Current figures suggest that only 3% of the early years workforce in England & Wales, and 4% in Scotland, is 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 kinds 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.
We created a survey (for managers and practitioners/staff) to help us gain a better understanding of the early years workforce in terms of age, qualifications, training, challenges and support. The survey for practitioners covered the above areas and ask about roles undertaken. The survey for managers had specific questions on development and recruitment strategies for attracting men to early years education.
The surveys were completely anonymous. The practitioner survey took approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. For the managers, there were two options. Participants took a speedy 1-minute survey and then had the option to complete a longer 5-10 minute survey. The questionnaires were available between September and December 2019. Once analysis is complete, the results will be published at the end of 2020 in early years magazines such as Nursery World and Under 5s, or in academic journals.
If you are a manager, or if you work in an early years setting (practitioner or otherwise, male/female/gender non-specific) we thank you for taking part in our study.
Unfortunately, we were not asking childminders to fill the survey in at this time – it was a question we thought long and hard about and decided that in the interests of simplicity we were going to focus on what was taking place in the more formalised settings, rather than trying to unpack what was happening within home-based settings as well, which we felt would be a whole other study. However, we are trying to get a sense of this through more qualitative data as a supplementary focus.
At the end of the GenderEYE project, we will be disseminating our findings. For more details and to express your interest, please visit our Conference and Training page.