Voice Community – Community Union’s education and early years section – has welcomed the Fawcett Society’s report Unlimited Potential – the final report of the Commission on Gender Stereotypes in Early Childhood.
Community Assistant General Secretary (Voice) Deborah Lawson said:
“We welcome the report for highlighting the need to address gender stereotyping.
“More investment is needed in student and staff training and resources to help bring this about.
“We particularly welcome the report’s recommendation that the ‘Government should raise the status of the early years professions by improving pay, training and qualifications of the workforce’. Raising the status of the early years professions is indeed ‘fundamental to addressing the recruitment crisis, including in relation to men, and would benefit quality overall’.
“Voice Community has been calling for the Government to recommit to its early years workforce strategy and the abandoned graduate feasibility study, and implement and invest in a national career and pay structure.
“We also agree that the DfE should encourage early years settings to recruit more men.
“Voice Community is backing the MITEY (Men In The Early Years) campaign to grow the male early years education workforce.
“The proportion of male early years education professionals is tiny and has barely grown in the last 20 years.
“Getting more men into childcare is important, both to provide male role models and to break down gender stereotypes about careers for children and adults.
“Because of the majority female workforce, and the traditional encouragement of women, but not men, to work with young children, childcare, early years education, and even primary age teaching, are viewed by many as ‘women’s work’. This is not, and should not be, the case.
“But unless more is done to improve the pay, working conditions, training, career development and status of the early years, that is not going to change significantly. There is already a recruitment and retention crisis for the current, predominantly female, workforce.”