The aim of this guide is to highlight some of the equality issues that exist in schools to reps and ensuring that all eligible members receive pay progression.
As in previous years, the latest NEU survey on teacher pay and progression found teachers who were female, non-white British or disabled were less likely to have received pay progression, as were those working part-time or on non-permanent contracts.
The survey found that members on maternity leave were once again denied pay progression more often than their counterparts. Their absence due to pregnancy or maternity was specifically mentioned as a reason for denial of progression, contravening DfE guidance and breaking the law. Similarly, lower rates of progression were associated with more than 10 days’ absence due to ill-health during pregnancy, menopause and domestic abuse.
The NEU survey also found that teachers Black, Asian or mixed ethnic backgrounds were more likely to be rejected for progression than their white counterparts.
Teachers who identified themselves as disabled were twice as likely to have been denied pay progression. This finding is consistent with previous surveys.
The survey also found that female leaders were more likely to be turned down than male leaders. As in previous years the latest school workforce census data shows clearly that women are still disadvantaged in terms of career progression. The average full-time equivalent salary for teachers in state-funded schools was higher for male teachers across all grades. The gap was even greater at head teacher level - female head teachers earn on average 12 per cent less than their male equivalents.
The Government Equalities Office (GEO) published a report on women’s progression in the workplace. It concluded that one of the barriers to women’s progression came from “organisational norms and processes that allow gender bias to creep into decision-making”.
The report illustrates how important it is to have clear and transparent systems in place because those in power are more likely to favour those who are like themselves.
It says, “in many workplaces persistent norms of overwork, expectations of constant availability and excess workloads conflict with unpaid caring responsibilities - the majority of which still fall on women”.
The above statement is an accurate reflection of our members’ experience of appraisal arrangements in schools. The PRP system for teachers has exacerbated overwork, unmanageable workloads and is making work/life balance difficult.
Although the focus of the GEO report was on gender bias, the findings could be equally applied to bias against Black teachers and disabled teachers.