Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Monday, 13 July 2009 12:00 UK

Men urged to teach in primaries

Teacher Joe Waddle: “Men are a bit worried about getting into the education of very young children”

A drive has been launched to attract more men into becoming primary school teachers in England.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) says four in five applicants are women, though it has seen a rise in male applicants of 30%.

The TDA is bringing teachers into classroom events to encourage more men to consider a career in teaching.

It says that boys in particular could benefit from having male teachers as role models.

A growing interest in teaching among men has been partly attributed to the recession and rising unemployment in more traditional male sectors.

However, currently just over one in 10 primary school teachers is male.

'Work harder'

The TDA's chief executive, Graham Holley, says the campaign is not intended to be detrimental towards women, but aims to achieve a better mix of role models in primary schools.

A survey of 1,000 men carried out for the BBC last year suggested boys would benefit if there were more male teachers.

The adults questioned said that as children they would have worked harder if instructed by men and would have been more likely to go to a male teacher for help with problems such as bullying.

But the NASUWT teaching union questioned the evidence that male teachers had any impact on the outcomes of children.

General Secretary, Chris Keates, said: "The handwringing about male role models should therefore stop and we should focus instead on attracting the best recruits to the profession.

"A far more fundamental issue on which the TDA should be focusing is the fast tracking of the men who do come into teaching into leadership and management posts to the detriment of the careers of women teachers.

"The NASUWT recognises that it is necessary to ensure that any barriers to the recruitment of men into teaching are removed.

"This includes eliminating discriminatory selection practices, tackling the problems of stereotyping and better careers guidance to enable men to have the confidence to choose teaching as a career."

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