James Meikle

Boosting the number of male teachers in school would have little impact on boys’ attitudes towards education or their academic results, a report says today.

Only one in eight primary teachers is a man and the figure for nurseries is smaller at one in eleven, but the idea boys would do better if they had more male role models in the classroom is misguided, say contributors to the report Boys to Men.

The government has been concerned about boys’ poor performance at school compared with girls for some years and has also expressed a desire for more male role models in schools.

Only this month, the chancellor, Gordon Brown, promised money in his pre-budget statement for programmes to help close the gulf between boys’ and girls’ results in reading and writing tests at 11 and 14.

But in the report for the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, Christine Skelton, part of a team of researchers from the universities of Roehampton, Surrey, Newcastle and London Metropolitan, says their study of more than 300 seven and eight-year-olds found the gender of their teachers was not important to them nor did most see them as role models.

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