No-man’s land – the UK Early Education sector: a right’s issue for men and children? – October 2020

Paint Pots Nurseries:

  • based in Southampton
  • operating since 1992
  • 10 settings – 6 day nurseries, 3 preschools,
  • 1 out-of-school club
  • Supporting 1,000 children each week
  • 150 staff of whom 5 are male, currently

Men in Early Years:

1998 – The Teacher Training Agency and the DfEE set a target for the UK early years workforce to increase male recruitment to 6% by 2004.

During this period attention was given to the linked promotion of positive fathering and the increase of male practitioners within Sure Start (children’s) centres.

2020 – The proportion of male staff in the workforce remains at between 2 – 3% in England

(DfE, 2017; DfE, 2019), Doubled in 10 years Static over 22 years

Do we need men in Early Years? And if so… Why? or Why Not?

Maybe we’re better off without them?!

Reasons why we might not need men –

  • Risk Takers / Dangerous
  • Get the children “worked up” “rough & tumble”
  • Feckless, Lazy
  • View with suspicion / question their motives
  • Not a job for men – not manly, nurturing, caring
  • Intruding into women’s world
  • Don’t see what’s going on around them

Possible uses for men –

  • To play football
  • To go outside, especially when it’s wet and cold!
  • To carry the heavy stuff
  • To fulfill a quota – “We’ve got a male teacher!”
  • Role model nb boys

Gender:

The World Health Organisation says that:

“Gender is the characteristics , roles and responsibilities of women and men, boys and girls, which are sociallyconstructed. Gender is related to how we are perceived and expected to think and act as women and men because of the way society is organised, not because of our biological differences.”

Culture:

  • Ideas, values, attitudes, and expected patterns of behaviour (implicit as well as explicit)
  • The collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group from another – male vs female? – stereotypes?

Meso – Sector
Macro – Society
Micro – Setting

How are cultural values expressed?

  • in an all female environment?
  • in an all male environment?
  • in a “mixed” environment?

• Expectations – risk taking, behaviour, guns? superheroes?

• Environment – what gender is it? (role of Forest Schools)
• Staff relationships
• Conversations / language /
adult:child interactions
• Cultural references
• Children’s activities

“Most managers (55%) reported that male staff stay in post for less time than their female colleagues and
more than half (51% of men vs 6% of women) have contemplated leaving the profession due to concerns
around allegations of sexual abuse.”

Lancaster University ‘Gendereye’ Study 2020

Parental Views Survey Dec 2017:

440 respondents

92% believe it is beneficial for children to be cared for by men as well as women in Early Years settings.

Consistent result across males and females 95% happy for their child to be cared for by a male Early Years worker.

Consistent result across males and females 14% concerned about men working in Early Years. 12% females, 21% males.

Parental Views Survey Dec 2017:

“I am probably old fashioned but, according to the National Crime Agency, 1 in 35 men have sexual urges relating to children. This is a terrifying prospect. I appreciate women are also capable of this however, I feel that some men can present a greater risk.”

“Having worked for 10 years in child protection I am aware of the much higher ratio of male to female child abusers.”

“My children are used to having a female primary carer. I feel more comfortable with this being replicated in a nursery environment.”

“Children tend to be more scared of men. Men don’t tend to want to work in this role and so I am suspicious of men that do.”

“Due to lack of experience surrounding men in childcare, I am wary of the unknown also media portrayal of men and selfishly lack of trust although I know this is wrong.”

“I do not believe that men instinctively have the same level of empathy as women to deal well with young children.”

“They wouldn’t be able to give the same warmth and comfort as a female would I suppose?.”

So what? Does it actually matter?

  • Arguably the most important job – we need to ensure the best
    people working with our youngest children.
  • Diversity – to represent the community to our children.
  • Equal Opportunity
  • Men have a right to work with children
  • Children have the right to be cared for by people of all genders
  • More chance of meeting all children’s needs

• Enrich experience
• Improved outcomes for children
• Tackle stereotypes
• To challenge the status quo
• To change society
– more tolerant

Changing Culture:

Words matter. What are we asking men to do – Early Years Education, Child Development, Child Care??

Change attitudes
Outside Early Years Sector (macro culture)
Not currently promoted as a viable/credible career option for men and boys
Inside Sector (meso & micro culture)
Support networks, mentoring, environment, attitudes
It’s normal here for children to be cared for by men and women

Build on success
Where are males working currently?
Promote success stories / benefits to men / benefits to children
Put men together – host male students / mentoring
Male only training courses

Examples –
• Anders Farstadt, Asker Region, Norway – 40% males
• Leanna Barrett, Little Forest Folk, South London – 53 staff, 27 men.

Partly because we are a bit different, our parents idolise them. They are like rock stars to the children. They know that they are changing a child’s life. The amount of positive feedback they get makes them so proud of what they are achieving.

Start from where we are:

• Men represent less than 3% of the Early Years workforce in UK, similar across the World. (14% of the workforce in primary schools)

• 25% or primary schools in England have no male teachers

• Challenge attitudes in society – gender roles, suspicion

• Campaign for improved pay, status

• Identify and support male workers

• Promote early years as a viable career path for men.

• Support and learn from each other, pool resources.

View Full Article Here.

Editorial Team

Team of volunteers who edit the website.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Europa-Road Kft.

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    1. Ketan Shah

      Hi,

      Appreciate the feedback and comments about our posts and the site.

      We are glad that you find the discussion interesting about certain issues. We will do our upmost to keep everyone informed about these issue’s.

      Our pleasure and again appreciate the compliment about the site and our presentation, please bookmark us and come back as we will be updating the website regularly.

      We appreciate the feedback about our posts and website and feel free to share with friends and family.
      Kind Regards,

      Webmaster For Parity Charity.

  2. I beloved as much as you will obtain performed proper here. The caricature is attractive, your authored material stylish. nevertheless, you command get got an shakiness over that you would like be delivering the following. ill definitely come further until now once more as precisely the similar nearly very ceaselessly within case you shield this hike.

    1. Ketan Shah

      Hi,

      Appreciate the feedback and comments about our posts and the site.

      We are glad that you find the discussion interesting about certain issues.
      We will do our upmost to keep everyone informed about these issues.

      Our pleasure and again appreciate the compliment about the site and our
      presentation, please bookmark us and come back as we will be updating
      the website regularly.

      We appreciate you found our posts / blog very informative and enlightening too.

      Kind Regards,

      Webmaster For Parity Charity.

Leave a Reply