Early warning: we need more men

In most parts of Scotland, males working in early years are almost as rare as hen’s teeth. But, with the government planning to double the number of free nursery hours, thousands more staff are now having to be recruited – and men are needed to make up the numbers. So, why have they traditionally been put off from joining this sector? And what are the challenges they face in a such a female-dominated environment? Henry Hepburn finds out

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Beards, razors and “jaggy” facial hair: this scene cannot have played out in too many nurseries over the years. Craig Robertson is a team leader at Silverdale Nursery in Glasgow, and is recounting some of his favourite stories from his time there – including when he let a bunch of preschoolers shave his beard.

“We talked about being safe, not touching the plugs, how to hold the razor. There was great language coming from them – ‘It feels bumpy’, ‘It’s noisy’ – and they were talking about how my face was ‘jaggy’.”

He paints an amusing scene of razor-wielding wannabe barbers crowding round him ...

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