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It's not raining men

The number of male teachers in primary and secondary schools has hit record lows, according to new research published for the first time in today's TES magazine.

Only 13 per cent of primary teachers are now men, with 41 per cent in secondaries. This compares with 23 and 55 per cent in 1980.

The research, by Professor John Howson, director of Education Data Surveys, shows that the retreat of men from the profession is likely to continue.

Last year the proportion of men under the age of 25 who registered with the General Teaching Council as primary teachers was only 10 per cent. In secondary schools it was less than 30 per cent.

"The downward trend is likely to continue for a few years," Professor Howson said. "The profession is losing more men at the top end than it is gaining at the bottom."

John Bangs, head of education at the National Union of Teachers, warned that an economic downturn would be needed before men were attracted back to the profession. He said:"I think there are a lot of men out there who could be attracted to teaching, and want to make a difference.

"The problem is that with a buoyant economy, they are more attracted by jobs with the potential of much higher earnings."

Mr Bangs said that, apart from the glass ceiling on senior management positions, women found the level playing field for teaching jobs a big advantage.

"I don't subscribe to the idea that children need male teachers to be role models, but I am concerned we are not getting applications from the largest pool of people. Attempts have been made to bring more men into the profession, but it's like trying to turn round an oil tanker. It's a shame."

Men wanting to be primary teachers have achieved official recognition of their status as an endangered species. Along with people from ethnic minorities and those with a disability, they are regarded as an under-represented group and offered special three-day taster courses by the Teaching and Development Agency.

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