AN EARLY retirement deal for teachers has not yet been concluded but the final details may be agreed by the end of this week or early next week. The deal goes a long way beyond early retirement and takes in a number of pay and productivity issues.
The thorny issue of a new middle-management structure and the duties of post-holders has yet to be sorted out. The productivity deal for teachers is not yet agreed. Discussions have focused on substitution and length of the school year. The spectre of the Time in School circular also lingers.
A shortening of the pay scale for teachers has been agreed, as has a payment of £1,000 to teachers aged 55 years who have 35 years service. Teachers, such as national teachers with two years training, who do not have university degrees, will now get degree allowances and teachers with a four-year concurrent degree will get the H.Dip. allowance, however, the phasing in of these arrangements has yet to be worked out.
The total package, if agreed, will allow 300 teachers to retire early each year. These teachers will come under three headings: those unable to perform to an acceptable level; those who find they can no longer function at the level required to deal with the demands of educational reform and teachers in posts surplus to requirement. Post-primary teachers will also be given the same option as primary teachers of retiring at 55 years with 35 years service.
The entire package will cost in the region of £40 million a year and it appears that the three coalition parties have approved this sum.
If agreement can be reached on the outstanding issues, the three teachers' unions will ballot their members on the entire package and an end could be in sight before the teachers' conferences this Easter.