This is the message i am putting on my window of the classroom in which I teach.







There has been an awful lot of misinformation in the media about why teachers have decided to strike, and the reasons for and against such action. I would like to give parents the reasons why I have decided to strike, and to give my side of the story.



The present government plans are due to have the following consequences, amongst other things:


·         Teachers will have to pay much higher contributions to their pensions

·         Teachers will have to work longer as the retirement age will be raised

·         Teachers will receive less money upon retirement


For me, the figures would work out as follows:


·         I would have to pay a further £45 per month for every month of my working life.

·         I would have to teach until I was 68.

·         I would have a cut in my pension of £4,200 pa

·         I would make a net loss of £215,168 over a 25 year retirement (calculated by NUT pensions loss calculator).



As you can see, that is no small amount of money. But is this fair, given the country’s financial position?


Firstly, the Teacher’s Pension Scheme is not in deficit. That’s right, unlike other schemes, it is not in trouble! It was valued in 2007, and due to be valued again, but the government refuse to value it. Why? Because it is in the black! The scheme is not linked to the stock market. It was changed in 2007 to reflect the demands of a changing workforce and is not deemed in any trouble at all! See the attached sheet for more detail. The government are lumping the TPS in the same pile as all the other pension schemes but it is in no way the same. My £45 extra per month would be for no reason at all.


Secondly, this problem started with the banking and corporate sector, is it fair to make the teaching sector pay for it?


Thirdly, if I was to walk into a bank and say, “I’m sorry Mr Bank Manager, but you know that mortgage we agreed upon 15 years ago? Well, I can’t afford to pay it so I’m going to pay you less, and over a shorter time, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” What do you think the bank would say and do? They would repossess my house and tell me where to go. How is it fair that the government can do this to teachers? These are agreements in place, and many teachers came into teaching on the basis of an agreed pension scheme.


Fourthly, The government are looking at all pensions, and then looking at the worst pensions and saying, “We want to bring all pensions down to this level” which is insane. They should rather be saying, “Let’s ensure that all pensions in this country are of a good standard across the board”. We should be striving to create the better pensions, not worse pensions. Tesco made profits of £1.9 billion in the last 26 weeks! HSBC made £4.5 billion profit in the last quarter alone, and it was the banks who helped get us to this position!


Another issue is the retirement age. While I agree that we do need to work longer, it cannot be as a teacher. Would you like your son or daughter to be taught PE by a 68 year-old teacher? Teaching is a VERY mentally draining job and not one which can be done easily. I think most parents would prefer for teachers not to have to work until they are 68.



To conclude, the Teacher’s Pension Scheme is not in trouble. It doesn’t need changing. This was an agreement with teachers when they went into teaching. We are paying for the problems caused by others, and these others are still making BILLIONS out of… you and me.


This is why I am going on strike.



PS – although I do not teach the class on Wednesdays, I do teach one-to-one tuition.

Dr Robin Bevan, headmaster at Southend High School for Boys, explains the rationale behind what will be the biggest teachers’ strike in 30 years about cuts to the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS)...

"The TPS is a "revenue scheme". There are no investments, no accumulated funds; there is no pension pot. The payments to retired teachers are funded from the contributions made each year by working members.

The scheme depends on sufficient income in contributions to offset the outgoing pension payments, and for very many years the income has exceeded the expenditure

This excess has been used by successive governments as revenue for public expenditure.

The TPS is not subject to the vagaries of the stock market. The value and sustainability of the scheme has not altered in any way since the credit crunch and does not depend upon the state of the economy. Moreover the scheme operates at no cost to the taxpayer.

The only reason why the TPS would need to be changed would be to reflect the changing demographics of the teaching population and specifically the longevity of retired members.

This was addressed fully in 2007. An independent valuation of the scheme, informed by professional actuaries, demonstrated the need to make changes at that time and an agreement was reached that overhauled the benefits to members, changing both the rate of pension payments and the age at which they could be claimed.

Nothing has since changed to indicate any need for further actuarial adjustments. Indeed, ministers have refused to authorise a further independent valuation of the scheme, despite proposing changes in contributions at a very specific level.

On this basis it is impossible to establish any rationale for the proposed increase from April 2012 in teachers' contributions of 3.4%. The effect of this increase will be a reduction in take-home pay, for the average teacher, of £120 per month.

There is, occasionally, a view advanced that public sector pensions are "gold plated". More than 50% of retired teachers receive a pension of less than £10,000 per year, which only just lifts them beyond the need for income support.

There is a view public sector pensions are unsustainable. The TPS is fully funded, subject to independent valuation and not in deficit.

These changes amount to an arbitrary increase in teachers' contributions to the Exchequer in exchange for no benefits, and are equivalent to imposing a substantial increase in income tax."

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