Letters extra: Barriers to returners

30th March 2001 at 01:00

The more positive aspects of returning to teaching have not been fully addressed by The TES . It seems you are prepared to consider only accounts of those who imply that those of us who took early retirement are either too incompetent, burnt out or senile to return to the classroom, (re Alan Smithies' comments "Old enough to know better" March 9).

Many of us have gone back on a part-time basis and have found it a rewarding experience. There can be great benefits if such staff are employed; part-time returners can bring a great deal of expertise and experience, we arrive fresher and we can devote more time to preparation.

It is therefore a pity that there should be so many barriers which frustrate those who have been moved to return. The most obvious is the pension rules which limit the total contribution those who do return can make. They act like a one way street out of the profession and suggest that having accessed a pension (for which the teacher may have paid over 30 years) it would be sinful to restart teaching in a significant way and draw the pension.

Retired senior teacher
Essex (name and address supplied)

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