Teaching is not a man's world

10th January 2003 at 00:00
Both as a teacher and as a parent, I read the article "Men on the way out as teachers" with considerable interest (TESS, December 13). What particularly concerned me was your quoted figure that 92 per cent of probationers in primary are female.

My son John was an unsuccessful applicant for the PGCE primary course. With both parents as teachers, he had a pretty good understanding of what was required.

Prior to going to university he took a year out. As well as earning some money and travelling, he helped voluntarily in his old primary school for some weeks. In his final year at university in Aberdeen he helped for one day a week at a local primary school.

You can imagine his disappointment when, despite this experience and having graduated with a 2.1 honours degree in history and politics, he was turned down for a place.

On enquiry he was told that he needed more experience. That was more than four years ago. Since then he has been working in Japan as a teacher of English. I doubt very much whether he will ever reapply to become a primary teacher in Scotland.

While I can see the arguments against some form of positive discrimination, I feel that there is a real problem here. My own experience would suggest that very few male school-leavers give serious thought to primary teaching at the ages of 17 and 18.

As a result applicants for the BEd primary course are overwhelm-ingly female. I would therefore support giving preference to male applicants for the PGCE course. What could make this a more attractive option in the future is the suggestion that we should be training teachers to cover the 10-14 range and bridge the sectors.

Eric Melvin Headteacher Currie Community High School Edinburgh

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?

Subscribe

To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
 
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today