Research conducted by Nick Fletcher MP (member of the Education Select Committee), with current and former teachers showed that 81% supported the need for more male teachers in schools. Pay, the lack of prestige for the profession and workload were highlighted as key barriers. As were the fear of false allegations/motives, teaching not being seen as a profession for men and a lack of career progression.
He recommends in his report (Findings from the Male Teacher Shortages Survey: A Policy Conversation Starter1) that deeper consideration, research and then action needs to be taken on increasing the number of male teachers. This includes understanding the impact on pay/pay scales and retention/recruitment with respect to prospective, current and former teachers. In addition, there is a need for targeted recruitment campaigns, and investment on persuading young men to consider teaching careers.
The findings are based on the views on 114 teachers in April and May 2022 and is designed to start the conversation on what can be done to increase the number of male teachers.
The research by the member of the House of Commons’ Education Select Committee was prompted by their inquiry on teacher retention and recruitment2. There are statistics on the dearth of male teachers but little on the reasons and the impact. He is also the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Issues Affecting Men and Boys who are holding an inquiry on boys’ underachievement, which includes exploring whether the lack of male teachers has an impact.
Current figures show that:
- 35% of secondary school teachers are male3
- 14% of primary and nursery schoolteachers are male
- 25% of special needs or PRU teachers are male
- 2-3% of early years’ teachers are male4
- 30% of primary schools have no male teacher at all5
Asked about the barriers which were leading to the lack of male teachers, the most popular answers by current and former teachers were:
- Pay and Conditions: 75%
- Lack of prestige/status from society in being a teacher: 60%
- Workload: 53%
- Fear of false allegations/motives: 32%
- Teaching is seen by men as a profession for women: 31%
- Lack of career progression: 14%
81% said they felt that increasing male teachers was important. The primary themes were:
- Male teachers act as positive male role models for girls and boys, with a particular benefit for boys without male role models at home or in their community. This included helping these boys to see that learning is not just something that girls do.
- It would encourage more young men to consider teaching as a career – in essence “"you have to see it, to be it.”
- Schools should better reflect the communities they serve, and more male teachers would benefit the whole school environment.
Nick Fletcher’s key recommendations, based on moving the conversation forward were:
1) A gender-specific recruitment drive for male teachers, particularly focused on primary schools and early years.
2) Concrete action aimed at young men in their teens, so they see teaching as a profession for them – with exactly the same level of focus and investment given to persuading girls of a similar age to take on STEM careers.
3) A full programme of funded research with clear actions on understanding:
a) the barriers preventing men joining the profession alongside why they are leaving;
b) the dynamics between recruitment/retention and pay/pay scales based on the gender of prospective, current and former teachers who have left the profession;
c) the issue of false allegations/motives as a barrier to men taking up teaching careers.
4) A full programme of funded research on the impact the lack of male teachers has on students’ attainment and socialisation. This is especially so for disadvantaged boys with no positive male role models in their immediate lives.
Nick Fletcher MP said: “It has been deeply worrying that there continues to be a lack of men teaching in our schools. I also am greatly concerned that the Government and education policymakers have not been interested in finding out why, let alone doing anything about it. We need to start the conversation and this research aims to do that, especially when teachers themselves feel we need more male teachers.
“It is clear that teachers feel that more male teachers have a positive impact on the learning environment, on how men are viewed and also act as positive male role models for girls and boys. For boys and young men, that is even more important when they have no positive male role models elsewhere in their life.
“It is also important that we get more men into teaching, so schools better reflect their communities. It also shows boys that learning is not something just for girls. We need the same effort we put into encouraging girls into STEM subjects and it continues to be inexcusable that this continues not to happen.”
Notes to Editors
- Nick Fletcher Report: Findings from the Male Teacher Shortages Survey: A Policy Conversation Starter – https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/W7CCZQ/.
- Education Select Committee: Teacher recruitment, training and retention - https://committees.parliament.uk/work/7357/teacher-recruitment-training-and-retention
- Department for Education: School workforce in England (Reporting year 2021) - https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england
- Department for Education and Fatherhood Institute: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/calls-for-more-men-to-work-in-the-early-years
- Fullard, Joshua (2020): Trends in the diversity of teachers in England, The Education Policy Institute / University of Essex https://repository.essex.ac.uk/30979/
Journalists requiring further information should contact Nick Fletcher MP on: email@example.com