Men In The Early Years (#MITEY)

12 May 2017

Men In The Early Years logo


Men In The Early Years #MITEY is a campaign the Fatherhood Institute is developing, to help increase the diversity and gender balance of the early years workforce.

Our objectives are:

  • To raise awareness in the early years sector of why we need more men working with children and families/carers
  • To raise awareness of the opportunities and benefits in the wider population
  • To provide managers and frontline staff in the early years sector, including in training organisations, with resources to assist them in recruiting men
  • To promote early years careers to men
  • To signpost men in the early years sector, and those considering such work, to further support.

#MITEY has emerged in response to the continuing lack of a coordinated, national drive to tackle the dearth of men in the early years workforce. There is no ‘magic bullet’ to solve this problem, but we hope that #MITEY will create a space for those motivated to create change, to share ideas and new approaches.

What you can do

Sign up to the #MITEY campaign by subscribing to the Fatherhood Institute newsletter here. By doing so, you will be signalling your support for this important area of work.

You can also email Jeremy Davies who will send you a FREE downloadable, printable charter developed at the first national Early Years: A Career for Everyone conference, held in February 2016 – for you to display in your setting.

Invite us to run a workshop or speak at your events. Check out what we can offer: MITEY course flyer pdf.

Share this page with colleagues, and invite them to sign up to the campaign. Here’s the shortlink:

Share your stories. If you are working to improve the gender balance in your early years workforce, tell us what’s working, and what isn’t…what the challenges are, and what you’re doing to overcome them. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #MITEY.

Use our resources. We have started a list of resources below, based on what we know about what’s already going on. If you know of other useful resources, please let us know, and we will add them to this page.

The background to #MITEY

Men in childcare - Evening Standard

Photo courtesy of Evening Standard

We are developing #MITEY in recognition of the need for individuals and organisations to network on a national level around this important agenda – something that has become very obvious to us through a local project we have been working on in London, aimed at increasing recruitment of young men into the childcare profession.

Thanks to initial funding from Trust for London, we ran a project with City Gateway (a women’s and youth charity in the London borough of Tower Hamlets) and other local partners, including schools, careers advisors and early years providers, aimed at recruiting young men to new, male-friendly childcare courses.

As part of this work we created a Men in Childcare Forum in Tower Hamlets and went on to create #MITEY as a campaign to promote and share useful ideas and resources from around the country. We hope that this page, and the #mitey hashtag, will become a useful resource nationally.

Here are some links to resources related to our Tower Hamlets campaign:

    • Our final report including key findings, a schema for embedding men-into-childcare initiatives locally, and myth-busting discussion points: MITEY 2017 London report
    • #MITEY flyer to promote City Gateway and Smart Training courses in Tower Hamlets: MITEY Tower Hamlets flyer pdf
    • Flyer produced by Fatherhood Institute and City Gateway, to promote City Gateway’s early years course to young men: City Gateway Childcare Flyer.
    • Case studies of young men who have taken childcare courses with Smart Training.
    • Case study of a man working in early years and childcare: Max Moorcock, Early Years Manager, Queen Mary University of London: Case study Max Moorcock
    • At the end of this page you can read a Storify summary of #MITEY in the press and on Twitter, February to November 2016.
    • Jobs for the boys Trust for London evaluation.

Why recruit men into childcare?

Despite decades of progress towards greater gender balance in many professions[1], the early years education and childcare workforce remains stubbornly dominated by female staff. Latest figures show that only 2% of early years education and childcare staff are male[2].

By comparison, male representation in primary education – also traditionally female dominated – has been growing. A quarter (25%) of primary school teachers and 8% of teaching assistants are male, according to latest figures[3].

Men’s participation in hands-on caring for children has increased hugely over recent decades[4] – so there are plenty of men out there with experience of looking after and nurturing the future generation. But there’s a big job to be done to make early years education and childcare more attractive, inclusive of, and rewarding for, men.

Barriers to recruitment include:

  • Lack of relevant, timely and tailored information and careers advice about the benefits and challenges of working in early years education and childcare
  • Too few vocational training courses marketed to men and designed with men in mind
  • A failure among employers to proactively recruit men and ensure workplaces are welcoming of male staff (and clients)
  • Low pay (a concern for many potential female recruits too)
  • Negative attitudes and stereotyping about men who work in childcare.

Recruiting more men into childcare brings many advantages:

  • A larger pool of labour for employers
  • A more diverse workforce
  • Positive modelling of men as caregivers, for boys and girls
  • More diverse careers options for men.
References [1] For example in 1963, 29% of people accepted into medical schools were women; by 2008 this had risen to 56%. Figures from the British Medical Association. [2] Department for Education, 2012. [3] Department for Education, 2013 (figures for November 2012). [4] For example British fathers’ care of infants and young children rose by 800% from 1975 to 1997 (source: Fatherhood Institute).

Useful resources

Men into childcare groups and networks

For more background information about men in childcare, and to network with others who are interested in this field, check out the following:

Online/print resources

Blog for The Voice Union’s Your Voice magazine (October 2017: page 13)

Fatherhood Institute guide to achieving a more gender-balanced early years and childcare workforce: Men in Childcare.

Equality and Human Rights Commission guide to using positive action when recruiting under-represented groups (in the case of early years, men) to your workforce.

‘You want to narrow the gender pay gap? Tackle the ‘gender career gap’ first’: blog by Kirstie Donnelly MBE (August 2015) for City and Guilds.

‘Apprenticeships not ‘just for the boys”: research on the gender gap in careers advice (March 2014) by City and Guilds.

‘Is childcare’s gender gap being addressed?’: lead feature in Early Years Childcarer Issue 2 (May/June 2016).

Teachers’ TV film about men in early years.

BBC South Today film ‘A call for more men to choose nursery work’, February 2016

Surrey Family Information Services’ online leaflet: How men in early years can benefit you and your child .

Toad Hall Nursery men in early years launch event, 2015

Childlinks ‘Men in Early Childhood Care and Education’ report by Barnardo’s Ireland

London Early Years Foundation ‘Men Working in Childcare’ report

London Network of Men in Childcare promotional video 

Cooperative Nurseries ‘Men in Childcare’ recruitment campaign.

Nursery World ‘Big issue’ focus on men in childcare.

MENtor programme for Males in Early Childhood Education, University of South Australia: introductory video.

Montessori #MenInMontessori video.

Case studies of men working in early years

Max Moorcock, Early Years Manager, Queen Mary University of London: Case study Max Moorcock

Nathan Sweetman, Nursery Manager, Toad Hall Nursery Group: Case study Nathan Sweetman

Case studies of young men who have taken childcare courses with Smart Training.

‘What it’s like to be a man working in a childcare centre’: case study of twins Jack and Nick, by Claire Stephens (March 2016) for The Motherish.

Research/background papers

Warin, J (2017) Conceptualising the value of male practitioners in early childhood education and care (ECEC): Gender balance or gender flexibility. Gender and Education: 1-16. Available online at

Brownhill, S (2010) The ‘brave’ man in the early years (0-8): the ambiguities of the ‘role model’. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Warwick, 1-4 September 2010. Available online at

Equality and Human Rights Commission (2010) Working Better: Childcare Matters: improving choices and chances for parents and children. Available online at:

Fatherhood Institute (2014) Boys and girls, men and women, in non-traditional occupations. Submission to government careers guidance consultation, July 2014. Available online at:

Jones, C (date unknown) A policy-to-practice study of male professionals within early childhood education and care in England. Available online at:

Mistry, M and Sood, K (2015). Why are there still so few men within Early Years in primary schools: views from male trainee teachers and male leaders? Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education Volume 43, Issue 2, 2015. Available online at:

Rolfe, H (2005). Men in Childcare. Occupational Segregation Working Paper Series No. 35. Equal Opportunities Commission, Spring 2005. Available online at:

Rolfe, H (2006). Where are the Men? Gender Segregation in the Childcare and Early Years Sector. National Institute Economic Review 2006 195:103. Available online at

Wright, D (2014). Men in Early Years – The election campaign starts here. Available online at

Press coverage

Our work with City Gateway has been featured in:

The Evening Standard

Evening Standard Young Men into Childcare story

Children and Young People Now

Nursery World

Tags: , ,