The Government has announced funding for a project to get more men working in early years roles.
The Department for Education (DfE) has announced a £30,000 grant to help encourage more men to consider careers in the early years sector.
The DfE said that the project, to be run by the Fatherhood Institute, would help remove barriers that prevent men from entering the sector including “the myth that men are less suited to caring roles”.
The project will offer settings practical resources including mythbusters, how-to guides and online content aimed at supporting male recruitment into the sector.
It will also include a national conference aimed at promoting early years careers to men.
Men make up only 2% of those working in reception classes and nurseries in England and that figures has remained virtually unchanged over the past 20 years. Lancaster University and the Fatherhood Institute are involved in a two-year study, GenderEye, to try to understand the obstacles.
Dr Jeremy Davies, head of communications at the Fatherhood Institute, said: “We want careers advisers and employers to reach out and support men into early years work – including dads and other men with experience of looking after children, and those who have the interest and skills to build on. We all understand the importance of helping women into STEM careers; this is the other side of the same coin.”
The Fawcett Society has also put out a call for evidence as part of its expert Commission on Gender Stereotypes in Early Childhood. The Commission will meet six times over the coming year.
The Fawcett Society says it wants to hear from parents or carers of children, teachers or professionals who work with children, academics or policy professionals with research expertise in gender or childhood, and members of the public who would like to share their own experiences of gender stereotyping in childhood. Filling in the consultation survey takes around 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Early Years Alliance has announced an Action Week for fairer funding of the childcare sector. The week will take place in June and aims to put pressure on the government in the lead-up to the Comprehensive Spending Review later this year.
It is calling for the government to increase funding levels to ensure they match the true cost of delivering quality childcare; and to commit to annually reviewing funding levels to ensure they keep pace with rising delivery costs. Recent research from early years experts Ceeda suggests there is a funding shortfall of more than £615 million in the sector. Campaigners say that the funding shortfall means higher fees for parents or charges for extras and could cause many nurseries to close. Providers, practitioners and parents can sign up to the campaign by visiting www.eyalliance.org.uk/fairfuturefunding.