Concern about the under achievement of boys during compulsory schooling has been linked to the scarcity of male role models within primary teaching and is influential in current initiatives to attract more men into primary teaching. Links between such gendered role models and educational achievement appear to be assumed rather than proven. Whilst not seeking to address the concept of role model directly this article explores the position of men vis-à-vis women in primary teaching and initial teacher education (ITE). It highlights contradictions in patterns of achievement through identification of exceptional male success once qualified as primary teachers and apparent relatively high failure and withdrawal rates during ITE. The implication is made that issues regarding equity of treatment between males and females in recruitment, ITE and subsequent teaching careers need clarification before ways of increasing the number of male primary teachers can be considered by policy makers.