.
The practical uniform is worn when students are on work placements and during practical sessions at college. The new practical uniform has changed from brown to blue, one of the original Norland uniform colours. It consists of navy blue trousers and jumper, a paler blue poloshirt and a wax jacket.