Men make up just three out of every 10 teacher trainees this year
Men make up just three out of every 10 people starting teacher training this year, according to figures from UCAS .
Women make up 75% of all classroom teachers with men – not just less likely to become teachers – but also more likely to leave the job than women.
With girls outperforming boys, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, some say the gender imbalance of teachers matters.
Mary Curnock Cook, former head of UCAS, the university admissions service, said: “It does seem to me that more male teachers would have a positive effect on boys’ education, I think, probably on girls’ education as well.”
She said that while there is an acceptance girls need positive female role models, the same is not always true for boys.
Having more male teachers would benefit both boys and girls, she added.
“It seems to me that seeing gender equality in the first workplace that young people really observe must be a good thing for gender equality later in life.”
In the average secondary school, only 37% of classroom teachers are men and in primary schools that figure is just 15%.
So why aren’t more men teachers?
Ben Hodges teaches English at Oasis Academy Coulsdon in Surrey, where he is also part of the senior leadership team.
He previously worked as a coach, and said becoming a teacher was a “culture shock”.
“I would say the stigma of the profession, as well as, especially going into primary school, you know that idea of stereotypical and outdated concepts of being a female profession,” he said.
But talk to boys at his school, and many feel they can relate more to their male teachers.
Michael Noka, 15, said: “Whenever there are situations or problems, they imagine themselves in our positions and they’re able to understand where I’m coming from.”
Victor Kedzierski, 15, said: “I think it’s more to do with how good the teacher is and not gender, but in my opinion I think male teachers have a more relaxed approach to teaching which I think suits me better, so I think I can learn more with a male teacher.”
Oasis Academy Coulsdon has above average numbers of children from poorer backgrounds.
The school works closely with education charity Teach First, which trains and supports teachers in deprived areas.
The principal, Catrin Green, said teacher recruitment is always a “challenge”.
But she said it is vital pupils see themselves reflected in their school community, saying: “I think for some of our working-class white British boys, it’s really important that they can see people who are not too dissimilar from them.”
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