Thousands of teachers cannot afford to pay into a pension scheme

Latest figures show that 5,317 left the teachers' pension scheme in the year up to March 2015 - up by 42 per cent on the figure that left the previous year

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The Independent Online

It used to be the case that teachers would put up with less than the highest wages because they could look forward to a decent pension. Now, though, it seems that thousands are prepared to forgo that incentive because they simply cannot afford to pay into a pension. Latest figures show that a total of 5,317 left the teachers' pension scheme in the year up to March 2015 – up by 42 per cent on the figure that left the previous year.

“Young people coming out of university especially have got financial issues and high debts,” Dr Nick Kirby, principal pensions officer of the Nation Union of Teachers, told researcher Jess Staufenberg, who has been investigating the issue. “For every pound they earn, they are losing a significant amount to income tax, national insurance, student debt and marginal tax rates. Paying into their pensions is the one thing they can drop.”

Not quite true. The biggest worry for the profession – as the new term starts with teacher supply agencies conducting more and more frantic searches overseas to plug staffing gaps – is that teaching itself could be the other thing that they drop.

By the way, if you as a pupil get asked to write the traditional essay curtain-raiser for the academic year, “What I did during the summer holidays”, don't for heavens' sake turn the question back on the teacher. According to the extramarital affairs dating website, IllicitEncounters.com, there was an increase of 128 per cent in the number of those working in education signing up during July and August.

Just a moment to consider some research from the Trinity Mirror group, which revealed that eight out of 10 of the top performing state schools in exams were selective grammar schools. No surprise there then – except shouldn't the figures be 10 out of 10? The clue is in the word “selective” – that means they take in around the brightest 25 per cent of all pupils.

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