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Nursery manager Early years educator, pre-school manager

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Nursery managers run early years childcare centres, providing day care for babies and young children from birth to 5 years.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £23,000 to £45,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a full and relevant level 3 qualification in childcare
  • level 2 qualifications in English and maths (including functional skills)
  • 2 years’ work experience with children in a nursery setting
  • experience of supervising or managing staff

Some smaller nurseries may prefer you to have a degree or early years teacher status (EYTS).

You could work your way up from a nursery worker role to a room leader or ‘3rd in charge’ role to get supervisory experience.

You'll also need an enhanced background check which your employer will arrange for you.

Foundation Years  has information about early years education and childcare.

You'll find information on careers and courses in childcare from:

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • the ability to motivate and support staff
  • problem-solving skills
  • the ability to use your own judgement to make decisions
  • organisational skills
  • financial management skills
  • IT skills

3. What you'll do

You could work for a local authority, a privately owned nursery or a Sure Start Children's Centre.

Your day to day tasks could include:

  • creating a safe and stimulating environment to promote learning
  • updating parents and carers on children's progress
  • working with colleagues to meet children’s needs
  • checking equipment is in good condition

Your business responsibilities will often include:

  • recruiting staff
  • supporting and developing the nursery team
  • managing a budget
  • arranging marketing materials
  • keeping records and creating management reports
  • working within environmental, health and safety and fire regulations
  • keeping up to date with developments in early years care
  • building relationships with parents, carers, schools and childcare professionals

You'll also work with the nursery owner to make sure it meets Ofsted and early years foundation stage standards.

4. Salary

Starter: £23,000 to £28,000

Experienced: £30,000 to £35,000

Highly Experienced: up to £45,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Nurseries are often open from around 7am to 6pm.

You'll usually work up to 8 hours a day. You may also have to work Saturdays and some evenings to cover events like parents evenings.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become an area manager and look after the work of a number of nurseries. You might also consider setting up your own private nursery. Ofsted have information on how to do this.

You could become a trainer or training assessor for people studying for childcare qualifications. You could also move into inspection.

Taking a higher education qualification in early years or child development could help you move into teaching, children’s nursing or social work.

Get Into Teaching has careers information on teaching.

Health Careers has information on careers in nursing.

The British Association of Social Workers can give you information on careers in social work.

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Last updated: 02 April 2018