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Retirement block

Changes to the teachers' pension scheme will restrict early retirement deals to only one person every three years per college, the Sixth Form Colleges' Employers' Forum warned in letter to Education and Employment Secretary Gillian Shephard this week.

Estimated savings fail to account for early retirements without which reorganisation and the Government's "efficiency" demands cannot be met, Sue Whitham, SFCEF secretary, said.

Mrs Shephard had argued that under new rules colleges would save Pounds 13 million or 0.85 per cent of the staff paybill. The Further Education Funding Council predicts 1,800 retirements at a cost of Pounds 7m. The balance of Pounds 6m is, therefore being clawed back from college budgets.

"As this (Pounds 7 million) works out at under Pounds 4,000 per retirement we must challenge the basis of this estimate," said Ms Whitham. The cut "would afford one early retirement approximately every three years".

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