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1345.4 - SA Stats, Sep 2010  
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FEATURE ARTICLE: WHERE HAVE ALL THE MALE TEACHERS GONE?


INTRODUCTION

The Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments have, through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), formed a National Education Agreement. "The objective of this Agreement is that all Australian school students acquire the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in society and employment in a globalised economy." (COAG 2008) Teachers are important contributors to the achievement of the outcomes set out in the Agreement.

The occupation of 'teacher' has historically been seen as a job for women and this predominance is increasing. In 1993 approximately 37% of teaching staff in South Australia were males but by 2009 this proportion had fallen to 31%. Teaching staff, as defined by the National Schools Statistics (NSS) collection conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), includes those in the classroom as well as principals, deputy principals and senior teachers who spend most of their time in administration (ABS 2009). Although results from the NSS collection do not allow for a distinction between males in the classroom and those mainly in positions of 'leadership', findings from 'Staff in Australia's Schools 2007', a project commissioned by the former Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), suggest that the proportion of male teachers in Australia's primary school classrooms, for example, could be as low as 21% (DEST 2008). Whilst there are many occupations that have a workforce gender bias, debate abounds as to how (or even if) the decline in the number of males in our schools should be addressed. On the one hand there is the commonly held view that males should be encouraged to enter the teaching profession as they provide a much needed positive role-model for children but, on the other side of the equation, is the argument that it is the calibre of teacher that is important irrespective of gender (University of Canberra 1999)

Using data sourced from the NSS collection and published in Schools, Australia (cat. no. 4221.0), this article presents an overview of changes in full-time student, school and teaching staff numbers in South Australia between 1993 and 2009, with a particular focus on the changes in male staff numbers by sector (government and non-government), and by school level (primary and secondary). Findings from the aforementioned DEST report will be briefly discussed in light of the perception that males may be over-represented in teaching staff numbers as more males than females tend to hold positions of 'leadership'. Data from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) on commencing student enrolment numbers for initial teacher training has been introduced to explore recent trends in approved teacher training enrolments, particularly by males.


STUDENT AND SCHOOL NUMBERS

In 1993 there were 247,227 full-time students enrolled in 860 schools in South Australia. By 2009 student numbers had increased to 253,428 (an increase of 2.5%) although the number of schools in the state had fallen to 787 (a decrease of 8.5%). Schools are classified as belonging to either the government or non-government sector and changes in student and school numbers at the total level can mask the movements that have occurred in each sector. Unless otherwise specified, the term students refers to full-time students.

In South Australia, government schools refer to those administered by the state Department of Education and Children's Services (DECS). Between 1993 and 2009 the number of students enrolled in government schools fell from 184,620 to 162,707 (a decrease of 11.9%). The number of government schools in the state fell by 13.1% (from 677 to 588) over the same period.

By contrast the number of students enrolled in non-government schools rose from 62,607 in 1993 to 90,721 in 2009, an increase of 44.9%. The proportion of full time students enrolled in non-government school in South Australia has increased markedly from 25.3% in 1993 to 35.8% in 2009. Only the ACT and Victoria recorded higher proportions of students in non-government schools in 2009 (42.6% and 36.4% respectively). The number of non-government schools has also increased over this period, from 183 to 199 (an increase of 8.7%). For the purposes of this collection non-government schools include Catholic, Anglican and Independent schools. Refer to the Glossary contained in Schools Australia (cat. no. 4221.0) for more information.

FULL-TIME STUDENT ENROLMENTS, South Australia
Graph: FULL-TIME STUDENT ENROLMENTS, South Australia



TEACHING STAFF NUMBERS

As the number of full-time students has increased in South Australia, so to has the number of teaching staff. Over the analysis period total teaching staff numbers increased by 1,835 or 9.9%. In the context of this article the term teaching staff includes those in the classroom as well as principals, deputy and campus principals and senior teachers mainly involved in administration. (ABS 2009)

At the sector level contrasting movements can be seen. Despite short periods of increasing numbers (between 1996-1999 and 2005-2007), the number of teaching staff in government schools in 2009 was 1,332 (9.5%) lower than the number recorded in 1993.

In the non-government sector, teaching staff numbers have been increasing steadily since 1993 and by 2009 had increased by 70.3% (an increase of 3,167 teaching staff). Data for non-government schools can be broken down further into the categories of catholic and independent schools and analysis at this finer level shows that growth in the independent schools accounted for more than half (58.8%) of the overall increase in the sector. Teaching staff numbers in independent schools almost doubled over the period increasing by 90.7% or 1,862 teaching staff. Catholic schools recorded a 53.2% increase in teaching staff numbers over the period.

TEACHING STAFF, South Australia
Graph: TEACHING STAFF, South Australia


The number of Independent schools in South Australia (within the non-government sector) has increased from 79 in 1993 to 97 in 2009.


MALE TEACHING STAFF

Numbers

Despite an overall increase in teaching staff numbers in South Australia between 1993 and 2009, the number of male teaching staff has fallen from 6,968 to 6,388 over this time, a fall of 8.3%. Reasons given to explain the decline in the number of males choosing or remaining within the teaching profession often include the potential to earn more money in other professions, fear of harassment by peers and teaching being viewed as women's work (ACU 1999 and DEST 2008). A more detailed discussion of reasons is beyond the scope of this article.

Government schools experienced a large decline in male teaching staff with numbers falling by 27.8% (or 1,491 teaching staff) over the period. In contrast, and in line with changes in student numbers, an increase in the number of male teaching staff was recorded in the non-government sector. Specifically the number of male teaching staff in Catholic schools increased by 302 (36.4%) whilst the number of male teaching staff in Independent schools in 2009 was 78.9% higher than the level of 1993 (an increase of 612 teaching staff).

MALE TEACHING STAFF, South Australia
Graph: MALE TEACHING STAFF, South Australia


Proportions - All schools

In 1993, 37.5% of the teaching staff across all South Australian schools were males and this represented the highest proportion of any state or territory. However, since that time the proportion of male teaching staff has generally declined across all school sectors and in 2009 was 31.3%. South Australia remains the state with the highest proportion of males in the overall teaching staff.

At the beginning of the analysis period the proportions of male teaching staff in government and independent schools were similar (38.1% and 37.8% respectively). A large exodus of males from government schools was identified in the previous section and this has resulted in the proportion of male teaching staff falling to 30.3% by 2009.

The marked increase in the number of teaching staff in independent schools has not had a positive impact on the proportion of male teaching staff. Between 1993 and 2002 the proportion hovered around 37%; however, with the number of female teaching staff increasing by a ratio of slightly more than 2:1, the proportion of male teaching staff has fallen to 35.4% in 2009.

Schools in the catholic sector had the lowest proportion of male teaching staff in all years between 1993 and 2009. Whilst teaching staff numbers in the sector have increased over the period, the number of females has increased by a ratio slightly higher than 3:1 which has seen the proportion of males drop from 33.8% in 1993 to 30.1% in 2009.

PROPORTION OF MALE TEACHING STAFF, South Australia
Graph: PROPORTION OF MALE TEACHING STAFF, South Australia


Proportions - By school level

The representation of males as a proportion of all teaching staff differs depending on the level of schooling being discussed. Whilst data from the NSS collection does not provide for a breakdown of teaching staff numbers by primary and secondary schools an estimate can be determined using full-time equivalent teaching staff numbers. Under the NSS collection, South Australian data for primary schooling encompasses Reception to Year 7 with Years 8 to 12 included in secondary school statistics.

The proportion of primary teaching staff who are male has generally fallen for all school sectors over the analysis period. In 1993, government schools had the highest proportion of male primary teaching staff (28.3%) with the proportion falling to 22.2% by 2004. The proportion has remained relatively stable over the last five years and was 22.4% in 2009 (as was the proportion in catholic schools). Since 1995 independent primary schools have recorded the highest proportion of males on their teaching staff with at least one in every four teachers being male.

PROPORTION OF MALE TEACHING STAFF (a), Primary Schools - South Australia
Graph: PROPORTION OF MALE TEACHING STAFF (a), Primary Schools—South Australia


Historically, the proportion of secondary teaching staff who are male has been considerably higher than the proportion in primary schools. In 1993, male teaching staff in government schools held 56.3% of all positions, almost double the level of males in primary schools. At this time males in independent and catholic schools accounted for 52.0% and 49.7% of secondary teaching staff.

All school sectors have experienced an overall decline in the proportion of male secondary teaching staff over the analysis period. The strongest overall decline was recorded in government schools, where the proportion fell 10.7 percentage points to be 45.6% in 2009. Catholic and independent secondary schools recorded smaller declines falling 4.9% and 4.1% respectively over the period.

PROPORTION OF MALE TEACHING STAFF (a), Secondary Schools - South Australia
Graph: PROPORTION OF MALE TEACHING STAFF (a), Secondary Schools—South Australia


'Staff in Australia's Schools 2007' (DEST 2008) was designed to paint a picture of the teachers and leaders in the nation's schools. Therefore, unlike the NSS collection, it's findings can be used as an indicative measure of the proportion of male teachers in classrooms in Australia's primary and secondary schools. At the national level the DEST report suggests that the proportion of male teachers in all primary schools (irrespective of sector) was approximately 21% in 2007 whilst the proportion of males in positions of leadership in primary schools was 43%. At the secondary level males are estimated to represent 44% of all teachers and hold 59% of all leadership positions.

The report further suggests that approximately 19% of all Australian primary and secondary teachers are aged between 51 and 55 years and as a result "large numbers of teachers will need to be recruited in the next few years to replace teachers who retire." (DEST 2008 p. 17) Further the report finds that "(A)round 90% of the primary teachers aged less than 25 years are female, which implies that the proportion of female teachers is likely to increase over time." (DEST 2008 p. 17)

These statistics are presented for comparative interest and are meant as a guide only; a full analysis of the survey scope, limitations and resultant report is beyond the purpose of this article.


INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING ENROLMENTS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Two pathways exist for entry to a career in teaching in South Australia. The first is through completion of an approved teacher education degree in pre-school, primary or secondary education. Findings from the Staff in Australia's Schools survey suggest that most primary (79%) and secondary (88%) teachers hold this type of qualification. The other avenue is via an approved non-teacher education degree or diploma, combined with an approved post-graduate degree, diploma or other pre-service education qualification.

Initial teacher training refers to those enrolled in any approved degree, diploma or post-graduate teacher education, including early childhood education.

All enrolments

Teacher education qualifications are most commonly attained through four tertiary institutions in South Australia with the numbers presented here representing numbers enrolled and commencing in a particular year. The numbers are not a representation of the total number of people undertaking study to attain an educational qualification in a given year.

In the five years to 2008, the number of domestic students commencing initial teacher training increased by 403 (32.3%) enrolments across all institutions. A period of rapid growth in student commencements in teacher education was experienced between 2004 and 2006, followed by two subsequent years of decline. Flinders University was the only South Australian university to record growth in each subsequent year.

INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING ENROLMENTS(a), Persons
Graph: INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING ENROLMENTS(a), Persons


Male enrolments

The pattern of male enrolments from 2004 to 2008 closely mirrors that shown for all teacher training enrolments. The number of males commencing initial teacher training in South Australian universities increased considerably (41.4% or an increase of 140) over this period. Flinders University again, was the only South Australian course provider that experienced growth in male student teacher commencements over each subsequent year, and accounted for over 80% of South Australia's total increase over the five year period.

In 2004, the University of South Australia (Uni SA) had more than double the male student commencements in teacher education than Flinders University, and triple that of the University of Adelaide. From a peak of 268 male enrolments in 2006, enrolments at Uni SA, fell sharply in 2007 (down 31.3%). This may be partly explained by increases in enrolments in the three other course providers. By 2008, Flinders University had overtaken Uni SA with the highest male teacher education enrolment numbers (194) in the state.

INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING ENROLMENTS(a), Males
Graph: INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING ENROLMENTS(a), Males


Males as a proportion of all enrolments

The proportion of males enrolling in initial teacher training courses in South Australia has increased slightly from 27.1% in 2004 to be 28.9% in 2008. The University of Adelaide has recorded consistently higher proportions for male student teacher enrolments than South Australia's two other public universities and the only private provider of graduate teacher training, Tabor College.

The higher proportions of male student teacher numbers at the University of Adelaide may be as a result of the teaching courses having a middle and secondary school focus as opposed to early childhood, junior and primary school focus. Flinders University was the only course provider to have a higher proportion of male student teacher enrolments in 2008 than in 2004.

INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING ENROLMENTS, Proportion of males
Graph: INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING ENROLMENTS, Proportion of males



SUMMARY

The number of students in South Australia has increased modestly between 1993 and 2009, masking a shift in student numbers from government to non-government schools. Despite an increase in overall teacher numbers over the same period, increases in the non-government sector were moderated by considerable losses in the government sector. In contrast with increasing overall teaching staff numbers, the number of male teaching staff fell over the same period. Findings suggest a substantial number of males leaving government schools moved to non-government schools.

Between 1993 and 2009, the proportion of male teaching staff in South Australian schools has generally decreased across all school sectors (government, catholic and independent) and across all levels (primary and secondary). Historically, the proportion of secondary teaching staff who are male has been considerably higher than the proportion in primary schools. Government schools at both primary and secondary levels experienced the largest decline in the proportion of male teaching staff. Despite slight overall falls in male teaching staff proportions primary and secondary schools between 1993 and 2009, independent schools at both levels now have the highest proportion of male teaching staff in the state.

The pattern of male student teacher education enrolments between 2004 and 2008 closely reflected overall teacher training enrolment numbers over the same period. However, male teacher training enrolments increased by approximately 40% compared with an increase of around 32% for overall teacher training enrolments. Flinders University was the only institution to record growth in male student teacher enrolments in each year, and accounted for over 80% of South Australia's overall increase in male student teacher enrolments. Despite the considerable increase in male student teacher training enrolments, the proportion of students commencing initial teacher training enrolments who were male increased only slightly over the five years from approximately 27% to 29%.


REFERENCES

ABS 2010, Schools Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4221.0)

Australian Government, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Higher Education, Statistics, Students, http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Publications/HEStatistics/Publications/Pages/Students.aspx viewed 17 September 2010

Australian Government, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 2008, Staff In Australia's Schools 2007

Central Queensland University 2004, Teaching and the gender imbalance: do we need more MATES?, S. Smith

University of Canberra 1999, We Need More Males In Primary Teacher Education! Or do we?, J. Smith

COAG 2008, National Education Agreement, Schedule F



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