Title Transcript of doorstop: Canberra: 10 March 2004: Labor's plan to get more male teachers into schools.
Database Press Releases
Date 10-03-2004
Author MACKLIN, Jenny
Citation Id LYWB6
Cover date Wednesday, 10 March 2004
Format Online Text
In Government no
Item Online Text: 1050162
Key item No
Major subject Teacher training
Educational achievement
MP yes
Pages 2p.
Party ALP
Speech No
System Id media/pressrel/LYWB6

Transcript of doorstop: Canberra: 10 March 2004: Labor's plan to get more male teachers into schools.


Jenny Macklin MP Deputy Leader of the Opposition Shadow Minister for Employment, Education & Training Federal Member for Jagajaga




Subjects: Labor’s plan to get more male teachers into schools.

MACKLIN: Labor is putting forward a five point plan to get more men into teaching, to get more men involved, especially in our primary schools. It’s a five point plan that recognises that we have to improve the pay and conditions, the career structure of teachers, if we’re going to see more men in our primary schools. It’s a five point plan that recognises we have to make sure that we have great teachers in our primary schools who are skilled at educating boys. We want to encourage dads to come into our primary schools to help with reading, to help with sport. These are the sorts of initiatives that should be pursued if we really do want to make sure that the boys who are struggling at the moment do better at school.

JOURNALIST: But wouldn’t changing the SDA to encourage the recruitment of more male teachers be a good start?

MACKLIN: Well I don’t think it will work. Let’s just look at what the Catholic Education Office has put forward - they just want twelve scholarships, twelve scholarships to be given to young men so that they go into primary school teaching. We have about 120,000 teachers in primary schools. This is an issue that requires a substantial solution, not just a quick fix by the Prime Minister, who’s clearly rattled by Mark Latham raising this issue. Let’s deal with the issue seriously and make sure that we can improve the education of boys where it’s needed.

JOURNALIST: The Catholic plan is for Sydney only…

MACKLIN: That’s right.

JOURNALIST: …don’t you think that other diocese and school systems might follow this if it comes through?

MACKLIN: I’d like to see all the school systems, the State school systems, the Catholic school systems, the Independent schools recognising that if we’re going to improve the quality of teaching for boys that are struggling in our schools, it actually requires a range of different solutions. Addressing pay and conditions, making sure that teachers are well qualified to teach boys who are having difficulties, making sure that we

provide opportunities for dads to come into the class rooms. These are the sorts of initiatives that will really improve the opportunities for those boys in our schools who are doing it tough.

JOURNALIST: Are you fundamentally opposed to a change in the Sex Discrimination Act?

MACKLIN: I want to make sure we get solutions that work in this area and I don’t think that this sort of quick fix by the Prime Minister, who’s really just responding in a very rattled way to Mark Latham raising this issue, let’s go for a solution that works. Brendan Nelson actually chaired this inquiry, ‘Boys, Getting It Right’. This report does not recommend changing the Sex Discrimination Act. Brendan Nelson did not want to change the Sex Discrimination Act, in fact there are 24 recommendations in this report

that go to a range of different solutions that could be pursued and I’d suggest to Brendan Nelson and John Howard that they go back to this report, look at the proposals that were put in it and get serious about addressing this problem.

JOURNALIST: Even though the numbers may be small, just 12 scholarships, I mean you’ve got to start somewhere, why would Labor stand in the way of that?

MACKLIN: Labor is putting forward a serious plan to address this issue, a plan that involves all the things that I’ve just said, that I don’t think we’ll go over again. From our point of view, let’s get a program of initiatives that will actually work to address this problem and we think that we’ll see some improvement in our primary schools.

JOURNALIST: But don’t you run the risk of contradicting Mark Latham’s strong support for providing more male role models for young boys?

MACKLIN: I think it’s great that Mark has really hit a nerve about parents concerns that, especially some boys, not all boys, but some boys in our primary schools and in our secondary schools are doing it tough. I’ve got two boys, I know what it’s like to bring up boys and I want to make sure that they do well, as well as all the other kids in our schools. I think it is terrific that Mark has really elevated this issue and I’d just say to John Howard, I know you’re trying to catch up with Mark Latham but if we’ve got a serious problem let’s get serious about addressing it.