The Policy-to-Practice Context of Male Practitioners in Early Childhood Education and Care within England

Jones, Charlotte (2015) The Policy-to-Practice Context of Male Practitioners in Early Childhood Education and Care within England. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Charlotte Jones PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Jun 2015_Final Award Aug 2015.pdf - Accepted Version

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High-quality outcomes for children as well as the quality of the workforce, has become early childhood education and care (ECEC) policy priority. Although gender equality is a feature of social policy and the role of men in promoting it is recognised across the European Union, this has not translated into an increase in men’s work with the youngest members of society.

Across Europe, men’s participation in ECEC remains undeniably low. This mixed-methods case study aimed to explore the policy-to-practice context of men working with young children within ECEC in England. In so doing, it brought together structural, macro-level analysis of ECEC systems and policies, as well as the micro-level practices of men within the field, using surveys, élite and group interviews, life-history accounts and observations from a ‘day in the life’ of one male practitioner.

Participating men were of different ages, had different roles and responsibilities in ECEC and worked across private, voluntary and state provision. They tended to be well-qualified, occupying senior management positions and they were confident and largely satisfied in their caring role. However, they experienced discrimination, with suspicion of abuse from colleagues, employers and parents and were faced with a public who questioned their sexual orientation. Young trainees meanwhile faced pressure to fit in with peer group norms and experienced backlash as a result of their career choice.

The study concluded that there is a need to recognise the complexities and contradictions of gendered power relations and the particular challenges men face in their work with children. The study also concludes that the lack of connection between social and early education policy means that structural inequalities across the ECEC workforce persist. As such, in practice, the early construction of gender capital through the reinforcement of dominant gender stereotypes remains a central feature of the hidden curriculum.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
June 2015Submitted
August 2015Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Early Childhood; Men and masculinity; gender construction; male practitioners
Subjects: CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-02 - teacher training
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Education and Social Work
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2024 16:32
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2024 16:32

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