Editor’s view - Critical remarks

As this issue of Nursery World goes to press, we’re still waiting to hear who will be taking on ministerial responsibilities for early years and childcare at the Department for Education.

Sam Gyimah has moved on to the Ministry of Justice, where he will join another ex-childcare minister, Liz Truss, continuing her rise up the ranks of government. I’m sure he will feel more than a slight relief at escaping the implementation of the 30-hour free childcare programme, which has already proved so controversial and challenging.

At least Andrea Leadsom, Brexit campaigner and brief leadership challenger, will not be overseeing childcare, which given her interest in early development through NorPIP and 1001 Critical Days, was thought a possibility.

Following her comments about the dangers of employing men as childcarers, there would probably have been rioting in the early years sector had she been appointed.

As it is, there has been an outpouring of outrage about Mrs Leadsom’s opinion that it was ‘sensible’ to be cautious about men working with children as ‘your odds are stacked against you if you employ a man, We know paedophiles are attracted to working with children’.

The odds certainly seem to be stacked against dedicated men who want careers in the early years sector if this sort of view continues to be aired. ‘Andrea Leadsom says “sensible”, I’d say hugely offensive,’ tweeted Julian Grenier.

It has seemed recently as though some progress was being made with employing more men in early years settings and launching men in childcare networks. It would be a huge shame if Mrs Leadsom’s ill-judged remarks were to hamper further change.

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