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Shortage of men in primary schools

One in four primary schools still has no male teachers, despite rising numbers of men entering the profession, new figures have shown.

A quarter (25.6%) of teachers qualifying this year were men, up 2.4% since 2008, according to statistics published by the General Teaching Council for England (GTC). But only one in eight (12.4%) teachers working in primary schools are male.

There were 26,208 men working as teachers in primary schools as of March 31 this year, compared with 185,023 women, the figures show.

In total, around 4,000 primaries in England, or one in four, have no registered male teachers, the GTC said, despite the numbers dropping by 130 schools this year. There are only six state secondary schools in England without men in the classroom, the regulator added.

The figures also show that nurseries are still struggling to recruit male staff. Just 48 men were working in state-run nurseries this year, and only three of them were under 25.

Overall, there were 578,755 teachers registered with the GTC at the end of March, up 1.9% on 2010.

GTC chief executive Alan Meyrick said: "These figures suggest little change in the long-term imbalance between the numbers of men and women, both in the profession as a whole and in school leadership roles."

Mr Meyrick added: "We need to attract teachers and promote tomorrow's leaders from the widest possible pool, regardless of gender, so that children can benefit from the greatest talent and experience."

Education Secretary Michael Gove said more men are needed in teaching to provide youngsters with male role models. He said the Government's plans to launch a "troops to teachers" programme, aimed at turning members of the armed forces into teachers, will boost the numbers of male role models in schools.

A separate study published by the Centre for Policy Studies suggests that putting soldiers into schools will help to raise standards and deal with bad behaviour. It backs proposals for a new secondary school, based in Manchester, staffed by ex-servicemen and women.

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