ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
National membership 

Publisher of the New Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Journal


The Worst and the Best Employers of Men

© ChildForum

A few of the big providers of early childhood education stand out in having a higher proportion of male teachers than the national average across all teacher-led services in NZ of 1.8% according to ChildForum. The employers from early childhood services with more than 1.8% of male teachers are doing something right to attract men to work for them and may be congratulated. 

There are a small number of individual early childhood centres in NZ with two or more male teachers and there are also some smaller kindergarten associations with more than 1.8% of male teachers. For example, a Dunedin early childhood centre 'Early Childhood on Stafford' has 3 male teachers in its staff of 15 (20% male teachers) and another Dunedin centre 'St Clair Corner' has 3 male teachers in its staff of 8 (37% male teachers).  In Kerikeri, centres Sylvan House and Lanark House have always hired one or two male teachers and currently have 3 male teachers in their team of 20 teachers.  

The Table below shows the percentage of male teachers at the largest early childhood services.  

Number of Teachers by Gender and Ministry of Education ECE Service Pay Unit as at 1 July 2011
  Female Teachers Male Teachers Percentage of Male Teachers
Kiwicare Pre School Ltd 111 5 4.3%
Canterbury Kindergarten Assn 209 9 4.1%
Wellington Kindergarten Assn 326 10 3.0%
PORSE Home-based Agency 
(This figure is for co-ordinators only
and does not include those educating
children in their homes)
99 2 2.0%
Lollipops Centres 427 7 1.6%
ABC Learning Centres 954 15 1.5%
Auckland Kindergarten Assn 381 6 1.5%
Kidicorp Centres 1217 17 1.4%
Kindercare Centres 348 5 1.4%
Barnardos Early Learning Centres 165 1 0.6%
Central Kindergarten Assn 227 1 0.4%

A problem with these statistics is that when the numbers are so small  the percentages are not statistically significant. "All it takes is for one out of two male teachers to resign at a service with 100 teachers for example, and the service is then down to 1%", says Dr Sarah Alexander

But ChildForum notes that the above statistics nevertheless indicate the existence of clear differences between the large providers of ECE who are succeeding in exceeding 1.8% of male teachers (namely Wellington and Canterbury Kindergarten Associations and a smaller early childhood group of centres trading as Kiwicare Pre School) and those who have not yet started to address the gender imbalance in their employment practices.

The low percentage of men in the Kindercare centres group could be viewed as disappointing given that the owners of this group of centres are a provider of early childhood teacher education involved in recruiting and training teachers (the NZ Tertiary College) and are closely involved in an employers' political lobby group (the Early Childhood Council).   

Since the data was collected Kidicorp acquired the ABC Learning Centres and the NZ College of Early Childhood Education (a provider of teacher education) and has commenced a programme of raising the quality of its services and ensuring more of its teachers are qualified and registered.  

ChildForum says it will be interesting to see this year, and next, whether and which of the big providers of early childhood education make a commitment to stepping up and increasing further the proportion of male teachers they have.   


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