A teachers story: 'Parents didn't want me to look after their children'

Click to follow

The 22-year-old is one of only two male nursery school teachers in Britain aged under 25 – but when he joined the profession he was not welcomed with open arms.

Mr Wilson who works in a children's centre in Merseyside, said he was viewed with suspicion when he first started the job.

"Even within my first week at the children's centre I encouraged anxiety from a parent who was reluctant to leave their three-year-old within my care because I am a male within a female-dominated environment," he said. "I have found that it has been an issue in my own experience."

Over time he conquered the fears of parents, he said, and teaching became easier. "Now, one year on, the parents and I have a very positive relationship."

Mr Wilson is part of a project at Edge Hill University in Liverpool aimed at raising awareness of the need for men to enter teaching in early years settings and in primary schools. "There is no doubt that there is an acute lack of male teachers throughout our profession and, with this in mind, I strive to give the children within my care the highest quality learning experiences, environments and opportunities that I can offer," he said.

"Male teachers should not be regarded as stereotypical 'disciplinarians' but equally with women teachers – as carers and facilitators of education and learning.

"Young people have the right and the entitlement to be cared for, taught and nurtured within an equal and multi-cultural environment."

Mr Wilson may have his work cut out persuading men to opt for early years teaching in particular. This year, their number went down from 56 to 43.

Keith Bartley, the chief executive of the General Teaching Council for England, said children would "miss out on a huge pool of talent" if men's interest in teaching was "viewed with suspicion".