The relatively low number of male teachers in primary schools has increasingly become seen by governments across the western world as a cause for real concern, particularly in the area of early years teaching. Recent applications to courses in the UK have seen some increase in the number of male candidates but there is still real concern about retention rates. In a Teaching and Development Agency (TDA) funded research project led by Dr Christine Szwed the project team aimed to identify successful strategies in the recruitment, selection, and retention of males onto primary and early years initial teacher training programmes. One of the key findings was that individual and targeted support was a crucial factor in retention. The primary team has initiated several measures in response to this research and are able to report that both recruitment and retention rates for male trainees is above national averages. In particular many male trainees have achieved exceptional results on the programme.
Student Adam Ramli, received the Elizabeth Cadbury Award for the best written work on a postgraduate taught programme having achieved a merit for all of his assignments on the PGDip programme. He was also graded as outstanding in his teaching performance by the External Examiner. Adam says of his experiences on the course:
'There is a deep appreciation and understanding by all members of the Primary ITE team as to the diversity of student learning needs and the guidance and encouragement that students require not only on an academic level, but also personally.'
The team are also pleased to report that for next year’s programme four Early Years male trainees will join the programme – we will continue to monitor and evaluate such developments.