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Most people think of going into childcare because of their love for children. You may have lots of siblings, cousins or younger family members that you have spent time looking after or you may have worked as a babysitter for a number of years and felt that this is the foundation to a career you can be passionate about. Nowadays, many Schools offer help with those first steps into a career and give advice on ways to get early experience in your chosen career, be it work experience placements or part-time jobs. Or, you may be a mother or carer who is looking for a rewarding and fulfilling change in career.

Childcare is most definitely rewarding; with no day the same, being part of a community helping children to learn, grow and develop to their full potential and ability. Nursery Practitioners feel they help to give children that valuable start in life to a good education, helping children to develop their social skills in a safe and a caring environment that promotes learning through play.

It is these key values that we look for in a candidate. When recruiting for a new member of staff, nurseries are looking for qualities and attributes that would benefit their nursery, their children and their staff team. With the children’s care and education always at the forefront of their minds, nurseries carefully select potential recruits to ensure they find the right person for their nursery.

You can work in a Nursery setting as an unqualified practitioner, and be classed as a Nursery Assistant; Nursery Assistants are non-supervisory and work under the constant supervision of qualified practitioners in the nursery until they hold the relevant qualifications to be supervisory.

Ofsted require that Nursery Nurses be qualified to at least NVQ Level 2 (or equivalent), however, most nurseries ask for the further qualification equivalent to a NVQ Level 3 to enable those practitioners to be counted in ratio. You will need at least Level 3 (or equivalent) to move into a senior or managerial role.

This depends on the nursery that employs you. If they offer to support and fund you through your training, you could either be on day release to college or possibly attend college one evening a week. Some nurseries provide complete in-house training, where you are given time during the working week to complete your coursework and where you can be assessed at your nursery.

Usually after completion of a satisfactory probation period, you will be given the opportunity to start your training. Depending on your current experience or qualifications; you may begin the Level 2 or perhaps go straight on to the Level 3.

The time taken to complete your qualification varies depending on the course, your own personal ability and time you can commit to your study.

Yes, again the same rules apply with regards to the qualification you can do. If you were to complete a full-time or part-time course at college, the time taken would vary dependant on the course and your ability. As part of the qualification, you would be required to complete work placements at various nurseries where you will be assessed. By the time you have finished college you should have plenty of experience working in a nursery environment.

Most nurseries are open between 8am and 6pm to allow for working parents to drop their children off before and after work. The majority of nurseries require their staff to work a 40 hour week, this would mean that you would work with the other employees on a rota system, either working 4 long days with one day off in the week, or doing different shifts of either: 8am to 5pm, 8:30am to 5:30pm or 9am to 6pm. Some Nurseries might offer shorter hours if they were running on School opening hours (9am to 3:15pm) during term time only and salaries would be paid in accordance with this, whereas other nurseries might offer a longer day (7:30am to 6:30pm).

Please note: Your hours would be agreed at offer stage. 

Most nurseries take children from 3 months to 5 years old and some, from as young as 6 weeks old. As there is such a developmental difference between children of these young ages, nursery rooms are divided accordingly. A larger nursery might be divided as follows:

6 weeks/3 months to 1 year old Babies
1 year to 2 years old One to twos – Toddlers
2 years to 3 Years old Two to Threes – Toddlers
3 years to 5 Years old Pre-School Children

Once you are experienced (and qualified) in Childcare you more than likely would have worked with one age group more than another and can therefore apply for specific roles working with a certain age range.

As an unqualified member of staff you would be expected to learn about every age range, especially during your training, as your training will cover working with all ages in different units in your NVQ.

Although you may be stationed in one particular room with one age range, you will be expected to help out in all areas of the Nursery when required.

Nursery education follows the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum).

More information on the EYFS can be found here: Link to children’s Workforce Development Council


There are many different Childcare Qualifications, the level of qualification you have obtained will determine the involvement (supervised or unsupervised) you can have within a Childcare setting.

Below are the main Childcare Qualifications currently offered:

School Leavers Preparing to go to Childcare:

  • CACHE Entry Level Certificate in Preparation for Childcare
  • CACHE Foundation Award in Caring for Children
  • CACHE Level 2 Award, Certificate, Diploma in Child Care and Education

 Nursery Assistants:

  • CACHE NVQ Level 2 in Children’s Care, Learning and Development
  • CACHE Level 2 Diploma in Child Care and Education
  • CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Pre-school Practice

 Nursery Nurses:

  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Child Care and Education
  • CACHE NVQ Level 3 in Children’s Care, Learning and Development
  • CACHE Level 3 Award, Certificate, Diploma in Child Care and Education
  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Pre-school Practice
  • BTEC National Diploma in children’s Care Learning and Development

In addition to the above, the NNEB Diploma in Nursery Nursing is still a recognised qualification in Early Years, although no longer offered, CACHE being the replacement for the NNEB.

 Nursery Managers:

  • CACHE Level 4 NVQ in Children’s Care, Learning and Development

You can find out more about each of these individual qualifications by visiting the Cache website

Nursery Managers and senior practitioners are also able to obtain the following qualifications and accreditations:

Foundation Degree in Early Childhood Studies:

The National Childcare Strategy has created an increased demand for well-qualified early years practitioners who can demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the needs of young children and their families in a range of early years settings.

The Degree in Early Childhood Studies qualification is designed for practitioners who are currently employed (either paid or voluntary) in an early years environment.

Employers within the sector recognise that the demands on their staff require education and training which not only meets the needs of the employer but offers the opportunity to develop personally and professionally.

EYPS is designed to be appropriate for anyone interested in working in early years, whether it is someone who already has a wealth of experience in early years, new graduates or people looking for a career change.

EYPS enables practitioners to build on their past experience, develop new skills and give them the confidence and ability to lead practice in the workplace and inspire other practitioners around them.

To obtain your EYPS you will need to hold a degree at the end of your training; this can be either non-related to Childcare or your degree in Early Childhood Studies. The type of degree you hold will determine the level of training required.

More information on the EYPS can be found here

What type of Nursery work is available?

If you’re looking for a new permanent nursery job, Wizard Staff Solutions can help you find the best position possible.

Following your registration, interview and induction with Wizard Staff Solutions, your dedicated consultant will work on your behalf to assist with finding you your next position. Whether it’s a senior or managerial role, a step up the nursery staff ladder, or your very first position, our consultants are dedicated to helping you find the right position.

As well as meeting every candidate in person, our consultants also visit each nursery setting to meet with the manager and nursery staff to gain an insight into the history, present status and future goals of each nursery.

Our consultant will take time to assess the nursery to ensure it is a suitable working environment for our candidates and that it also provides the welcoming and friendly atmosphere that is so vital in any nursery.

Once you have been invited to interview our consultant will endeavour to accompany you to your interview and be on hand during every step of the recruitment process to answer any questions or concerns you may have pre and post interview, fully assisting you with securing the right position!

See what other candidates think by reading our testimonials below.

For more information on the permanent service please contact your local branch.

The Support We Provide

Wizard Staff Solutions prides itself in the way it supports its Temporary Nursery staff. We visit every client and location where you might be asked to work to ensure that it offers an acceptable working environment and that the staff have a helpful and positive attitude towards temporary employees. You will never be asked to work in a location that is inconvenient or, in our view, unsuitable. Even though your work may be temporary, you’re valued as a Wizard member and will receive many benefits being part of the Wizard Staff Solutions team.

As part of our interview process we may ask you to spend some time working in a nursery setting. This will help us to assess your aptitude for the work and also, if you are not qualified, whether you are comfortable with the tasks you are likely to be asked to do.

When you first register with us you will complete a telephone screening, formal interview and an induction training programme covering the basics of working in a nursery environment.

Our pay rates are in the top quartile of the Childcare Sector.

You will be offered the opportunity to contribute to a Stakeholder Pension.

We will pay 40p per mile for all journeys in excess of 20 miles.

We will pay you net of tax and VAT and provide you with all the necessary information to enable you to make a tax return.

25 paid days accrued holiday for nursery staff (pro rata)

We regularly evaluate your work and reward good performance.

We nominate an employee of the month to reward continued hard work and dedication.

For more information on our temporary service please contact your local branch

Fixed Term Contract Nursery Staff

Wizard Staff Solutions are specialists in interim recruitment and support for all types of childcare settings; we have developed various bespoke Short Term Booking Agreements for nursery chains and independent settings. Thus providing a solution for cover for those intermediate periods, for example to cover sickness or give extra support for holiday cover.

Your dedicated consultant will work with your nursery and your budget to agree a rate dependant on the length of the cover and type of worker you require.

All too often the wait for a DBS Disclosure to come through for a new member of permanent staff at your nursery can be longer than expected, if you are in need of short term cover for an indefinite period, your consultant can talk you through the saving options and nursery staff available to see you through that period of time. Once your DBS comes back, you can simply end the booking!

See what other nurseries think – visit our Testimonials page!

For more information on our short term recruitment service please contact your local Consultant

Long term cover can be an ideal way to cover maternity leave periods for your staff, especially as the length of time off can vary or change depending on the staff member’s individual circumstances.

The flexibility that long term cover gives you, can provide security and peace of mind for your nursery, whilst enabling you to amend the contract, shorten or lengthen, with very little notice.

See what other nurseries think – visit our Testimonials page!

For more information on our Long Term cover service please contact your local Consultant

The Disclosure and Barring Service

The Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly Criminal Records Bureau – DBS) is an Executive Agency of the Home Office and provides wider access to criminal record information through its checking service.

What is an Enhanced DBS Disclosure?

Every employee (or volunteer) who works with children or vulnerable adults is required to have an Enhanced DBS check or PVG check (if in Scotland) carried out on them.

This service enables organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work.  The DBS was established under Part V of the Police Act 1997 and was launched in March 2002.

Can I use my Standard DBS Disclosure to work with children or vulnerable adults?

No, the Standard Disclosure is not designed for those working with children or vulnerable adults in a capacity where they will be alone at times.

Is there a fee involved?

Yes, the DBS charge for all applications and companies who are legally registered to carry out these checks on behalf of organisations such as Wizard Staff Solutions Ltd, also charge. Wizard Staff Solutions use Atlantic Data for their DBS checks, the cost is approx. £51.86 and is payable upon application. Upon joining Wizard Staff Solutions, an Enhanced DBS disclosure is applied for by your consultant using information disclosed by you and appropriate I.D.

Please see below details about the update service:

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) update service lets applicants keep their DBS certificates up to date online and allows employers to check a certificate online.

DBS checks used to be called CRB checks.

How to register

You can register online as soon as you have your application form reference number. You can ask for the number when you apply for your DBS check.

Or you can wait and register with your certificate number when you receive your DBS certificate. If so, you must do so within 19 days of the certificate being issued.

You can view your details online once you’ve registered.

To check the progress of your DBS certificate use the DBS tracking service.

Registration lasts for 1 year and costs £13.0 per year (payable by debit or credit card only). There’s no charge if you’re a volunteer.

You’ll get an ID number with your registration that you need to log on to the service.

What you get

When you join, you’ll get an online account that lets you:

  • take your certificate from one job to the next
  • give employers permission to check your certificate online, and see who has checked it
  • add or remove a certificate

Employers and other organisations

Employers and other organisations can check someone’s DBS certificate status online and get a result straight away.

There’s no registration process or fee for employers to check a certificate online, but employers must:

have the worker’s permission

There are many forms of I.D that can be accepted and used to process your DBS, your consultant will explain these to you and ask you to bring 3 forms of I.D along with you to your interview. Photocopies will not be accepted

The most common forms of I.D used for applying for a DBS are:

  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate (Original or Certified Copy)
  • Photocard Driving License and Counterpart
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Utility Bill (within 3 months of date of issue)
  • Bank Statement
  • Connexions card
  • Valid NHS card
  • Exam Certificate
  • Vehicle Registration Document

This depends as every application is different, the guideline timescale is 7 days, however some DBS checks can take longer depending on the individual circumstances of the applicant.

Wizard Staff Solutions have recently moved to a new online DBS checking system which will enable some DBS checks to come through in less than a week.

Once you have a Wizard Staff Solutions DBS Disclosure, you can work for us on the same Disclosure for up to 3 years.


“Zara is very approachable. Always friendly and professional with a speedy response time”.
Anna, Oat Tree