A role as a nursery nurse, or nursery teacher, is rewarding and involves a combination of childcare and education.


With the right skills, qualifications and dedication, a nursery nurse has the potential to not only shape the early educational experiences of children but also the chance to grow their career within early childhood education.


A nursery nurse is responsible for teaching and developing babies and children up to five years old. They supervise preschool activities, provide parents with progress reports and prepare lunches for the children. This can be a perfect role for you if you’re passionate about young children and their education.


Learn more about the role of a nursery nurse including their responsibilities, salary expectations, career opportunities and the required qualifications, education and experience for the position.

What does a nursery nurse do?



Nursery nurses work with babies and young children in a preschool setting including nurseries, playgroups or at children’s hospital wards. Their role involves helping children develop their learning abilities before starting formal education at the age of five.


Nursery nurses are responsible for teaching skills like physical coordination, speaking and colour recognition. This is done by organising enjoyable and stimulating activities like reading or singing songs while encouraging children to interact with each other in a safe environment.


From tending to the daily needs of young children, including feeding and diaper changes, to implementing educational activities that align with the early years framework, a nursery nurse wears many hats. They are important in creating a positive and inclusive environment that supports the overall development of the children under their care.

Responsibilities of a nursery nurse



A nursery nurse is responsible for helping young children to develop essential skills during their childhood development. Here are some primary responsibilities of a nursery nurse:


  • Daily care routines: Attending to the basic needs of children, including feeding, diaper changing, and ensuring a clean environment. 
  • Educational activities: Planning and implementing age-appropriate educational activities that stimulate cognitive, social, and emotional development. This involves storytelling, creative arts, and play-based learning.
  • Socialisation: Encouraging the development of social awareness through interactions with other children. 
  • Observation and assessment: Observing and assessing the developmental progress of each child, identifying areas for additional support and tailoring activities to individual needs. 
  • Communication with parents: Maintaining open communication with parents or guardians. They provide updates on a child’s daily activities, milestones, and any concerns that may arise. 
  • Health and safety: Ensuring the well-being of children is a top priority. Nursery nurses adhere to health and safety regulations, conduct risk assessments, and respond promptly to any health-related issues. They make sure that classrooms and outside play areas are child-friendly and safe. 

Is a nursery nurse job a good fit for you?



A nursery nurse job can be a good fit if you have a passion for early childhood education and if you enjoy working with babies and young children. You will need to be patient, empathetic and emotionally resilient.


To determine whether you would be well suited for a nursery nurse role, here are some key skills for the role:


  • Patience and empathy: Working with young children requires patience and empathy. Nursery nurses need to understand the unique needs and challenges of each child, adapting their approach accordingly. 
  • Organisation: The dynamic nature of a nursery environment demands organisational skills. Nursery nurses plan and coordinate various activities while ensuring a structured and safe environment.
  • Creativity: Infusing creativity into educational activities enhances engagement and promotes a love for learning among children. 
  • Adaptability: Flexibility and adaptability are crucial, as each day in a nursery setting brings new challenges and opportunities. 
  • Observational skills: Nursery nurses need to be observant about the progress and development of children in order to prepare accurate reports for parents. 

Qualifications and education



To start a career as a nursery nurse, specific qualifications and training are required. Nursery nurses will need to be qualified with early years teacher status (EYTS). Achieving EYTS is a key milestone and indicates that you have a comprehensive understanding of early childhood education principles.


Nursery nurses need good English and maths results at both GCSE and A-Level. They can also earn a Level 2 Certificate in Childcare and Education or a Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care through college courses. This diploma, or an equivalent qualification, forms the foundation of theoretical knowledge related to child development and early education. It is important that you have the correct early years education training.


You also need to pass an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check before you start working as a nursery nurse. It can also be beneficial to have a paediatric first aid certification from a recognised organisation such as the Red Cross or NHS.

Experience requirements



Gaining some hands-on experience is important in terms of applying theoretical knowledge to real-life scenarios. Most nursery nurse roles require at least one year experience working with small children or babies.


Employers will look for applicants who have gained some experience in schools or volunteer work at playgrounds or nurseries. It can also be beneficial if you have some experience teaching older children, such as primary school-age classes.


Employers will consider candidates with transferable skills or knowledge that can be applied to a nursery setting.

Salary expectations



Salaries for nursery nurses can vary depending on location, experience, and qualifications. On average, entry-level nursery nurses can expect to earn around £18,000 to £19,000 per annum. With experience and advanced qualifications, salaries can progress, reaching upwards of £25,000.


Positions in high-demand areas or specialised roles may command higher salaries. It’s important to note that salary structures may differ among different nurseries and regions.


If you are working with an agency, you will get paid per hour. On average, nursery nurses will get paid around £11.42 per hour.

Where can a nursery nurse job take you?



A career as a nursery nurse serves as a stepping stone to various exciting opportunities within the field of early childhood education:


  • Room Leader or Supervisor: Experienced nursery nurses may progress to leadership roles, overseeing specific age groups or managing entire nursery rooms. 
  • Special Educational Needs (SEN) Coordinator: With additional training, nursery nurses can specialise in supporting children with special educational needs.
  • Early Years Advisor: Some nursery nurses transition into advisory roles, providing guidance to educators and institutions on best practices in early years education. 
  • Further Education and Specialisations: Continuous professional development can lead to advanced qualifications, opening doors to roles in educational consultancy, training, or even pursuing a teaching career. 

A nursery nurse plays an important role in the formative years of a child’s education. They help to ensure a nurturing and stimulating environment for children under their care.


Nursery nurses have a range of responsibilities, encompassing both care and education, and have the potential to make a great impact on a child’s development.


If you’re looking for a nursery job, Affinity Workforce has a wide range of roles to suit your skills and preferences. Get in touch with our nursery team today by calling 0333 188 5710 or view our latest nursery roles.


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