Training and Development Agency for Schools - UK

Primary school boys are calling for more men to teach them, as new research reveals that many have never been taught by a male teacher.

The study, published today by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), finds that three-quarters (76 per cent) of boys aged eight to 11 are in favour of schools having teachers of both genders.

The research reveals that two in five boys (39 per cent) currently have no men teaching them – and one in 12 (eight per cent) have never been taught by a man. It also suggests that English primary schools have an average of just three male teachers, with one in 10 having no male teachers at all.

Primary school boys recognise that teachers of both sexes have their own strengths (60 per cent), and many believe that male teachers set good examples for them in particular (48 per cent), understand them better (28 per cent) and are someone to be relied upon for good advice (28 per cent).

Boys also admitted that the presence of a male teacher makes them behave better (51 per cent) and work harder (42 per cent). There are also more intangible qualities, with many boys saying that male teachers help them enjoy school more (44 per cent) and feel more confident about themselves (37 per cent).

Perhaps as a result, one in four boys claim that their favourite teacher is a man, and one in three (30 per cent) would like their own father to become a teacher. One in six boys (14 per cent) said that they would like to be a teacher when they grow up.

Graham Holley, Chief Executive of the TDA, said:
“Previous research has shown that parents want to see more male primary teachers, and now pupils are echoing that. We agree with them. Both male and female authority figures play an important role in the development of young people, and we want the teaching workforce to reflect the strengths of our diverse society.

“The number of men applying for primary school training courses increasing but not quickly enough. Entry to primary training courses is very competitive, reflecting the rewards that this job offers – an incredibly diverse role, competitive pay and benefits, excellent progression opportunities, and the most valuable reward of helping young people grow and flourish.

“I would encourage men who are interested in teaching to make the strongest application possible. This will often mean getting work experience in schools or working with young people. They should also get their applications into course providers well before Christmas, to stand the best chance of securing a training place for next year.”

According to the most recent DCSF figures*, men make up 16 per cent of primary school teachers and account for 34 per cent of headteachers. Applications to primary teaching courses have increased from 1,500 in 2001/2002, to 2,300 by 2005/2006 – 14 per cent of all primary applications. Final figures for the current academic year have yet to be published, but male applications account for approximately 19 per cent**.