Nursery Manager

The Job and What's Involved

NurseryNursery managers, also known as nursery officers, are responsible for the day-to-day running and financial management of a nursery. They manage staff and oversee the childcare and education activities provided in their nursery. They aim to give the children who attend the best possible start in life.

As a nursery manager, you could provide day-care to children (aged three months to five years) with a range of social, physical, emotional and intellectual needs.

Your duties would include:

  • Creating a caring and stimulating environment that promotes learning through play.
  • Running the nursery in line with environmental, health and safety and fire regulations.
  • Supervising the planning of activities to meet the needs of children.
  • Working closely with parents, providing a high standard of customer service including regular parents' evenings.
  • Making sure equipment, such as furniture and toys, are in a good state of repair and suitable for children.

Your business responsibilities as a manager would also include:

  • Recruiting staff who are suitable to work with children, which includes applying for Criminal Records Bureau clearance.
  • Training, supporting and leading a team (including room leaders and assistants), to achieve and maintain high standards.
  • Conducting regular staff assessments, recognising training needs and developing teamwork.
  • Managing a budget and making sure the nursery is profitable
    arranging marketing and publicity events.
  • Administrative tasks, such as providing an area manager with weekly or monthly reports and maintaining staff and child records.

You would work closely with the owners of the nursery (which may be private or local authority owned) to make sure the service you run meets Ofsted National Standards for day-care providers.

Your hours of work are likely to include early starts and late finishes to meet the needs of parents.

Running a nursery can be emotionally, mentally and physically demanding, as well as noisy.

Nursery room leaders may earn between £14,500 and £18,000 a year. Deputy nursery managers can earn around £20,000 to £25,000.

Nursery managers may earn around £35,000.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

For practitioners with EYPS (Early Years Professional Status), job opportunities are set to increase due to the Government's commitment that every children's centre and day care centre must employ an Early Years Professional (EYP). EYP's are seen as critical to raising the quality of early years provision in line with new standards.

For more information on EYPS check the Children's Workforce Development Council website.

Jobs are advertised in the national and local press, through specialist agencies, and on websites such as Nursery World, Local Government Jobs and Children and Young People Now.

You could also contact your Local Authority Early Years Development and Childcare Recruitment Team directly (you will find a list of local contacts on the childcarecareers website).

Education and Training

Before you start work as nursery manager, you will usually need:

  • A nursery nursing qualification, such as a CACHE Diploma in Child Care and Education or NVQ level 3 or 4 in Children's Care, Learning and Development (see the Nursery Nurse job profile for more information) or the Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce.
  • From 31 December 2010 the Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce has been seen as the only Level 3 qualification appropriate for the sector and as such is the only early years qualification for which funding is available.
  • A minimum of two years' experience as a qualified nursery nurse.
  • Evidence of continuing professional development.
  • Between one and two years' experience in a supervisory role.

You will also need Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance.

You may be able to gain supervisory experience by volunteering to mentor newly qualified nursery nurses or junior staff within your nursery. You could build on this by seeking further opportunities that allow you to oversee the running of a room in the nursery. Experience as a room leader could give you an advantage when looking for deputy manager and nursery manager work.

Some small nurseries may prefer to recruit nursery managers who have achieved (or are working towards) the EYPS, Early Years Professional Status. This initiative aims to raise the quality of learning, development and care provided in early years settings. For more information on EYPS, check the Children's Workforce Development Council website.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Once you are working as a nursery manager, you could take further training and qualifications such as:

  • NVQ Level 4 in Children's Care, Learning and Development.
  • CACHE Professional Development Qualifications.
  • Open University Level 4 Certificate in Early Years Practice.
  • BTEC HNC/HND in subjects such as Advanced Practice in Work with Children and Families.
  • a degree or foundation degree in, for example, Early Years.

You could also work towards Early Years Professional Status (EYPS); see the Children's Workforce Development Council website for details.

If you are a manager within a SureStart (local authority) children's centre, you could go on to achieve the National Professional Qualification in Integrated Centre Leadership (NPQICL). For more information about this sector, check the websites of SureStart and the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children's Services.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A nursery manager needs:

  • A commitment to keeping up to date with developments in early years care and education.
  • An understanding of the Children's Act, Health and Safety issues and Ofsted National Standards for day-care providers.
  • Strong written and spoken communication skills.
  • Excellent time management and organisational skills.
  • The ability to meet deadlines and targets.
  • An understanding of child protection issues and confidentiality.
  • Leadership skills and the ability to support, develop and motivate staff.
  • The ability to work with young children and their families in ways which are sensitive, positive and non-judgemental.
  • Business skills and the ability to manage a budget.
  • An understanding of equal opportunities.
  • Knowledge of the range of ways children learn and develop.
  • The ability to build good working relationships with relevant agencies, schools and early years practitioners within and beyond your service.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could go on to set up your own private nursery or crèche (contact Ofsted and the National Day Nursery Association for further advice).

Alternatively, you could progress to area manager, overseeing the work of a number of nurseries, or become an NVQ assessor in childcare.

With a qualification such as a Level 3 Diploma in Children's Care, Learning and Development you could go on to train in areas such as children's nursing, teaching or social work.

Get Further Information

Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education,
Childrens Services and Skills),
Royal Exchange Buildings,
St Ann's Square, Manchester M2 7LA
Tel: 0845 640 4045
Website: www.ofsted.gov.uk

Childrens Workforce Development Council (CWDC)
Website: www.cwdcouncil.org.uk

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