A male teacher with primary school teachers

WBS research revealed two regions where more than half of primary schools have no male classroom teachers

  • Proportion of male secondary school teachers at record low
  • Male teachers more likely to leave profession over falling pay
  • Schools with no male teachers more likely to be in special measures
  • WBS policy document suggests better pay and conditions for teachers

Nearly a third of primary schools do not have a single male classroom teacher, a new study from Warwick Business School shows.

The number of primary and secondary schools with no male teachers increased last year, while the proportion of male secondary school teachers is at a record low.

This could affect educational attainment, as schools in special measures are less likely to have a male classroom teacher, the study found.

It could also prevent the UK Government hitting its recruitment targets for STEM subjects such as physics and maths, which rely on male teachers.

Researchers said raising teachers’ pay (which has fallen 13 per cent in real terms since 2010), reducing working hours, and improving school leadership could boost recruitment and retention.

Joshua Fullard, Assistant Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School, said: “Worryingly, the decline in the number of male classroom teaches is getting worse.

“This has an impact on the education that children receive. There is a large body of research that shows students benefit from being educated by a teacher with certain similarities to them.

“Boys from less affluent backgrounds are already the lowest achievers in school. They are the students who would benefit most from a male teacher, but they are less and less likely to have one.

“It’s not just boys who are losing out. Having no gender diversity could negatively affect how a school functions, as schools in special measures are less likely to have a male classroom teacher.”

The study analysed the latest data from the annual School Workforce Census to identify trends in gender diversity among teachers since 2010. Key findings included:

  • A quarter of all state funded schools in England have no male classroom teachers.
  • In two local authorities, Rutland and Northumberland, more than half of primary schools have no male classroom teachers.
  • More than 40 per cent of primary schools placed in special measures by Ofsted have no male classroom teachers.

The study proposed measures to help recruit and retain teachers, including raising pay by more than 10 per cent, a merit-based reduction in tuition fees for university-led teacher training, and revising the outdated pay policy that failed to reflect regional differences in local labour markets.

Dr Fullard said: “Men are more likely to consider finances when deciding to go into, or leave, a profession. This explains why the persistent decline in teacher’s pay has affected male teacher numbers more than their female counterparts.

“The situation could be even worse. Many teachers don’t realise that their skills are highly transferable and would be financially rewarded in alternative professions. We estimate that three in 10 teachers would be financially better off in another career.

“Teachers are highly educated professionals who perform one of society’s most important roles and their pay ought to reflect this.”

Further reading:

Fullard, Joshua, Teacher Gender Diversity in England 2010-2022 (May 29, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4470647.

Fullard, Joshua, Teacher Diversity in England 2010 – 2021 (June 29, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4384939.


Joshua Fullard is Assistant Professor of Behavioural Science and teaches Big Data Analytics on MSc Finance, MSc Management, MSc Finance & Economics and the suite of MSc Business courses. He also lectures on the Foundation of Data Analysis for Management on the Undergraduate programme.

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