ONLY one in 10 of Sunderland’s primary school teachers is male, latest figures show.
The Government is calling for more men in the classroom, after it was revealed that a quarter of primaries in England have no registered male teachers.
In Sunderland, 11 per cent of primary school teachers are men. The General Teaching Council for England says the national figure is 12 per cent, compared with 38 per cent of secondary school teachers.
Mike Foster, deputy executive director of children’s services at Sunderland City Council, said: “The most important factor for a primary teacher is his or her ability in the classroom, regardless of gender.
“However, it is clear that positive male role models for young boys and girls are essential at all phases of education.
“In Sunderland we would encourage young men to enter the teaching profession and can give them work experience in primary schools during their secondary school career. We work closely with our local universities to ensure the best teachers are employed in our schools.”
Les McAnaney, headteacher at Grangetown Primary School, in Spelterworks Road, which has no male teachers, but said gender cannot be an issue when it comes to employing staff.
He said: “Before the holidays I got more than 100 applications for two teaching jobs and out of those about 10 were from men. But the issue of gender never came into it. You have to employ the best person for the job.”
Mr McAnaney joined the teaching profession 20 years ago and said he was attracted to primary over secondary because it allowed him to teach a variety of subjects rather than specialising in just one.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said more male teachers were needed, especially in primary schools, to provide children who often lack positive male role models at home with a male authority figure who can show both strength and sensitivity.
He said: “One of the principal concerns that men considering teaching feel is the worry that they will fall foul of rules which make normal contact between adults and children a legal minefield.”
But he said the Government had clarified rules regarding contact between teachers and pupils.
Mr Gove said he hopes the Troops to Teachers programme, to be launched later this year encouraging former military personnel into the profession, will bring more men into teaching.