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The NASUWT has welcomed the passing of the Fair Employment (School Teachers) Bill in the Northern Ireland Assembly today.

The Bill will amend the Fair Employment and Treatment (NI) Order 1988 to remove the exemption regarding the employment of teachers in schools. The provisions of the Bill come into operation 2 years after Royal Assent is given to the Bill.

The current law allows for an exemption in relation to equality of opportunity and fair participation in employment for members of the Protestant and Roman Catholic communities in Northern Ireland.

The practical effect of this is that it is not currently unlawful to discriminate against someone in an appointment process on the basis of their religious belief.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“The NASUWT welcome the passage of this Bill today which brings us closer to ending the longstanding exemption to Fair Employment legislation in Northern Ireland.

“Discrimination is damaging to children’s education and to the wellbeing and careers of teachers. Removing the exemption will support efforts to tackle prejudice and hatred and will help schools to nurture and promote social inclusion.

“No teacher should be denied opportunity to teach or to lead schools on the basis of their religious belief.”

NASUWT National Official Northern Ireland Justin McCamphill said: “The NASUWT have been campaigning for the removal of the exemption to the Fair Employment and Treatment Order for many years.

“It is disappointing that teachers will still have to wait two years for equal employment rights in Northern Ireland but nevertheless this is an important milestone in the history of equality legislation in Northern Ireland.

“The passage of this legislation is an important reminder to employing authorities that they need to get their houses in order as regards the employment of teachers. The long standing practice of bringing teachers in without interview by misusing the NISTR register needs to stop immediately”.



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