'Ladies' job' tag deters recruits

14th January 2000 at 00:00
SCHOOL-LEAVERS are being put off becoming primary teachers by ill-informed careers advisers who fail to challenge the notion that it is a low-status, predominantly female profession.

Researchers Ivan Reid and Mary Thornton of Loughborough and Hertfordshire universities, who interviewed 148 student primary teachers across the country for the Teacher Training Agency, found most careers advisers gave negative advice about pursuing a teaching career.

One student said: "When I was choosing my options at school, I was told by my careers advisers and teachers not to waste my brain on teaching."

Students said advisers were unable to provide appropriate information about teaching. Some werediscouraged from considering primary teaching. One said: "I only succeeded by ignoring my careers advisers and teachers and relying on my stubbornness."

Only 43 per cent of 1,611 student primary teachers responding to a separate questionnaire said careers advice had been a positive influence on their decision.

However, the study adds that serving teachers could be more enthusiastic. More than a quarter of the students said teachers in schools where they had worked during their course had been negative about the job.

Researchers were told by one student that primary teaching was "still seen as a ladies' job" and "it should be more of a profession like secondary teaching".

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