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, you will study for the prestigious Norland Diploma. This qualification sets you apart from other early years professionals and adds an even greater array of practical skills and experience to your early years toolkit.

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.

Find out more about the subjects you will study by clicking on 'Course Map and Modules' above.

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 ealy 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.

What is the Norland Diploma?

In order to qualify as a Norlander, all students must successfully complete the BA (Hons) degree and each of the four elements of the Norland Diploma.

The Norland Diploma is embedded in your three year study for the degree and is not a ‘stand-alone’ course.

It is what distinguishes Norland graduates from any other early years professional and makes them highly sought after.

The Norland Diploma puts a strong focus on the holistic development of the child and consists of four elements: Placements, Play and Learning, Care and Wellbeing, and Food and Nutrition.  

Placements are for 6 weeks at a time with one study day a week spent back at college.

The other 3 elements of the Norland Diploma take place one day a week when you are in college and also studying towards the degree. We also spend the summer term focusing on the Norland Diploma.

For futher information, click 'The Norland Diploma' at the top of the page. 

To read about different careers that our graduates pursue, click here.

Entry Requirements

The entry requirements for this course are:

  • A minimum of 5 GCSEs (which must include English and Maths) at grade C or above; and
  • A minimum of 200 UCAS points achieved at A Level or equivalent study

For information on tariff points please see the UCAS tariff tables.

Students with the full International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma fulfil the entry requirements for the BA (Hons) in Early Years Development and Learning.  

Students awarded the International Baccalaureate Certificate must have scored points that are equivalent to a minimum of 200 IB UCAS tariff points.

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. As part of the application process you will need to verify your qualifications with UK Naric.

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.

Course Map and Modules

2014 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 1

NC4003: 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. 

15 Semester 1

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 2

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 2

NC4006: Heuristic Play
This module aims to build on and extend knowledge and understanding of holistic child development by focusing on sensory motor development in children from birth to two years of age.

15 Semester 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  
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. 

30 Semester 1&2

NC6002: Leadership and Management 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

NC6003: Studying young children's development and learning
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

NC6004: 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

NC6005: 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
The Norland Diploma

The Norland Diploma is not a ‘stand-alone’ course but is embedded in your study for the BA (Hons) degree. 

It is what distinguishes Norland graduates from any other early years professional and makes them highly sought after.

The Diploma places a strong focus on the holistic development of the child and consists of four modules: Placements, Play and Learning, Care and Wellbeing, and Food and Nutrition

Placements are for 6 weeks at a time with one study day a week spent at the college. The other 3 modules of the Norland Diploma take place one day a week when you are in college and studying towards the degree. We also spend the summer term focusing on the Norland Diploma.

All students must successfully complete the BA (Hons) degree and each of the four elements of the Norland Diploma in order to qualify as a Norlander.


During each year of your course, you will take time out from your academic study and spend two 6 week blocks in 2 different early years placements (in Bath).

Placements provide you with the opportunity to put into practice what you have learnt in lectures.

They also provide you with a fantastic variety of experience that will help to inform important decisions about where to take your career.

The placements cover the age range of newborn up to 8 years of age and can include:

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

During your time on a placement, regular reports are completed to monitor your progress. You are also visited regularly, to help support your learning and understanding.

During the first two years, you are placed in a variety of placements; in the third year, you can choose your path e.g a school, nursery or family setting.

Play and Learning

During Play and Learning sessions you will investigate a full range of activities related to helping children develop and how to promote their future development. You will learn to recognise developmental milestones and be alert to any factors which might affect a child’s development.

Topics include:

  • The value of play
  • How to observe children at play
  • Understanding the importance of working with other professionals
  • Managing challenging behaviour

These sessions are a mixture of theory and hands-on activities, ensuring that you have a high level of knowledge ready for linking your practice to theory.

Care and Wellbeing

During these sessions you will cover a variety of practical skills that ensure the welfare of the child is paramount at all times.

Topics include:

  • Childhood illnesses
  • Personal care of a child
  • Care of a newborn and the mother
  • Travelling with children
  • Home safety

You will also be required to complete the Paediatric First Aid & Anaphylactic Shock Awareness Certificate before you graduate.

The course is specifically designed for early years practitioners and will ensure that you can provide the best possible care to children in an emergency situation. Topics covered on the course include: Incident management, Assessing casualties, Management of the unconscious casualty, Resuscitation of babies and children, Airway obstruction, Management of the Asthmatic child, Control of severe bleeding, Management of the epileptic and convulsive child, Head injuries, Fractures, Anaphylactic shock and the use of an Epi Pen & Ana Pen, Poisoning, Burns and scalds, Eye injuries, Meningitis, Sickle cell, Heat exhaustion, Dehydration, Hypothermia and Drowning.

Once successfully completed, you will be awarded the ABC Medical qualified First Aider badge. This qualification is valid for 3 years and you will be given the opportunity to return to Norland to renew your certificate before it expires.

This training is provided by Mark Davis REMT-A, FRSPH, FRSA, MInstLM, AIfL of ABC Medical Services (Reading) Ltd.

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, these sessions allow you to gain hands on experience in preparing food suitable for a variety of ages.

Topics include:

  • How to prepare meals for children on special diets
  • How to encourage choosy eaters to eat a more varied diet
  • Safety in the kitchen environment
  • Food hygiene
  • Cooking with children
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.

Mock Interviews

Students are given mock interviews in preparation for employment. Students are expected to research the area where the job is located just as they would in a real interview scenario. Following the interviews constructive feedback is provided.

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 Union for Educational Professionals, 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 Nanny Drive iQ, 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.

Forest School

Students spend the day at a local forest school learning about how to use outdoor spaces to teach children, allowing them to take risks and learn from the environment around them. The day typically starts with a walk to collect wild edible plants such as wild garlic, and dry wood and kindling to start a small fire. In pairs the students learn how to start a fire whilst learning about the surrounding environment. In the afternoon they learn woodworking methods to make wooden utensils.

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.


For academic year 2014/15, the tuition fee is £12,750.
For academic year 2015/16, the tuition fee is £13,132.50.

Please note: tuition fees are subject to annual review.


Additional Costs

Creative Skills Activities
, stationery and text books

Please make an allowance


Contact for detailed uniform costs

(For students currently studying the 4 year BA (Hons) degree (beginning academic year September 2012), tuition fees are as follows: Year 2013/14: £13,983. Year 2014/15: £4,500 (paid directly to the University of Gloucestershire)).

Norland College is a not for profit fee paying college.


Financial Assistance

Government Loans & Grants

Students from England and the EU

Loans for fees

If our BA (Hons) course will be the only Higher Education course you have studied, you can apply to Student Finance England for a student loan of up to £6,000 per year to cover the cost of your tuition fees. The amount you apply for is paid directly to the college by Student Finance England. You will be responsible for paying the difference between the fee loan borrowed and the total tuition fee payable to Norland.

The loan is non-means tested and you will only need to start paying back the loan once you have left the course and are earning over £21,000.

Loans for living costs

Means-tested loans are available to contribute towards your living costs. You start to pay back these loans at the same time as you start paying back your tuition fee loan.

Grants for living costs

Unlike loans, grants do not have to be paid back. The amount you receive will depend on your family’s income.

For a Government guide on how to apply to Student Finance England for loans and grants, click here.

Students from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

There is a different process for applying for student finance if you are from Scotland (click here), Wales (click here) or Northern Ireland (click here).


Norland College Bursaries

Emily Ward

This bursary named after the college founder provides BA (Hons) students with the opportunity to obtain a grant towards meeting the cost of their tuition fees. There are only a limited number of bursaries available each year. The amounts awarded vary but a small number will meet tuition fees in full (once the maximum student loan for tuition fees is taken into account).

Norland Benevolent Fund

This Norland Benevolent Fund bursary is awarded each year to one BA (Hons) student for the duration of the course. The bursary is awarded in June/July for the September entry. The amount awarded can vary.

Both bursaries are means-tested and therefore dependent on the completion of a financial statement, which is presented to the bursary committee. Students are notified as soon as possible after a decision has been made. Bursaries are paid for each year of the course (subject to each year’s successful completion).

All applicants for the BA (Hons) degree will be sent bursary application forms as a matter of course.

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.

Request a Prospectus

To download a copy of the prospectus, click here

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