Tuesday, 14 February 2017

What happens when it comes to an end?

Claire Burgess, Head of Research, Consultancy & Training
Twitter: @belles28

We often talk about how to find and interview for a nanny to join your family but we also need to talk about how you handle the situation when the time might come for your nanny to leave.

The process of a nanny leaving can be for many reasons and can be after a short or a long period of time. Regardless of any reasons we need to understand that the process needs to be handled with care and consideration for your children, your nanny and for you.

When you have a nanny, you invite them into your home and ask them to care for your most precious possessions, your children, whilst also making the nanny part of your home, family and general day to day life. You experience the highs and lows of raising children with them and you build a relationship with them that is unlike any other employee/employer situation.

There are many reasons for the employment of your nanny to come to an end, it can be the end of their contract, that your childcare needs have changed or that the nanny’s own circumstances are changing. As a worst case scenario there might have been  a breakdown in your relationship with your nanny leading to the employment coming to an end.

Regardless of the reason, and how you might feel about it, it is vital to recognise that your child(ren) will have built a relationship with your nanny, they will have shared times together and will have adapted to having that person in their life, just as you have. If your nanny is leaving in difficult circumstances, you need to ensure that this is not conveyed to your children, they do not need to be involved in the issues that might have arisen between you and your nanny. Work with your nanny to ensure that what’s happening does not have any negative impact on the child(ren).

We need to have empathy for our children in this situation. They may be asking questions which need to be answered, to help them feel safe and secure going forward. Your child(ren) might have lots of questions such as “is my nanny leaving because I did something bad?” “Does my nanny not like me anymore?” “Do mummy and daddy not like my nanny?”. Take time to sit down with your child(ren) and answer their questions, let them share their feelings and reassure them that everything is going to be ok. It is important that you maintain a positive approach when you are around your nanny and the child(ren) so that the child(ren) are not drawn into any issues that you might have with your nanny in relation to their employment.

However you feel, always give your nanny and child(ren) time to say goodbye, this is really important for both parties to put closure to the relationship that they will have shared. We need to make sure that we respect their emotions at this time and appreciate that they will want to work through how they might be feeling about the situation. 

As we mentioned earlier, the nanny and employer relationship is unlike any other employment situation and, when it comes to leaving a position, it can be very difficult for the nanny to come to this decision. As an employer, try not to take a nanny leaving personally; if your nanny has made the decision to move on you, need to remember that it is natural for people to move on from their jobs. You need to feel positive that you have had this person in your children’s life and that you make sure you manage the situation keeping your children and their wellbeing at the front of your mind.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Norland College celebrates 125th anniversary in 2017

The world famous and prestigious Norland College is celebrating its 125th year of educating and training the very best early years professionals during 2017.

Norland College’s Principal, Dr Janet Rose said that “Norland’s 125th anniversary year marks an exciting new era for the College in a modern world.”

As the new Principal at the college, Dr Rose is driving the College’s new direction and focus: “We often use a phrase at Norland, which is ‘the College is steeped in history, but focused on the future.’ Whilst we are incredibly proud of our heritage and origin, we are constantly looking forward to ensure our training and education is ahead of its time and relevant for the careers our students will go on to pursue. There is an ever-increasing demand for Norland graduates who enjoy 100% employability.”

2016 saw the biggest intake of students in the College’s 125 year history with 92 undergraduates embarking on the four year degree and diploma course including the arrival of more male students than ever before. The Norland Curriculum is continuously updated to reflect a changing society including a focus on early years mental health as well as learning about cutting edge research on early brain development and neurophysiology.

Norland College was founded by Emily Ward in 1892 at its original location of Norland Place in London, before moving on to Chislehurst in Kent and Hungerford in Berkshire before finally settling in Bath in 2003.

Dr Rose continued: “Whilst many of the founding principles of Norland have remained the same since Emily Ward started the College, our students are training and working in a very different world and our teaching and curriculum reflects this; but at the centre of everything we do, just as it was 125 years ago, is the health and well-being of the children we care for.”

Dr Rose added: “I would say 2017 is the year that Norland College will build upon its reputation for being more than a Nanny College; we are developing our Consultancy Department which will continue to forge partnerships with leading organisations around the globe. The college is also establishing a Research centre which will explore a wide range of aspects related to early development. We will launch our ‘widening participation’ and social mobility campaign to encourage students from a more diverse range of backgrounds to study at Norland College.”

2017 will also see Norland College move its higher education provision from London Road in Bath to a new site in the city in Oldfield Park. “We have outgrown our existing premises and our new site will enable us to provide state of the art facilities to study the combined Norland undergraduate degree and Diploma.”

Plans to celebrate Norland’s 125th anniversary include a world record breaking Pram race, digitalising our archives and publishing 125 activities to do with children aged one to five.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Norland College extends UCAS application deadline for 2017 entry

Due to extra capacity at the forthcoming new College site, Norland College is pleased to announce the extension of its UCAS deadline for 2017 entry.

Students joining Norland in September 2017 will be among the first to study at our new facility in the Oldfield Park area of Bath. The building, which is being extensively refurbished, allows us to increase our student intake for 2017 due to extra space and teaching facilities being realised.

Students will benefit from 7 state-of-the-art lecture rooms fitted with smart screen technology, a large conference room for guest lectures and practical sessions, a simulated nursery area with direct access to the garden, enabling students to learn all of the practical skills required to care for children using the latest equipment as well as purpose built kitchens for food and nutrition teaching.

Dr Janet Rose, Principal of Norland College commented: “We have outgrown our existing premises and our new site will enable us to provide state-of-the-art facilities for an increased number of students to study the combined Norland undergraduate degree and Diploma.”

Applications for 2017 entry will remain open through UCAS until further notice. Begin your application here.

For further details of the new building, visit our website.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Corporate Vision unveils Norland as the 2016 Best Bespoke Childcare Consultancy award winners

Norland is delighted to have been named Corporate Vision magazine's ‘Best Bespoke Childcare Consultancy’ award winner.
The 2016 Consultancy Awards highlight and give recognition to those consultants who really deserve it. Covering industries worldwide, ranging from medical to image and management to transport, these awards are putting consultants in the spotlight and focusing on their individual attributes and skills.

Claire Burgess, Norland's Early Years
Consultancy Manager
Claire Burgess, Early Years Consultancy Manager, commented: “It’s a privilege for Norland to be recognised as being the leader in bespoke childcare consultancy. Our 125 years of heritage gives us a wealth of knowledge that’s unrivalled in the early years sector; our private and corporate clients are able to use that expertise and best practice advice and have it tailored to their requirements.”

Daisy Johnson, Awards Co-ordinator, added: “This awards programme turns the spotlight on the very best that the consultancy market has to offer, highlighting the businesses and the dedicated staff behind them who have worked tirelessly to support their clients. It is a true honour to be able to reward the hard work and dedication of all of our deserving winners, and I would like to wish them the best of luck in the future.”

To read Norland’s ‘Best Bespoke Childcare Consultancy’ winner’s profile, visit Corporate Visions’ 2016 consultancy awards supplement.

Norland offers a range of bespoke early years consultancy services. Visit our website for case studies and further information.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Norland College makes a contribution to Children's Hospice South West this Christmas

Instead of sending cards, Norland College will make a donation to Children's Hospice South West (CHSW) this Christmas.

CHSW provides hospice care for children with life-limiting conditions and their families across the South West. The care offered at each of their hospices is not simply about medical and nursing care for sick children, but about enriching the lives of children and their families. This care ranges from respite and short breaks to emergency care, palliative care and end of life care. CHSW operates three hospices; Little Bridge House in North Devon, Charlton Farm in North Somerset and Little Harbour in mid Cornwall.

From everybody at Norland, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Should we be behaviour leaders rather than managers?

Claire Burgess, Early Years Consultancy Manager

I am frequently asked by parents and practitioners how can they ‘solve’ children’s behaviour. My answer to this is there is no ‘quick fix’ or solution as it is an essential learning process which needs support and guidance from adults. Effective long term results stem from consistency, whilst understanding the world from the child’s perspective. Understanding what behaviour is expected in any given circumstance is very complex and something we as adults are often still learning when faced with a new situation. This has led me to think about how many similarities there are between managing children’s behaviour and that of management within the workplace. There are so many skills that we need to draw upon when supporting children and their development that are also used at work – negotiation, reasoning, compromise, creativity, patience, assertiveness and the list goes on.

As children grow and develop they face new experiences, challenges and emotions that will affect their behaviour, making this an essential ongoing learning process which needs continuous support and guidance from adults. Whilst there are some methods, such as the ‘naughty step’ or ‘time out’, which may provide short term results, research from American Psychological Society (2015) suggests that the most effective long term approach to behaviour management is to reason with children rather than just using these discipline methods. It is this reasoning that allows children to learn about what behaviours are appropriate and why, rather than just what behaviours are not desired in one particular circumstance, ultimately allowing them to apply these ‘rules’ to any situation. 

Using the workplace comparison, I wonder, would we use the ‘naughty step’ or ‘time out’ with our employees as a management strategy? I would hope the answer would be no as I cannot see this being an effective, or popular, approach with adults – so why do we use it with children? If you were to use this method with adults you would be likely to see resistance and a great deal of negativity from all parties (not to mention a possible grievance case!). In the short term there might be a change in behaviour, as it would be quite a shock, but long term are those employees going to be hard working, respectful and understanding of your decisions as a manager? Very unlikely.

We all look for an environment where we feel respected, whether this is at home or within the workplace. So what does respect look like when supporting children? Should children be expected to automatically respect us just because we are adults, adhering to behaviours we ask of them rather than them understanding why? If this is the case then this is not respect, this is power. Respect is defined by Oxford Dictionaries (2016) as “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements”. Respect is something that is earned and gained over time, not something that happens overnight because of seniority. Power on the other hand is defined as “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others”, (Oxford Dictionaries, 2016) and can be forced upon others. All too often I have observed the adult vs. child power battle. The child wanting to assert themselves but the adult, not wanting to be ‘outdone’ or beaten by the child and often feeling frustrated by the challenging behaviour, asserting their ‘power’ simply because they are the adult. This often results in the use of phrases like “because I said so” and does not show respect to, or encourage respect from, the child but rather demands obedience in that circumstance.  Consider this in the workplace, if you have a manager who asserts power, who is determined to be the one who ‘wins’ the situation without any consideration for the employee’s viewpoint, this can be frustrating and demoralising for the employee. If this happens week after week then this does not make for a collaborative or mutually respectful environment just, potentially, an obedient employee.

Whalley (2011) discusses the importance of modelling fair approaches to children and treating children, parents and staff with equal concern. As we all know, children are looking for role models and will reflect the behaviours that are demonstrated to them. If children are exposed to adults who do not listen and who control situations with power, not respect and reasoning, surely we are going to see this in the children’s approach and retaliation to disagreements, and thus the power battle begins.

Another example, where a management technique has been adapted for children, is the transactional management style, in which those working for the manager will do something for an end reward. Sound familiar? When used with children, namely reward / sticker charts, it is often effective in the short term – a child displays the behaviour that the adult wants and they get rewarded. Win, win it seems, we all enjoy a reward, however in the long term have the children learnt anything other than ‘if I do this I will get a treat / sticker’? I am not saying to never use a reward chart with children, and I have certainly used my fair share of them over my years of nannying, but it has to be supported with much longer term techniques that teach children why they should be displaying some behaviours and not others. When considering this when managing adults, do we need constant rewards such as a pay rises, bonuses and time off to make us work harder? Yes they are a lovely incentive and are gratefully received, however they won’t necessarily change the way we work in the long term. On the flip side, what does it look like when we create a working environment which supports and nurtures the individual? How do we as adults feel when we are given choice and autonomy? Feeling valued in our roles can lead to much higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment. Having our opinions listened to and simple acts of appreciation from our managers and leaders, such as a thank you at the end of the day or recognition of something well done, can be enough to give us a boost. We feel confident to try things (perhaps not getting them right first time), empowered and valued. This environment is also likely to promote more creative thinking and problem solving. This is the same when we are supporting children. Children seek praise and acknowledgement for their achievements with a “well done”, a high five or the anticipation of telling mummy or daddy when they collect them at the end of the day, who in turn provide verbal praise, can be reward enough.

When looking at management and leadership models I think the statement ’managers have subordinates and leaders have followers’ (Changing Minds, 2016) is one that we can relate to supporting children and their behaviour. Subordinates are described as those who work for the manager and mainly ’do as they are told’ (Changing Minds, 2016). Is this what we want to foster in our children? Obedience but not understanding? Telling people, adults or children, what to do all the time does not inspire them to listen or follow; yet by appealing to, reasoning with and respecting them, we can lead them to ‘follow’ and ‘behave’ in a manner that we require.

As with all aspects of working with children, or in fact adults, effective behaviour management comes down to the need for effective communication. Children need to feel that they are being listened to, not just heard, and that they receive appropriate responses from the adults around them. When we feel that we are listened to, given choice, autonomy and a voice, we can feel empowered and valued within that situation. Poor communication can act as a barrier to effective working when it is not helpful or not used appropriately. Daly, Byers and Taylor (2009:188) state that ’effective communication promotes achievement and success’ which is not only something that we should aim for in our working environments but surely something that we strive for in our work with children?

We must also remember,’Communication is not just about the words you use, but also the manner of your speaking, body language, and above all, the effectiveness with which you listen’ (DfES, 2005:6). We can all be guilty, particularly when in a hurry, of not listening and trying to understand why a child is feeling and behaving a certain way. This brings us back to the need for reasoning, showing respect and giving time to our children so they are able to explore how they manage and cope with the many situations they encounter in their most formative years.

I believe that when supporting children and their behaviour we need to find our inner leader, the adult role model who will be engaging, responsive and respectful to the individual child’s needs and situation at that time. Reasoning and explanation need to be part of a child’s everyday world – the more that we explain the whys and why nots the less confusion and frustration is likely to occur. Yes this might take longer and not provide immediate effects, but over time this will lead to a child who is able to reason and hopefully provide explanations as to their own needs, wants and wishes.

Put yourself in the child’s shoes, imagine going into work every day not having had your job role explained to you, not really knowing what you need to do or the expectations of your employers and then being told that you are doing it wrong. You are likely to be resistant, stressed and unable to understand what specifically you did wrong, how to improve next time or even less likely to give it a go. Children are no different, they are living in a fast paced world which they don’t always understand.

In The Good Childhood Report (The Children’s Society, 2015:14), children state that they want “relationships that are good quality – that are loving, supportive, respectful, and strike a balance between safety and freedom”. Children are looking for the support of the adults around them to teach them the skills of being able to grow and develop skills so that they are able to become part of our society. They need the space and freedom to make mistakes (it is how we all learn regardless of our age or experience) and to have the adults around them empathise with them in the particular situation so the response is appropriate. Who wouldn’t want this within their workplace too? A place where you are able to make mistakes but with the support of colleagues and managers are able to develop your skills, knowledge and understanding. Where there isn’t blame or repercussions where you are ‘sent to another part of the office to think about what you have done’ with no explanation as to what you have done wrong.

So when thinking about how to ‘manage’ children’s behaviour, remember, it’s not just about ‘quick fix’ solutions. It is about teaching skills which will last a lifetime. Even if it takes a couple of months, or even years, for children to learn these skills and behaviours, surely it is worth the long term investment. Just think of yourself as a behaviour ‘leader’ rather than a ‘manager’ – teaching children the art of reasoning and compromise, developing the skills of the next generation of business, or even world, leaders.

This article was first published in Early Years Educator. Click here to subscribe.


American Psychological Society (2015) Punishing a Child Is Effective If Done Correctly. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/08/punishing-child.aspx. [Accessed 22 April 2016].

Changing Minds (2016) Leadership vs. Management. [ONLINE] Available at: http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/articles/manager_leader.htm. [Accessed 22 April 2016].

Daly, M., Byers, E., and Taylor, W. (2009) Early Years Management in Practice 2nd Edition Harlow: Heinemann.

Department for Education and Skills (2005) Common Core of Skills for the Children’s Workforce. Nottingham: DfES Publications.

The Children’s Society (2015) The Good Childhood Report 2015 Summary London: The Children’s Society.

Oxford Dictionaries (2016) [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/respect. [Accessed 22 April 2016].

Whalley, M.E. (2011) Leading Practice in Early Years Settings London: Learning Matters Ltd.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Experiences of a first year student: Applying to Norland College

Author: Abi Kohen, Set 40

I always knew that I wanted to work with children but I wasn’t completely sure which area I would choose, as I’d done a variety of work experience and enjoyed all of it. 

Trying on my uniform for the first time
I initially found out about Norland in 2014 through the ITV documentary ‘Britain’s Poshest Nannies’. When the documentary started my Mum rushed me into the sitting room and told me I had to watch this programme about Norland Nannies. From beginning to end I watched the programme in complete awe and was fascinated by the uniqueness of Norland. As soon as the documentary finished my mind was made up: I turned to Mum and said “I have to go to Norland”. From that moment on I was determined to get my place and to be the best early years practitioner I could be. 

After secondary school, I studied the International Baccalaureate at Truro College as I wanted to study a range of subjects so I didn’t limit my options if my Norland application was unsuccessful, as I was aware demand would be high. My second year of College came around and I began writing my personal statement ready to send to Norland. It was really challenging to sum up just how much I wanted a place there in only 47 lines! 

In November 2015 I sent off my personal statement and anxiously waited for a reply. Two weeks later I received an email informing me that I was invited to attend an interview. I felt very nervous, but began to prepare a portfolio ready for the group interview. The night before the interview I paced up and down my hotel room trying to remember everything I was going to say, practiced my bun for the morning, polished my shoes and was generally just doing anything I could to distract me from my nerves.

Moving into accommodation with my
new Norland housemates
As I stepped through the Norland College gates the next morning my nerves eased a little; everybody was so welcoming, making sure we were all settled and feeling ready for our interviews. Whilst waiting for my interview to start I sat in the common room and chatted with some of the other applicants; everyone appeared to be as nervous as each other! People had come with a variety of items for their group interview – from a collection of children’s shoes to a homemade pram. I knew that everyone in the room was out to impress and I knew that I really had to give the interview everything I could!

During the interviews the lecturers made me feel very calm and at ease. I found the best way to answer the questions was to pause for a moment before I responded, just three seconds of thinking time made my answers a lot more logical and coherent. Also, having previous experience in childcare made it easier to answer some of the questions as I could link the answers to experience I had.

After the interview I felt relieved knowing I had done my best, but also apprehensive about whether I had done enough to earn myself a place. Now the wait began. I endlessly checked my emails to see if I had received one from UCAS and was always disappointed if it was junk mail or news from another University. About three weeks later I was at my college in Truro and I noticed I had an email from UCAS saying one of my offers had changed. All sorts of thoughts ran through my head! I was so nervous I couldn’t even open the email myself so I got my friend to do it for me. When she opened it there was a pause that felt like forever, and then she said “I think you’ve got in!” That moment was one I will never forget. My form tutor (who I was also with) was so happy for me and I couldn’t stop myself from literally jumping out of my chair for joy!

Ready for my first day
When I had received my offer, I was given the opportunity to join a group chat with other Norland applicants who had offers. This group really helped us form a sense of community before we started on our first day.  It enabled us to get to know each other and we could discuss things we were nervous or unsure about. We also arranged small gatherings around the country so that we could meet each other in person. The group chat and meet-ups made me feel more reassured about starting Norland as I knew that other people felt the same way I did, and I knew there would be some familiar, friendly faces on the first day.

As soon as I had received my grades and my place had been confirmed, preparation began! My uniform was ordered, books were bought and my sewing kit was put together. When trying on my uniform for the first time I felt so proud of what I had achieved and how I’d finally reached the goal I had been aiming for. 

Overall, the build-up and application to Norland was an exciting experience and prepared me for starting at Norland. From that initial discovery watching the documentary, to the Open Day, to receiving my offer, I knew that I wanted to be at Norland and I’m thrilled to have had this unique experience offered to me!

Abi Kohen began at Norland in September 2016. Applications for entry are open via UCAS until 15 January 2017. Visit our website for information on how you can apply to Norland College.

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