If you’d like to work with children but also want to develop a professional career, becoming a nursery manager could give you the best of both worlds.

Supporting young children’s development is highly rewarding, but nursery managers must also set an example for other staff members and ensure they operate within the UK Childcare Act (2006).

With excellent earning prospects and the opportunity to make a real difference by promoting child development, here’s what you need to know about becoming a nursery manager.

What does a Nursery Manager do?

Nursery managers are responsible for the day-to-day running of a childcare setting, as well as setting an example for the other employees in the establishment. Plus, a big part of the role is ensuring the facility adheres to all health and safety standards and that employees receive proper training.

Let’s take a look at the responsibilities in more detail.

1. Promoting safety

Along with the 2006 Childcare Act, nurseries also have to adhere to health and safety laws, including offering employees food hygiene training. As a manager, you’ll perform regular risk assessments and implement robust safeguarding measures to ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone.

As per regulatory changes, all nursery staff must also receive Paediatric First Aid training, and managers will be responsible for ensuring this.

2. Manage the day-to-day running of the nursery

From ensuring the correct staff-to-child ratio and liaising with parents, nursery managers must be organised and ready to handle any day-to-day issues that might arise.

Conducting regular meetings with the nursery team and guiding nursery assistants is also essential, as managers must set the right example for everyone else to follow.

3. Facilitating early years development

Nurseries are instrumental in preparing young children for schooling, and they play a vital role in early years development. For example, children can learn skills, including maths and literacy, in a stimulating environment.

Many nursery managers also ensure children learn how to socialise and support staff with creating fun activities, such as messy play and sports.

4. Supporting employees

Staff morale is essential in childcare environments, as the job can be challenging. Along with general nursery management, you’ll inspire your employees by setting an example and ensuring they have the support they need to develop professionally.

Building strong relationships with staff members is also essential for running the nursery effectively and ensuring they work closely to promote each child’s development.

5. General management

As a nursery manager, you’ll also be instrumental in the hiring and onboarding process, giving new employees training and monitoring their progress. Rota planning and budgeting are also central to the successful management of the nursery, so it helps to have organisational skills.

You might use nursery management software and budgeting tools to make sure you spend accordingly while also budgeting for training.

How to become a Nursery Manager?

Nursery managers are highly qualified and experienced professionals. Having a relevant certification and being able to prove your previous supervisory experience can help you secure employment.

Nursery manager qualifications

The minimum requirement for nursery managers is a Level 3 qualification, but there are different routes into the profession. Some people prefer to attend university and get a relevant degree, which will help them secure high-level roles in the early years sector.

However, if you’d prefer to gain professional qualifications while you work, that’s also a possibility.

The university route

If you want a senior role in a preschool or nursery, getting a degree in a related subject can set you apart from other candidates and prepare you for nursery management.

Popular degrees include early childhood studies, but you can also take a postgraduate course to gain EYTS (early years teacher status).

For example, if you have a degree in psychology, doing the postgraduate EYTS course can help you gain employment as an early years educator and become a manager with experience.

Other qualifications

For some people, university isn’t an option—but that won’t prevent you from becoming a nursery manager. There are various learning routes to explore, including getting a Level 3 Children and Young People’s Workforce diploma.

A relevant BTEC certification will qualify you for supervisory roles, and apprenticeships will give you hands-on experience. You can then undertake further training with an organisation to prepare for management.

Nursery Manager experience requirements

Gaining certifications can give you the knowledge required for nursery management, but you’ll still need relevant experience.

Most nurseries ask for a minimum of two years of experience in working with children, but it can also be beneficial to have supervisory experience.

While working in a nursery, you’ll learn vital skills that will help you prepare for management-level roles. They include:

  • Communication: Nursery managers must maintain contact with parents and be able to provide updates on each child’s progress.
  • Organisation: Creating rotas, ensuring there are no conflicting hours and retaining the legal staff-to-child ratio requires a great deal of diligence.
  • Assertiveness: Managers also need to ensure children get the right combination of activities, including educational and fun time, which also means ensuring nursery nurses provide a well-rounded experience for children.
  • Creativity: A significant part of your role will also be to create fun activities and promote learning, which requires imagination and the ability to think outside the box.
  • IT Skills: From creating rotas and budgeting, you’ll also use various software applications, including nursery management software. IT skills are essential, but they’re also easy to learn.

Ofsted requirements for nursery manager

Ofsted inspections are mandatory in all schools and day nurseries, with most preschools having at least one visit every four years. As a nursery manager, you’ll ensure the daily running of the nursery and training of employees meets all requirements.

Most Ofsted inspections are planned, so you’ll receive notice, but inspectors can visit without prior warning if there’s a complaint about your nursery.

For this reason, managers must always be prepared and keep proper records to prove compliance. You can learn more about how inspections work with the Early Years Inspection Handbook.

Nursery Manager jobs

Becoming a nursery manager allows you to pursue your passion for working with children while building a successful career. With time and experience, you could work for national nurseries and become an area manager.

ABLE Staffing has a range of nursery manager jobs available. Our dedicated team can also help you with the application process and support you with every step of your job search.

What is the average nursery manager’s salary in the UK?

The average salary throughout the UK is £36,000, with top-range salaries going up to £41,000. Your salary as a nursery manager will depend on the company you work for and what kind of duties you have.