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Northern Ireland - Male teacher crisis deepens

The number of male teachers in Northern Ireland has fallen again over the past two years.

According to the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland, the number of male teachers fell by 265 between 2006 and 2008. An increase of 271 female teachers over the same period made up the deficit.

Out of the 19,802 full-time teachers in Northern Ireland, only 5,105 are men and there are no male nursery teachers.

There is particular concern about primary schools, where a lack of male role models at school and at home is thought to be detrimental to young boys' social development.

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools set up a research group three years ago to find out why teaching fails to appeal to men, but it has yet to make an impact on the profession.

Frank Bunting, northern secretary of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, told The Irish News: "All we get from the Department of Education and employers is hand-wringing but no action or follow-through.

"We need jointly to have an action plan with targets and a specified timetable. The teachers' unions are willing but this problem requires action, not words, for it to be addressed." MR.

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