Pensions issue fuels ‘recruitment crisis’

National president of the National Association of Head Teachers, Kim Johnson, at Ballacottier School

National president of the National Association of Head Teachers, Kim Johnson, at Ballacottier School

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Teachers’ pension arrangements are fuelling the secondary schools’ ‘recruitment crisis’.

That’s according to National Association of Head Teachers president Kim Johnson, who visited the island last week.

Island teachers’ pensions are affiliated with the teachers’ pension scheme for teachers in England and Wales.

Union negotiations with education chiefs about the government’s unified pension scheme are on hold until proposed changes go before this month’s Tynwald sitting.

Mr Johnson said he wanted the issue to be looked at with ‘greater immediacy’.

He said: ‘There’s a need for secondary school teachers. There’s a recruitment crisis emerging here.

‘If we don’t address the problem of teachers’ pensions you won’t keep the ones you have got, and those you need to get might not want to come.’

He was surprised to see welcome banners at the airport highlighting the need for secondary teachers. ‘I have never seen it before,’ he said.

Earlier this year Isle of Man Newspapers highlighted the problem of teacher recruitment and the impact of pensions’ uncertainty.

Current teaching vacancies warn UK candidates the UK Teachers’ Pension Scheme treats the Isle of Man as an overseas scheme. It means teachers who come to the island and remain in teaching here for more than five years would not be able to rejoin the UK scheme as an existing member.

He praised the positive relationship between the Department of Education and schools, saying: ‘I would love the secretary of state [Nicky Morgan] to come and see that over here there’s more trust around assessment.

‘Here, teachers can make a sound judgement about children’s progress and attainment. In England at the moment we have a system where there is an overburdening of testing.’

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