The summer term in teaching is always challenging. You are coming to the end of your reserves, and the admin assessment is piling up. On the horizon are those enrichment events that require you to dredge up the last vestiges of energy, whether it is the residential trip, sports day, or awards evenings. It might be that you are coming to the point where working part-time feels right.
Making the decision
Obviously, your school will have something to say about whether they can cater for you working part-time. There are timetable slots to fill, and the hours you work will have been calculated within this. Timetable planning starts in January, and the structure will have been locked in. Likely, your person responsible for timetabling has already started allocating classes.
However, if you know your school is looking for people to go part-time or have asked in good time, your next consideration will be financial. Basically, can you afford to lose the proportion of your salary each month?
Sometimes, the calculation about how many hours we work should be considered with all factors in mind. If you are financially comfortable but too tired and miserable to enjoy it, this is likely not the right balance. If you need to cut back a little, be more cautious with money, but you have time for life’s pleasures, then it might be worth it.
What will happen to my pension?
The financial impact extends beyond the present. While the cost-benefit analysis we do in our forties and fifties might make sense, we may find the effects on our future income prohibitive.
When you work part-time, you have still enrolled automatically into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. Consequently, you will continue to accrue years of service.
For those in the final salary scheme, the full-time equivalent and the actual salary will be used in your calculation. However, if you choose part-time with seven years of teaching to go, the first three years of the final 10 will be used to calculate your benefits.
Your benefits are calculated at 1/57th of your actual salary earned for those in the career average arrangement. Consequently, from the moment you go part-time, the amount you are paying into your pension fund is reduced. Therefore, the amount you receive in benefits will be reduced.
What these arrangements mean for your final benefit payments is individual to your circumstances. There are many moving parts when calculating pension benefits: length of service; when you started teaching; any breaks in service; your salary; when you choose to go part-time, and many more. To understand fully what the impact of your decision to go part-time has on your pension, you would be advised to seek assistance from an independent financial advisor.
The decision to go part-time is a personal one. Your life is yours to do with as you wish, and you need to work out how to live it to the best. While there are financial considerations, you will want to balance these against your health and contentment.
The content in this article was correct on 19th April 2021. You should not rely on this article to make important financial decisions. Teachers Financial Planning offers advice on pensions for