One in four primary schools still has no male teachers

Male primary teacher The education secretary says male teachers are needed as role models

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One in four primary schools in England still has no male registered teacher, statistics show.

General Teaching Council for England figures show a slight improvement on last year, with 27.2% schools with no male teachers, down from 27.8%.

There are just 48 male teachers in state nurseries.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said more male teachers were needed but they were put off by worries that teacher-pupil contact was a "legal minefield".

In total, women make up three-quarters of registered teachers - which includes all state school teachers and also teachers in the independent sector who choose to register with the GTCE.

Only 12% of primary school teachers are male, compared with 38% of secondary school teachers - with the proportions virtually unchanged since last year.

However, the proportion of men entering the profession has risen slightly, with men making up 25.6% of newly qualified teachers, up from 24% last year.

The overall pattern is similar in Wales, with figures published in August showing that about a quarter of all teachers are male, but the proportion of men entering the profession is rising slightly.

In Scotland only 8% of primary school teachers are male, while about 15% are male in Northern Ireland.

'Strength and sensitivity'

GTCE chief executive Alan Meyrick said the figures "suggest little change in the long term imbalance" between men and women in the profession.

But he said women remained under-represented in senior management roles.

According to Department for Education figures, 32% of men working in nursery and primary schools are in senior management, compared with 16% of women.

In a speech on Tuesday, Mr Gove said more male teachers were needed, especially in primary schools "to provide children who often lack male role models at home with male authority figures who can display both strength and sensitivity".

"One of the principal concerns that men considering teaching feel is the worry that they will fall foul of rules which make normal contact between adults and children a legal minefield," he said.

He said the government had clarified rules regarding contact between teachers and pupils.

Mr Gove said a "troops to teachers" programme, to be launched later this year, would "ensure that there are many more male role models entering teaching".

Former military personnel will be offered bursaries for teacher training and a fast-track route if they lack degree-level qualifications.

The GTCE figures also show the profession getting younger, with the number of teachers aged between 50 and 59 falling by 8% in the past five years.

Reliable ethnicity data for the whole profession is not available, but 9% of newly qualified teachers were from non-white backgrounds.

This is down slightly on last year, but up from 5% in 2002, the GTCE said.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    This issue has been reported many times over recent years and nothing's changed as it didn't bother the previous government. Due to the creation of a paranoid society by the media and New Labour policy, we have the situation of male primary teacher = paedophile. This image needs to change in order to increase the number of men going into the profession and applying for primary teaching posts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    I have a good degree and many years work experience in senior mgt positions in the private sector. However, I wanted to do somthing more rewarding and have considered primary teaching. Yet, I cannot get on a PGCE course as I do not have enough 'skills' applicable to teaching? I have been willing to halve my salary but it is really difficult if you come from the private sector. You are not wanted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    I'm a male early years teacher and would gladly take up a teaching position if I could get one!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    My boyfriend is currently trying to get work experience by volunteering at local schools and clubs. Of 10 local(ish) primary schools all told him he couldn't volunteer. Although they did not state it was because he is male we suspect as much. He's passionate, smart and is great with children, why should he be shunned out because of his gender?

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    After the Soham case we have become inured that any male with an interest in the welfare of small children especially girls must be a paedophile. So why would a non-paedo male want to endure the suspicion and become a primary teacher?
    We had three male teachers in 8 classes and they were figures of authority. Oh, the school was surrounded by prefabs in a working class area. There was no trouble.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    13. spluffy.

    Also shows that either you or the school got it wrong. It's illegal to require a CRB for one group of people and not another when carrying out the same role with children. But stories like this confirm the myths.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Thinking back to when I was at primary school (it was Junior and infants in those days) nearly 40 years ago I cannot recollect a single male teacher being my form teacher until I was 11 years old.

    It wasn't until I went to a boys grammar school did male teachers get to be somewhere close to parity with women.

    It was sadly always this way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    We all know the real problem here: that many people today assume that any male interest in children must be sexual. Recently I've volunteered just once a fortnight down at a local primary school and I've had several male friends question my motives and one open accusation from an acquaintance that I'm a paedophile. I'm only 18 too, hate to think what it's like for adult full time male teachers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Interesting. It is a little disturbing that the news featured following this article in "More Education and Family Stories" is linked to child abuse!

    I am currently working in Industry as a Chemist, and when I said that if I would take up teaching, I would prefer to work in a Primary school, to get kids interested in science, I was told I was just a closet paedophile!... Enough said!

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Until the stigma and pay scale changes for the better you are not going to see that statistic change in the near future

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    The age range of primary school means there's a stronger care component than for secondary school teaching so unless they have a very particular interest in teaching that age range, men will tend to go for secondary teaching which is more about straightforward teaching - Sterotyping, yes but sometimes there's truth to stereotypes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    This is a Western phenomenon. In 1992, in Victoria, Australia, the problem was so bad that the then gov. developed a program aimed at giving middle-aged female teachers the skills to provide physical education programs to kids. No fathers, no male teachers, and rapidly ageing females with no interest in phys ed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Surely the best teacher for a child, is the one that teaches best regardless of gender?

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    8. Glen Haig

    Worked in teacher training and primary education for many years. I've never come across the attitude to male teachers that your sister in law, apparently, encountered. The legal minefield that puts men off is another smokescreen from a fourth rate (except for being ill informed, then he's world class) secretary of state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    With little girls being dressed increasingly like teenagers, the male teacher is at grave risk of accusations of misbehaviour; no wonder they avoid the profession.

    If I were a teacher, for my own safety I'd only teach adults

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    As a primary teacher, I most certainly do not agree with males being given preference in teacher training courses. When I trained as a teacher there were 8 males out of a class of 24 in my group. Only 2 made it into teaching, 2 of them dropped out as they found it too challenging. The rest couldn't find work and frankly knowing them I was not surprised. Standards need to remain high.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Working as a TA for the past two years in Foundation stage, I understand the lack of males teachers. When near children I know I'm simply doing my job, but there's a constant worry that someone will see it in the wrong context. There are no clear guidelines on what is/n't allowed. You can cry out for common sense, but it's simply not enough to cover your own back should a parent be mistaken.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    My ex room-mate was a 28 year old male teacher of 3 years in primary schools. He eventually left teaching as the rest of the staff were women, constantly gossiping about him, wondering why a grown man wants to be around children. He said it was the most sexist environment he has ever worked in, especially in this day and age of the media convcining the mass populace that all men are pedophiles

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    It may be true but it isn't exactly news. It's been like this for years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    A male friend told me he was at a dinner party where some of the guests were female teachers. He mentioned in passing that he was thinking to retrain as a primary school teacher, whereupon the deputy head looked him up and down and said sneeringly "Is there something wrong with you?" "What do you mean?" he replied. "Is there a reason you want to work with children?" - the insinuation evident.


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