Men begin to turn primary corner;Hot data;Briefing

22nd October 1999 at 01:00
'More men may be expected to enter teaching over the next few years' More evidence that male and female roles in school are changing follows figures showing that most primary heads are women.

LATEST FIGURES from the Department for Education and Employment show the first rise in the number of male secondary teachers in 10 years. 159 men accounted for this upturn, but it stops a decline that has seen the loss of more than 17,000 men from secondary schools in the past decade. During the same period the number of women teachers in secondary schools has risen by nearly 5,000.

However, the number of male teachers in primary schools has continued to decline by another 200. By contrast, the number of women teaching in primary schools has risen by a further thousand so that they now account for 83 per cent of the primary teaching force.

One piece of good news is that the number of male teachers under 25 working in primary schools rose for the first time in many years. Again the rise was small, with only an extra 57 male teachers, taking the total number to just under a thousand or about the equivalent of six per local authority.

Nationally, the number of men accepted for postgraduate certificate in education courses this autumn rose, but only by 154.

A corner appears to have been turned, and with the Teacher Training Agency's campaign and the new pay structure following the Green Paper, more men may be expected to enter teaching over the next few years.

John Howson is a visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University. Email:

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