Date of release: Monday, November 30, 2015

A former soldier is among 30 newly-qualified Early Years Teachers who have graduated from the University of Greenwich.

Anthony Bart-Appiah, originally from Ghana and now living in Deptford, spent five years with the British Army as a movement controller, helping keep troops, vehicles and supplies moving safely. Now the 34-year-old is starting his first teaching job, at Kidbrooke Park Primary School.

He says: "There is a stereotype that says women work better with young children but men can play a very important part as positive role models as well.

"At first on placement it was difficult but, as a father of a young son, I have a passion for helping children. I started to bond with the children and they and their parents started to love me! Now I am at my first job, through Career Teachers agency. It's very rewarding work and I would urge any men thinking about it to take the plunge.

"Moving from a military background to teacher training was a big change, but my lecturers at Greenwich trained me to provide a positive impact for the children."

Anthony and his fellow students are the university's first cohort of Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) graduates. This means Greenwich now offers teacher training from nursery level through to lifelong learning.

EYTS is the equivalent of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for specialists in early childhood development. It is awarded to graduates who have been judged to have met all of the Teachers' Standards (Early Years) in practice from birth to five years old.

Jill Harrison, Programme Leader in the university's Faculty of Education & Health, adds: "We need male role models coming into early years teaching. Anthony has a real enthusiasm but also a confidence in himself and his work. It isn't easy for a man going into such a female-dominated world, as parents can be questioning, but he won people round."

For more on studying Early Years Teacher Status within the university's Faculty of Education & Health: http://www2.gre.ac.uk/study/courses/pg/eduge/eyts

Story by Public Relations