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Men are not the answer for boys

Male teachers do not bring out the best in boys, a study of 9,000 11-year-olds has revealed, although a teacher's gender has no impact on attainment or children's attitudes to specific lessons.

The first research of its kind using British data shows that children taught by a woman had more positive attitudes to school generally.

Policy-makers advocating more men in the classroom should take note, researchers say.

The study by Durham University's curriculum evaluation and management (CEM) centre and Newcastle University, was unveiled at the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction conference in Cyprus.

Professor Peter Tymms, director of the CEM centre, said: "There has been a view that we are in a crisis with boys' performance because we have not got men teaching them. We are not saying that we couldn't do with more male teachers - but we are saying that it's not going to impact on boys'

performance and attitude."

The study used the 1997-98 Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS) project which tested 413 classes of 10 and 11-year-olds in reading, maths and science and explored attitudes to school.

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