Racial and sexual discrimination in early pay decisions


Black and Asian teachers are more likely than their White colleagues to have been turned down for salary rises under the performance-related pay (PRP) rules, new figures show.

Black and Asian teachers are more likely than their White colleagues to have been turned down for salary rises under the performance-related pay (PRP) rules, new figures show.

A survey of 4,950 members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has also uncovered instances of teachers being turned down for progression because they do not have consistently outstanding teaching – a breach of the statutory rules for PRP.

The full implementation of PRP in September last year now means that teachers’ pay progression is linked to their performance based on annual appraisals. It saw an end to the old system of mandatory pay progression points.

Of those in the survey, 61 per cent were eligible for pay progression in September 2014. Of this number, 55 per cent have received pay progress, 21 per cent have not, and 24 per cent had not been notified at the time of the survey (in December 2014).

The report from the NUT states: “Therefore, over a quarter (28 per cent) of those notified of the outcome have been denied pay progression. 

“While this result must be treated with caution due to the potentially overweight response from teachers denied progression, it is nonetheless higher than levels of non-progression in recent years.”

Of those turned down for progression, 89 per cent felt the decision was unfair, 88 per cent said they had no warning that they might not progress, and 76 per cent said they were not going to appeal because there was “no point”.

Disturbingly, the figures show that while 25 per cent of White British teachers were denied progression, 34 per cent of Black and Black British teachers and 

40 per cent of Asian and Asian British teachers were turned down. There was a similar ratio among those still waiting to find out if they will get a pay rise.

The report states: “The NUT has warned that the new system – for which no equality impact assessment was conducted by the School Teachers’ Review Body when recommending its adoption – would lead to discrimination.”

Respondents to the survey also revealed some of the reasons they were turned down for pay progression, with evidence that some decisions have been based on inappropriate criteria.

The report continues: “Some respondents say that they were told that they did not receive progression because their teaching was ‘good but not outstanding’, or even ‘not consistently outstanding despite elements of outstanding’ – a clear breach of the statutory provision that ‘continued good performance’ should result in progression to the top of the pay scale. More worryingly, several respondents say that they did not receive progression due to their absence on maternity leave, which obviously raises questions with regard to unlawful sex discrimination.”

Overall, the survey found that 51 per cent of the respondents felt that their school’s pay policy is “unfair” and six in 10 believe that PRP has undermined appraisals for professional development purposes in their school.

Kevin Courtney, NUT deputy general secretary, said: “It’s quite clear that PRP is an unsuitable and unfair way to pay teachers. It in no way reflects the great work that is being done in schools and it has turned teachers’ pay into a lottery.

“Given that we already know teachers are paid less than other graduate professions, PRP with all its uncertainties and its potential for bias and discrimination will make teaching considerably less attractive to young people. At a time of teacher shortages, that is nothing short of a disaster.

“The NUT will be seeking further information from employers on rates of progression and patterns among particular groups. We are calling on the government to declare a moratorium on this PRP system while all of these equal opportunities and quality concerns are properly and thoroughly addressed.”

Photo: iStock


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