Swindon’s school workforce has become more female-dominated over the last decade, data shows.

The Education Policy Institute think tank said a decline in male secondary school teachers nationally has been fuelled by a significant drop in the proportion of white men teaching in schools.

Of the 814 secondary school teachers in Swindon whose gender was listed in the School Workforce Census last year, 249 were male.

That meant men made up 31 per cent of the workforce, compared to 32 per cent a decade earlier.

The proportion of male teachers across all of the area’s schools – including primary, nursery and special schools – was even lower, at 24 per cent.

The figures exclude teachers employed directly by the local authority, who are not assigned to a particular school.

Analysis by the EPI found that across England, the proportion of men teaching in secondary schools has fallen year-on-year since 2010, hitting its lowest level in 2019-20 when 36 per cent of teachers were male.

But despite this dip in overall male staff, the proportion of male black and minority ethnic teachers has risen to 17 per cent – which the EPI said is broadly representative of the wider population for the first time.

Joshua Fullard, author and senior researcher at the EPI, said: “While the Covid-19 recession has boosted teacher applications, this has had no effect on the gender diversity of the school workforce, which is still heavily dominated by women.

“Evidence suggests that when a teacher matches the background of their pupils, this can help to improve pupil outcomes.

“It’s therefore encouraging that despite the overall decline in males, we have seen a rise in the proportion of BME male teachers, which now corresponds with the population as a whole.”

The report suggested that the decline of men in the profession is likely to be caused by the public sector pay freeze, with teachers’ pay to stagnating over the last decade.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We are working to increase the diversity of the teaching workforce, and have improved pathways into the profession with the aim of a diverse workforce that supports the progression and retention of all teachers, regardless of gender.”

She added that teacher pay is increasing, bringing the department closer to its aim of having a £30,000 starting salary by 2022.

“We moved closer to that this year by introducing the biggest pay rise since 2005 with above-inflation pay rises to the pay ranges for every single teacher in the country,” she said.