University of Leicester
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Invisible professionals : nursery nurses working in schools

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:42 authored by Vivien. Robins
This thesis explores the job of nursery nurses working in English Primary and Infant Schools in terms of their tasks and perceptions of their jobs. Educational management theory presently overlooks the increasingly important role of support staff, and in particular nursery nurses, who receive a professional training. The literature review reveals that there is no coherent body of research on nursery nurses and shows that their job as support or complementary staff is patchily under researched. The literature reviewed also deals with the problematic question of how can school effectiveness be maximised if the contribution of members of staff, such as nursery nurses, is not fully recognised.;This is a descriptive study and it analyses data from covert participant observation; questionnaires; group interviews and telephone interviews, obtained from the majority of nursery nurses working in one County. The purpose of the research was to establish the extent of the nursery nurses' jobs and to find out their opinions on their current position in schools, working with three-five year olds.;The findings portray nursery nurses as often invisible within the school culture, and their increasingly unrecognised workload. Nursery nurses perceive that various groups within the school and outside it are not aware of the extent of their role, nor do they ascribe appropriate value to it.;It is argued that the way forward is for the school sector and others in Early Years education to recognise and reward professionals other than Early Years teachers. A case for increased research, focused on nursery nurses as complementary colleagues, is made. Given the current political and educational emphases on Early Years, this group of professionals is in danger of being a wasted, unrecognised and invisible resource.


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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • EdD



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