I'm training at same £15k-a-year school as Princess of Wales' nanny

I’m training at the same £15,000-a-year school as the Prince and Princess of Wales’ nanny – I’ve had lessons in everything from self-defence to running baby baths

  • Matilda, 23, has been studying at Norland College in Bath since September 2020
  • The third year student revealed she’s receives yearly self-defence lessons
  • Norland nannies also have to complete 1,200 hours of placements to quality
  • Prince and Princess of Wales have employed Norland nanny since 2014 

A student who is training at the same £15k-a-year school as the Prince and Princess of Wales’ nanny has revealed she’s taken lessons in everything from self-defence to running baby baths.

Matilda, 23, from Worcester, started studying at Norland College in September 2020 and currently has 18 months left of her training.

Graduates from the prestigious school in Bath – which was founded in 1892 – have gone on to look after children from some of the richest families in the world, including celebrities and royalty. 

The Prince and Princess of Wales have first employed Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo when Prince George was eight months old and the Norland graduate now looks after all three of their children.

Mick Jagger is also reported to have hired Norland nanny Sally Arnold to look after his daughter Jade, now 51. 

Now in her third year at the historic institution, Matilda has revealed the full extent of the programme’s rigorous training – which includes over 1,200 hours of hands-on placements.

Matilda, 23, from Worcester, is currently studying at Norland College in Bath. Graduates from the prestigious school – which was founded in 1892 – have gone on to look after children from some of the richest families in the world

Matilda pictured standing in her uniform outside the school gates. The student nanny explained how she has to complete 1,200 hours on placement to qualify  

Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo pictured watching the Trooping of the Colour procession in June 2015 with Prince George. The royal nanny famously studied at Norland College

She explained: ‘We have such a diverse amount of training. It ranges from learning how to make a baby bath and formulas, to child drama and then the crazy stuff like skid pan training and self-defence.

‘Being a part of the Norland brand does entail a lot more than a normal university. You have a lot more responsibilities for how you project yourself to the world.

‘Everything you do has a repercussion for Norland, and it’s gone 130 years with a phenomenal reputation, so I feel privileged to do that.’

Norland nannies carry out half of their studies on placements, which begin six weeks into their first year and amounts to over 1,200 hours over the course of their training. 

Matilda explained how students receive training in everything from baby baths to self-defence 

Royal nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo pictured in her Norland uniform while attending Princess Charlotte’s christening in Cambridge with the Royal Family in July 2015

‘Our placements range from between eight to 12 hours a day, depending what placement you’re doing, so quite a hefty chunk of time,’ Matilda said. ‘Then for lectures it’s 9:30am to 3:30pm most days, so contact hours wise, it’s way more than any other university.’

On top of this, the college’s founder Emily Ward introduced the students’ instantly recognisable brown uniform so Norland graduates would be easily identifiable as professionals and not mistaken for housemaids.

Alongside their prestigious Norland diploma, students receive a BA (Hons) degree in Early Childhood Education and Care and pay £15,740-a-year for both of their qualifications. 

Describing the difference between the two, Matilda said: ‘We split the course so we have two days for the Norland diploma, and two days where it’s for the degree.

‘The degree is very science based, like we have brain development lectures where we can see how children’s brains are working.

Mick Jagger is another famous face who hired a Norland nanny for his daughter Jade. The father and daughter pictured together during London Fashion Week in September 2019

Matilda is currently 18 months away from qualifiying as a Norland nanny and has been appointed deputy head of students at the college. Pictured outside Norland’s main entrance

‘We learn about how raising children has changed throughout the years with evolution of pedagogical approaches and supporting theories, and how it is a far cry from the traditions we saw in the past. 

‘Then our diploma is the practical side of things, like sewing and food nutrition.

‘We cover amazing topics with guest lecturers coming in to talk about everything from neuroscience of child development, through to adopting anti-discriminatory practice and most recently creative emotionally supportive environments for children through emotion coaching.

‘Then you have all your baby things where you learn about topping and tailing, baby formulas and how to make up a cot or pram. We even have self defence lessons every year too.’

Norland College was founded in 1892 by leading provider of childcare training Emily Ward. Pictured: the outside of the prestigious school

But before she can officially qualify as a Norland graduate, Matilda must first complete her Newly Qualified Nanny (NQN) year in paid employment. 

What is a Norland Nanny?  

Norland College, founded in 1892 by Emily Ward, is a leading provider of childcare training.

Its alumni include Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, nanny to the Prince and Princess of Wales’ children.

Emily introduced a uniform so Norland graduates would be recognised as professionals and not mistaken for housemaids and it is still a strong part of the college’s tradition.

The founder focused her training on the principles of Friedrich Froebel, the German educationalist who developed the ‘kindergarten system’.

Its Early Childhood Studies course concentrates on numerous aspects of childhood.

Students study elements of social science, psychology, child health, history, literature and education.

It also trains its students – known as ‘Norlanders’ when they graduate – how to work with families, develop a child’s math skills and become a whizz in the kitchen and teach a child not only how to cook, but how to cook healthy meals.

Along with the traditional skills of cooking, sewing and first aid, new subjects on the curriculum include Taekwondo, self defence, skidpan driving – and escaping from paparazzi.

In the second year of the course, students learn from a stunt driver on the Castle Combe Racing Circuit in Wiltshire who prepares them for all kinds of situations, from icy roads to potential kidnappers or paparazzi.

Norland College, founded in 1892 by Emily Ward, is a leading provider of childcare training.  Emily introduced a uniform so Norland graduates would be recognised as professionals and not mistaken for housemaids and it is still a strong part of the college’s tradition. Pictured: Graduates of the college

Throughout their two years at Norland College, where it costs £36,000 to train, students alternated weeks between college and placements, working at private homes, nurseries, schools and a maternity unit so you get experience working at every age.

They have lectures in the mornings and practical lessons in the afternoon. 

There would be frequent uniform checks, first aid training and also driving courses.  

Students undergoing its £36,000 training are not only banned from smoking, buying alcohol or going to fast-food outlets while in uniform, they are even forbidden from buying takeaway coffees. 

Once fully qualified, Norland Nannies earn an average of £40,000 in their first years, and salaries rise up to £100,000 for nannies with experience, depending on their role and location.

Explaining what sets a Norland nanny apart, Matilda added: ‘We can step into your family schedule effortlessly, and a lot of feedback from parents that have has a Norland student versus another training nanny is that everything’s a lot smoother with us.

Matilda, who is currently the deputy head of students, came to the higher education college after dropping out of an Environmental Geophysics degree at the University of East Anglia in early 2020.

She was working part-time as a nanny alongside her studies, and decided she wanted to pursue the profession more seriously as she found it ‘found it more fulfilling’.

Matilda continued: ‘I knew I wanted something with a degree and had a good turnaround for employment afterwards.

‘Norland kept coming up but I thought there’s no way you can apply, it’s above and beyond and I have to be realistic about my expectations.

‘But in the end I went for it, I opened a new UCAS account, wrote my application and got offered an interview within a week.

‘Up until then I had kept it a secret from everyone, but I invited my parents over for Sunday lunch and just told them I was dropping out, but I had a plan in place.

‘Ironically my mum had always mentioned Norland in passing, so she was over the moon, she was just like ‘oh my gosh, I can’t believe my daughter’s going to be training to be a Norland Nanny.”

Matilda was invited to the Bath institute in March 2020, where she was put through group interviews, presentations and finally, an individual interview.

She said: ‘It was a bit intimidating. At that point I think I had a bit of imposter syndrome.

‘Some of the other candidates had been angling for a place at Norland their entire lives, they’d known since the age of 12 that they wanted to be a Norland Nanny, and I had just come in at a later stage.

‘But it was really fun to hear everyone’s perspectives. At the start we were told that Norland had a space for every single one of us, they just needed to know that we were passionate and had a commitment to working with children.’

Despite her ‘different route’ going into Norland, Matilda is confident she made the right decision for her.

She hopes to take her experience and education to a home in the countryside next year for her final placement, with at least three children to look after.

She said: ‘We put a lot of weight on academic these days, but I’m really glad I made the change. I love every day, I’ve never been happier.

‘It can be daunting for anyone going to apply, but Norland are so supportive and helpful the whole way through. I’d say to anyone considering it to just go for it.

‘Norland Nannies are so in demand, even now when jobs are so hard to get, there’s multiple places per student. You get to be part of something bigger, which I really love.’

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