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 nails
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!