Tim Caldwell is something of a rarity in Nottingham – a male primary school teacher.

City council figures show he is one of only 161, compared to 1,052 women.

In 2004, there were 187 male primary school teachers and 1,048 female.

But Mr Caldwell believes more men should follow his example.

He said: “It is something I really enjoy. I originally went into teaching at secondary schools, but it wasn’t for me – I found it more like crowd control at times.

“Primary schools are a different challenge. Children at that age are different. One child could understand something you say straight away, but another might not.”

The Nottingham City Primary School Centred Initial Teacher Training course was set up in 2002.

It is run up by a consortium of Nottingham city primary schools to address the shortage of male teachers in the city.

There are currently 22 trainees on the course, six of whom are men.

Programme assistant Carolyn Marshall said: “It is important to increase the number of men in primary teaching because they can be positive role models.”

Mr Caldwell, 28, began work as a marketing assistant at an IT company before switching to teaching.

His first primary school post was at Eskdale Junior School in Chilwell.

Two years ago he moved on to Nottingham Junior High School, where he is now head of humanities and teaches subjects including history and geography.

He said there were many reasons why the number of male primary school teachers was so low.

“Men are competitive and like to be seen as macho or as a high-flying executive,” he said.

“Teaching children aged seven to 11 years old doesn’t fit into most men’s view of an exciting, macho or high-paying job.

“A lot of my male friends wonder how I do it. A lot of men see working with children as a nightmare.

“You have to be very patient and have lots of energy.”

Mr Caldwell stressed that there were many positive aspects to the job.

“I enjoy helping children to discover and improve their abilities, nurturing talent and being the person who helps a child understand a new concept,” he said.

“I enjoy the responses I get from the children. So many of them have excellent ideas and perspectives on life.

“In my previous job I could look at my watch a few times an hour. Now I rarely get the chance to!”

Coun David Mellen, Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for children’s services, said: “There is an issue here with the lack of male teachers in primary schools.

“I think one of the reasons (for the shortage) could be attributed to the fact that there are people who have an unhealthy interest in children.”

The figures are in contrast to those at city secondary schools.

Though there are still more female teachers, the ratio is reduced to two to one, with 231 men compared to 426 women.