Parents are calling for a fresh recruitment drive of male teachers as a survey shows most children from single mother households have little contact time with a male role model.

Single mothers expressed concern about their children having little contact with men in a caring capacity. A majority said they would like a man to be involved in the care and development of their young children.

The survey revealed that an astonishing one in six children living with a single mother will spend less than two hours a week with a male role model such as a father figure, family member or teacher.

The study, which was produced by the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC), interviewed 1,000 parents with children aged five and under.

Findings showed that over a third of parents agreed that having a male teacher gave boys especially someone to look up to and set a good example.

A quarter also believed that boys behaved better in classes taught by men.

The national development manager for early years at the CWDC, Thom Crabbe, said: “Parents are right to want to see more men working in early years. It is important that during the crucial first five years of a child’s life they have quality contact with both male and female role models.”

Findings released in October by a researcher at Newcastle University showed that children are likely to do better at school and in later life if their fathers take an active role in their upbringing.

Dr Daniel Nettle, who led the research, said: “What was surprising about this research was the real sizeable difference in the progress of children who benefited from paternal interest and how thirty years later, people whose dads were involved are more upwardly mobile.”

He added: “The data suggest that having a second adult involved during childhood produces benefits in terms of skills and abilities that endure throughout adult life.”

In July Philip Parkin, the head of the teachers’ union, Voice, said schools are being expected to pick up the pieces as society turns its back on the traditional family.

Mr Parkin said for some children, school provides the “only certainty and stability in their lives.”

At the worst end of the spectrum, children without a functioning parent figure are suffering from “emotional deprivation” and living in “chaos”, he continued.