Male primary teachers have spoken of their fear of being perceived as suspicious for working with young children and the lack of male role models for boys in schools.
Teachers, unions and charities are now urging young men to see through the traditional perception of primary school teachers and sign up to teach younger children.
Ex-teacher Julian Stanley, CEO of Education Support Partnership, a charity providing wellbeing support to education staff, said: “The concern of safeguarding is huge for men – it’s about whether you can work with children and be viewed with suspicion.
“We have to stick to careful rules but it doesn’t exclude you from creating strong relationships we want a balance still.”
The number of male primary school teachers remains at an all time low, with just 15 percent of nursery and primary school teachers in England being male, according to the latest figures.
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union blamed sexism.
She said: “Men are put off by the idea that they’re supposedly not meant to work in jobs involving children, which is old-fashioned thinking we need to move beyond.
“Not everyone has what it takes to be a great primary teacher, but whether you can do it isn’t to do with whether you’re male or female.”
Ben King, 30, teaches a Year 5 class at a Horsham primary school and agrees. He feels that although it’s not often spoken about, there is an underlying suspicion of men who teach in primary schools.
“There are issues surrounding safeguarding which are not spoken about. For example when girls get changed for P.E. I leave the room, we are taught to look out for signs of abuse like bruises when [children] get changed,” he said.
“I don’t feel comfortable doing that and they are supervised by female staff instead. The same goes for hugging a child that has hurt themselves. I don’t think female teachers have the same issue.”