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Bid to attract more men to our schools

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: November 20, 2012

By Nick Lester

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NEARLY a third of Devon's primary schools have no men teachers.

Figures just published by the Department for Education show that 88 out of the county's 296 primaries do not have any full-time qualified male teachers.

In the Mid Devon area there are 14 primaries with no men teachers.

There were a further eight schools in Devon where fewer than 10 per cent of the teaching staff was male.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has said more male teachers are needed to provide positive role models to youngsters.

But they were put off by worries that adult-child contact was a "legal minefield".

He said the Government had clarified rules regarding contact between teachers and pupils.

And a "troops to teachers" programme, which aimed to bring former service personnel into the classroom, would see more men entering teaching.

The programme involves former military personnel being offered bursaries for teacher training and a fast-track route if they lack degree-level qualifications.

The Department for Education say the number of applications from men to become teachers has risen, with a 50 per cent increase in male primary trainees last year.

Mr Gove said last year more male teachers were needed, particularly in primary schools "to provide children who often lack male role models at home with male authority figures who can display both strength and sensitivity".

But the Secretary iof State acknowledged that a major concern among men was "that they will fall foul of rules which made normal contact between adults and children a legal minefield".

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We want more men to consider primary teaching.

"Applications from men have already risen, with 50 per cent more male primary trainees in 2011-12.

"We're encouraging men to apply for training places by holding events where they can speak to teaching experts and other trainees.

"Up to 1,000 high-quality male graduates will take part this year in a new school experience programme which will boost numbers further."

Read more from Tiverton Mid Devon Gazette

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