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Sex immaterial

Owing to a bizarre incident at Cardiff airport this week we now know that planes sometimes cannot take off if there are too many men on board. The aircraft in question was deemed to be overloaded because 76 of its 110 passengers were men.

But is the reverse true in education - that a lack of male teachers and role models can prevent boys from "taking off" academically? Not according to University of Hertfordshire reseachers, who report that male:female teacher ratios have no effect on primary schools' key stage 2 results.

The study was unable to show that boys score the same, irrespective of whether they have a male or female teacher. Nevertheless, the researchers are almost certainly right. Rather than worrying about how to attract more hunky, sports-playing men into primaries we should be trying to ensure that teachers of both sexes have a better understanding of what makes boys tick.

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