How to Become a Nursery Manager

nursery manager

Nursery managers, also called pre-school managers, oversee daily activities in childcare settings. They work to create a safe and healthy environment for the children. This career comes with a lot of responsibilities as young children are vulnerable to many things. If you are assertive, caring and love working with children, this is a career you would enjoy.

The work

When dealing with children, nursery managers perform the following duties;

  • Creating a safe environment that promotes learning and playing
  • Planning activities that meet the children’s needs
  • Maintaining communication with children’s parents
  • Acquiring and maintaining learning tools, such as toys, for the children.

As managers, they have the following business responsibilities;

  • Controlling the nursery’s budget
  • Advertising and marketing the facility to attract clients
  • Recruiting experienced and qualified support workers
  • Keeping accurate records of staff and children
  • Ensuring the facility meets Ofsted and Early Years Foundation Stage standards.

Work environment

Nursery managers work from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Since many nurseries hold periodic parents’ evenings and others remain open during weekends, prepare for extra working hours.


Salaries for nursery managers vary with their job position as shown below;

Job level

Annual pay

Nursery room leaders

£14,000 - £18,000

Deputy nursery managers

£18,000 - £22,000

Nursery managers

£22,000 - £30,000

Source: National Careers Service

Entry requirements

To be hired as a nursery manager, you must meet the following requirements;

  • Obtain clearance by the Disclosure and Barring Service
  • Obtain a nationally recognized qualification, such as Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce.
  • Possess at least two years’ experience working with children.

It is important to note that the qualification you choose to pursue must be classified as full and relevant U.K. Department of Education.

Beginning September 2014, all Level 3 full and relevant qualifications will be replaced by new Level 3 Early Years Educator qualifications, which you can use to improve your chances of becoming a nursery supervisor and thereafter, manager.

To take the new courses, you will need to have GCSEs in English and math at grades A-C.

To acquire the administrative experience needed by employers, you can;

  • Volunteer to train entry-level nursery workers
  • Supervise the running of a room in a nursery.

Small childcare facilities may consider individuals with the Early Years Professional Status or Early Years Teacher Status for employment as nursery managers.

Important skills and abilities

To become a successful nursery manager you need;

  • Good management and leadership skills
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills
  • Good business, planning and budgeting skills
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • Detailed knowledge on child development and learning
  • The ability to work well with other children care professionals.

Training and development

After getting a job you should work towards higher qualifications, such as;

  • Level 4 qualification in an early years related subject
  • Level 5 diploma in leadership for the children and young people’s workforce
  • HND or bachelor’s degree in child care, early years or child development

If you had not obtained the Early Years Teacher Status, you could apply for Early Years Initial Teacher Training to do so.

For more information on the career development options for nursery managers, visit the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

Job opportunities

As a qualified nursery manager, you can work in;

  • Local authority childcare settings
  • Privately owned nurseries
  • Sure Start Children’s Centers.

After gaining vast nursery management experience, you could become an area manager, training assessor or facility inspector. You could also begin your own nursery.

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