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The Changing Role Of The Nursery Nurse


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I am studying for my HNC and have chosen the changing role as my research assignment, but an struggling with books, any ideas.

I would also appreciate any comments on our role, the workload and wages, so I can build up an idea off what goes on around the country. I am of the feeling that planning and paperwork are getting too much without time to do it. Does anyone have non-contact time for this?

I would be grateful for any comments.

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Hi Lisa -

Welcome to the forum and thanks for posting! :D


I'll leave the response to your question to people more experienced than me, but good luck with the HNC, and I'd be interested in hearing the results of your research!


Best wishes,


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Hi Lisa,

It sounds like an interesting subject you are researching there. I am also doing a HNC in childhood studies.

Would you be interested in a copy of my job description and if you have done a questionnaire i would be happy to answer it.

Let me know by e-mail if I can help. :o

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  • 1 month later...
Guest bevbenyon

Hi Lisa,

good luck with the research. I've worked as an NNEB since 1987 and am just about to start my final part of a degree in Early Childhood Studies. I started this because I felt there was a lack of opportunity for NNEB to gain extra qualifications and gain promotion,. so decided to qualify as a teacher. I'm pleased to say that within the last few years there seems to have been a large increase in the routes available to people who wish to pursue extra qualifications and with the new 'Higher level teaching assistant' role coming into being I feel there will be more opportunities. There is no doubt that the role of Nursery Nurses is changing quite radically, unfortunatley as yet the pay does not reflect this!! (oops.think I'm on my soap box!)

I think NNEB's do a great job and are often undervalued as well as underpaid!!! There seems to be too many grey areas with unqualified staff working as classroom assistants and often doing a very similiar job as those with NNEB qualifications. Drop me a line if Ican help any further. Bev

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Hi Lisa,

I can explain what happens in my setting, and perhaps others will describe their set-ups.

I am the owner-manager of the nursery, and work directly with the children for two or three sessions per week. The other two sessions I am, reluctantly, doing all the admin, etc. I also do the broad long-term and medium plans, which I present to the other four members of staff at a Thursday 1-hour staff meeting (for which they are all paid to attend). We then all chip in with ideas for activities for the following week.

On a Wednesday staff meeting (around 30-40 mins, again all staff are paid to attend) we talk about the children's observations and assessments carried out during the previous week, complete their special books (records of achievement), and also make a note of what individual children will need for the following week. This we then add to the weekly planning sheet at the Thursday meeting. eg, we may have observed that a particular child does not enjoy looking at books in the comfy area, and we may plan a more-directed session in the story corner for her and for others. Often, the things you plan for a particular child will be relevant for others, too.

In summary, then, I do the large-scale planning , topics, etc. and the rest of the staff are paid to attend two meetings after the session has finished to complete the detailed, short-term planning and maintain records. Each member of staff has around 9 children's records to keep up to date.

Hope this helps :D

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Hello Everyone,

I am the owner/supervisor of the pre-school. I work directly with the children for all the 5 seessions (9.00-12.45). I have 5 other paid staff and 1 voluntary helper. Three of us are present at every session Three staff members are here for the same days a week. Our volunteer is able to attend any session. Each keyworker is responsible for observing and recording their own childs progress We use the sound learning observation sheets. We target one different learning goal each half term. Each adult updates the each half term. Children self register when they come in then we do the register before a large group activitye.g.pass a smile round or tell "freddy& polly how you are feeling today", talk about the theme or "show & tell" Children then to into groups with their keyworkers Who will ask the childrento talk about their news,using their home-link book as a prop for the child. The keyworker will target a certain activity that one of the children are needing help with and involve all their group. We have a large box with equipment needed to assess each goal. I have made a large assessment sheet with all the names on and each keyworker records their childs achievement on. We are all aware of each childs needs and I use this to do the planning with. All staff arrive at 8.00 most days when have staff meetings. I record the minutes and all staff can keep up to date. I use the minutes to assist the planning together with the large assessment sheet. I do all the planning, shopping and paperwork.in my own time. My husband does the accounts. I once recorded all the extra time I spent doing these things but it was scary. I do enjoy working with the children so it is worth it.

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You sound just like me!! I too own and manage a pre-school. I do all of the admin paperwork myself and the shopping. My husband does my accounts-it is handy being married to an accountant.

We have staff meetings every half term when we discuss what we are going to include in the topic the next term and any other matters arising -such as if we are not happy with an area in the group how we can improve it. I am in pre-school five mornings and I have 5 members of staff. On Mondays and Wednesdays we have 5 staff, including myself, and 6 the other 3. I am supernumeray on all days so can either be involved with the children or spend time in the office. It also means that staff can have some non contact time to discuss children's progress and keep records upto date.

I do spend a lot of time at home doing things like writing the plans but this is mainly because I don't feel the group can afford to pay another member of staff to do it-and I wouldn't expect them to do it otherwise. My staff are paid for any extra time they do such as staff meetings etc. So, after discussions about the planning I put them down on paper. I try to involve staff as much as possible.

As for wages-I wish I could pay my staff more, and they are on a good wage compared to a lot of staff in pre-schools. They are the best and most expensive resource we have!! In the past, not nowadays though, I have foregone a wage especially in September when numbers were low in order to keep the group going! We are in the lucky position now that we have plenty of staff and I can always take something out of the kitty!! But pay in this sector is poor and I feel that is why we don't have many men in it-they couldn't afford to!

Hope this is of some help to you Lisa


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Post from someone who would LOVE to own her own nursery. Ah well. How has the role changed? In our setting, the children are3/4. From my viewpoint, the biggest change is that we are answerable to the early learning goals. The ELGs have created a common thread through all settings and ensures a bit more consistency. Another change is that we are all inspected by Ofsted! For my Practitioners, the biggest change was not working key worker groups. During the term or half term, one Practitioner will be responsible for one or two elgs and work with all childen in the class on them. Our day is balanced between child-led and Practitioner-led. I suppose another change might be that we do have to work on all 6 areas of learning. Looking at early Ofsted reports, this had not generally been the case. Maths and K&U were not thought strong. Good luck with your studies! :D Chris

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To Cat33

Yes inspite of all the hard work done "out of hours" it is so rewarding to work with pre-schoolers during one of the most receptive times of their lives . Although it is a great responsibility I can make my own decisions about all issues(with consultation with the staff) We often try new ideas if they don't work we revert back to the old way or try something different.

Linda, yes I like you have not taken a wage in the past. I became a registered childminder to help fund the playgroup..Money is not such an issue now but I am still carefull how I spend the surplus. I do lots of fundraising,photographer,Kids Klub video, laminated place-mats and other personalised items at Easter and other special days. Financially I am not so reliant on these funds now but parents expect and ask me to do them if I forget!!!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...



have worked as a nursery nurse (NNEB) since 1971 in many different settings and have 33yrs of change. If you have a questionaire or would like any further details I would be happy to help.


1969- 1971 student NNEB placements in day nursery and residential nursery.

1971- 1974 nanny and ran playgroup.

1974- 1978 Staff nursery nurse in residential nursery

1978- 1984 Mother, registered and sponsered childminder, playgroup superviser.

1984- 1986 Senior Nursery officer private day nursery.

1986-1994 special support assistant in junior school

1994- 1994 Deputy principal of private Kindergarten (hated it)

1994- 1997 Peripatetic nursery nurse for Traveller education service.

1997-1998 Opportunity centre for preschool special needs

1998- 2000 Volunteer work for home start and local primary school . Gained new qualification, too ill to work.

2000- 2003 teaching assistant in reception - Yr 1. started studies for EY Foundation degree.

2003- Nursery leader for rural LEA nursery, continuing studies.


Am now responsible for all the planning and fs profiling, have nursery assitant who is studying for her NVQ and a part time 2nd yr Childcare and education student.

I feel like a living history resource but I love my job even with all the paperwork.



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  • 2 weeks later...


I too run a pre school in Berkshire. I am the supervisor and work all 7 sessions (5 morning 9.00 - 12.15 and 2 afternoon 12.30 - 2.45) i have 6 other members of staff who work different days. 4 of us are in each session with 24 children. We have paid staff meeting every other week, but like so many others i do all the admin and paperwork at home in my own time.

we are going for accreditation so do 12 stepping stones that tie in with our topic each week and each member of staff has 8 keyworker children that they build up Ipps with.

Again my staff are quite lucky although the proffession is a poorly paid one against other pre-schools in the area their pay isnt bad (but we do lots of fundraising) :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you to everyone who has been intersted in my research. I have recieved lots of info back and am now compiling my findings, although I have problems with the wages question.... no one (well not many people) answered it!!! Are we too embarrased to share this info?? One nursery I sent my questionnaire to had crossed the question out before even ciculating it, surely it should be up to the individual to decide?

Anyway, I soldier on through the project.

Anyone have any comments on wages?, I'd be happy to hear them!!! <_<

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