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NDNA supports men in childcare


National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) is supporting a new guide which challenges the early years sector to take ‘positive action’ to bring more men into the workforce.

The MITEY (Men In The Early Years) Guide to Recruiting Men into Early Years Education, published today for International Men’s Day (19 November 2019), calls on early years employers to take active measures to recruit men, to double their pool of talent and create a more representative workforce.

Measures proposed in the free guide, which has been endorsed by NDNA and other leading early years organisations, include:

  • Replacing ‘feminised’ job titles like ‘nursery nurse’ with more gender-neutral terms like ‘early years practitioner’
  • Keeping a check on sexist ‘workplace banter’
  • Including ‘positive action’ statements, images of men and male case studies in job advertisements, to clarify that male applicants are welcome
  • Holding open days targeted at attracting male recruits
  • Promoting early years and other caring jobs to boys of all ages
  • Working with Job Centres to promote early years careers to men
  • Promoting vacancies via fathers who use early years provision, as well as mothers

Stella Ziolkowski, Director of Quality and Training said: “NDNA fully supports the Fatherhood Institute’s Men in the Early Years guide to recruitment, which we will be sharing with our members across the UK. It is packed full of good ideas and helpful suggestions for early years settings to be able to use in order to try to redress the gender balance in the workforce.

“Nobody is doubting the challenge that childcare providers are up against, but it is vital that we all do our best to approach this issue head on. Both NDNA and the Fatherhood Institute recognise the value of recruiting more men as early educators to work alongside their female colleagues. In June this year, men took home NDNA’s coveted Practitioner of the Year and Manager of the Year awards. This recognised the excellence and value male practitioners bring to the workforce. A wealth of research points towards better outcomes for children who are cared for and educated by a diverse workforce which reflects the community and society as a whole, to inspire children’s learning journeys.”

Action is needed now more than ever: there is an ongoing recruitment crisis in the UK early years sector (for more information, read NDNA’s 2019 Workforce Survey, which has one of the lowest levels of male participation of any workforce in the UK. Only 3% of early years staff in England and Wales, and 4% in Scotland, are male.

According to the Fatherhood Institute, this is compared to 11% of nurses, 14% of social workers, 15% of primary teachers, 38% of secondary teachers, 46% of GPs and 55% of hospital doctors. Earlier this year the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development identified the lack of gender diversity as a key factor in the shortage of early years education staff across the developed world.

MITEY guide author Dr Jeremy Davies, head of communications at the Fatherhood Institute – who leads the MITEY campaign – said: “We are suggesting some simple ways early years organisations can show men they are welcome and valued as professional caregivers and educators. For too long there’s been an acceptance that men aren’t interested in this field. That’s not good enough. We know this isn’t an easy nut to crack but we need to do everything we can to pull them in.”

Professor Gina Rippon, Professor of Cognitive Neuroimaging, author of The Gendered Brain said: “We need more men in early years so children may absorb a message that people of any gender can be a part of this crucial stage of their lives. This is a fantastic guide to what the authors acknowledge could be a ‘challenging journey’.  Honest, thought-provoking, clear-eyed and accessible, it is a huge first step on the road to a truly representative early years’ workforce.”

The Early Years Alliance
Michael Freeston, Director of Quality Improvement, said: “Getting more men into childcare has always been a tricky task. With its thought-provoking and practical approach, this well-presented and easy-to-follow book makes the ideal companion for owners and managers struggling to recruit and maintain male early years professionals.”

Early Education

Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive, said: “Early Education campaigns for every child’s right to the highest quality early childhood education.  That means a workforce drawing on the talents of the whole population, and representing every part of the population.  We welcome this very practical resource to help settings and schools address the under-representation of men in the early years workforce, and call on all our members to redouble their efforts to attract and welcome more men to work with our youngest children.”

The Men and Boys Coalition
Dan Bell, CEO, said: “This excellent guide is brimming with clear, practical strategies to support the important mission of bringing more men into early years teaching. The guide also offers crucial insights into some of the barriers to men, along with great advice on how to avoid approaches and attitudes that can put men off applying. The Men and Boys Coalition wholeheartedly endorses this excellent guide to boosting the number of men in the early years profession.”

The Gender Equality Collective
Nicole Ponsford FRSA, CEO and Co-Founder, said: “We know first-hand the importance of recruiting more men into early years settings. The impact starts with the young people that they work with, and also helps early years parents, carers and communities ‘see’ that men can help educate and care for the children, offering a more diverse viewpoint for the sector. Plus it offers a fantastic career route for those males who love nurturing and developing young minds. This MITEY guide is an important part of the puzzle. Everyone involved in early years settings, from ITT providers to parenting networks and all in-between, needs to read and share this incredible resource.”

Download the guide here.

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