A soldier-turned-teacher is eager to become an inspirational role model for youngsters in south east London.

As a movement controller for the British Army, Deptford dad Anthony Bart-Appiah was more familiar with ensuring troops, vehicles and supplies were moved safely than classrooms and school books.

The 34-year-old is now embarking on a fresh career after graduating in as part of an inaugural cohort of 30 Early Years Teachers at the University of Greenwich .

He will begin teaching at Kidbrooke Park Primary School.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The university now offers teacher training from nursery level through to lifelong learning.

The Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) is the equivalent of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for specialists in early childhood development.

Programme leader in the university’s faculty of Education and Health Jill Harrison said: “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.”