Trade union activists and teachers from ethnic minorities are being overlooked for pound;2,000 performance bonuses, new figures reveal.
Last year, 10 per cent of union officials attempting to cross the pay threshold had their application rejected by headteachers. But figures released by the Department for Education and Skills this week show that only 5 per cent of non-union activists were turned down.
Teachers from ethnic-minority groups face an even bigger chance of rejection. More than 20 per cent of Bangladeshi and black African teachers failed to cross the threshold, the lowest of any ethnic group. Around 10 per cent of teachers from Indian, Pakistani and black Caribbean backgrounds were also rejected, compared to just 4.5 per cent of white British teachers.
Greg Robbins, NASUWT's Islington secretary, who obtained the statistics, said it represented clear evidence that ethnic minorities and union members were being discriminated against.
In 2003, the National Union of Teachers unsuccessfully called for an investigation into the discrepancies after raising concerns over the number of experienced teachers from black and Asian backgrounds being overlooked.
However, the DfES said it was rash to make snap judgements based purely on the 2004 figures because success rates vary from year to year.
In 2003 the number of union and non-union activists crossing the threshold were almost identical.