Teachers’ fear for the future

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THE National Union of Teachers is looking into the possibility of teachers breaking with the English government pension scheme and coming under the Manx government’s unified pension scheme.

It comes as the teachers’ contributions are to rise significantly by 2015, and a rise in pension age is set to be introduced.

Karl Flint, branch secretary of the NUT, said: ‘Teachers at the moment are most concerned about their pensions from a personal point of view.

‘Salaries have been frozen for two years, workload has increased, the number of teachers is down and teachers are being asked to contribute even more quite simply to plug part of the economic shortfall in [the UK] government between income and expenditure.’

At the moment, a teacher with no responsibility for which they get an extra reward contributes 6.4 per cent of their salary.

Their contributions will rise to 9.4 per cent.

The level of contributions increases depending on the teacher’s grading, with the highest earners – such as head teachers – set to contribute 13 per cent of their salary.

State pension age will increase to 66 by 2020, to 67 between 2026 and 2029 and to 68 between 2044 and 2046.

Mr Flint said: ‘The question for Manx residents, particularly those with children is: do they really want teachers unable to afford to retire before the age of 65, 67, 68? And I have no doubt we will be talking about 70 in future.

‘There will be 60-plus teachers in large numbers unable to afford to retire turning up to work for financial reasons when the whole quality of education that is delivered is based upon the enthusiasm and exertions of teachers still young enough to have the ability to give.’

He said teaching had changed enormously since he started teaching in the 1970s and had ‘become stressful’, adding: ‘It’s so different from the jobs I took over when I started teaching in the 1970s that I don’t believe most teachers are actually doing their health any favours by carrying on beyond the age of 60.’

He said teaching was very different from an ordinary office job, with added pressures such as children with special needs and behavioural problems.

He said he fully supported these pupils being fully integrated in the classroom, but said: ‘It takes it out of a teacher.’

And he said it was becoming increasingly difficult to fill the most highl demanding positions in schools, such as department heads and head teachers, because of the added stress.

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