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Paedophile hysteria preventing men applying to work in primary schools ...

... a Government advisor has said.

Graeme Paton, 30 Sep 2008, Telegraph, UK

The lack of male teachers may be having a serious effect on boys' performance in the classroom as many miss out on strong role models at a young age, according to Tanya Byron, the child psychologist. 

She said the shortage particularly hit children from single-parent families who often went without father figures in the home. 

The comments came as a campaign was launched by the Government's Training and Development Agency for Schools to recruit more men into the primary sector.

According to official figures, fewer than one in eight primary school teachers are male, and numbers plummet to just one in 50 among those working in reception and nursery classes. 

Dr Byron is the presenter of a television show on problem children called Little Angels, as well as a Government advisor on internet safety. She said paranoia about child abuse was driving many men out of the classroom.

"There is this paranoid, over-the-top concern about paedophilia and child molestation - that it is not safe to leave children with men," she said. "These themes are running through society to such an extent that attitudes have become skewed and our anxiety does ultimately discriminate against men. This puts men off from working in primary schools because they are concerned about how they will be viewed and what parents will think of them. We have to challenge these negative and
unhelpful belief systems."

Research by the TDA showed almost half of men believed male primary school teachers helped them develop at a young age. In a survey of 800 adults, it was revealed a third were challenged to work harder because of men in the primary years, while 50 per cent were more likely to report problems such as bullying to male teachers. 

Dr Byron said boys - many of whom struggle to sit still at a young age - worked better with men. They also needed more exposure to males in school to show that learning was not a feminine virtue, she said. She added that positive male role models were particularly important for boys from single-parent households.

"The need for strong male role models as constants in the lives of young children is more apparent than ever in light of the increasing numbers of children experiencing breakdown of the traditional family unit, growing up in single-parent families or not having a male figure at home," she said. "Male primary school teachers can often be stable and reliable figures in the lives of the children that they teach. They inspire children to feel more confident, to work harder and to behave better."


In 2006-07, fewer than a quarter of primary and secondary school teaching qualifications were obtained by men - the lowest figure in five years.

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