Suraj forwarded this article to me and the first thing I thought was “tell me something I don’t know!” Why? I didn’t think it was a big deal until I saw the magic that male teachers seem to have with primary school aged children.

Perhaps it’s because there are less positive male role models.
Perhaps it’s because each home doesn’t necessarily have a present male.

There could be many reasons but here’s what the Guardian says about why it’s a big deal!

Under-fives have almost no male teachers.
Recruitment drive fails to redress chronic gender imbalance in primary sector.

Just one in 50 teachers of the youngest primary schoolchildren in England are male, despite a government recruitment campaign, figures revealed today.

Only 2% of staff in nursery and reception classes, which teach under-fives, are men, according to figures from the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

In schools with receptions but no nurseries, this figure falls to 1%. Men account for 16% of all primary schoolteachers.

The figures led to warnings over the social impact of many boys reaching the age of 11 without a positive male role model.

Critics said men were put off working with young children because of the idea that it is “women’s work”, the low wages, and fears that they may be suspected of being paedophiles, the Daily Telegraph reported today.

Anastasia de Waal, head of family and education at the thinktank Civitas, told the newspaper: “It is very important for children, particularly young ones, to see men as teachers. Seeing men as role models is very important.

“The idea that men are afraid of being seen as paedophiles is very serious. Obviously, we want to protect children, but we don’t want to get to the stage where we are harming them because they don’t see any men in schools.”

A Department for Children, Schools and Families spokesman said: “Male childcare workers act as positive role models for children, which is why we launched a campaign to attract more men to the sector last year.

“The campaign challenges the stereotypical view that childcare is a woman’s role.

“Also, several of our recent early learning partnerships projects focused specifically on engaging fathers in their children’s early learning, and our Children’s Plan called on all public services to take account of the needs of both parents.”

Graham Holley, chief executive of the Training and Development Agency for schools, said: “The number of men applying for primary school training courses is increasing, but not quickly enough.

“Entry to primary training courses is very competitive, reflecting the rewards that this job offers: an incredibly diverse role, competitive pay and benefits, excellent progression opportunities, and the most valuable reward – of helping young people grow and flourish.

“I would encourage men who are interested in teaching to make the strongest application possible. This will often mean getting work experience in schools or working with young people. They should also get their applications in to course providers well before Christmas to stand the best chance of securing a training place for next year.”

The former education secretary Alan Johnson announced a drive to get more men into teaching in March 2007.

But a DCSF report in July last year suggested getting more male teachers in primary schools was “simplistic”, and research found male teachers would treat boys more harshly than female teachers did.

According to the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC), there are currently 33 men with Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) and another 32 in training.

A further 148 men are registered as wanting to gain EYPS. In total, 1,800 people hold the qualification.

The government is committed to having an EYP in every full daycare setting, and two in the most disadvantaged areas, by 2015. The CWDC plans to have 20,000 EYPs by 2015 to meet the target.

Thom Crabbe, the national development manager for early years at CWDC, said: “Parents are keen to see more men in the childcare workforce providing access to positive role models and men in supportive and caring roles.

“Our recruitment work now and over the next three years will draw on case studies and successful projects recruiting men, and we are committed to establishing more male workers at every level in the early years sector.”

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