Former English footballer and current sports broadcaster Gary Lineker once came to my school to give an inspirational speech.
When he came in he asked “Who knows me from playing football?” The older men put their hands up. Then he asked “Who knows me from Match of the Day?” Now half the room put their hands up. Finally, he asks “Who knows me from Walkers Crisps adverts?” The whole room put their hands up.
To prevent jeopardising meeting the Walkers Crisps guy, I didn’t complain that there were no females invited to meet him. This couldn’t happen in primary school. There are no males in the first place!
The amount of registered male teachers in primary education is far lower than their female counterparts. The coalition government were quick to state that their initiatives have caused a great increase in the male primary teacher population. I am sure the Conservative government will continue this trend.
However despite their fast track systems and offering top graduates more bursaries, there is still a major gender enrolment dichotomy. The difficulty in marketing these posts for males is the strong outdated stereotype of femininity or paedophilia – both views being absolutely ludicrous.
The effect on children is the main concern. Children are not stupid. We can tell them that any job is open for them when they grow up, but they can see that it’s not the truth.
There is also a suggestion from a study by Professor Smyth and Dr Piela, that there is an assumption from male teachers that it is a matter of time before they are promoted into leadership roles. This is dangerous for little boys and girls, as girls may feel that they are not the right gender for leadership posts, and boys are not the right gender for nurturing posts.
The problem is not in schools; it is a national one, and until we overcome these issues we teach the next generation to follow suit.