Headlines: October 1st, 2008

New research has underlined the importance of male primary school teachers as role models for men. It comes as the Training and Development Agency is attempting to encourage more men into the profession with the deadline for applications to next year’s postgraduate training courses approaching.

The survey questioned more than 800 men and found that almost half of them saw male primary teachers as fundamental role models. More than a third thought that being educated by men at primary level challenged them to work harder at school and more than one in five believed that male teachers helped to build their confidence when they were young. Men make up only 13 per cent of registered primary school teachers, according to the General Teaching Council but the figure is currently increasing by about one per cent a year.

The study also found that half of the respondents felt they would have been more likely to turn to a male teacher over bullying, About a third said they would prefer to talk to a man about problems at home and with questions about puberty. The TDA has released the figures in the run up to the deadline for applications for primary school teacher training. Potential teachers have just less than 9 weeks to apply for next year’s postgraduate courses.

The consultant clinical psychologist, author and broadcaster, Dr Tanya Byron, has given her support to the view that male primary school teachers are vital in providing positive male role models for boys and said the need for strong male models was more apparent than ever as more children experienced the breakdown of the traditional family unit. “Male primary school teachers can often be stable and reliable figures in the lives of the children that they teach. They inspire children to feel more confident, to work harder and to behave better,” she said.

The TDA will be running an online question and answer forum for men interested in primary school teaching on Wednesday 5th November via its website http://www.teach.gov.uk