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Pension picture not as bleak as painted;Letter

Susannah Kirkman's report ("Teachers' families left impoverished", TES May 8) and article ("Loved ones left wanting", TES Friday, May 15), may cause some teachers undue anxiety in one respect.

The widow of a teacher who retires with 40 years' service will receive a pension equal to approximately one third of the teacher's pension, unless the teacher concerned elected to buy in past years for family benefit.

If the teacher retired some time ago, because only service for family benefits since 1972 counts for widow's allowances, it might be even less. When a teacher retires with 26 years' service or less, the widow is entitled to a long-term pension, equal to one half of her husband's pension.

The proportion will, of course, increase in line with length of service since 1972 or past added years bought in since then.

It does not give the whole picture to claim that if a husband dies after retirement, the maximum pension is around a third of the husband's pension.

Robert Carstairs

Assistant general secretary, Secondary Heads Association, 130 Regent Road, Leicester

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