Get real and face pension changes

29th April 2005 at 01:00
Your article "Anger, disgust at retirement plans" (TES, April 15) about the proposed changes to teachers' pension arrangements, and in particular the raising of the retiring age - with comments quoted from members of the profession - caused me to splutter into my mug of tea on Friday night after another 10-plus hour day, with another to come.

Teaching is a highly skilled profession filled with highly dedicated people performing a great job in the face of adversity on many fronts. I have every admiration for teachers and all they do, both as a parent and a governor of many years' standing. However, on occasions some just fail to recognise the real world outside and seem divorced from it.

Wouldn't we all like to retire at 60? I won't be able to and fully expect to work until at least 65, running a small family business with all the travails that brings.

If pension rates had held up I might have been able to, but they haven't.

Life is full of changes.

I work long hours; on average 50 hours in a six-day week, 48 weeks a year.

Why should teachers have a right set in stone to retire at 60? In these changing times we live longer and are relatively fitter at such an age, so let's do away with these emotive "dying at work" comments.

What is wrong with being taught by a 65-year-old? This is a terribly ageist attitude, as my daughter is effectively taught by her grandparents for one day a week and seems none the worse for the experience; quite the reverse, and they are in the active 70-plus bracket.

Is there no stress in an office job? Come on, get real, some of you.

Negotiate hard by all means to ameliorate the impact, but don't give us all this ridiculous emotive language. It does your profession a great disservice.

Bruce Mclaren

Chair of governors Sythwood primary school Woking, Surrey

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