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Late entrants to teaching

The unions are particularly concerned that late entrants to teaching will be deterred by the proposed raising of the pension age to 65 as they will be forced to work on to build a reasonable pension. But it is possible to transfer pension contributions from a previous scheme, providing you let Teachers' Pensions know within 12 months of joining the scheme.

Felicity Bunker, a 63-year-old secondary maths teacher, said: "I'll have to carry on working until I'm walking around with a Zimmer frame."

Mrs Bunker only has 23 years of contributions to the Teachers' Pensions Scheme as she did not start teaching until she was 40, after bringing up her family and doing a PGCE.

There was no pension on offer in her previous job in industry and, unfortunately, she has missed out on the state pension as well, as at the time she was not told that paying married women's National Insurance contributions would result in a lower pension.

As her daughter was born in 1970, eight years before home responsibilities protection was introduced, Mrs Bunker receives no credit for these years either. As a result, although she has paid national insurance for 33 years, Mrs Bunker will only get a state pension of pound;72 a week.

"It is very unfair,' she said. "It makes me angry that I only get three-quarters of the state pension. Based on my husband's pension, I would still have got pound;49 if I had made no NI contributions at all. That works out at a pension of pound;23 a week for 33 years of work."

Mrs Bunker is now hoping that she will at least be able to continue full-time teaching until she is 65, so that she can put the maximum into her teachers' pension.

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