More than a quarter of primary schools in England do not have a single male teacher, according to figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act
One in four primary schools in England have no male teachers, new figures show.
A total of 4,587 primary schools – more than a quarter – only have female teachers, according to the statistics obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
Some counties, including Cumbria, Derbyshire, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Lancashire and Norfolk, have more than 100 primaries where
The figures, obtained by the Telegraph, highlight the difficulty in getting male teachers to opt for primary education despite a two-year government campaign.
Primary teaching is increasingly seen as a "feminine" career and men tend to shun working with younger children through fears they will be accused of paedophilia.
But experts say it is particularly important for boys to have positive male role models as they grow up.
For many, the lack of male teachers in primary school means they do not have regular contact with an adult man until the age of 11, when they move to secondary school.
But Jim Knight, the schools minister, said the situation was improving.
"There has never been a better time to be a teacher with pay at record levels; more support staff than ever before to free them up to focus on the classroom; better facilities; and schools given full power to impose discipline – but we know there is more to do to take on a long-standing and completely false perception among some men that primary schools don't offer as demanding a job as secondary schools," he said.
"The Training and Development Agency's more direct and male-centred recruitment campaigns are helping to get more men in the classroom – and we are starting to see more male applicants come forward in the last year."
A spokesman for the TDA said the number of men applying to be a primary school teacher was "gradually improving".
"In 2001-02 around 1,500 men began primary teacher training. The TDA launched a campaign in 2005 and halted the downward trend. That number has risen to 2,341 in 2008-09," he said.
"Our recruitment campaign emphasises the rewards of a good salary and career path for teachers, as well as the rewards of making a difference to young peoples' lives.
"The TDA also provides primary taster courses especially for men; advice from serving male teachers who act as teaching advocates and funding for teacher training providers to help them recruit and retain male applicants."
• This article was amended on Thursday 26 March 2009. Above we said incorrectly that none of the Isle of Wight's primary schools have male teachers. This is not the case.