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Saturday, 14 March, 1998, 10:05 GMT
Sir to disappear from the classroom?
Fewer than one in 10 male sixth formers are considering teaching as a career, according to a survey.

The finding will increase fears that male teachers could disappear from primary schools in the next century.

Educationalists say a lack of male role models such as teachers is one of the factors responsible for poor literacy and numeracy among boys.

male pupil
Boys need male role models, say experts
The survey, carried out by the Teacher Training Agency and the National Union of Teachers, revealed that 40% of female respondents chose teaching as their first choice of career.

But only 9% of male sixth formers said they wanted a career in schools.

Sixth formers said pay levels, the perceived long holidays and classroom discipline all affected their views of teaching as a career.

Latest statistics show that in primary schools, the number of male teachers fell from 34,000 to 32,000 between 1991 and 1996.

While female numbers rose in secondary schools, male teacher numbers dropped from 99,000 to 90,000 over the same period.

female teacher
Female teachers outnumber men in primary schools
The results of the survey come as the TTA continues its 1m advertising campaign to encourage more people into the profession.

Doug McAvoy, NUT general secretary, said: "There is already growing concern that boys are being out-performed by girls, partly because of the lack of role models in their early years at school.

"The findings of this survey can only add to that."

Less than a fifth of teachers in primary schools are men and the TTA's chief executive, Anthea Millett, predicted last year that men would disappear from these schools by the year 2010.

She said: "We need to build on this and convince more people that teaching is second to none when it comes to careers that make a difference to people's lives."

Teaching third choice career

However, teaching is the third most favoured career, coming behind business and creative and performing arts.

More than 80% of those who took part in the survey said they believed that teaching is a worthwhile career, with nine out of ten saying it changed children's lives.

Job prospects

Job prospects for graduates have improved, but more university leavers are having to take work on short-term contracts, according to a separate report.

The proportion of ex-students finding a job in their preferred career within six months of graduating rose 2% last year to 52%, the Barclays Graduate Survey showed.

The survey also found that loans are an accepted part of student life, with 84% owing money.

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