Men-only childcare course in Yarmouth

A childcare course just for men is to run in Great Yarmouth to entice more males into nursery jobs.

The all-male course –unique in East Anglia – is being specially designed at Yarmouth College to teach specific “boy style” learning methods including outdoor play and “rough and tumble” techniques.

Tutors hope to attract 15 men of all ages, from teenage school leavers to grandfathers, to start in February.

The hope is that all 15 will be working in local nurseries next year providing small children with more rounded role models.

And because the male childcare practitioner is so rare, they can expect quicker career progression than women, maybe higher salaries and bright professional prospects.

Students will learn outdoor curricular type programmes as well as the basics of childcare.

The aim is to shift the focus from men in childcare as “honorary” women to having something special, significant and separate to offer.

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Current courses mean there is often just one male in a class of 20 or so females, which puts men off.

So Rena Spinks, a sector leader for childcare teaching at Yarmouth College and a former head of early years in a school, devised the course to plug what she viewed as a glaring gap in provision and offer men a more comfortable way to learn.

Currently, 97.5pc of the childcare workforce is female and just 1pc of nursery nurses are men – a static figure for the past decade.

She said: “In a socially and economically deprived area like Yarmouth the chances are that one in three boys are not being brought up by their biological father. There may be a man in the house but not their father.

“There is a big gap for these children. Men want to study childcare but when they come they often leave because they view it as a woman’s world – they are often in a class full of women. It takes a lot of gumption to get through it.

“But we need men. Literacy scoring for boys aged eight is the worst in Europe. The whole way boys learn is physically different from girls and we need to adapt it for boys.”

Currently just three males are on the BTEC courses at Yarmouth College with one on the foundation degree in early years at UCS Great Yarmouth.

She said: “We would really like applications from older men too who are already retired but want to come back into the system.

“It can’t be looked at as sexist – it is being pro-active, meeting the needs of the community and our learners and helping get guys into the workforce.”

No experience is needed but students will need a CRB enhanced disclosure check in order to progress from level 1 to level 2.

Fur further information about the course contact Rena Spinks on 01493 419283 or apply online.