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New drive for men in primaries

The General Teaching Council has stepped up the pressure to encourage more men to become primary teachers after recent research findings underlined the disparity with women in teacher training institutions. Only 8 per cent of primary staff are men.

At a meeting in Falkirk on Wednesday, the council agreed to continue the publicity drive in schools and colleges. Compton MacLeod, head of Brediland primary, Paisley, said: "Primary teaching is seen as not a fitting career for men. Something is wrong in the system somewhere."

Vic Bourne, the council's depute registrar, said one of the key reasons appeared to be the often negative and stereotyped advice given by guidance teachers in secondaries. "Primary teaching is sometimes perceived as a woman's job. Boys are often not encouraged to apply," Mr Bourne said.

A GTC survey of students entering Moray House Institute and Northern College showed the percentage of male applicants ranged from 8 per cent to 15 per cent but numbers dropped by several percentage points between the time of application and entry. School influences and college selection procedures may be responsible, the council concludes.

Members backed plans to alert teacher training institutions, schools and career services to the gender issue. "While not diluting standards, the issue should not be overlooked in the BEd primary course," Mr Bourne said.

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