New figures highlight lack of male staff in council nurseries

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The majority of councils have no men working in their nurseries, as some parents fear they could pose a risk to young children.

It was found that, of 38 councils across England, Scotland and Wales, 26 of these do not hire a single male teacher.

Of 400,000 early years educators – which includes pre-schools, nurseries and school reception classes – 98 per cent are female.

Jamel Campbell, of the London Early Years Foundation, said: “People are entrusting their precious babies to us, to care for them and to teach them. There is a lot of stigma based on negative stories – children being at harm… men not being nurturing, men not being able to work with children that small.”

Mr Campbell said:  “Some children out there may not have a male in their home, there needs to be balance, they need to have that interaction.”

He added that more men would be interested in becoming nursery teachers if they understood the benefits it can bring to young children.

Nadhim Zahawi, the minister for children and families, said that the lack of male nursery teachers is a problem which the Department for Education is trying to resolve. At the education select committee, he said: “I think there is an issue. We do need to do more.

“One of the areas where we are looking to do more in is with apprenticeships – to get more people considering a career in early years especially males. It is something that is important. A lack of male role models is not a good thing.”

The Chief Executive of the National Day Nurseries Association, Purnima Tanuku, said that childcare is seen by many as a “woman’s job” and that recruiting male practitioners is a “long standing problem” for the sector.

Ms Tanuku added: “There have been situations where parents have asked for male practitioners not to carry out personal care for their child and although a sensitive situation, it must be dealt with immediately.”

She said that nursery managers must refuse requests from parents for male members of staff not to change nappies or take their children to the toilet.

Last week, a report from the Education Policy Institute warned of a decline in qualified early years staff. The report highlighted that fewer practitioners are working towards higher level qualifications and that almost half of staff with at least a level 6 qualification are over 40 years old.

 

 

 

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