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Careers Guides

Becoming a Nursery Assistant

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The Role of a Nursery Assistant

A nursery assistant is responsible for helping the teacher with activities and duties. This may include helping prepare and set up the nursery for activities, helping children with reading, writing and learning and reporting progress of children to the teacher and their parents/guardians. The children are typically aged up to 5 years old.

The roles and responsibilities of a nursery assistant are varied and differ between workplaces but here’s a general overview of the duties you can expect:

Nursery Assistant Skills & Requirements

You can start a career as a Nursery Assistant by obtaining a relevant qualification such as a Level 2 in Childcare. Each course, qualification and provider will have their own entry requirements for these courses. If you’d like to know what the requirements are for our Nursery Assistant course then click here.

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Nursery Assistant Salary

The typical nursery assistant salary is around £19,000 per year, with starting salaries being slightly lower. As a nursery nurse you will generally be working year-round unless your nursery operates on school term time. Your salary might vary depending on how much of the year you’re actually working for in that case, compared to more typical jobs where you can expect to work regularly throughout the year. 

Your income as a nursery assistant is going to depend on a few things. Firstly, think about where you’re going to be working. Your location could mean you’re earning more or less than the national average, so it’s good to check out how pay might vary between your local area and others. For example, Londoners can expect to earn on average 25% more than the next closest region because of things like the cost of living. 

Your experience level will also be a major factor in what you’ll earn. As a new starter with little experience you might not be earning much, especially if you’re going to be working part-time or similar. Since the position is entry level you generally won’t have the past work experience needed for a higher salary when you first begin work. After you’ve gained some experience in the role then you’ll probably find you’re earning significantly more or being able to progress to higher level roles like as a nursery nurse. With experience as a nursery assistant you can expect to earn around £24,000 per year.

Nursery Assistant Working Hours

As a Nursery Assistant, you will normally work 35 – 40 hours a week. Shift work is likely.

Nursery Assistants often benefit from school holidays, and weekend work is not usually involved. There are part-time and job-share opportunities.

The summer term stretches from the end of the Easter break to mid-July.


It includes a half term week long holiday in late May.


This is usually the busiest time, with later students sitting their GCSE’s.

The academic school year starts in early September, with the term stretching till Christmas.


The winter term is a half term holiday, usually a week long at the end of October.


Most schools have a 2 week end of term holiday stretching over New Year and Christmas.

This is the spring term and stretches from early January to Easter.


Easter usually falls on a different weekend each year, so the end of term two-week break can be either early April or late March.


This term also included a week-long half term break, usually in mid-February.

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Nursery Assistant Career Progression

If you’re looking to earn a higher salary as a nursery assistant then you should look into acquiring additional skills and knowledge that will be useful in the job. Having the right supporting qualifications is going to help you to be considered for higher level positions or a better paying job in a new workplace.

Having a qualification in safeguarding is useful in any setting where you’ll be working with children or vulnerable people. You could also look at a course in understanding autism or getting your first aid qualification. With supporting qualifications you will be seen as a more valuable potential employee and will be more likely to get those higher paying jobs, as well as being considered for higher level positions as you progress.

Ready to start your journey?

We offer both Level 2 and Level 3 Courses & Qualifications. Some of these may be eligible for government funded learning meaning you could study for free subject to eligibility.

Here's how to get started: