Education charity Teach First is calling for more men in the South East to become teachers, as the latest figures show the gender gap in the profession in the region is the one of the widest in the country.

At a time of continued recruitment challenges, the latest Government statistics reveal that just 25.2% of teachers in South East schools are men.

Only 22.1% of teachers in Bracknell Forest and Wokingham are male, the lowest in the region. Five local authorities in the South East were in the top 10 nationally for fewest male teachers (Bracknell Forest, Wokingham, Portsmouth, Surrey, and West Berkshire), all at less than 23%. No local authority in the South East has more than 30%.

Nationally 26% of teachers in England are men, a share which has declined since 2010.

Teach First recruits and trains top graduates and career changers to work in schools serving low income communities. With a mission to end the education inequalities faced by poorer pupils, the charity currently operates in over 85 schools in the South East and South Coast.

The charity is warning that at a time when schools are facing a shortage of teachers, the lack of men entering the profession represents a vast untapped resource. Teach First says it’s vital that the teaching profession reflects the makeup of classrooms, and that young people need access to committed, talented and knowledgeable individuals from a range of backgrounds.

Teach First has launched a new recruitment video featuring a male teacher and highlighting how he gains responsibility, the chance to take on a new challenge and builds a suite of new and valuable skills while in the classroom. Viewers are challenged to honestly answer the question “what did you do at work today?” to consider whether their current role is fully inspiring them and building their career skillset.

Since 2012 Teach First placed over 500 teachers in schools across the South East and South Coast. Around 25% of participants on the two year, salaried Teach First programme have come from other careers. Teach First has introduced a new postgraduate qualification and enhanced its support structure for 2017 to keep its offer attractive in a competitive graduate jobs market.

Helen O’Connor, Teach First South East and South Coast Director, said:

“It is a real loss that the profession is missing out on talented classroom leaders because a huge pool of people are being put off by misconceptions about teaching. Teaching is a hugely challenging and rewarding career, and our young people need role models from all backgrounds to unlock their potential and aspiration, and to help them understand the world.”

“If you’re looking for a challenge – one where you can use your intelligence and personality to help solve one of the country’s biggest problems – Teach First has a unique opportunity for you. Open an application today.”

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