Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Deafening Silence

Dear Anna

Have you reached a conclusion about the issues I raised in my email of 9th October?

Is it acceptable for there to be a ratio of 3.3 female teachers to each male teacher? The attached link makes it clear that the Electoral Reform Society and the NAS / UWT consider an inequality of 5:1 unacceptable and worthy of protest.

Where does the tipping point lie? At a ratio of 4.1:1?


Peter Blades

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: pbla927
Date: Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 6:27 PM
Subject: Fwd: FW: Under-representation of men in primary school teaching
To: Anna Banton , Glenn Sacks

Dear Anna

Have you had any luck finding the answers to the queries in my previous email?


Peter Blades

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: pbla927
Date: Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 7:19 PM
Subject: Re: FW: Under-representation of men in primary school teaching
To: Anna Banton
Cc: Glenn Sacks

Dear Ms. Banton

Thank you for your reply to my recent request. I have looked at the spreadsheet provided and have a few more follow up questions.

I see that the gender ratio of teachers employed is 3.32 Female to 1 Male for 1997-98 and 3.31 Female to 1 Male for 2007-08. Given these figures would you say that the efforts to bridge the gender gap in teaching recruitment have been successful?

As I understand it, these figures show the gender ratios for teachers across all pupil age groups. Are there no figures available at all for the gender ratios for teachers teaching 4-10 year olds or 4-7 year olds where;

a) the teacher's influence over the child's lifelong psychology, and consequently
b) the need for positive gender role models

...are the greatest? Surely a 3:1 gender disparity between female and male teachers in all pupil age groups can only place young men at a consistent disadvantage in the learning environment (given Harriet Harman's conviction that gender balanced groups make for better judgements). This might provide answers as to why young men are being consistently out-performed academically by young women in later school years.

If no such figures are available would it be a good idea to conduct more research? All that would be required would be a simple email poll amongst teachers with an email address, asking the recipient for their gender and the age group they teach (this would not generate any data protection issues as the respondents would not be providing information that could be used to identify them personally). Even a 10% response rate would provide a representative sample. Having spent £92,000 in the calendar years 2005-2009 on targeted recruitment, the results of this poll might help concentrate efforts more effectively towards the pupil age groups where the gender disparity is the greatest, and provide more specific answers as to why the money spent has not influenced the gender ratio over the 10 year timescale shown in the spreadsheet.

Many thanks for your help so far

Peter Blades

On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 4:51 PM, Anna Banton wrote:
Dear Mr Blades,

Thank you for your e-mail of 8 August 2009 to Harriet Harman regarding the under-representation of men primary school teachers. Your letter has been passed to me for reply. I am very sorry for the delay in responding to you.

In April 2009 we published the new Equality Bill. The Bill will expand the way positive action can be used so that employers can pick someone for a job from an underrepresented group when they have the choice between two or more candidates who are equally suitable, provided they do not have a general policy of doing so in every case. Positive action allows employers to make their workforces more diverse if they want to.

An example of where positive action can be used is to redress the imbalance of men primary school teachers. This example has been used by Vera Baird QC MP in media interviews.

Please note the Bill will not allow positive discrimination, which will remain unlawful.

Turning to your request for statistics, the data available which we can provide is based on an overall number of entrants by gender to full and part-time regular teaching service in local authority maintained sector schools for each year 1997-1998 to 2007-2008, on a March to March basis and not June to May (see table in sheet 1 of the attached spreadsheet).

The table does not show the number of contracts commenced each year as requested, but just the number of individuals who were in service at the end of the year who were not at the start. These are not the number of recruits either as some of them will have been in service before. These are entrants to regular service (i.e. excluding occasional teachers with short or no contract) and cover those with qualified teacher status (QTS) only. Where a teacher was previously teaching but did not have QTS, but then attained it, they are counted as an entrant. Where a teacher was teaching outside of the English local authority maintained sector and moved to within it, they are also counted.

The table in sheet 2 of the attached spreadsheet, provided by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), represents funds spent on advertising for ‘men into primary’ which is only available from 2005 to the present day.

The TDA has done a lot to attract men to train to be primary teachers - with more male centred recruitment campaigns, stressing the financial rewards and career development prospects, and taster courses.

I hope this is of assistance.

Kind regards
Anna Banton

From: Peter Blades []
Sent: 08 August 2009 01:01
To: HARMAN, Harriet
Subject: Under-representation of men in primary school teaching

Ms. Harman

In a recent interview quoted at: was reported that you said:

"I didn't actually say you can't trust men, I basically said you get better decision making in a team if it's a balanced team with women and men working alongside each other," she said.

I appreciate that you are not in a position to influence what was reported on this website, and that the comment was made in the context of a gender disparity in recruitment to posts in the City of London.

Did the website report your comments accurately?

Can you direct me towards a public record of any statement you have made on the under-representation of men as teachers in primary schools?

I would like you to provide me with a report showing a count of;

a) the number of women and
b) the number of men

...who began a contract to teach children aged between 4 and 10 years in fully state-funded schools between the dates 01/06/1997 and 01/06/2008. I would like the report to show a sub-total of the number of men and the number of women recruited in each year (contract start dates 1st June to 31st May) within this date range.

Next to each yearly sub-total I would like you to show the government spend (in pounds) allocated in that year (calendar year or 1st June to 31st May - whichever best represents your view of the efforts made) on advertising aimed at attracting the gender that is less well represented (in terms of members recruited in that year) into the profession.

Bearing in mind the standard checks made on prospective primary school teachers, and the nature of the data they are required to provide, you will be aware that the information I am asking for is held centrally and can be provided without disproportionate cost. The advertising figures can be rounded to the nearest £10,000. If no advertising effort has been made to target the under-represented gender in a specific recruitment year please give a brief description of why (next to each sub-total), and the name and contact details of the officer responsible for making this decision.

I have made this request on 08/08/2009 and - given your position - I feel I need not remind you of your obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Peter Blades

1 comment:

fifthflavorquark said...

For three seasons, I was a wildland firefighter on a hotshot crew. One of the men on the crew, in addition to firefighting in the summers, was an elementary school teacher during the school year.

One of the things that he told us was that the children were often so starved for parental affection that once they bonded with him, they'd often slip and call him Daddy. But even more heart-wrenching, they'd sometimes call him Mama.

My friend didn't make much of it, but I wonder now if those kids were so divorced from male parenting that they didn't even really understand that men are fathers, not mothers?