General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

 
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Male teachers absent from 244 primary schools

29-09-2010

UTV


Only 15% of teachers employed at primary schools at the start of the academic year are men, which is 1,327 out of a total staff of 8,541.

Meanwhile 244 schools in the region have an all-female teaching staff.

SDLP South Antrim MLA Thomas Burns says action must be taken to address the imbalance. Mr Burns has called on Education Minister Caitríona Ruane to make primary school teaching "more attractive" to men.

"It goes without saying that all staff must be recruited fairly and equitably, so it is up to the Minister of Education to make the profession more attractive to men," the MLA said.

"It is important to avoid stereotypes, but it is undeniable that the profession has long been dominated by women and we can't really say why.

"We need more passionate, dedicated male teachers in our primary schools, but at the same time this should not be at the expense of good female teachers.

"A mixed staff with strong authority figures and good role models right across the board would be ideal."

Thomas Burns says research has shown that boys would benefit greatly from having more male teachers.

"Many of our young boys, particularly in inner city urban areas, could benefit from having strong male role models in their lives," he continued.

"A survey a few years ago showed that 51% of boys believe they are better behaved with a male teacher - and 42% said they work harder, so there does appear to be some evidence to support the case.

"I think young boys can benefit greatly from the right type of male influence, particularly in their formative years and particularly when teachers are working with them one-on-one.

"And I am not just talking about on the sports field, I want to see more male teachers right across the board teaching all subjects at all ages."

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