BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning with the Norland Diploma

Validated by The University of Gloucestershire

Course Structure

Our early years degree is unique. It is a 3 year full time course that combines degree level study with practical sessions and experience with children, enabling you to put the theory into practice. Running alongside the degree, and for one year after you have left the college, you will work towards achieving the prestigious Norland Diploma. It is this qualification that sets you apart from other early years professionals and adds an even greater array of practical skills and experience to your early years toolkit.

QAA Review Graphic thumbnailWe have undergone an educational oversight monitoring visit by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and have received its final report, which is available in full at:

The monitoring visit resulted in the following outcome:

The QAA monitoring team has concluded that we are making commendable progress in implementing the action plan from the Review for Specific Course Designation.

Click here to read this institution's latest review report.

What will I learn on this course?

This course provides an exciting opportunity to develop your knowledge and understanding of the early years. Our lecturers have a passion for this subject area and considerable professional and academic experience in both education and health.  Their teaching draws on approaches from many disciplines including psychology, child health, history, philosophy, social science, literature and education. 

Outside speakers are regularly invited to the college to give you an opportunity to listen to people already working in the field.

How does the Norland Diploma fit into the course?

The Norland Diploma is a distinctive and prestigious qualification which is studied alongside the degree course. All students must successfully complete not only their degree but also each element of the Norland Diploma in order to use the title 'Norlander' (or ‘Norland Nanny’).

How is the course structured?

Each of the three years is divided into two semesters; half of each semester is spent in college and the other half in an early years placement.

In the third and last year you will also be required to complete a dissertation on a subject of your choice related to the early years. 

During the final semester of the third year we focus on teaching you life skills which will be relevant to your future employment. These include First Aid, interview techniques, fitting car seats and driving in difficult conditions.

To find out more about the subjects you will study, click on 'BA Course Map and Modules' and 'The Norland Diploma' above.

Entry Requirements

For entry in September 2017 and beyond

The academic entry requirements for this course are:

  • A minimum of 5 GCSEs (which must include English and Maths)  at grade C or above, or equivalent, see here for a list of acceptable equivalents, prior to application; and
  • ​At least 3 A levels (or equivalent*) at grade C or above

*Equivalent qualifications that will be considered include CACHE and BTEC qualifications at Level 3. For further clarification please email 

Additional Requirements 

English Language Competence

Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient English language competence to complete their programme of study.  It is expected that applicants with English as an additional language will undertake IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and achieve an overall band of 6.0 with no less than 6 in each component skill.  See for more information. 

Non-UK Qualifications

If you are a British Citizen (or a European Economic Area (EEA) national or a Swiss national) but do not have UK qualifications, please contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC). NARIC is a National Agency, managed on behalf of the UK Government, and provides the only official source of information on international qualifications to individuals wishing to study in the UK. Once NARIC has written to confirm your qualifications in comparison to a UK qualification, you will need to provide this information to Norland. Your qualifications must be equivalent to, or higher than, our minimum entry requirements. Please note that NARIC charge for this service. 

If you are a European Economic Area (EEA) national or a Swiss national, you can apply to study at Norland College in the normal way through UCAS

If you are a non-EEA (or non-Swiss) national student, you cannot currently apply to study at Norland College. Please email if you would like us to contact you if this situation changes.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks

Because studying for our early years degree involves a considerable amount of time spent working with children, acceptance is subject to a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (formerly known as the Criminal Records Bureau) Enhanced Disclosure check. Further details will be sent to you after you have made your application.

Fitness to Practise 

Students who qualify as Norlanders may work without supervision with babies, young children and their families. Accordingly, Norland College has a responsibility to ensure that its students are fit to practise under these circumstances.

An offer of a place to study at Norland College may be conditional upon the applicant being deemed fit to practise. Please refer to the Fitness to Practise Policy for more details.

BA (Hons) Course Map and Modules

Course Map - Level 4

Code and Title CAT Points Study Per

NC4001: Professional Development 1
This module prepares students for their first placement and also aims to introduce, develop and encourage the acquisition of those study and transferable skills required of students for the successful completion of their undergraduate programme. Furthermore, students will be required to reflect on personal, academic and career path and to plan an effective strategy towards becoming an early years practitioner.

30 Semester 1&2

NC4002: The Invention of Childhood   
This module examines the concept of childhood from both adults and children's perspectives, drawing attention to changes over time and predicting changes in the future. Historical, political, social and ethical factors are explored and examined in terms of their influence on these changes.

30 Semester 2

NC4004: Communication and Language
This module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of language development in young children. Students will examine different theories of language acquisition and relate this to their own observations of children’s language use.

15 Semester 1

NC4005: Personal, Social and Emotional Development 
This module aims to introduce the students to holistic development of children from birth to five examining personal, social and emotional development as measured against normative milestones.

15 Semester 1

NC4007: Approaches to Development and Learning
This module provides an overview of all aspects of the EYFS with a particular emphasis on physical development. Different methods of observing children will be explored. 

30 Semester 1&2

Course Map - Level 5

Code and Title CAT Points Study Period

NC5001: Professional Development 2   
This module gives students the opportunity to reflect on their role as practitioners by carrying out case studies of practitioners interacting with children.  Students will also continue to use their Professional Development Portfolios to track their progress, recognise their achievements and support them in becoming independent and lifelong learners.

30 Semester 1&2

NC5002: Inclusion in the Early Years  
This module examines the notion of inclusion to support practitioners in taking action to remove barriers to participation and learning for all children and families, including the challenging of discrimination and promotion of equality, thus minimising the effects of additional needs on children’s learning and development and the impact this has on the family. The role of the early years worker as a member of a multi-disciplinary team will be examined together with the role of legislation and current frameworks in supporting the child and the family.

15 Semester 1

NC5003: Children's Health and Wellbeing
The module aims to extend students’ understanding about holistic child development and care through an examination of young children's health and wellbeing. The importance of listening to children's voices as an integral aspect of supporting children's mental and emotional wellbeing will be considered.

15 Semester 1

NC5004: Parenting Approaches 
In this module students will examine different parenting styles and will consider a number of strategies to support parents and carers with behaviour management.

30 Semester 1&2

NC5005: The Creative Child
The module aims to enable  students to develop an understanding of the role of the creative process in children’s learning, enabling the student to develop an understanding of how a child responds to a ‘provocation’ following the process from planning through development to implementation.

15 Semester 2

NC5006: Supporting children’s mathematical development   
This module aims to develop students' knowledge and understanding of significant and emerging theories and principles of mathematical teaching and learning; their ability to use appropriate teaching and learning methods and techniques to develop and support mathematical development; their ability to plan mathematical related activities appropriate for a range of learners, and develop their own mathematical knowledge and understanding in order to support children's progress in mathematics.

15 Semester 2

Course Map - Level 6 

Code and Title CAT Points Study Period

NC6001: Professional Development 3 - Current Issues in Early Years
Students will be offered support and guidance to prepare for their future employment and will be required to reflect on their personal, academic and career path in order to plan an effective strategy towards their chosen career in the Early Years. Students will use theoretical frameworks to analyse current issues

30 Semester 1&2

NC6002: Research Methodology
In this module students will learn about different types of methodology used in carrying out research and the ethical issues involved in observing children.  This module forms the project proposal for their work based project.

15 Semester 1

NC6003: Literature Review 
In this module students will write a literature review which is a summary and synthesis of others arguments and ideas which have been published on their chosen topic for their work based project.

15 Semester 1

NC6004: Work based Project
This module is a student-led independent research project with tutorial support. The work based project allows students to undertake an investigation on a theme that relates to the aims of their chosen topic through research in an early years setting. 

30 Semester 1&2

NC6005: Leadership in the Early Years 
In this module students will study different theories of leadership and management and will be asked to present their ideas on leadership, planning and management related to either an early years setting, or as a nanny exploring aspects such as team work and conflict resolution or contributing to the teaching and learning team as a teacher in a school setting. 

30 Semester 2

For the Programme Specification for the BA (Hons), click here.

The Norland Diploma

The Norland Diploma is not a ‘stand-alone’ course but consists of practical training embedded in your study for the degree course, and a newly-qualified year in employment. It is what distinguishes Norland graduates from any other early years professional and makes them highly sought after.

In order to qualify as a Norlander (or ‘Norland Nanny’), all students must successfully complete their degree and each unit of the Norland Diploma:  

Student Placements

During their three years at college, students attend different placements, covering children of the ages 0-8 years, in a variety of local early years settings. This unit explores the continued professional development of the learner through their placement experience. 

During each placement regular reports are completed to monitor the students’ progress. Students are visited regularly, to help support their learning and understanding.

Placements can include:

  • Nurseries
  • Family Centres
  • Primary Schools
  • Family Homes – either ‘living-in’ or ‘living-out’
  • Special Needs schools
  • Hospital placement – in the maternity and/or paediatric wards

Practical Skills

Care of Babies and Infants

This unit focuses on the practical skills required to care for babies and infants. The application of best practice and current guidelines will be explored in relation to topics such as nappy changing, topping and tailing, bathing and making up formula feeds

Supporting the Developing Child

This unit focuses on how practitioners can support the learning of the children in their care at home, the nursery and the school setting. The individual needs of children will be considered with focus on the use of the Observation, Assessment and Planning cycle, how this is used to document children’s learning and how it promotes inclusion. Specific activities will be planned with consideration of the age and stage of children and this will be documented in a portfolio of evidence.

Supporting Families

This unit explores the role of the practitioner when working with families. The diversity of family needs will be explored through topics such as parenting, the arrival of a new baby and cultural and religious practices.

Health and Wellbeing

The welfare of the child is paramount. This unit will therefore explore the role the practitioner plays in keeping children safe and healthy. Topics such as safeguarding, caring for the sick child, personal hygiene routines, creating a safe environment and the importance the practitioner plays in role modelling good health and hygiene practices will be discussed.


This unit focuses on the basic sewing skills needed in all aspects of family life, childcare and play.  Students will learn hand sewing techniques and become confident using the sewing machine.  Students will finish this unit with the confidence to carry out all family sewing needs.

Food and Nutrition

Nutrition and diet are vitally important to children’s development and growth and therefore paramount to the welfare of children. As well as learning about the nutritional needs of young children, this unit allows students to gain hands on experience in preparing food suitable for a variety of ages.

Party Project

This unit is an accumulation of all of the learner’s acquired skills to date. Skills from across the Norland Diploma and BA will be demonstrated. The learners will plan a fictional party for a child of their choice. This will include consideration of Food and Nutrition, Health and Wellbeing, Play and Learning and Sewing Skills. 


This unit will be taught throughout the third year of the learner’s training focusing on preparing the learner for interviews and employment. This will include taught sessions on subjects such as employment procedures and law as well as practical activities, such as creating a personal portfolio to take to interviews.  Students are also required to attend, and successfully complete, a 2-day Paediatric First Aid course (run at the college).

See also ‘Preparing for Employment’ above.

Newly Qualified Nanny Placement

The final element of the Norland Diploma is the NQN year. After the successful completion of three years at college, the NQN year is spent working as a nanny in paid employment arranged by the college’s in-house employment agency, Norland Agency. This first supported position helps our graduates to develop their skills and build on what they have learned during their time at college.

In preparation for their NQN placement, Norland works with students to prepare them for, and place them in, their first position. During the NQN year Norland provides each graduate with support, advice and guidance for the duration of their post.  As they approach the end of the NQN year, Norland works with each graduate to help them decide on the next steps in their career path.

In order to pass this final year, graduates must have received successful appraisals from their employer and have produced documentation that is assessed against formal criteria e.g. menu plans and learning journals.

The purpose of the NQN year is to maintain the high standards expected of our graduates, and to provide support as they enter the work place for the first time as a nanny.

Successful completion of the NQN year will result in the award of the Norland Diploma and Badge, use of Norland Agency, the title ‘Norlander’ and the life-long support of Norland.

For the Programme Specification for the Norland Diploma, click here.

Student Support

Compared to other colleges and universities, Norland is a small institution. This means that teaching groups on the BA (Hons) course are kept small, a maximum of 20, allowing students to ask questions and hold discussions during lectures as a whole group.

Norland’s size also means that we are able to offer students a high level of support. Each student is allocated a personal tutor who is available for support and advice for any college related or personal problem they may encounter.

The college's Student Support Coordinator is available to give one to one study support to all students as well as those with a specific learning difficulty. The Student Support Coordinator also provides drop-in sessions two evenings a week enabling students to access study support and guidance at any point during their course.

For those students in receipt of Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), Non-Medical Helper's (NMH) Allowances, additional support is provided by Randstad.

Click here for NMH rates at Norland College (this information is for the purposes of DSA assessors only, when recommending NMH services for students in receipt of DSA).

Sign Language Course

Communication in Sign is an optional course written specifically for our BA (Hons) students to fit around their timetable. It is accredited by NCFE and qualifies students with a Communication in Sign Level 1. The course is designed to give students an understanding of British Sign Language, allowing students to communicate confidently and effectively with children and adults who are deaf or hearing impaired.

During induction week, students are given a taster session to decide whether they wish to join the course. The course lasts for 30 weeks (10 classes each term). There is assessment throughout the year and a final exam which is stress-free! The course has been running for 4 years and so far, everyone has passed.

The course costs £390 for the year and can be paid in 3 termly instalments of £130.

You can watch a video of Norland sign language students signing here

Students taking part in this course have said:

'Not only have I learnt how to sign, the course has also taught me about deaf culture.'

'I feel that BSL will be extremely beneficial in the future and is a unique skill that enables me to stand out as a knowledgeable and professional individual.'

'Learning sign will support me throughout my career as an early years educator as it has provided me with the opportunity to include everyone and provide children with opportunities.'

Preparing for Employment

In addition to their work towards the BA (Hons) degree and the Norland Diploma, students attend lectures and training sessions designed to equip them with the all the necessary skills for successful employment.

Guest Speakers

Various different early years professionals are invited to speak at the college during employment weeks. This includes a working Norland Nanny who will share her experiences with the students, offer advice and answer questions. All of our students thinking of working as Norland Nannies are strongly advised to take out Public Liability insurance. To help with this, Voice (the Education Union), deliver a presentation to the students about how to go about this and also about the benefits of belonging to a union.

Self Defence

These sessions focus on teaching the students to protect themselves and the children in their care. Students are taught basic self defence techniques and strategies for handling a potentially threatening situation. They are also trained in tactics for limiting risks and avoiding danger.

Driving Skills

All our students learn life saving skid control techniques. The first part of the course involves attending a classroom session to learn the general theory about what causes a car to skid. Students then put the theory to practice and, under close supervision, they learn how to handle vehicles in snowy and icy road conditions. To complete the driving skills package, and new for 2013, our students undertake Drive A Child, the world's first online assessment and educational platform which is aimed specifically at a nanny’s driving ability. The training looks at attitude, skill and knowledge and has been specifically designed for nannies who drive with children on board. On successful completion of the course, the student's name is included on the 'Drive-a-Child' Register, allowing future employers to confirm that their employee has taken their driving to an advanced level.


This basic lifesaving course trains students to ensure the safety of children when in and around water and what to do in an emergency.

It includes the necessary skills to get a person out of the water, what to do if someone is unconscious in water and how to perform CPR.

London Trip

Many of the first jobs undertaken by our students are based in London. In preparation for this, students spend a day in London getting to know their way around and performing tasks and research in areas that are relevant to their mock interview locations.

Baby Massage Course

Students are taught basic baby massage strokes that can be incorporated into a baby’s routine particularly at bed times. These massage techniques can help a baby to relax and prepare to be put down for the night.

Career Opportunities

To find out about some of the many options available to you after graduating with this qualification, click here.

How do I apply?

To apply for this course, you need to make a UCAS application. Further details can be found here on our website.


Please click here for information on Fees & Financial Assistance.

Request a Prospectus

Order our new prospectus!

We have a new prospectus for students interested in applying to Norland for 2017+. Order your copy below to find out if Norland could be right for you.

To order a prospectus, please complete the form below

All fields marked with an asterisk (*) are mandatory

The following will be used for statistical purposes only:

We would like to keep your details on record until the start of the academic year so that we can send you relevant information about Norland. Your details will be kept confidential and will not be passed on to any other organisation. If you would like to receive further information about Norland (e.g. Open Days and other upcoming events), please tick this box.