A nursery nurse plays a vital role in the early development and care of young children, usually from birth to five years old. If you are passionate about working with young children in a caregiving role and consider yourself a patient and nurturing individual, this may be the ideal career for you.


As a nursery nurse, you will support children through educational, practical and emotional interaction. It is important to be aware of the education and experience requirements necessary to become a nursery nurse to help you determine whether this career aligns with your interests.


In this article, we discuss what a nursery nurse is, how to become a nursery nurse and provide CV writing and job application tips for those interested in applying for nursery roles.

What is a Nursery Nurse?


A nursery nurse is a trained professional dedicated to supporting the growth and development of children from birth to five years old. They primarily work in early childhood settings such as nurseries, where they play a crucial role in nurturing and educating young children.


As a nursery nurse, your primary goal is to create a secure and motivating environment that promotes both play and learning. Some nursery nurses focus on assisting children with special educational needs or disabilities, tailoring their approach to meet individual requirements.


Nursery nurses can choose to work either part-time or full-time.


Read our nursery nurse job description

Responsibilities of a nursery nurse



  • Supporting Literacy and Numeracy Development: Helping children build foundational skills in reading, writing, and basic mathematics through engaging activities and lessons.
  • Developing Social Skills: Encouraging children to develop social awareness and interact positively with their peers.
  • Story-Time Engagement: Reading books to children during story sessions to spark their imagination and enhance their listening skills.
  • Creating Lesson Plans: Designing stimulating and interactive lesson plans that incorporate audio, visual, and tactile elements to captivate children’s interest.
  • Ensuring Safe Collection: Making sure that children are picked up by authorised parents, carers, or relatives.
  • Maintaining a Safe Environment: Keeping the nursery clean, organised, and tidy to ensure a safe and welcoming space for the children.
  • Assisting with Toilet Training: Helping children learn and practice toilet training.
  • Learning Through Play: Communicating important information and concepts to children through playful activities.
  • Parent Communication: Keeping parents informed about their child’s progress and offering suggestions to address any developmental challenges.
  • Meal Preparation: Preparing nutritious meals and ensuring that children are well-fed and hydrated throughout the day.

How to Become a Nursery Nurse



Finish Secondary Education


To become a nursery nurse, the first step is to complete your secondary education. This includes obtaining a minimum of five GCSEs with grades between 4 and 9 (equivalent to A* to C), including in English and Maths.


These qualifications are essential as they provide the fundamental numeracy and literacy skills required to effectively support the educational growth of young children. Achieving good grades in these subjects will provide a solid foundation for the next steps in your journey.


Alternatively, you can develop these crucial skills by completing a Level 2 Functional Skills English course or a Level 2 Functional Skills Maths course. 

Gain a College Qualification


After completing secondary education, the next step is to enrol in a college course that focuses on early childhood education or childcare. Courses such as a Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education are highly recommended. These courses typically cover essential topics such as child development, safeguarding, health and safety, and creating learning environments.


Employers typically look for qualifications that provide comprehensive training in early childhood education and care. Here are some recommended options:


To qualify for these college courses, you may need:


  • For a level 2 course: 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent
  • For a level 3 course: 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent
  • for a T Level: 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths


These courses equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to support the early development and education of young children. You will learn how to create a nurturing and stimulating environment that promotes health, welfare, and safety.


These programmes emphasise the importance of collaborating with parents, guardians, and other team members to ensure comprehensive care and support for each child.

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree (Optional)


While obtaining a bachelor’s degree is not essential to become a nursery nurse, it can enhance your career prospects and potentially increase your earning potential. Some employers specifically look for candidates with a degree, especially for leadership roles.


Completing a teaching degree or a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education can be particularly beneficial, as it prepares you to independently supervise and teach young children.  


Before applying to a university, make sure to check the specific entry requirements, as they can differ between institutions and courses. Generally, most universities require at least two A-Levels with grades ranging from A* to C in relevant subjects such as health and social care, English, or sociology.

Gain Experience and Develop Your Skills


To become a nursery nurse, it’s typically necessary to have at least one year of experience working with babies or young children. The more experience you gain in nursery or school environments, the better your job prospects will be. This hands-on experience is valuable as it familiarises you with the day-to-day responsibilities of the role and helps you develop the transferable skills required for your career.


If finding paid work opportunities is challenging, consider volunteering. Approach local primary schools or playgroups and inquire about internship or work shadowing opportunities, even for just a week. Experience in primary schools, working with older children, is also beneficial.


Throughout your education and practical experience, you will develop essential skills crucial for a successful career as a nursery nurse. Creativity is key, as it involves designing engaging learning activities using various aids and props. Effective communication is vital for explaining concepts to children and building strong relationships with them and their parents. Patience is necessary to manage young children who may take longer to grasp ideas.


Proficiency in infant handling ensures tasks like changing nappies, toilet training, and feeding are performed efficiently. Strong conflict resolution skills are important for calmly and effectively addressing any frustrations from children or parents. Developing these skills will prepare you for the role and make you a more attractive candidate to employers.

Update Your CV and Apply for Jobs


Once you have the necessary qualifications and experience, the next step is to update your CV and start applying for nursery nurse positions. Here are some tips and strategies to help you effectively present your skills and experience and find the right job opportunities.


  • Include a Strong Personal Statement: Start your CV with a compelling personal statement that summarises your qualifications, experience, and passion for working with children. This should be concise and engaging, providing a snapshot of what you bring to the role. 
  • Detail Your Work Experience: List your relevant work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position. Include the name of the school or nursery, your job title, and the dates you worked there. For each role, provide bullet points outlining your key responsibilities and achievements, focusing on tasks that demonstrate your skills in childcare and education. 
  • Highlight Your Education and Training: Clearly list your educational qualifications and any relevant training or certifications. Include details of your GCSEs, college qualifications, and any degrees or additional training, such as first aid or safeguarding courses. 
  • Showcase Your Skills: Dedicate a section of your CV to highlighting your key skills. Include both hard skills (e.g., infant handling, lesson planning) and soft skills (e.g., communication, patience, creativity). Provide specific examples of how you have demonstrated these skills in your previous roles. 
  • Use Action Verbs: Start each bullet point in your work experience section with a strong action verb, such as “developed,” “implemented,” “supervised,” or “coordinated.”
  • Proofread Thoroughly: Ensure your CV is free from spelling and grammatical errors. A well-written CV reflects your attention to detail and professionalism. Consider asking a friend or mentor to review it before submitting your applications. 

Once your CV is ready to go, it’s time to start applying for nursery nurse jobs.


Where to find nursery jobs


  • Job Boards and Websites: Use online job boards and websites dedicated to childcare and education roles. Websites such as Indeed, Reed, CV Library and Totaljobs regularly list nursery nurse vacancies. Set up job alerts to receive notifications about new opportunities that match your criteria. 
  • Nursery and School Websites: Many nurseries and schools advertise job vacancies on their own websites. Regularly check the career pages of local nurseries and early years settings for job openings. 
  • Recruitment Agencies: Register with a recruitment agency that specialises in education and childcare. At Affinity Workforce, we can help match you with suitable positions and provide valuable support throughout the application process. Click here to get in touch with our team today. 

Becoming a nursery nurse is a rewarding career path that allows you to make a positive impact on the lives of young children. By following these five steps, you can start a fulfilling journey in early childhood education. 


As a nursery nurse, you will play a crucial role in shaping the future of the children in your care and providing a nurturing environment where they can thrive. 


If you having an interview coming up, read our nursery interview tips.


If you are interested in an exciting job opportunity within a nursery setting, get in touch with us today or explore our latest roles by clicking below.


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