Nursery managers are in charge of the day-to-day running of childcare centres.

What does a nursery manager do?

Nursery managers provide day care for babies and young children from birth to five years old. Duties would include:

  • creating a safe, caring and stimulating environment that promotes learning through play
  • supervising activity-planning to make sure children's needs are met
  • working closely with parents and/or carers, giving them a high standard of customer service, including regular progress reports
  • working with colleagues and other professionals to make sure that children’s needs are met
  • making sure that equipment, such as furniture and toys, is in good condition

The business responsibilities of a manager would also include:

  • recruiting and inducting suitably qualified and experienced staff
  • supporting and developing the nursery team
  • managing a budget
  • arranging marketing and publicity materials
  • creating management reports, and maintaining staff and child records
  • running the centre in line with environmental, health and safety and fire regulations

This role would work closely with the owners of the nursery to make sure the service offered meets Ofsted and early years foundation stage standards.

What do I need to do to become a nursery manager?

To work as a nursery manager, you will need a nationally recognised Level 3 qualification in childcare, plus around two years’ post-qualifying experience of working with children. Supervisory experience would also be useful. A recognised qualification must be 'full and relevant' which means it meets certain standards set out in law.

There are numerous full and relevant qualifications. Some examples include:

  • Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce
  • foundation degree or HND in an early years related subject
  • degree in early years, childcare, child development or related subject

You can check to see which qualifications are full and relevant on the Department for Education website.

If you have a full and relevant qualification that you completed before September 2014, it will be valid and accepted by employers. If you do not have a full and relevant award at Level 3, you will need to complete a Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification to be counted in the staff-to-children ratios at Level 3.

Early Years Educator qualifications have been available since September 2014. Some examples include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education (Early Years Educator)
  • Level 3 Diploma For the Early Years Practitioner (Early Years Educator)
  • Level 3 Diploma in Children's Learning and Development (Early Years Educator)
  • Level 3 Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy - Birth to Seven (Early Years Educator)

Before you can start a Level 3 Early Years Educator course, you may be required to have GCSEs (A*-C) in English and maths, though this depends on how your course is funded. Your training provider will be able to tell you whether you need GCSEs to start the course or whether you can do these alongside your training.

You may be able to build up your supervisory experience by volunteering to mentor newly qualified nursery workers and junior staff within your nursery. You could also look out for opportunities to supervise the running of a room in the nursery (room leader). Experience as a room leader could help you when looking for deputy manager and nursery manager work.

Some smaller nurseries may prefer to employ nursery managers who have achieved early years professional status (EYPS) or its replacement, early years teacher status (EYTS). These schemes aim to raise the quality of learning, development and care provided in early years settings.

For all jobs, you will need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Organisation
  • Time management

Academic route

  • GCSEs (A*-C), or equivalent, in English and maths

Essential qualifications

  • Level 3 qualification in childcare

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

Managers could work in local authority childcare settings, privately owned nurseries and Sure Start Children's Centres.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

Related jobs

Job families