Discrimination against older teachers in schools has become an increasingly serious problem, the UK’s largest teaching union has warned.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said on 6 April: “Older teachers often have a wealth of experience and expertise. They should be viewed by schools as an asset.
“It is disturbing to find, however, that all too often older teachers are being targeted for redundancy, threatened unjustly with capability procedures, denied access to professional development, or subjected to excessive monitoring in an attempt to force them out of the school.
“They face this harassment and discrimination often for no other reason than they are older and more expensive.
“Too many schools want to create space for younger, cheaper teachers or even unqualified staff who they can place on temporary contracts, giving them flexibility over performance or funding, or both.
“The excessive freedoms given to schools are leading to abuse of older teachers and exploitation of younger ones. Children and young people are losing access to good, experienced teachers as a result of these unacceptable practices.”
Age is one of a number of protected characteristics against which it is unlawful to discriminate under the Equality Act 2010. A breach of the Act can lead to an employment tribunal claim, although this must be made within a strict time limit.
Palmers’ employment law team can provide expert advice and representation to schools and other employers on all discrimination-related issues while our HR package 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.