Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The lesser spotted male teacher....are gender results afffected?

From the Annual digest of statistics for 2009-10, published by the GTCE...

Percentage of teachers by Gender in UK State Schools

Male teachers get rarer as pupil age decreases, and the numbers fall to 3% in Nursery. As an interesting comparison, 10% of the British Army is female.

DfE statistics for the end of EYFS (1 year after Nursery) show that girls outperformed boys by 18% in 2009-10
DfE stats for English & Maths at the end of KS2 (Primary) in the same year show girls outperforming boys by 5%.
GCSE results for the same year show girls outperforming boys by 7%.

Is it coincidence that the gender performance gap is so massive in Nursery/EYFS, where the chance of having a male teacher is almost negligible? There's plenty of academic research suggesting teacher gender has no impact, but I haven't managed to find any based on the actual performance of children who have been taught by men versus women.

Realising the major gender performance issue in Nursery/EYFS the DfE published the following in 2007 (do a Google search if you think this is a wind-up!)...

Good Practice Guidelines: Supporting boys’ achievements
A few tips…

An interest in wheeled toys:

• set up a garage, vehicle testing centre, pizza delivery, or motor cycle couriers
• make signs and street names, parking tickets and number plates
• number the tricycles
• provide car manuals and sales brochures, books about transport, maps and atlases
• use real spanners and screw drivers to dismantle an old bike or other mechanisms
• investigate gears, including those in clocks and hand whisks
• introduce maps and mapping

An interest in building:
• provide clipboards, pens and rulers
• use hard hats and overalls
• obtain architects plans and diagrams
• display photos, posters and books about buildings, structures and tunnels
• look for shapes and patterns in buildings and other structures
• use some real bricks and cement
• set up a shop selling builders materials
• read stories such as ‘The three little pigs’ and explore building with different materials

An interest in Spiderman:
• have a collection of super hero toys
• have comics and annuals in the book corner
• look at real spider webs and provide further information, such as non-fiction books
• provide a range of mark-making and craft resources so that children can create representations of Spiderman and webs if they wish.

Let's suppose for a minute that all but 48 of the UK Nursery teachers are male and that boys outperform girls by 20%. How do you think women would respond to the following government 'tips' for Nursery teachers?...

An interest in fashion:
• set up a hair salon or nail bar
• provide hair curlers and hair brushes etc
• display posters of different hair style
• use some real hair and nail

An interest in Wonderwoman:
• have a collection of Wonderwoman toys
• have Wonderwoman comics and annuals in the book corner
• look at real women and provide further information.
• provide pencils and materials so they can draw or make their own Wonderwoman

Perhaps a little patronising and sterotypical!!? ....(mental note to self: must look out for a Wonderwoman outfit for the roleplay area!)

Personally I think we need something much closer to a 50/50 split of male/female teachers across all education age groups in order to better reflect society in general.  However, having just enjoyed my school's Xmas night out (60 women and 5 men), I'm prepared to wait for things to change!

The Edgazette


  1. I love how you turned those tips around. I make the same argument, that anything short of near equity in gender numbers so that wider society is reflected in the staffing is a cop out, but we also need to be realistic. Norway has increased male educator percentages to 10% in their outdoor preschools & there seems to be many more men in the nature/forest schools compared to traditional services so getting outdoors & connecting with nature could be a starting point. it would also benefit the chilren greatly. There's some of my thoughts anyway.

    Keep up the good work Shrek!

    Greggles :)

  2. Thanks Greggles. Is nice to find someone in a similar situation as me...I am following your blog with interest!

  3. Male primary teachers are desperately needed in primary schools. The job however, can be perceived as one not suitable for men. This perception is outdated and inaccurate and puts a lot of potentially great Male Primary Teachers off from joining the profession.

  4. as stated on the website,, feminism is a gender-identity issue. it is a gender-identity issue to advocate for the little gender with the words "a woman can do anything a man can do". this is because anyone's gender is a matter of reality, and anyone's identity is merely a matter of self-understanding (or of self-misunderstanding). gender-identity is a matter of the understanding (or misunderstanding) of one's own gender. "a woman can do anything a man can do" is a gender-identity issue because it is based on (mis)understandings of the female gender. it is for this reason that i understand feminism as a gender-identity issue. a woman simply cannot do anything a man can do, this point is justified by every gender-based physical competition (olympics, military requirements, hot dog eating competitions, weightlifting competitions, etc) well as the gender-based competitions that have slipped my mind.

    why does the wannabee wear high-heeled shoes and shoulderpads?

    woman = womb+man


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