IEF Welcomes the Support of Teacher’s Union Chief in abolishing Teacher’s Exception

The Executive is facing fresh pressure to address inequalities in the teaching profession by repealing fair employment laws which continue to discriminate on religious grounds.


Legislation currently allows for an exemption in relation to equality of opportunity and fair participation in employment for members of the Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern Ireland.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said there was a widely held belief that no teacher should be subject to the legislation.

“Discrimination is damaging to children’s education and to the wellbeing and careers of teachers,” he said, speaking on the eve of the Union’s annual conference.

The Integrated Education Fund welcomes any move to bring to an end the continued exemption of schools from the Fair Employment and Treatment Order.

As it stands, schools have a legal right to discriminate when recruiting to teaching positions and are exempt from monitoring over 17,000 teaching staff in the same way as other professions.

The IEF has campaigned for an end to the Teacher Exception since 2014, when the policy became an integral part of its alternative manifesto. We have long recognised that this is a massive step in a much needed process of deeper and wider education reform.

A 2018 survey of over 1,000 teachers showed that only 2% of teachers employed in Catholic Maintained (CCMS) primaries had attended a Controlled primary school in NI, and that only 7% of those in a Controlled primary had attended a CCMS primary.