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Working with kids - a bloke with a question

(9 Posts)
richnfamous Sun 08-Nov-09 18:44:27

I'm a 50-year-old bloke who's 'downshifted' after a career in IT (it's well-paid but and working in an office does my head in - and the money doesn't make me happy). I'd like some advice and here seems a good place to ask...

I've recently been offered the chance to get into Forest School teaching, which appeals to me as I'm a keen and knowledgable nature lover, and (so people say) great with kids.

I've worked with kids before (in my 20s) and, although it's hard sometimes and the pay is lousy, I love it (and them). I have loads to offer and I really want to take this opportunity. I'll be working with 8- to 14-year-olds, teaching them about the natural world, knots, shelter-building, how to make fire (and respect it!), and whatever fun stuff we can find along the way.

However, the hysteria about paedophiles which seems to taint any discussion about males working children has made me think seriously about taking it up. I don't want to be suspected of anything like that because I've chosen to work with kids.

It goes without saying that I would never dream of harming a child - I even try not to raise my voice unless there's imminent danger.

Kids these days are often starved of male contact in schools and I feel it's important that we keep things balanced, and I'd really love to hear your views. I'd love to take the opportunity and get some new qualifications too.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

fledtoscotland Sun 08-Nov-09 19:14:38

there are two men working in my DSs nursery. I cannot speak for older children as mine are both still pre-school but I feel its essential to have both male & female role-models. From memory, the most influential teachers & tutors I have had have been male.

Go for it. you would have to be police-checked before you took up any post anyway

lindsaygii Sun 08-Nov-09 19:16:49

There is a desperate shortage for men to work in Primary Schools because there aren't many, but the system wants more male role models early on.

That hysteria affects everyone (I'm just starting teacher training, so I know...).

Go for it.

ten10 Sun 08-Nov-09 19:23:59

I have a male childminder for DS and he is brilliant, I wish that more men got involved in childcare,
and as recent news has shown weirdos come in both sexes so your gender should not be the reason for not doing something if you think you will be good at it and find it rewarding

Katymac Sun 08-Nov-09 19:27:17

Massively important imo for more men to work with children

Some children are unable to relate to children in their own family for various reasons so men in education are vital

My DH is a childminder & extremely good at his job

CRB checks will soon be the ISA thingie which is better imo

Forest schools are excellent as well (I have my level 1) being outdoors is so good for children

piscesmoon Sun 08-Nov-09 19:27:17

The early years and primary age need far more men-go for it.

Mutt Sun 08-Nov-09 19:38:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Katymac Sun 08-Nov-09 20:01:20

Have you managed to get funding for your Forest Schools course?

Are you doing level 1 or level 3?

richnfamous Sun 08-Nov-09 22:32:10

Hi all

I haven't looked at funding for courses etc. as I'm going to volunteer for the first 3 months to see if it suits me - or maybe I should say 'I was going to volunteer.'

Of course people need a CRB check and that's fine by me (even though it doesn't seem entirely effective). However, from October this year a 'Vetting and Barring scheme' has replaced it.

Here's an article:


"The new law requires everyone who has regular contact with children, as a result of an association with some form of organisation other than their family, to be approved by the Government after registering on a state-run database.

Suppose, for instance, that you volunteer to drive children to a football practice organised by a school or a youth club, or you take kids to Boy Scouts or Girl Guides – then you will have to register. If you fail to do so, you will be liable to a £5,000 fine.

Once it receives your application, the ISA will invite people to submit information about you. The ISA’s officials will be looking for any claim to the effect that you have done something which might have caused “physical, emotional, financial or developmental harm” to a child. Don’t ask for a definition of such “harm”, for there is none – the term will be interpreted in any way the Government’s assessors choose.

Those assessors will not be required to ascertain whether or not “harm” actually took place, nor whether you were in fact the cause of it. They will only have to come up with a measurement of the seriousness of the harm you might have caused: a number between one and five. Then they will have to put a number (also between one and five) on the likelihood that you’ll do something similar again. Those two numbers will then be used to determine whether it is safe to allow you to drive your child and three of his friends to that football practice."

As a point of principle I'm not going to submit to such a stupid law. Anyone could submit a totally unfounded rumour to the Independent Safeguarding Authority which would then be registered in some database or other and become a slur on my character, based upon no evidence whatsoever, and with no accountability attached to it.

I would like to stress that I have nothing to fear - I've got no criminal record or anything like that - but I'm totally put off by the thought of anyone being put in a position where rumours and gossip are taken as a kind of quasi-fact and used as a basis for decisions made by any public body. I can imagine legislation like this being exploited by people with grudges, and that's just plain wrong.

Many, many thanks for the encouragement but I'm not going to take up the offer. I fully appreciate the need to protect kids against all forms of abuse but submitting to that kind of check would feel like being 'guilty until proven innocent'. It's a step too far.

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