A study that highlights the strengths men bring to early-years teaching recommends changes to encourage more of them to challenge the assumption that teaching young children is an unsuitable job.
Men In Early Years Teaching is a thesis by former primary school teacher Louise Dryden for her master's degree in primary education at the London Institute of Education. She feels that one reason for the lack of men in early years is that they have few positive male role models.
Of the 10 male early-years teachers she interviewed, none were influenced by the example of male teachers when they were children. She recommends that boys need more opportunities to find out about childcare.
Careers advice needs to recommend less stereotypical career options for males, she says.
She recommends that the Teacher Training Agency reassess its promotional literature, so that it shows more men in early years education. Teacher training departments can encourage new recruits by including early-years practice at the beginning of primary phase training.
Mrs Dryden, a curriculum leader in childcare at the College of North West London, ventures that teaching has become "feminised" by the predominance of women in education. She believes this might be why boys become disaffected by the educational process.