Teacher needs advice on early retirement

Hello - can anyone help? I have been a teacher for over 20 years and have had a few ‘episodes’ over the years from which I made a fairly good recovery and my teaching remained largely unaffected. Over the past two years my condition has deteriorated and after a lengthy process was finally diagnosed about a year ago. I had already opted for a part-time (3 day) contract due largely to problems of fatigue and dizziness.

For the last 10 years I have worked in a highly demanding and high achieving grammar school. Senior management are prepared to meet their statutory obligations and make reasonable adjustments but at the same time require all members of staff to teach to the highest level and go that extra mile. Where staff struggle to meet these expectations through illness, stress, poor performance, or whatever, they have all ended up resigning their posts.

My current fatigue, dizziness and memory loss has meant that I have basically ‘blagged’ my way through the past year using my experience. I have come to the painful conclusion that I am no longer capable of meeting my teaching contractual obligations despite any adjustments being put in place. I have a large family with four teenage children and I am concerned about all of our future’s. I am at the crossroads and do not know how to proceed so would welcome any advice from anyone who has been through a similar employment situation.

I am aware of several options. I could reduce my hours further but feel that a further drop in come is not viable. Similarly, I could change schools but there a few jobs available locally for us more expensive experienced teachers and I don’t think I can carry out my duties professionally anywhere. I am therefore considering going on sick leave with a view of applying for early retirement on the grounds of ill-health. However, I am concerned that the Teachers Pension Agency might reject my claim or I might be dismissed due to capability thereby seriously reducing our family income. Sorry for the long post and thank you for getting this far, but I would appreciate any advice on my prospects of succeeding with my claim and how to make a rock solid claim in the first place.

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Hi hun.

I dont know how ill health retirement works in schools, but I worked for the LA in tourism.

BUT I am pretty sure that no-one should apply for this type of retirement.

I believe the best way would be to go on the sick, which I did and i never returned, as my condition worsened quite quickly.

After your GP has signed sick notes for several months, you would be called in to see a doctor of your employer`s choosing. He/she would assess you for the job you do now and advise if you are fit to do that job or not.

Then HR would look to see if they have any vacancies more suited to you. if none are available, then you would be offered early retirement on ill health.

I am sorry you find yourself in this situation and I know how worrying it is. But your health has to come first and I hope they support you.

Other benefits like ESA and DLA may be available to you. Have a look on DWP website for more info.

Good luck.

luv Pollx

Hello, I have had a parallel sort of thing. After speaking to my head (peimary school) I was referred to Occupational health whivh set the ball rolling. She then declared me unfit and I never went back. What I found helpful was to be very specific about my symptoms and how it affected my performance. No detail was ignored! This website is brilliant for helping define your symptoms (What is MS?). After spending a lot of time presenting this in a clear written form, I found this was really useful for those supporting my claim-the Access to Work man and GP etc. I then related each symptom to the various strands of the job-including actually moving about the building and the classroom. It took from September to February to sort out. ###just get your superior to get onto OH and tell your union. There is no way you should resign. Best wishes, Steve.

Definitely do not resign. I retired through ill health at the age of 52 from the NHS.

I was off sick for almost a year with sickness certificates from my GP. Then my manager referred me to Occ Health and they were very helpful. Like Steve says find all of your symptoms on the MS Society site and print them off and prepare a little report of your symptoms along with the printouts and how it affects your working life.

I then had assessments of being fit for work and the outcme was unfit for work. I had to have my contract terminated in order to apply for ill health retirement which I did (even though this was a worrying time for me). As my contract was terminated due to my health I was granted ill health retirement.

If you need any other advice then PM me.

Hope this helps.

Shazzie xx

I took ill health retirement from teaching but many years ago so things may have changed a bit.

I was off sick for 12 months. 6 months on full pay and 6 months on ½ pay. At the end of that time it was decided (me and school together) that I would not return and I applied for my pension on ill health grounds.

I did not go down the route of reducing my hours because I was a senior teacher and would have had to take a demotion to do it. I knew that my eventual pension would be based on final years salary (I think they look at the last 3) and I wanted my pension to be based on grade C full time not basic grade part time!!

Don’t resign!!! Go off sick first and take it from there. If you work in a high pressure school management may not have your needs at the top of their agenda – you need to do what is right for you and your family – going off long term sick is a way to do that whist allowing school to get cover.



I would make sure that you get some good advice. Is your school an academy? That may well affect ill health retirement procedures. Are you in a union? If you aren’t, I would join one to get the benefit of their advice.

Don’t rush into anything. Don’t let the school push you into anything that isn’t in your interests like reducing your hours, if that isn’t what you want to do.

The important thing is to get good advice, make informed decisions and stay in control of the situation.

Good Luck!