Fewer than two in 10 primary state school teachers are men

Fewer than two in 10 primary state school teachers are men

Fewer than two in 10 teachers in Queensland's state primary schools are male, estimates hearings have revealed.

There are 3946 male teachers compared with 22,958 female teachers in primary schools in 2018 – or about 14 per cent male.

About 14 per cent of Queensland state primary school teachers are men.

About 14 per cent of Queensland state primary school teachers are men.Credit:Michele Mossop

P&Cs Queensland chief executive Kevan Goodworth said the quality of teachers was the most important thing.

"It is always useful if we can have a balance between males and females in both our primary and secondary schools," he said.


However, Mr Goodworth said men were over-represented at the top echelons, with about 65 per cent of principals in the state's largest schools being men.

Research by Kevin McGrath and Penny Van Bergen, published in The Conversation last September, found a sharp decrease in the percentage of Australian male teachers in primary schools since 1965.

The researchers suggested teaching was seen as "women's work" and some people may be deterred because of perceptions of low salary and status.

Mr McGrath told Fairfax Media young men faced pressure to conform to "dominant forms of masculinity" so more likely to pursue a stereotypically masculine job, and while men were still enrolling in teaching courses some evidence showed completion rates were higher for women.

"If you're a male tertiary student in teacher education [it] can become quite apparent in a lecture theatre that you're different, which may make those men feel isolated," he said.

"The perception that it's 'women's work' will only strengthen as the representation of men continues to decline."

Mr McGrath said that trend became self-perpetuating, as with fewer men in schools there were fewer opportunities for students to see teaching as a suitable career choice.

"With male teacher representation now at less than 15 per cent in Queensland, it may already be too late to reverse this negative trend."

Estimates hearings were also told 842 Queensland state school teachers had resigned, 832 teachers had retired and 14 staff were sacked in 2017-18.

But Education Department director-general Tony Cook said people resigned for a range of reasons, including taking other jobs or moving countries.

"About 1 per cent of our workforce, I have no reason to believe that would be any different to what it might have been in the past, in fact, we've found is that retention is increasing because people are concerned and living longer and they want to work longer to have the money they need for their retirement," he said.

Meanwhile, an audit into the age of Prep students in 2018 found four students were incorrectly enrolled in Prep.

Mr Cook said the cases involved error at the school level.

"We work with the school, we support the school in relation to that, it's actually about data entry onto the OneSchool website," he said.

"There were also five [students incorrectly enrolled] last year.

"The department works with the families."

LNP Education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said in some cases, the Prep students had stayed for half of their first school year.

"You can only imagine their distress at having to go back and start all again," he said.

The Education Department spent $1.3 million on consultants in 2017-18.

Felicity Caldwell is state political reporter at the Brisbane Times

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