Teachers in Cornwall may find it particularly difficult to retire early. The county council says that they will only be granted early retirement on the grounds of organisational efficiency if schools agree to pay the employer's share of all pension costs during the first three years.
The council has told governing bodies that schools must also pay the employer's share of a teacher's lump sum and pension for three years if, within 12 months of a teacher being made redundant, the school increases staff numbers. Schools will be required to pay Pounds 15,000 in the first year and Pounds 5,000 a year for the next two.
Where teachers are made redundant and not replaced for a year, the LEA will pay the employer's share if it agrees that the decision was unavoidable.
Andy Morgan, Cornwall's deputy education secretary, says the new regulations put the onus on schools to decide when a teacher should retire.
But the county's NUT secretary, Vince Burton, says the union is angry about the proposals for early retirement on efficiency grounds. "Very few schools will be able to afford the Pounds 25,000 over three years," he says. "Governing bodies simply won't agree to it."
Many teachers in the independent sector believe it is equally improbable that their schools will underwrite the cost of early retirement. Vivian Anthony, secretary of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, says that independent schools will probably only agree to early retirements "in extreme cases".
He says that some staff wanting to retire in their 50s might agree to receive a "pay off" instead of taking a lump sum and pension because they realised their school could not afford it.
28 personal finance paul shorrock