MITEY North Conference

Tuesday 18th July at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford

The first Men in the Early Years North national conference took place in Bradford in 2017, at the National Science and Media Museum. The conference showcased a multi-agency focus on engaging men in the early years which is helping to improve outcomes for children. The conference aimed to further raise the policy questions around gender imbalance in the early years’ workforce, and a growing need for the positive modelling of men as care-givers for boys and girls. The conference was a significant step forward in supporting the development of national and international networks for men in Early Years. 


Click here to access the keynote speaker presentations.

MITEY Conference July 2017


Keynote speakers:

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust

Dr. Anette Hellman, Senior Lecturer in Early Education at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden speaking on the ambivalence of caring masculinities.

Professor Steve Robertson, Professor of Men, Gender and Health at Leeds Beckett University speaking on social theories of masculinity and their application to public health and health promotion.

Dr. Jo Warin, Senior Lecturer in Educational Research at Lancaster University and Yuwei Xu, Lecturer in Children and Family Studies at Portsmouth University speaking about the gender flexible Early Years practitioner.

Anne-Marie Merifield, Executive Headteacher, St Edmund's Nursery School and Children's Centre speaking about recruiting and retaining men in the Early Years workforce.

Shahid Islam, Research Fellow at Better Start Bradford, University of Bradford Innovation Hub speaking about the importance of effective consultation with dads.

Noreen Khan, Director of NEESIE (a voluntary organisation for single mothers) speaking about the importance of the role that men play in children's development.


Workshop 1: Consulting dads in the community

Shahid Islam, Abida Rafiq and Ian Thorpe (Better Start Bradford) and Tracy Bywater (Professor of Family Wellbeing, University of York).

The Better Start Bradford team, along with the project evaluator from York University, will talk about:

  • How are we adjusting the way we work in light of consultation with fathers, to make our work more inclusive?
  • What are the challenges in developing policy and practice?
  • What activities or services do fathers want to take part in?
  • What are the early signs from this ongoing research project about the impact of fathers’ involvement on family health? 

Workshop 2: Dads, arts and creative play

Tim Curtis (Community Artist)

This workshop will focus on child-centred learning approaches and Tim’s male take on play, dressing-up, performing and making and creating: drawing on his own practice as a community and fine artist and as an early years practitioner since 1995. There will be practical, hands on activities that can be taken away and used after the workshop in each participant’s own school or setting.

Workshop 3: Engaging dads from Eastern Europe

Juraj Tancos and Ermina Kesedzic (St Edmund’s Nursery School and Children’s Centre)

Around 10% of the local community at St Edmund’s are from a Central or Eastern European background. These families are relatively transient with many families staying only a short time in the local area. This workshop will provide an overview of some of the cultural barriers these families and in particular dads and male carers face when accessing services, how schools and children’s centres can begin to break down those barriers.

Workshop 4: Men in the Early Years - why it’s important (and practical advice on how) to set up local support groups

Shaddai Tembo (Bristol Men in Early Years Network)

The Bristol Men in Early Years (BMiEY) network will talk through what's needed to set up your own local group. From funding and the practicalities of running a network, through to our outreach work and raising awareness in your area, BMiEY will aim to cover why these networks are necessary and what impact can they have. This will be an interactive session where we aim to generate useful discussion around challenging the gender imbalance in the Early Years workforce.

Workshop 5: Caring, stereotyping, and risk in early years settings - male perspectives

Robin Naylor (Forest School Practitioner) and Wajib Khan (St Edmund’s Nursery School and Children’s Centre)

Some people are still suspicious when they encounter men seeking to work with children. Being a man in a nursery can be sometimes be difficult, especially if you’re faced with parents who may not want men looking after their children or involved with their physical care. This workshop will consider mechanisms to address these negative attitudes towards men in early years settings. Participants are invited to share the challenges they have faced in these areas and contribute examples of good caring practice and policies from their own work.

Workshop 6: Recruiting men into Early Years - why we need more men in the Early Years: and why we need women to make it happen. Thoughts and lessons from the #MITEY campaign.

Jeremy Davies (Fatherhood institute)

In this workshop, Jeremy Davies from the Fatherhood Institute will get participants thinking about:

  • Why do we want more men in the early years workforce?
  • What will they do when they join?
  • How do we get there?

Workshop 7: Engaging and supporting young men who are fathers.

Dr Esmée Hanna (Research Officer, School of Health and Community studies at Leeds Beckett University). 

Drawing on research evidence from a recent project about the use and value of group support for young fathers, the session will provide insight into the benefits of effectively supporting young men who are fathers. The session will also allow for interactive aspects enabling delegates to explore the potential needs of young men who are fathers, how young men may currently be supported by services and organisations, and will encourage delegates to think creatively about what being ‘young father friendly’ may entail.

Workshop 8: Using cultural settings to engage dads and male carers

Vicky Clifton and Penny Kathryn (National Science and Media Museum)

Museums and galleries are an important resource in any town or city. This workshop will look at how practitioners can use these public spaces in their work with dads and male carers. Delivered in the new, state of the art Wonderlab within the museum.

Workshop 9: Where shall we play? How shall we play?

Jo Josephidou and Polly Bolshaw (Senior Lecturers in Early Childhood at Canterbury Christ Church University).

In this workshop we are going to explore if men have a unique contribution to make to early years practice.  We will focus on the key areas of risk taking, physical play and outdoor play. We hope there will be lots of audience participation in some thought-provoking activities and that the audience will both share their own experiences of practice and go away reflecting on how they can further impact on outcomes for young children.

In a former life, Jo taught in nursery, reception and Key Stage 1 classes in schools across England for over 15 years. Polly previously worked as an early years practitioner, most recently in a Sure Start Children’s Centre. Both have a research interest in gender issues in early childhood education and care.

We would like to thank St Edmund's Nursery School and Children's Centre, Bradford Birth to 19, the National Literacy Trust, Bradford Council, the Science and Media Museum and the Fatherhood Institute for supporting this event.