We have dealt with a number of early retirement cases recently, which schools had not planned for and were unsure how to manage. This called to mind the Government’s Teachers Working Longer Review which was published in 2018.

While not surprisingly, workload and accountability pressures are major factors in teachers retiring early, ill health, elder care and reduced energy levels all play a part for those over 50 (17.6% of teachers in the 2018 Census).

The review found a general lack of awareness about flexible pension options and limited alternate role options, particularly for classroom teachers.  It suggests that a positive attitude/culture towards the value, and managing the well-being, of older teachers, will help to motivate teachers to work for longer.

So, don’t be worried about discussing the future – career pathways should be a regular topic of conversation with all staff.

  • Be positive about Flexible Working, and make it available to all staff
  • Think about different roles, for example:
    • deploying staff appropriately e.g. to less physically demanding roles
    • by allowing teachers to “step down” from management positions or to move to specialist roles which utilise their skills e.g. in mentoring or support roles
    • be open to different models of leadership
  • Encourage staff to understand their pension options, for example:

Being pro-active, raising awareness and being open to imaginative solutions, will enable you and your staff to plan together and support the retention of valuable experience and skills.

Nicki Harris

Nicki Harris

Nicki joined the Education HR Team in 1989, following completion of her psychology degrees and has a Post-Graduate Certificate in Employment Law. Nicki co-manages the HR team with Colin Hooker and her main responsibilities are leadership of the support, business and development functions services. She manages the provision of model policies, procedures and guidance to customers, pay and conditions issues and the training offer. Nicki has worked with the Local Government Association over the years on various projects around pay, terms and conditions and is an Advisor to the National Employers Organisation for School Teachers (NEOST).