Was your child’s education and future jeopardised today because your teachers fancied a day in bed or nice walk holding a placard or union banner?
Teachers in 49 local authorities went on strike today over pay, pensions and working conditions. Let’s break that down.
Pay: this actually refers to the Government giving MORE money to high performing teachers by introducing performance-related pay for the first time. I hope you weren’t sipping a cup of coffee when you read that. Yes, for the first time ever, teachers are going to be assessed on their actual ability to teach. Wake up and smell that coffee teachers: us mere mortals in the real world of work are constantly assessed on our performance with every appraisal having a direct impact on our pay. I would have thought teachers were first in line for performance assessment considering how their work affects hundreds of lives over the course of their career.
Pensions: Don’t worry, our teachers aren’t going to lose their gold-plated taxpayer funded pension pots which will see a teacher retire on at least £26,000 a year. They are just being asked to contribute a bit more to their pensions to alleviate the burden from the taxpayer. You see, there is no pot of money teachers pay into. Whilst teachers do contribute some money to their pension whilst they are working, the vast majority of the pension bill – even AFTER the reforms are brought in – is paid for by today’s taxpayers, as is the case with ALL public pensions. It’s just as well we have had a baby boom recently – those children are going to be needed as soon as they can start paying tax to ensure our beloved teachers of today can retire at 60. Yep, if teachers started work before 2007, they still have a normal pension age of 60. Back in the private sector, I’ll be lucky to be 70 before I can retire. And may I remind teachers, again, final salary pension schemes CLOSED for the majority of private sector employees over ten years ago leaving us with derisory defined contribution pensions which will only return, on average, around £8,000 a year when we (eventually) retire.
Working conditions: You are having a laugh aren’t you? Twelve weeks holiday a year! Most in the private sector get half that if not less. And teachers are also complaining that the headteacher will be allowed to sit in their class to assess their performance at a time of his/her choosing. You mean like employees elsewhere have to put up from their boss every day of the week?
Give me strength!