Quarter of all primary schools have no male teachers

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One in four primary schools in England still has no male registered teacher, which has led to questions about positive male role models.

The General Teaching Council for England statistics show that as of March 31 this year only 26,208 men were working as primary school teachers, compared to 185,023 women - and the proportions are virtually unchanged since last year.

This was despite the number of men qualifying rising by 2.4 per cent since 2008. There are just 48 male teachers in state nurseries, and only three of them were under 25.

The overall pattern is similar in Wales, with figures published in August showing that about a quarter of all teachers are male, but the proportion of men entering the profession is rising slightly.

In Scotland only 8% of primary school teachers are male, while about 15% are male in Northern Ireland.

The statistics has led to Education Secretary Michael Gove calling for more men to work in primary education to provide youngsters with male role models. He said more male teachers were needed but they were put off by worries that teacher-pupil contact was a "legal minefield".

Mr Gove said: "We need more male teachers - especially in primary schools - to provide children who often lack male role models at home - with male authority figures who can display both strength and sensitivity.

"One of the principle concerns that men considering teaching feel is the worry that they will fall foul of rules which make normal contact between adults and children a legal minefield."

He said that making it easier for teachers to exercise their authority in the classroom can help reverse the flight of men from primary education.

Mr Gove added that the Government's plans to launch a 'troops to teachers' programme, aimed at turning members of the armed forces into teachers, will boost the numbers of male role models in schools.

The figures also showed there are only six state secondary schools in England without men in the classroom, and nurseries are still struggling to recruit male staff.

Overall, there were 578,755 teachers registered with the GTC,  up 1.9 per cent on 2010.

However, over one in 10 (11 per cent) were not working in the classroom. These teachers were either working elsewhere in the education system, retired, not in education at all, or not working.

The statistics also showed that teachers working in schools are getting younger, with the numbers aged under 25 rising by 1.4 per cent in the last five years, while the proportion aged 50-59 has fallen by 8 per cent in the same period.

GTC chief executive Alan Meyrick said: "These figures suggest little change in the long-term imbalance between the numbers of men and women, both in the profession as a whole and in school leadership roles."

Previous Government statistics have shown that a third (32 per cent) of men working in primary and nursery schools are in senior leadership roles, compared to 16 per cent of women.

And 14 per cent of men working in secondary schools are in senior roles, against 8 per cent of women.

Mr Meyrick added: "We need to attract teachers and promote tomorrow's leaders from the widest possible pool, regardless of gender, so that children can benefit from the greatest talent and experience."

According to Department for Education figures, 32% of men working in nursery and primary schools are in senior management, compared with 16% of women.

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