Head teachers insist gender is not a barrier to a career as a primary teacher, but a new report has nonetheless stressed the need for them to provide strong leadership on this issue.
Male early years trainees questioned by researchers from Nottingham Trent University and the University of Bedfordshire said they believed men could be put off applying for a primary school teacher job by stereotypes such as that early years posts are a women's profession.
Yet primary school heads questioned said that they did not look at gender when making appointments, focusing instead on qualities such as professionalism, an understanding of early years and how children learn and develop, empathy and emotional intelligence.
One of the researchers, Dr Krishan Sood, commented: "Good leadership and support through mentoring and explicit role clarity by head teachers and staff are good starting points to encourage more males into early years teaching."
The importance of male primary teachers was highlighted in a 2008 poll of adult males which revealed that almost half considered a male primary teacher to have been a major role model in their life, with many stating that male teachers had made them work harder and been easier to approach over problems with schoolwork.
Posted by Harriet McGowan