Tops Day Nurseries are proud to be supporting Men in Early years by signing up to the MITEY Charter. The MITEY Charter is a pledge for nurseries, pre-schools and other early years setting across the UK to show support in valuing men’s potential to contribute positively to the care and education of young children, taking steps to bring them into the workforce. The MITEY charter is part of a campaign that is also being supported by the department of Education. The MITEY charter is made up of five points which are:
- We value men’s capacity to care for and educate children, both within families and as professionals
- We value the benefits to children of being educated and cared for by a diverse, mixed-gender early years workforce
- We acknowledge that early years education should benefit from the talents of all, so we are actively seeking to create a workforce that includes men, women and people with other gendered or non-gendered identities
- We are committed to removing the obstacles that stand in the way of a mixed-gender early years workforce, including low pay and status, limited career progression and gender-discriminatory treatment
- We view early years education as a critical context in which to address gender inequality and stereotypes, for the benefit of children and wider society.
The charter will be displayed at all the Tops nurseries to show their support and a promise to support men who work in early years. According to latest statistics, just 2% of the early years education (EYE) workforce in the UK is male, a figure that has remained static for decades despite previous targets and greater shared childcare between men and women in the home. At Tops Day nurseries we are proud to say that we are above the 2% and are at 6% of our workforce being male. The GenderEYE project at Lancaster University in partnership with the Fatherhood Institute is aiming to finding out why. We need to understand why so few men are willing to train to work in the early years and what kind of support they need to remain in this work when they do come forward. This is vital given the current recruitment crisis. The UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has provided a very substantial award for the research affirming its potential significance. A national conference was held in September in London to further promote men in early years and how to encourage more men into the early years. The MITEY campaign believes that young children in the UK deserve a high quality, gender-diverse Early Years workforce:
- To show children that we can all be caregivers/ educators
- To reflect and engage with the community it serves
- To give more men the chance to take part in this amazing work, and
- To ensure that children are looked after and educated by the best possible professionals, unlimited by gender.
Other benefits of men working in early years are:
- Children benefit from having both genders in a setting and this can contribute to a more holistic nurturing environment.
- Many children may not have a male figure in their home lives, male early years practitioners can provide the experience of a positive male role model
- Having men supporting and encouraging learning may help develop boy’s positive attitudes to learning.
- Male practitioners can challenge the stereotypes in relation to toys and activities.
We are very lucky here at Tops because we have a number of men working throughout the company, from apprentices working towards qualifications, qualified practitioners, room managers, nursery managers (We currently have three male Nursery Managers) and staff in supporting roles such as chefs in the kitchen. As well as male childcare practitioners in the nurseries we have male staff working at our head office who support the nurseries such as Ty our office admin, and Drew, our Training manager. MITEY has a series of long, medium and short term goals which are long term goals
- A national MITEY careers campaign
- High quality research into gender diverse early years workforces.
- Medium-term goal
- National gender equality audit of careers advice services
- Local pilot of sustained action by early years employers to recruit male staff
- Clear training and career pathways for different groups of boys/men
- Short term goals
- High-quality, annual reporting on the early years workforce by gender, age and ethnicity.
- Legislation/guidance to end gender-discriminatory policies on intimate care in early years.
- Programme of learning events for sharing best practice. We will be doing a series of Testimonials from the male staff that work at our nurseries which we will be sharing on our website and Facebook pages.
Together we are MITEY