Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Pension protection

As SHA members will no doubt be aware, the government has backtracked on its plan to increase the public sector pension age to 65. As a key contributor to the campaign against the increase, SHA is very pleased that the government has decided to protect pension rights of all teachers contributing under the present arrangements.

The government's about turn on the matter reflects the powerful influence exerted by the united action of the teacher unions.

The government's withdrawal came after joint action by the teacher unions earlier in the year and further pressure from TUC affiliated public sector unions. The original proposal would have increased the normal pension age from 60 to 65 in the public sector, including the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS).

Prior to this announcement only teachers aged 50 by 31 August 2003 had their pension rights protected under the present scheme regulations. Now all teachers who are members of the TPS as of 31 August 2006 seem likely to have their pension rights protected and guaranteed through to age 60.

SHA has argued from the start of the negotiations and review of the TPS that it was unfair to only protect the pension rights of those over age 50 under the new proposals. Pension rights are an important element of teachers' remuneration and regarded by many to be deferred salary.

Framework principles underlying the reform of public sector pension schemes, including the TPS, have been agreed by the government and public sector unions and negotiations for teachers' pensions began in November. We anticipate that negotiations and consultations will be completed by June 2006.

For new entrants to teaching, the implementation of the new scheme, which will include a normal retirement age of 65, seems likely from September 2006.

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