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But can you talk football to the boys?

Oli Moses believes the pupils he dubs the "boy boys" get most from having a male teacher.

He is talking about those who love rough-and-tumble games, and to talk about football.

"I think I can relate to them because I was like that too. I always preferred to learn by doing things rather than sitting still in a classroom," he said.

Mr Moses, 29, teaches at Reigate Priory junior, in Reigate, Surrey. He is one of 11 men at the 575-pupil school, where half of the staff are male.

He decided to work in a primary school after spending four years on an educational project in Florida.

"I never wanted to have a desk job, but something which was interesting and active.

Of all the age groups I worked with in America, I enjoyed the primary age the best.

"I even tested the theory by doing supply work in a secondary school, just to make sure I was making the right decision."

Mr Moses believes that children need a good blend of teachers and, in his experience, parents want to see men in schools.

"I am the first male teacher many of my pupils have had. Some of the boy boys just want to talk about football. If they have someone to talk to about it helps them relate to the teacher.

"I think that overall, though, it is the experiences that teachers offer pupils that is important rather than what sex they are."

Noel Lellman, the school's headteacher, said: "Every child at this school gets to work with a male teacher at some point and when for some children this is the only male influence in their lives, then I think it is a good thing."


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