I have been training or working in early education for the last 8 years.
I had two years at college with 2 separate 6 month placements in council nurseries .
Once qualified I have worked in nurseries and junior schools. Mainly independent/ Private which are fee paying and finally back to a council.
In all my time I have never worked with another male in early years.
In the England 5% of the workforce are male in Scotland only 3% are!!!.
This after the UK governments have been trying to increase the number of males in the last decade a 2% increase in England and 1% in Scotland hardly figures to be proud about.
So why are there so few males picking early years education well the goverment and several education sites have published papers and there seems to be four main reasons.
I am going to give you my personal view on each. Education can be a slightly touchy subject with parents so hopefully I don’t offend anybody.
1) Men fear being stereotyped that parents and colleagues may not be welcoming and think it’s weird job for a male.
I think in the uk we have come along way and parents just want what’s best for their children. I have had a few parents who didn’t show up for parents evening with me ,made the odd comment or asked me not to change their child.Its difficult but it has been the minority.
2) Working in a female dominated environment. Right Tony be honest. It is difficult always being the only male. I have been in nurseries that have never had a male before so you have to use female toilets and heard many things I wish I never. However I did meet some wonderful early year workers and lovely people who helped me. What’s most difficult you feel quite isolated. In Scandinavia they group males together at first I think this would be a good idea here to get numbers up and so we can support each other.
3) Low pay puts men off as it’s not enough for keeping a family. The pay is below the national average wage which I think for such an important job is crazy. There has been talk about grants for men to up wages. I feel this is crazy you can’t have men getting paid more than women for the same job.
4) And finally men don’t know about early years education it’s not an option.
We need to talk about it more in schools and colleges have positive male role models come in and talk about the fantastic experience it is to help young children develop and learn.
Over the past couple of years I’m hearing more voices on social media and the news talking about males in early years which is great but it feels like it’s regions when this a national issue we should be uniting so every child in the UK has positive male and female role models.
Personally I am taking a break from working in nurseries I have had a fantastic time in early years. Met so many great children seeing them grow has been awesome.
But having a new child myself I have to put her 1st the hrs and workload has gone up over the years which has had a physical and mental affect on me.
I am still looking to work in Early years but with my own business as an Independent male nanny specialising in additional support needs and sport/fitness programmes