Young teachers highlight age discrimination - Palmers Solicitors

Young teachers highlight age discrimination

Nearly half of young teachers say they have been discriminated against during their career because of their age, a conference organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has heard.

Two-thirds of young teachers at the NASUWT’s Young Teachers’ Consultation Conference, held on 17 January in Birmingham, said they had experienced bullying and harassment at work. An electronic poll of members attending the conference found that:

  • 48 per cent had been discriminated against because of their age while working as a teacher;
  • 28 per cent had experienced bullying and harassment from senior management and two-thirds had been bullied at work by management, colleagues, pupils or parents;
  • excessive workload was the main concern of three-quarters of conference delegates;
  • over two thirds (69 per cent) say that pay matters to new recruits and those considering teaching as a career; and
  • 40 per cent say that secure employment and fair access to pay progression would most encourage them to stay in teaching long-term.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “It was clear that the young teachers at the conference are absolutely and fully committed to being great teachers and to serving the children and young people they teach.

“However, it is deeply worrying, although unfortunately not surprising, that their commitment is being undermined by bullying and harassment and their energy and enthusiasm sapped by excessive workload and working hours.”

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of what are known as protected characteristics, which include age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Discrimination, which may include harassment and bullying, is a serious issue for employers and can lead to employment tribunal claims, although a strict time limit applies to submitting these.

At Palmers, our employment law team can provide expert advice and representation to businesses and individuals on all discrimination-related issues while our HR package also offers regularly updated sample policies for matters such as discrimination, to help maintain a productive working relationship between employers and employees and avoid disputes arising.

For more information, please visit our website or contact Lara Murray.