Nursery Managers work in a range of  settings, such as private day nurseries, children’s centres and schools. The role involves supervision of other staff, and the management of the whole setting. 

This is a challenging role with requires both the management of staff and an oversight of the care and education of the children.


  • A genuine enjoyment of the company of very young children and passion for supporting their development
  • A good understanding of child development
  • Kindness and patience
  • Ability to listen to feedback and act upon it
  • Enthusiasm and energy
  • Ability manage a team
  • Ability to plan creative and stimulating activities to develop the skills and abilities of the children
  • A good sense of humour
  • Ability to maintain good relationships with parents and other professionals
  • Good time management and organisational skills
  • Ability to manage a budget
  • General business administration skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Knowledge of child protection issues


Nursery Managers usually require at least a Level 3 qualification in childcare. Many also have a foundation degree, HND or bachelor’s degree in Early Years or a related subject.  It is also very common to work your way up to Nursery Manger by starting as a nursery worker and gaining the relevant experience and qualifications as you go.

Some settings prefer to employ a manager with Early Years Professional Status. There are several pathways to become an accredited Early Years Professional. You will need either a Foundation Degree or a Bachelors Degree, although you can study for that while training. Depending on your previous experience and qualifications, this involves some study as well as assessment in your work place.

DBS check

Before training or working in a nursery college in England or Wales, you will need to have a satisfactory enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. In Scotland you will need a Disclosure, and in Northern Ireland a Criminal Record check. This ensures that adults in nurseries do not have any convictions which would bar them from working with children. Your nursery will apply for and pay for this.

Self Disclosure

Staff working in nurseries also need to complete a self disclosure form, on which you must disclose if anyone in your household has a conviction of a violent crime or a crime against children. In some instances you may be barred from working with children if you live with someone convicted of such an offence.


  • Provide leadership in the setting, including supporting and mentoring other staff.
  • Establish good relationships with the children in the setting, promoting equality and inclusion.
  • Plan and deliver appropriate learning experiences for the children in the setting, in line with the EYFS curriculum.
  • Maintain and develop a stimulating environment for learning, including selecting and preparing resources.
  • Promote the social skills and language skills of children in the setting.
  • Support children in developing positive behaviour and implement strategies to manage challenging behaviour.
  • Work effectively with parents and carers.
  • Work in a team with other practitioners, and other professionals, for example health professionals, social workers and schools.
  • Ensure the professional development of staff in the setting.
  • Oversee marketing and public relations for the setting.
  • Oversee the business side of the setting.
  • Actively promote and implement safeguarding policies consistently, and support staff to do the same.
  • Monitor and support effective assessment, reporting and recording of the children’s progress.
  • Oversee upkeep of the building and maintenance of equipment.
  • Be responsible for ensuring all administrative duties such as record keeping are undertaken in line with policy.
  • Regularly review and update policies.
  • Appropriately support and encourage students and trainees in the setting.
  • Be responsible for the accounting in the setting, including invoicing for fees and budgeting.




Nursery Managers usually earn between £22,000 and £35,000 a year, but this varies greatly from setting to setting and in different parts of the country.

If you work for a maintained setting (for example a nursery attached to a school) you will be able to access a pension.

Staff working in private day nurseries may have access to other benefits, and will have access to a Workplace pension.

You will be entitled to statutory holidays and able to access a workplace pension.

These figures are an indication only.



Day nurseries are usually open from 7am or 8am until 6pm or 7pm, and staff usually work an 8 hour day within those hours, so be prepared for some early starts and late finishes. You will also be responsible for opening and locking up the setting.  There may also be staff meetings and training outside these times.

In nurseries attached to schools, hours are generally 9am-4pm. There is also a requirement to attend staff meetings and training outside of these hours.



Vacancies are usually advertised locally, on general job websites such as and on the nursery’s own website.

Nursery World has a jobs board where nursery vacancies are advertised.



While working as a nursery manger, you can access training up to degree level.  You can study a level 4 or level 5 qualifications, a foundation degree in an Early Years area or a degree in a child development or a related subject. You can also gain Early Years Professional Status.

Your employer may support you by providing study leave or covering some or all of the cost of your course.


Nursery Managers can move into Leadership roles within a chain of nurseries, or even set up their own nursery.

It is also possible to train as an Early Years teacher.


The best way to find out if this is a career path for you is to arrange some work experience in a local nursery. This will enable you to get a feel for the work and if you would enjoy it.

The National Day Nurseries Association has lots of information for Childcare professionals –