Boys will perform better in education if they have a male teacher in their primary school, according to research published today.
A study of more than 1,000 men reveals almost half of them (48 per cent) cited male primary school teachers as having had the most impact on them during their school life.
In addition, 35 per cent said having a male teacher challenged them to work harder at school while 22 per cent said males had boosted their confidence in their own ability.
The research, for the Training and Development Agency – the body responsible for teacher training – comes as the number of males qualifying to teach is at its lowest for five years – 23.8 per cent. Only 13 per cent of all primary school teachers are men.
The research, carried out by ICM, is backed up by psychologists who point out that – with the growing number of one-parent families where children are brought up by their mother – a teacher may be a child's only male role model. Dr Tanya Byron, the clinical psychologist and government adviser, said: "Male primary school teachers can often be stable and reliable figures in the lives of the children they teach."
The number of males qualifying to teach was 1.5 per cent down in 2006-07 compared with the previous year. However, with primary school registrations, the figure has been rising by 1 per cent a year to 16 per cent.
The TDA is launching a campaign to encourage men to teach. It wants recruits to follow in the footsteps of Simon Horrocks, who quit his job as a supermarket manager to start teaching aged 39. Mr Horrocks, who teaches at Christ Church school in Folkestone, Kent, sold his home to study to be a teacher. He said: "It was when my two sons started school I thought about a switch. I used to spend one day a week in their school. It was a 'road to Damascus experience' and now I come skipping to work in the morning."