Nursery manager

nursery teacher early years practitioner
Education and training

Career outlook for nursery manager

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

A nursery manager leads a team of people who provide daycare and learning for babies and young children from birth to 5 years old.

The day-to-day running of  the service would be your responsibility. You would manage and support staff, and make sure that the centre offers a safe and caring environment for children to develop and learn.

You would plan activities  for the children in line with the national guidance for early learning.

You could work in local authority childcare settings and pre-school centres or privately owned nurseries.

You would:

  • create a safe, caring and stimulating environment that promotes learning through play
  • supervise activity planning to make sure that children's needs are met
  • work closely with parents and/or carers, giving them a high standard of customer service, including regular progress reports
  • work with colleagues and other professionals to make sure that children’s needs are met
  • make sure that equipment, such as furniture and toys, is in good condition

Your business responsibilities as a manager would also include:

  • recruiting and inducting suitably qualified and experienced staff
  • supporting and developing the nursery team
  • managing a budget
  • arranging marketing and publicity materials
  • creating management reports, and maintaining staff and child records
  • running the centre in line with environmental, health and safety and fire regulations

You would work closely with the owners of the nursery to make sure it meets the national standards for early education and childcare used by the Care Inspectorate to check services.

Working conditions


Nurseries can be open from around 7am in the morning to 6pm in the evening. You would normally work up to eight hours a day within these times. Some settings are also open on Saturdays. You may work later at certain times, for example during parents’ evenings.


You would mostly work inside the nursery building, although you may sometimes supervise the children during outdoor activities or trips.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Building relationships
  • Mediating
  • Supporting
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Observation
  • Developing a plan
  • Managing resources
  • Delegating
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Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

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You would usually need, or should be willing to undertake:

  • A qualification in Childhood Practice recognised by the Scottish Social Services Council at SCQF level 9 or above
  • Management qualifications mapped to the Standard of Childhood Practice at SCQF level 9 or above

To enter Childhood Practice qualifications (SCQF level 9) you will require relevant work-based experience and qualifications at SCQF level 7 or 8, such as:

  • Higher National Certificate (SCFQ level 7) or Higher National Diploma in Childhood Practice (SCQF level 8)
  • Or SVQ level 3 or 4 in Children’s Care, Learning and Development
  • Or Professional Development Award in Childhood Practice (SCQF level 8)

Credit transfer and recognition of prior learning mean a wide range of qualifications and experiences can support entry to this role and in some cases the previous qualification may give credit towards elements of SCQF level 9 Childhood Practice courses or allow you to progress directly to management qualifications.

Since 2011, it has been mandatory for those managing early years settings and out-of-school clubs to have or be working towards a relevant Childhood Practice qualification such as the BA in Childhood Practice. Many of those studying for the degree are experienced practitioners, with the majority having worked in early years for at least five years. The Childhood Practice awards are usually part-time and/or work-based qualification and delivery of the award is flexible; candidates are not required to leave their management responsibilities to attend university or college on a full-time basis.

The awards in Childhood Practice are made up of 360 credits at SCQF levels 7, 8 and 9. Credit is given upon entry to the award to those who hold qualifications which map to the Standard for Childhood Practice (2007); for example, a candidate entering with the SVQ level 4 in Children’s Care Learning and Development (CCLD) may be awarded between 100-110 SCQF credits at level 8.

If you have an existing degree level qualification (SCQF level 9/10) in a relevant field you will not be required to complete the full Childhood Practice qualifications but will need to hold or work towards an award with 60 credits of management mapped to the Standard of Childhood Practice at SCQF level 9, this amounts to two or three units or modules from a Childhood Practice programme such as the BA or Postgraduate in Childhood Practice.

Useful subjects

  • Mathematics 
  • Administration and IT
  • Business
  • English 
  • Care
  • Childcare and Development
  • Health and Food Technology

You will also need

Any practitioner working with children not yet at primary school must be registered with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). To register you must meet or be willing to work towards the required qualifications. Over your five-year registration period you must also complete 10 days or 60 hours of post-registration training and learning (PRTL).

If you are a qualified teacher and are teaching in early learning and childcare, you are required to be registered with the General Teaching Council of Scotland.

You will require to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Excellent knowledge of, and experience in implementing, Curriculum for Excellence.

Helpful to have

Experience that demonstrates childcare and management knowledge and skills such as:

  • Having taken part in Care Inspectorate or Education Scotland inspections using Child at the Centre self-evaluation
  • A good understanding of unique selling points and key performance indicators

A full clean driving licence may be of value especially in roles where you are managing multiple sites.