A male teacher plays an essential role in improving the childcare and education industry in a variety of ways. In a profession where women are the majority, male teachers diversify the teaching workforce and make a positive impact as role models for children.
Research from the Marian University indicates that teaching is expected to grow 4% or more within the next ten years as a profession worldwide. As such, there is a myriad of opportunities for males to get into teaching careers. However, recent studies show that despite the great deal of opportunities for male teachers, there is still a shortage in supply.
Male teacher statistics in Early Years
Although the importance of male teachers has been recognised, little has changed over the past few years. Statistics vary based on the source and figures vary slightly, but it is widely recognised that less than 2% of the Early Years practitioners and teachers are represented by males.
According to a survey conducted by the Department of Education in England, in the spring of 2019 there were an estimated 363,400 Early Years staff in group-based or school-based settings or working as childminders or childminding assistants.
In Scotland, research from NDNA reveals that around 19,889 people work in Early Years.
In Wales, there were an estimated 17,000 Early Years Staff.
Findings from Teacher Workforce Statistics from the Department of Education show that around 7,845 people work in Early Years in Northern Ireland.
In total, there are approximately 408,134 Early Years practitioners and teachers in the United Kingdom, of which less than 8,162 are male. This means that only 1 in 50 early years practitioners are male teachers.
It is clear there is still a long way to go in changing the gender balance of those working in Early Years.
Male teacher statistics in Primary Schools
According to research conducted by the British Educational Suppliers Association, there were about 264,804 teaching staff working in primary schools in 2020 across the UK. Of these, only around 39,720 were male teachers, which means nearly 1 in 7 primary school staff are male teachers.
Male teacher statistics in Secondary Schools
An article from AIRA on FE News reveals that there are less than 94,000 male teachers in secondary schools in the United Kingdom, out of the 247,378 teaching staff in the workforce. Therefore, nearly 1 in 3 secondary teachers in the UK are male.
Recruitment and retention of male teachers in the UK
Whilst recruitment is perhaps the most challenging issue to solve, the retention of a male teacher is likely to be the best tool to tackle the current gender imbalance. Finding strategies to retain male teachers would help more men to see teaching as a valid career option and to address the recruitment problem.
In fact, there are a number of issues contributing to male teachers dropping out of their career in the UK. Some of them include:
- Male trainee teachers lacking a strong relationship with their mentors compared to their female counterparts, as the mentors themselves tend to be female.
- Male teachers struggling to fit in with the staffroom culture of their predominantly female colleagues. Some male trainees reported avoiding the staffroom as they felt having little in common with the rest of the team.
- Male trainees feeling that the higher up the school they climbed, the stronger a teacher they would be perceived to be. For instance, if they were in key stage 1 or nursery, their subject knowledge would be seen as weak.
In conclusion, it is vital to identify the positive strategies that can enable you, as an employer, to retain your male teachers, and therefore facilitate further recruitment.
For this reason, we have put together some tips that you can use in your nursery or school to help you through the process:
1. Community of Practice
One way of achieving a good level of retention of your male teachers is to set male trainees up in a “community of practice” so that they can support each other. A male tutor can meet them as a group in their induction period so they feel better prepared and supported before they go into school.
2. Staffroom Culture
It is crucial to establish a good, supportive and positive staffroom culture. The more you can make staffrooms welcoming for all, the more you will be able to encourage male teachers to spend their lunch breaks in a place where they can mingle with others, sharing opinions and ideas with their colleagues. For instance, you could introduce social gatherings for every teacher after school/nursery on Fridays in your staffroom and serving hot drinks, cakes and sandwiches to encourage them to talk to each other and get used to using the staffroom as a place of support and reflection. Some settings have refurbished their staffrooms and set up large open spaces with bright, welcoming interiors and workstations around the edge, to encourage all staff to use them regularly.
3. Positive Achievements
Tackling the perception that males can only be seen as strong teachers if they climb up the ranks is vital. You can do this by showcasing and focusing on the positive aspects of teaching at all levels of the systems, including Early Years and KS1 (Key Stage 1). For instance, you could produce a video of some recent male primary trainee teachers’ positive experiences and achievements. You could use the video both in recruitment campaigns and to support mentors in understanding what causes male trainees to be hesitant and what they find most supportive from a mentor.
A lot of work still needs to be done to address the issue of recruitment and retention of male teachers. However, if we can begin to understand their experiences better, we can hopefully minimise the employment challenges faced by male teachers. This will allow you, as an employer, to reduce drop-out rate, transform the image of the profession and attract more male applicants in the years to come.