International women's day: union calls for action on teacher gender pay gap

Pay gap between male and female headteachers grows with age

Martin George

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The NEU teaching union has called for the government to “offer a fair deal” for female teachers on International Women’s Day.

NEU highlighted government statistics showing the pay differential between men and women in the profession.

According to the latest government data on the school workforce in England, published in July 2017, female teachers were, on average, paid £2,900 less than their male counterparts - £37,700, compared to £40,660.

The gap is even more stark for teachers in leadership positions. On average, female headteachers earn £5,700 less than their male counterparts.

NEU also highlighted how the gender pay gap for headteachers increases with age.

On average, female headteachers aged under 40 earn £5,400 less than their male counterparts, those in their 40s earn £7,700 less, those in their 50s earn £11,300 less and those aged 60 or over earn £13,500 less.

The union also cited a survey it published last year which found that a third of teachers absent for all or part of the 2016-17 school year owing to pregnancy or maternity who were eligible for progression and knew their outcome, had been denied it.

It found that 61 per cent of such teachers said that they had been specifically told that they had been denied progression because of their absence, despite maternity and pregnancy discrimination being unlawful.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: “A survey of our members shows that performance-related pay is exacerbating the gender pay gap in teaching.

Women’s Pay Day highlights the long-term injustice and impact of gender stereotyping and pay awards based on biased sexist assumptions.

“Our members will continue to challenge sexist stereotypes in the classroom; the National Education Union will challenge unlawful discrimination in pay decisions. It is time for the government to step up and offer a fair deal for female teachers.”

The DfE said it wanted to see "more great teachers, both male and female" enter the profession and make sure that excellent female teachers get the right support and opportunities to progress into school leadership.

A spokesperson added: "To help do this, we have introduced a number of initiatives, such as the Women Leading in Education programme, and in December 2017 we announced an £1.8 million fund to help schools increase the diversity of their senior teams.

“We are one of the first countries in the world to require all large employers to publish their gender pay gap and bonus data. Employers in the public sector, including academy trusts, have until 30 March 2018 to report.”

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