Fewer than one in eight Sheffield primary school teachers is a man, according to the latest figures from the education authority.

The traditional imbalance has barely changed over the last decade, resulting in fresh fears that boys are not getting the male role models they need.

Only 215 men are currently teaching in city primaries, compared with 1,588 women.

In the profession as a whole, women outnumber men by three to one but the imbalance is far greater in primaries.

Nationally almost 30% of primaries have no men at all on their staff.

Sheffield education managers are working closely with teacher training tutors at Hallam University to promote primary schools to young male trainees. A new scheme in universities is also targeting high quality graduates, especially men, to consider teaching.

Some analysts feel men are put off teaching younger children as their intentions may be questioned.

Kathryn Stallard, Sheffield secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Attracting more young men into teaching would be good for schools and for the profession in general – there is a real debate about how we can do that. Ideally a school’s staff should reflect society as a whole.

“But I think this issue shows how little we have moved from the traditional view that primaries are somehow a more nurturing, female-oriented environment, while secondaries are a place for more focused academic learning – which is completely outdated.”

Cabinet member for children’s services Coun Andrew Sangar said: “We would encourage men to go into this profession as it is imperative that young boys get good role models in all walks of life from as early a start as possible.”