Pining for pension parity

21st November 2003 at 00:00
Weighted down by the heavy marking load of an English teacher I, nevertheless, tore myself away to watch Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect, an ITV police drama I have previously enjoyed.

In the opening minutes Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren's character) was being urged by her superiors to take a retirement package after 30 years of service in the police force. They spoke of the excellent pension she would receive. Tennison had the choice and turned it down.

As a teacher approaching 30 years of service I would very much like to be given the opportunity to retire on a handsome pension package but no such opportunity is offered to me or my generation of 50-plus teachers.

We are forced to remain in our posts until 60 to collect our pensions. To make matters worse, if we attempt to lessen our work-load and go part-time before 60 or drop some of our responsibilities when tiredness becomes all too consuming, again, we are prejudiced against and cheated of the equal opportunities afforded our colleagues in similar professions in the public sector - the police and the army.

Isn't this all rather unfair? Shouldn't we be given the opportunity that Jane Tennison had to retire on a full pension or to stay on if we so wish.

I know what I'd rather do!

Surely this is a dilemma faced by so many other teachers in their 50s.

Isn't it time the unions took up our case and demanded equality of opportunity for the teaching profession!

Dee Fleming-Francis

The Mount

Bremilham Road

Malmesbury, Wiltshire

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