BBC Online - Wales

The number of men working in primary schools in Wales has reached its lowest level in nearly 10 years in Wales.

It is thought one of the reasons for the decline could be fears about false allegations of abuse against children.

One teaching union says it has dealt with more than 1,500 allegations against its members – but just a handful have resulted in convictions.

Concern is growing that – while men are turning away from the primary sector – children could be missing out on valuable male role models.

In 1993, just over 21.5% of all staff working in primary schools were male, but this had dropped to 19.6% four years later.

New figures for last year have shown that ratio dropped again, to just over 18%.

In April last year, a similar shortage of men signing up to become primary school teachers in England was tackled by an advertising campaign.


Many in the profession have said worries about false allegations of abuse could be behind the decline.

According to the teaching union, the NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) there have been 1,557 police investigations against members.

But of those, just 62 have resulted in convictions.

Two years ago, Cardiff headteacher John Tobutt was accused of physically assaulting a boy twice in three months.

Investigations by the police and social services found that there was no case to answer, and he was cleared.

In April 2001, Mr Tobutt told a NASUWT conference that teachers falsely accused by pupils should be compensated by the state.

He told BBC Wales: “There are a number of colleagues up and down the country who have gone through similar experiences and they have been permanently damaged and will probably never get over such an experience.”