by Anika Bourley - Telegraph & Argus - UK

There are 156 local authority primary schools across the district, but according to figures released by the Department for Education, there are 19 primary schools across Bradford with only female teachers.

The problem is mirrored across the country despite attempts by the previous Government to increase numbers.

The number of men working as school teachers has reached a five-year low leading to concerns about a lack of positive male role models.

Sue Colman, Bradford Council’s assistant director for learning services, said: “The recruitment and retention of male teachers within primary schools is a challenge being faced by education authorities across the country. Fourteen per cent of teachers in the district’s primary schools are men, in line with the national average.

“Locally, we have drawn up a specific plan of action to increase the number of male teachers working in primary schools as a balanced and representative workforce will benefit children’s development.

“This has involved studying examples of work carried out by other councils, reviewing our policies to ensure they meet equality requirements and conducting research that will help us to target our recruitment and retention of male teaching staff.”

The Training and Development Agency for Schools says the number of men applying to be teachers has soared since the recession began.

Rising joblessness has made the prospect of working in primary schools more attractive and the number of men applying to train has increased by more than a half, from 3,125 to 4,746.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We also want to take urgent action to attract more great teachers into the classroom. We want to further enhance the prestige and esteem of the teaching profession and further improve teacher training and continuous professional development.

“The generation of teachers currently in our schools is the best ever, but given the pace of international improvement we must always be striving to do better.”