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NEED FOR MEN IN CHILDRENS’ LIVES: NO-BRAINER

Parents in England are calling for more men to work in nurseries and early years settings, reported the BBC News Morning Programme recently.

According to research by the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC), in which 1000 parents with children aged five and under were quizzed, 55% of parents said they wanted a male childcare worker for their children. Two thirds of single mothers wanted a man involved in the care and development of their kids, a number noting that their children had little contact with men at all.

17% of children from single parent families had fewer than 2 hours contact with a man per week


The research highlights this current need, finding that 17% of children from single parent families had fewer than 2 hours contact with a man per week, while 36% had under 6 hours.

Despite the high demand, just one in 50 teachers working in this field are men. Thom Crabbe, National Development Manager for Early Years at the CWDC says: “Parents are right to want to see more men working in early years. It is important that during the crucial first five years of a child’s life they have quality contact with both male and female role models.

For 37% of parents of young boys, having a man as a role model was seen as very important with many believing that boys behaved better when around men.

The Telegraph highlights the fact that the conclusions “follow concerns that a ‘quiet conspiracy’ is keeping men out of childcare jobs” but the Times Educational Supplement points to the more obvious. While the CWDC are trying to get men to consider “swapping their in-trays for sand trays,” the lack of men is blamed on the work’s low status and working conditions.

Joe Caluori of the DayCare Trust says: “There could be many more men working in childcare than there are. In Norway there are four times as many. Maybe many men consider it but are deterred by pay and conditions as well as negative social or peer-group pressures.”

Having a man as a role model was seen as very important with many believing that boys behaved better when around men


Parents do recognise that men and women have different skills to offer children and Thom Crabbe is keen to emphasise this: “We have to be mindful of not stereotyping, It’s not like we want men to be playing football or lifting things or fixing stuff. But we do want to address the gender imbalance. It seems a no-brainer.”

Useful links: www.childcarecareers.gov.uk