Let’s Hear it for the Boys

Date Posted: Wednesday 20 December 2023

Written by Mrs. Samantha Twomey, Head of the Preparatory Division at New Hall School 

In November 2022, the Conservative MP for Mansfield, addressed the House of Commons sharing his belief that the number of male primary school teachers should increase, highlighting why it is ‘socially and culturally important.’  He stated that The Equality Act 2010 should also be used to support young men where they are under-represented in professions such as primary teaching.’  Here, the figures speak for themselves: the last assessment of the UK school workforce showed that only 14% of primary and nursery teachers are male—significantly fewer than one in five. At an average of just under 300 pupils per school, there are nearly 1 million children with no male role model in their educational setting. 

“In the first primary school that I worked in, I was the only male member of teaching staff, and I was the first male teacher that most children in my class had ever had.  It’s nice to think that we may help to inspire some of the young people that we are lucky enough to work with.” – Mr Matthew Oiller, Year 5 Class Teacher and Subject Leader in Mathematics 

The Preparatory Divisions at New Hall School are bucking this trend. From Year 2 upwards, there are male teachers in every one of the Year Groups. These teachers are responsible for their own classes and, as English and Mathematics are taught in sets, they teach a significant number of the pupils across their cohort.  So, why is this important to New Hall? The School focuses on the significant number of male staff in the Preparatory Divisions not to diminish the wonderful work, talents and commitment of our female teachers, but to encourage our male pupils to consider teaching and education for their future careers.  The School community should reflect the wider community.  

“Teaching at New Hall is extremely fulfilling, and I take great pride in working with a fantastic team to help the children reach their full potential, as well as prepare them for the challenges that they may face outside of the classroom.”– Mr Hugo May, Year 2 Class Teacher 

The Year 5 and 6 pupils also benefit from the increase in the provision of subject specialist teaching.  They are taught various lessons by teachers from New Hall’s Senior Divisions. The benefit of this is two-fold: pupils are challenged by teachers who have a wonderfully in-depth understanding of subjects such as Science and Politics and, as the percentage of male teachers in secondary education is higher, they also have a greater number of male role models with whom they can identify. 

“At New Hall, I have found myself working alongside several other male primary teachers.  I believe our mix of male and female teachers makes for a strong and healthy school community.  The children are seeing positive role models of both genders, engaging in learning of all kinds.” – Mr Robin Field, Year 6 Class Teacher 

Head of the Preparatory Division, Samantha Twomey believes that a balance of positive interactions with female and male role models is essential.  Today’s children are growing up in a difficult time, where masculinity and what it means to be male can be portrayed negatively. It is our responsibility, as educators, to help all pupils understand what their future may look like by ensuring trustworthy, respectable, and consistent male role models.