Number and proportion of male primary teachers

Males are under-represented in the primary school teaching workforce in England.

The most recent data for November 2021 shows that 15.5% of state-funded primary school teachers in England were male: around 34,100 out of a total workforce of 220,400.

As the chart below illustrates, this proportion does represent some increase on earlier years, but improvement appears to have stalled from 2017 onwards.

Male primary teachers are over-represented in senior positions. In November 2021, despite only making up 15.5% of all primary teachers, 26.9% of full time equivalent head teachers were men, and 19.4% of deputy head teachers were men.

Teachers where the gender was not recorded have been excluded from all the figures above.

Recruitment of male primary teachers

The Department for Education publishes the number of new entrants to Initial Teacher Training (ITT) recruited across the academic year. The most recent data is for 2021/22 when 2,367 men were recruited (16% of recruited primary teachers) compared with 12,054 women (83% of recruited primary teachers).

As in previous years, in 2021/22 men made up a higher proportion of secondary school recruits but were still in the minority (39% of recruited secondary teachers).

This excludes recruits whose gender was not recorded.

The Government’s position

The Government’s position on increasing the number of male teachers in primary schools was set out in response to a Parliamentary Question in October 2022:

Ben Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department will take steps to increase the levels of recruitment of male primary school teachers.

Jonathan Gullis: The Department wants to attract and retain diverse, talented teachers from all backgrounds, and this includes recruiting male teachers.

The recruitment of primary school teachers remains strong. In 2021/22, 136% of the Postgraduate Initial Teacher Training target was achieved in primary. This target has been exceeded in four of the last five years.

In 2021, the Department’s new application service for initial teacher training (ITT) in England, ‘Apply for teacher training’, was rolled out nationally. It has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible and has been extensively tested with a diverse range of potential applicants to ensure it helps remove barriers to great teachers applying for ITT courses.

The Department’s recruitment campaigns are targeted at audiences of students, recent graduates, and potential career changers, regardless of their identity or background. We take every effort to ensure that our advertising is fully reflective of this across the full range of marketing materials used.

Since September 2020, all courses offered by ITT providers have been aligned to a mandatory core content framework, published in November 2019. The framework sets out a minimum entitlement for all trainee teachers.

In September 2021, the early career framework was implemented, entitling early career teachers to a further 2 years of development support and training.

Moreover, the reforms outlined in the Government’s response to the ITT market review will help us meet the commitment made in the teacher recruitment and retention strategy to create a world-class teacher development system by transforming the training and support teachers receive at every stage of their career.

To ensure that all children and young people get the very best education, it is essential that the Department has a workforce of well-trained and well-supported teachers, with the expertise needed to deliver great teaching every day.

[Teachers: Males | 24 Oct 2022 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 60042]

Parliamentary questions

Primary Education: Teachers | 17 Nov 2021 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 71313

Primary Education: Teachers | 22 Apr 2021 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 180590

Teachers: Males | 10 Nov 2020 | Written questions | Answered | House of Lords | HL9296

Secondary Education: Teachers | 27 Oct 2020 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 105293

Primary Education: Teachers | 27 Oct 2020 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 105292

TeachersMales | 27 Oct 2020 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 105291

TeachersMales | 27 Oct 2020 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 105290

Gender Bias: Employment | 11 Jul 2019 | Oral questions – 1st Supplementary | Answered | House of Commons | 663 c436

Library briefing papers

Commons Library briefing paper Teacher recruitment and retention in England  22 September 2022

Further information

GOV.UK, School workforce in England 9 June 2022

Education Policy Institute, Trends in the diversity of teachers in England 19 October 2020

The following articles and research discuss male teachers as role models. The ‘role model’ framing is often treated with caution, but the research explores benefits of male teachers in schools, especially at primary level:

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