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'More male role models’ needed in early education

New Scottish fund aims to encourage men to join the early learning and childcare sector

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New Scottish fund aims to encourage men to join the early learning and childcare sector

A new funding drive aims to encourage more men into the early learning and childcare sector in Scotland.

Action has been taken because only 4 per cent of the "daycare of children workforce" are male, while in 2016-17 a similar proportion of enrolments to HNC childhood practice courses came from men.

John Kemp, interim chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, which will administer the Men in Early Years Challenge Fund, said: “Diversity and representation are vital to ensure caring is not seen exclusively as a female role, and that all children have access to positive male role models.”

Colleges across Scotland will now be able to bid for two funding awards to run pilot projects that support men in childcare. The £50,000 fund will aim to increase the number of men enrolling on NC (National Certificate) and HNC (Higher National Certificate) childhood practice courses.

Maree Todd, minister children and young people, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for colleges to test out new ways of getting men into the early learning and childcare workforce, supporting our work to diversify the sector and recruit more people than ever to deliver quality early learning. Increasing the number of men in childcare means children will benefit from different perspectives and have more male role models to look up to."

Patricia Chisholm, owner of the Highland Fling nursery in Portobello, Edinburgh – where Ms Todd announced the new funding scheme – said: “Surely by 2018 we should have realised that an appropriate gender balance in a team of educators is vitally important to prepare children for the real world in which they will be living and working.”

Scotland is pressing ahead with an ambitious expansion of free nursery hours for families, at a time of deep concern over the number of teachers and other staff in the sector.

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