Explore: Education

Nursery Assistant
Fairstead House School

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Paula H

0.00.00 My name is Paula H. I work, my job title is nursery assistant and I work within the, the nursery which is three to four year olds in Fairstead School. My job is to organise all sorts of activities, clear up, tidy up, you know, make sure everything’s clean and fresh, work with the children, you know, interact with the children, play outside

0.00.30 with them, you know, we chat and they come up with good ideas, I’ll come up with good ideas. It’s a very busy demanding role which is why I like it because it takes up my imagination. I was probably very naughty at school. I didn’t really like school very much, no, which is probably why I came out of school not knowing what I wanted to do because years ago when I was at school they geared you to be a mother, you know, and housewife.

0.01.00 You didn’t really have all the great education input that they have now. I actually went to work in a shop. I thought I wanted to be a shoe sales assistant, cos I’ve got a shoe fetish. I didn’t really like that very much and then I went to different factories and I ended up in Woolworths and then I was a nanny, but then I sort of got married and had my first child at 19.

0.01.30 Basically then I was a home mum for lots of years. About 18 years ago I came out to work and I started back in Woolworths again. It just occurred to me that I was out there again and I didn’t really enjoy, most, I found most jobs boring, you know. They were all very the same, repetitive, whatever you do it’s all very repetitive.

0.02.00 And I don’t know, I just, I like children. I’ve always, I find them, they take up my attention, if I’m out and about I notice them and they make me smile and so it just occurred to me that perhaps I would like to work with children. We was moving to Soham and I just happened, I was looking for jobs in this area to be a bit closer to where I was going to be living and this, Fairstead was advertising.

0.02.30 And I didn’t dream I would get a job here but I just thought I’d give it a go, you know. I think that’s the idea, I came in relaxed thinking I wouldn’t get the job and I did. I’m hoping to start to do the first part of the foundation degree to give me a level four, it’s cos my teacher is due to retire in a couple of years so I’d quite like to be able to step up to that position. That’s basically what I’d like to do. It would just be in charge of the nursery.

0.03.00 Although we work as a team I would quite like somebody have to come in and I would have to be the one that was organising and I’d like to be able to be okay, it’s my turn I think. If it had been more forthcoming when I was younger, I would have loved to have been a teacher, you know. To work in this environment always, but I don’t feel that I had the opportunities or, as I say, didn’t take them.

0.03.30 But I would have liked to have been a teacher, definitely. In my leisure time, I’ve got four grandchildren, so I spend a lot of time with them. My husband and I like to socialise. My husband has definitely inspired me. He’s given me such support and confidence in myself, oh, obviously when I was older, to go out there and go for it, if that’s what you want to do, do it.


Paula H is a Nursery Assistant at Fairstead House School in Newmarket. She’s a grandmother, but that didn’t stop her changing career. She realised she would like to work with children after many years of boring and repetitive jobs. Now she wants to start getting more qualifications, with a view to being in charge of the nursery in the future.

More information about Nursery nurses and assistants

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

2%  male 
98%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Nursery nurses and assistants care for children from birth up to seven years of age in day or residential nurseries, children’s homes, maternity units and similar establishments.
Entry is most common with GCSEs/S grades followed by the award of a certificate from the Council for Awards in Children’s Care and Education. An NVQ/SVQ in Child Care and Education or equivalent qualification at level 3 is required to work as a nursery nurse. CRB clearance is mandatory.
  • Baths, dresses, prepares feed for and feeds babies, changes babies clothing whenever necessary;
  • Supervises young children at mealtimes;
  • Plans and organises games and other activities and supervises children’s play;
  • Reads stories, organises counting games to help develop language and number skills;
  • Writes reports on children’s development and maintains awareness of health and safety issues;
  • Communicates with parents and colleagues on children’s development and well-being.
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Social work 100548
Education 76081
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Employment activities 2020
Office admin. 1917
Residential care 1039
Employment status

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