Minister backs scheme to encourage more men into pre-school careers
More men are being encouraged to work in nurseries as a charity aims to challenge stereotypes over the male role in early education.
Men currently make up just 3% of early years staff in England, and the Government has given a £30,000 grant to a scheme to provide diverse role models for pre-school students.
The project is run by the Fatherhood Institute, a charity lobbying for changes in law and policy to dismantle barriers to fathers' care of infants and children.
Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi announced the £30,000 grant, which the charity will use to provide "how-to" guides, online content to encourage male recruitment into the profession and a national conference to highlight the positive role men play in the early years of education.
Mr Zahawi said: "Every child needs a role model to guide them - whether that's a parent, a close family member or friend, or someone at nursery or pre-school that makes a difference in their life.
"The early years staff who support children in the first few years of their education equip them with important skills before they reach the classroom, getting them on track to succeed as they get older.
"Just as parenting is a shared responsibility, so is kickstarting a child's love of learning. I want more men to play a positive role in educating and caring for our next generation."
This comes as part of a wider Government effort to fund the pre-school workforce, including the £20 million Professional Development Programme targeted at better training for staff in deprived areas.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds has stated his ambition to halve the number of children who leave reception class without early education or reading skills.