Nearly a million primary school children in England do not have a male teacher, official figures show.
There were 31,600 male primary teachers at the last count, compared to 151,200 females – one man for every six women in the role.
That rises to one man for every four women in headteacher roles.
And there were 3,727 primary schools in England without any male teachers at all, up from 3,680 in 2014.
Dr Martin Robb, senior lecturer with The Open University , said: “It’s important to have a gender balanced workforce for all kinds of reasons, but the gender of the worker isn’t actually the most important thing for boys.
“And other factors - such as personal qualities of consistency, care, respect, etc - are deemed to be much more significant by boys themselves.
“A range of commentators has argued that the absence of fathers and the allied absence of male role models from the lives of many young men are key factors in their involvement in crime and in educational under-achievement.
“But consistent carers are more important than male models for boys.”
Government efforts to increase numbers of men teaching in primary schools have made little impact.
The proportion of male primary teachers in training has increased from 18% in 2010 to 21% in 2013.
The Department for Education said: “Our priority is getting the brightest and best teachers into classrooms, including male staff of all levels.”
The shortage of male role models in our primary school classrooms helps explain why boys trail girls so badly in term of attainment.
“It is a ticking time bomb that is leading to more and more boys, especially white working class boys, feeling disengaged, out-of-place and marginalised by our education system from an early age.
“The shortage of male teachers is a national crisis for our schools that is also, now, impacting on the secondary sector.
"It is already having a significant impact in terms of boys to becoming alienated within society.
“The issue should be a top priority for the new education secretary.
"Too many men are being put off teaching by a perception that it is over-feminised and that, at a time of child-abuse frenzy and hysteria, any male wishing to work with young children must have suspect motives.
"Thus is more than sad, it is a tragedy for both boys and girls.”
August 5, 2016