Send in the troops: male soldiers to be recruited as teachers

The UK Government is planning to get more male role models into teaching through a “troops to teachers” programme to be launched later this year.

In a speech on Tuesday, Mr Gove said more male teachers were needed, especially in primary schools “to provide children who often lack male role models at home with male authority figures who can display both strength and sensitivity”.

“One of the principal concerns that men considering teaching feel is the worry that they will fall foul of rules which make normal contact between adults and children a legal minefield,” he said.

Former military personnel will be offered bursaries for teacher training and a fast-track route if they lack degree-level qualifications according to the BBC which has reported new figures showing that 1 in 4 primary schools in England still has no male teacher. Click here for the BBC story on lack of male role models in schools.

The idea appears to have originated from a Centre for Policy Studies report – Troops to Teachers (click to read). According to the report, in the states these “T3” teachers are mostly male (82%), and many come from racial minorities (37%). Of traditionally trained teachers, only 18% are male and 16% from racial minorities.

The report also states that “children from low-income homes can find it difficult to identify with middle-class teachers, regardless of their sex. The evidence from the US demonstrates the importance of male teachers with whom such children can identify……whether we like it or not, children from more deprived neighbourhoods often respond to raw physical power”.

The report also highlights a UK-based charity Skill Force – which has teams all over the UK including a new team in Brighton & Hove.

Skill Force is a British charity which originated in the Army in 2000. It has 40 teams of retired officers and NCOs working with hard to reach pupils in co-operation with secondary schools. The kind of activities – life skills, first aid, orienteering, camping – are not new, but the unique ability of ex- soldiers to motivate young people has changed the lives of many of the children. Independent evaluations report that exclusions have been reduced by 80%.

“At a time of rising youth violence, a full-scale T3 programme to train ex- servicemen and servicewomen as teachers to work in a full teaching role inside schools is needed. Such a programme would involve little or no additional funding; would benefit teachers (who are often defenceless in the face of classroom chaos); would benefit ex-servicemen (many of whom often do not find second careers which match their skills); and, most importantly, would benefit the many children in our increasingly violent and unsafe schools who lack suitable male role models.”






Glen Poole is UK co-ordinator for International Men's Day, Director at the consultancy Helping Men and news editor of insideMAN magazine. Follow him on twitter @HelpingMen or find out more about his work at

Posted in NEWS, World News On Men's Issues

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