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Let retired staff do marking

I was fascinated by the letters about teachers being given paid time away from school to mark tests (TES, March 28).

I qualified as a maths specialist, and ended up as science co-ordinator. In November 2001, I suffered a heart attack with complications. I was 53, and rendered unable to teach. In summer 2002, I marked key stage 3 science national tests. In October 2002, I was awarded a pension on health grounds.

At Christmas 2002, I asked the teachers' pensions body for permission to mark again this year, thinking this was a formality, and, to my surprise, was refused.

I have since written to Teachers' Pensions, the AQA exams board, and the Department for Education and Skills. When I have received an answer, I have been quoted the same regulations. These say that I am not allowed contact with children or schools, and as AQA is involved with education, "obviously" I cannot work for it as I will lose my pension.

I understand that Teachers' Pensions are under pressure to avoid paying out. But, while I am physically incapable of doing any real work, I can do marking, which used to be considered light clerical work that teachers could do in their spare time.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, to find that it is proposed to disrupt children's education in order to free staff to mark when I am not allowed to do it.

Martyn R Roper

23 Oak Road

Great Cornard, Suffolk

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