Allow us dignity in retirement

16th May 1997 at 01:00
I thoroughly enjoyed the euphoria inherent in Alan Millard's letter ("Heads who win", TES, May 2). But as the final tranche of teachers leave the profession under the existing system of pension arrangements - some in undignified haste - the fact remains that our associations or unions still have much to sort out.

The decisions made by the previous government - precipitate to the end - highlighted an unsustainable position which was replaced by a patently unfair one.

Whilst not seeking generosity in any new pension arrangements, I am hopeful that reasonableness will underpin the approach of government in stark contrast to the vilification of recent years.

It cannot be right that a full pension can be achieved only by working full time for 40 years. The massive changes in expectation and workload have been reflected in the massive increase in early retirement through ill health, exhaustion and disillusionment. While the latter may be reduced through partnership, the stress of working in schools will remain.

A pension system that allows for teachers to retire at 55, mirroring current practice for many, and which provides sufficient income to live with dignity, is surely not too much to ask?

ROY COOK, Littletown County Primary School, Honiton Bottom Road, Honiton, Devon

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