Teacher pay problems show up in government figures

Teachers from ethnic minority groups and those active in trade unions are less likely to move up the pay scale, according to newspaper reports.

Documents seen by the Guardian newspaper show that union officials and teachers from some ethnic minority communities are less likely to pass the performance threshold – a key standard awarded by school principals which allows teachers to progress up the pay scale.

According to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act by the Department for Education and Skills, school principals failed about one in 20 teachers in 2004, but that figure rose to one in 10 among staff who were union officials.

Teachers from the Bangladeshi and black African communities, as well as those categorised as ‘Asian other’, had the lowest success rate of any ethnic group in 2004 at around 80%. Those from the Pakistani and Caribbean communities scored 90%, still some way behind the ‘white British’ teachers who achieved a 95.5% success rate.

Martin Ward, deputy head of the Secondary Heads Association, said head teachers did not consciously discriminate against any members of staff.

A spokesman from the Department for Education said that, although some groups seemed to do less well in the latest set of figures, the picture changed every year.

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