Gender pay gaps in Norfolk’s academy trusts and schools
PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:18 11 April 2018
Women working in the county’s schools are losing out compared to their male colleagues, gender pay gap figures show.
For the first time, employers with 250 or more employees have been required by law to publish figures showing the gap between male and female income based on median hourly pay.
With the deadline now passed, education figures nationally have shown a pay gap of 20pc in favour of men, with academy trusts and schools making up 40 of the 100 companies with the biggest pay gaps, despite a predominantly female workforce.
In our region, gaps included 54.6pc at the Evolution Academy Trust (EAT), founded at Costessey Junior, 49.5pc at Gresham’s School in Holt and 46.8pc at St John the Baptist Catholic Multi-Academy Trust, founded at Notre Dame High in Norwich.
The two trusts said they have a higher proportion of women in all employment areas, with a report from EAT saying the gap was a result of “a low proportion of males in all grades”.
In St John the Baptist’s report, chief executive Brian Conway said the gap could be explained by a lower proportion of male support staff, compared to that in higher-paid teaching roles.
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He said it was “typical of the education sector as a whole”, but said the trust was monitoring pay carefully.
At Norfolk Academies, which runs schools including Attleborough and Fakenham Academies, the pay gap is 33.9pc, despite having more women in all bands.
The trust said it was confident its gap did not stem from paying men and women differently for the same job. Instead, it said it came down to the nature of roles, but said, while “its scope to act in some areas is limited”, it was “committed” to reducing the gap.
At Sapientia Education Trust, founded at Wymondham College, the gender pay gap is 1.3pc in favour of women, making them one of just 14pc of companies nationally with a gap favouring women.
Chief executive Jonathan Taylor said it was a complex picture with many underlying factors.
“The national picture for the education sector demonstrates that there is much work still to be done to ensure genuine equality,” he said. “We have worked very hard at Sapientia to engender a culture where talent can flourish and an approach that encourages and enables staff progression.”
At Norfolk County Council, the employer for maintained schools, the gender pay gap is 9.7pc.
In its report, the council said its immediate focus was developing a culture which “visibly values and respects difference”.
Further and higher education
Men are also, on average, paid more than women in local further and higher education.
At the University of East Anglia (UEA), the median gap is 30.2pc, at Norwich University of the Arts it is 11.4pc. at City College Norwich it is 24.6pc and at Easton and Otley College it is 15.4pc.
The UEA said lower-paid roles were more typically occupied by women, with many part-time and flexible support roles.
Sarah Barrow, pro-vice-chancellor for equality and diversity at the university, said they welcomed publishing the report.
She said their equal pay audit was conducted every two years, with “robust” job evaluation tools to make sure people were paid according to role responsibility.
“We value equality and have worked consistently to address the issue; this first gender pay gap report highlights that we have much more work to do in certain areas, that the causes of the gap are complex and often reflect the distribution of roles at the university which in itself needs to be challenged,” she said.
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More job sharing roles needed
A teaching union has said women in the classroom will be held back until senior job-sharing roles become more common.
Scott Lyons, National Education Union (NEU) Norfolk spokesperson, said there were few opportunities for women to share headships or senior roles in schools.
“I am surprised by the figures because the balance of the workforce is more female,” he said, “but there is a huge prevalence of female staff working part-time.
“A lot of the time that becomes a barrier to management positions.
“I still think there’s a huge issue with shared roles and joint roles which we need to be asking questions about.”
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the union, has said women teachers are less likely to be promoted, while female support staff are likely to be in lowest paid jobs.
Government figures show that almost three out of four teachers are female, with four out of five school employees female.