It might be understandable if we were frustrated by slow progress given our first report on the state of men in childcare. However, it’s not in my nature to give up and actually we have made slow but steady progress. I could list all of the various activities that we have done at LEYF and other colleagues have done across the UK but that would be churlish. Let’s move onto what we are doing now!
New independent research by CEEDA among nearly 4,000 Early Years staff revealed just 5% are male – an increase on the figure of 2% last captured in a large-scale survey by the Department for Education in 2013.
In November, we invited David Wright to join the panel for the annual Margaret Horn debate and discuss men in childcare. He was joined by Jo Warinand Jaime Leith from Manny and Me who were much more positive about the engagement from the public and the sector. Since then we have voted David to be the Chair of the DfE Task and Finish Group on Inclusivity with the support of the Minister.
Last week, Mark Deyzel, Chair of the LEYF Men in Childcare found an interview with the Daily Mail less than encouraging. He was then interviewed on BBC Radio London (skip to 1:15), the approach from the Nick Ferrari from LBC radio was constructive and well researched, followed by a healthy and wide ranging studio discussion live on the sofa at the Victoria Derbyshire Show (BBC 2).
It’s true that the producer of the Victoria Derbyshire Show, Chris Hemmings was quite an expert himself as author of Be A Man, but that was in itself a step forward. Ten years ago, we would never have found such a well-informed TV producer. We know from experience, we were part of the Channel 4 programme Daddy Daycare.
I forgot I had written a chapter about men in childcare some years ago with my great friend, Sue Chambers, but there are more books to come. David Wright will have one soon, as well as Jo Warin. So, look out for those. In the meantime, listen to this podcast from Eamon Doolan and also this one with Laura Henry and LEYF colleague, Ricky Bullen, or read this article, the story of Jamel.
In the meantime, join us to promote, replicate and share our four-point plan. This will be the LEYF action plan for 2018 and will be led by the LEYF Chair of Men in Childcare, Mark Deyzel. Why don’t you do the same thing and contact Mark to make a big noise. Think of it like an OBC for Men in Childcare.
This plan asks that we create actions to:
1. Continue to garner widespread support (and acceptance) for men working in childcare across the Early Years sector among peers and parents.
2. Recruit Early Years male role models as ambassadors to schools, colleges and career fairs etc.
3. Develop a national Men in Early Years Advisory Group to meet twice a year to assess and monitor progress.
4. Create of a professional development programme to recognise and support personal contribution from employees, regardless of gender.