Daniel returns to nursery . . . as boss

DANIEL Brand is one of few men succeeding in a female-dominated workplace - he has taken charge of the nursery he attended 30 years ago.

DANIEL Brand is one of few men succeeding in a female-dominated workplace - he has taken charge of the nursery he attended 30 years ago.

Mr Brand, 29, was the first ever child enrolled into the family-owned Play Pit nurseries and has worked there since being at school.

Throughout his university studies in nursing, he always undertook holiday work at The Play Pit - which has premises at Felixstowe and Trimley St Mary - and, on leaving university seven years ago, took up a full-time post there.

Now he has been promoted from male carer to manager at Play Pit's Cherry Court nursery in High Road, Trimley St Mary.

“I'm so happy to have been given the recognition and responsibility of this new post - in a job I absolutely love,” said Mr Brand.

“As we all know, childcare is currently a very female-dominated area of work, but it can be a hugely rewarding career for a male too.”

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A recent Department for Children, Schools and Families report highlighted the differences in learning styles between girls and boys.

Research has found boys play in very different ways, using different stimulus to girls and this needs to be considered carefully and accounted for by their carers.

The report suggested nursery education providers “invite fathers in, enabling them to join in and act as positive role models to the boys, involving them in a wide range of activities - particularly those which boys tend to avoid”.

Mr Brand said he had not thought of himself as a male role model.

“I am always extremely conscious of setting a good example for the children, of course, whether they be girls or boys,” he said.

“Naturally, however, I am also interested in the activities that interest boys, such as football.”

Since working at the nurseries, Daniel has introduced a number of initiatives which particularly stimulate male play.

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FASTFACTS: Men and women in different working worlds

- Margaret Thatcher turned the world of politics upside down in 1979 when she became the first woman prime minister - and the first to win three consecutive terms - after 250 years of male dominance in the role.

- Male nurses have been part of the NHS for many years now - but still make up only seven per cent of the total nurses.

- It was not until 1994 that the Church of England saw its first women priests ordained, giving them equality with male vicars after nearly 500 years.

- There are 200,000 househusbands in the UK - waving goodbye to their wives as they go off to work, leaving dad to bring up the children and do the housework.

- One of the main bugbears for women is that in many jobs in business and industry they are still not paid as equals with men - women earning on average 17 per cent less for doing the same job.