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NAHT life members' newsletter - October 2017

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Welcome to our October newsletter.

A message from Steve Iredale, NAHT Past President and Chair of the NLMC

Dear Life Members

Welcome to our second newsletter of the year. Our initial offering in April received some encouraging responses so the experiment goes on! Thanks to those of you who got in touch.

As ever we are really keen to hear from those of you who are life members whether you are still involved in any way in the life of NAHT or not. If we are to grow the newsletter and provide diverse articles covering the vast retirement spectrum then we need your help and ideas. Please get in touch with Mike Wilson whose details are in the link below and on our web page.

We are delighted that our new general secretary Paul Whiteman is opening this newsletter with a thought provoking article. It was great that both Paul and our president Anne Lyons both attended the last National Life Members Committee meeting in Birmingham, clearly recognising we are an influential membership section within the NAHT.

Happy reading,


Life Membership: New benefits and new responsibilities   

A message from Paul Whiteman, NAHT general secretary. 

Protection has always been at the heart of NAHT’s offer to members and life members. It’s a necessity for serving school leaders and increasingly important for those who’ve left the front line. 

The likelihood of needing support regarding past issues has never been greater. We have seen a sharp increase in the numbers of members requiring support, often for matters that are decades old. I am pleased to be able to say that most cases are resolved positively.

But as well as receiving support, Life Members can give it, too. More and more is demanded of schools and school leaders with each year that passes. Resources are dwindling. School budgets are at breaking point and the government is under extreme pressure to increase school spending this autumn.

The increasing burdens of modern school leadership and the necessity to campaign for a fully and fairly funded education system mean that NAHT’s Life Members have never been more important to the association. 

Your branch is and always has been the forum to maintain that network of professional contacts that have served you so well throughout your career but also make sure that your voice is heard when it comes to issues like funding. 

The life members I’ve spoken to have shown a growing appetite to support NAHT’s work for a period following retirement. Think of the power of a letter from you in the local paper about school funding or assessment. Think of how useful serving school leaders would find your advice as they wrestle with the issues of the day. If life members remain active and engaged in education, NAHT becomes a more powerful organisation.

Your needs are also changing. 

In the old days, life membership used to be about a bit of cover in case an old issue arose, maybe a discount on insurance and a way to keep in touch. Insurance discounts are still useful but it’s easier than ever to shop around online and get a good deal, so maybe it’s time to look at more relevant support. We’re beginning to see increased levels of enquiry regarding help to access elderly and care or social support as life expectancy increases. But that’s a service not currently available through membership.

NAHT’s Life Member Committee is debating proposals for the future of life membership. The increase to representation demand is already having an impact. Should life membership include advice and guidance on social care in later life? How much would this cost and what would the appropriate membership fee be? 

What is the best relationship between working members and life members? Policy relating to those remaining in employment is best determined by those it directly affects. But life members have time to volunteer and a wealth of knowledge and experience to bring to the debate and the support of those in work.  

Whatever your category of NAHT membership, all of us are bound together by the values of community and support and the desire to improve the lives of young people. NAHT celebrated its 120th anniversary this year. Those values have served us well in the past. They will serve us well in the years to come, too. 

NLMC Democracy & Governance – Life Member Charter Update

At the NAHT Annual Conference in Birmingham in 2016 the National Life Members Committee were given the task of developing a Charter for Life Members to be presented to at the annual conference a year later in Telford. 

This was certainly a daunting task starting from scratch to produce a document that would continue to grow and develop over future years. Initially a small group of NLMC members worked on a series of draft ideas with possible areas to be considered discussed at the two meetings in late 2016. We wanted to ensure we covered topics including: 

• How do you become a Life Member?

• What do you need to do prior to retirement?

• What if I still want to work part time?

• What services and benefits are there for Life Members (in addition to the so important legal cover)?

• Democracy and governance structures of the NAHT and how you can get involved whether you have done previously (if that’s what you want of course).

• Communications and preferences for receiving information.

• Life Member contact information and the role of the NLMC

It became clear as the work progressed that we would probably never have the finished document as things tend to change meaning regular updates would always be necessary. We were also mindful that there is the need for a considerable amount of work with the team at HQ reviewing services and benefits specifically for Life Members. This work is about to begin so the Charter will be updated accordingly reported via our website and newsletters

After much debate, the final version was completed in February 2017 so it could be discussed by the Membership Services Committee. It then went through the appropriate NAHT checks and balances before being presented to conference in Telford. 

The Life Members Charter (version 1) is now published on the Life Members landing page. Why not check it out and let us know what you think?

NAHT Member Voice: Why become an NAHT Life Member?

NAHT have asked NAHT members why they decided to take up the option of becoming NAHT Life Members when they finally decided to retire. This is what some of them have said …………………

Stephen Watkins, NAHT Leeds Branch

Having made the decision to retire, becoming a Life Member was a no brainer. For over 30 years I have had the support and backing of NAHT. Why would I want that to stop? 

Anyone can make allegations going back in the mists of time, whether they are true or false. NAHT provides the legal support to fight such allegations which of course continues into Life Membership. It took me 3 emails to be able to become a Life Member although I am assured it’s much easier now!

 I have always followed the mantra what can I do for the NAHT rather than what can the NAHT do for me. To this end I am still a member of the Leeds Committee and attend the Health and Safety Liaison meetings with the LA. I am also on the Yorkshire Region Executive and represent them on the National Finance and Personnel committee. I love being retired and recommend it to anyone who is ready for it.

Michael Wilson, NAHT Wigan Branch

Why did I become an NAHT Life Member?

1. It’s good for me - NAHT Volunteering provides physical and mental rewards.

Experts report that when you focus on someone other than yourself, it interrupts usual tension-producing patterns. It helps make you healthier: Moods and emotions, like optimism, joy, and control over one's fate, strengthen the immune system.

2. It brings people together - As an NAHT volunteer I can assist in: Uniting NAHT membership groups to work toward a common goal / campaign. Helping to build camaraderie and teamwork. 

3. It’s a chance to give something back to an NAHT organisation I believe in - As an NAHT volunteer I can: Support NAHT members in my local branch. Promote NAHT campaigns with the local media 

4. It's a further chance to make a positive difference - As an NAHT volunteer I can focus on:

Helping school leaders and Supporting NAHT growth

Your views and opinions matter

The NLMC would welcome further examples of why members made the decision to become and NAHT Life Member. Please send your views and ideas to Michael Wilson, National Life Member Committee Communication & Development Officer.

NAHT Website Life Member landing page improvements

Work is ongoing as we look to further develop and update our Life Member webpages. When you navigate to the pages you will notice that there is a great deal of information available to be viewed by both members and non-members but also information that requires you to log in as this content is specifically for NAHT members. 

We are trying to keep the pages up to date and relevant so it would be great to receive any feedback about things we can improve or add in the future or indeed things which you like about the pages. The NLMC are very keen to provide the information, signposting, help and advice you want as Life Members! Please let us have your suggestions by emailing us

Our webpage development coincides with major updating of the NAHT website which will contain a menu from the home page entitled 'About Us' and from there you'll be able to get directly to the NAHT Life Members page. 

There are currently two ways to reach the Life Members landing page. You can go directly via this link ( or alternatively go to the NAHT website as above then hover over the ‘Membership’ link at the top of the page and click on ‘Retirement and life membership’. This takes you to a page titled Life membership. Half way down the page click on the link which says, ‘Find the Life Members page here’.

Managing your communications preferences

Did you know you’re able to choose what type of communications you receive from NAHT? If you look at the bottom of any of the emails you’ve received from NAHT, you’ll see a link inviting you to manage your communication preferences.  This will take you to a form which asks you if you’d like to receive:

Newsletters and general updates – This includes newsletters for both NAHT Life members and the general newsletter and priority updates we send out to working members, so you can keep abreast of current developments.

Events and CPD news – This includes information regarding upcoming training courses and conferences.

NAHT marketing and recruitment – This includes any membership offers or marketing campaigns we may be running.

Information from selected parties – This includes any promotional offers from partners and preferred suppliers that we believe may be of interest to members.

If you have any questions about the communications you receive, feel free to contact NAHT’s Head of Communications, David Gilmore.

Pensions - Contributions over pension age

You are not required to pay contributions once you reach State Pension Age.

Therefore, women born before 5th April 1950 are not required to pay National Insurance Contributions (NICs) once they are 60 or over. Women born between 6th April 1950 and 6th December 1953 will have a State Pension age between 60 and 65 and will cease to pay contributions when they reach State Pension Age.

However, some men who are not in employment and between the ages of 60-65 may receive credits to protect their contribution record up until they are abolished in 2020. The right to receive auto-credits is being phased out in line with the increase in State Pension Age for women.

Therefore, as the State Pension Age for women rises, for example to 61, men will only receive auto-credits for four years, from 61 to 65. Auto-credits are not awarded to people who have self-employed liability record on their National Insurance records. For information on the rise of State Pension Age, see our section on understanding Basic State Pension.

Anyone who is over State Pension age does not have to pay Class 1 or Class 2 NICs, except on earnings that should have been paid before State Pension Age.

Further Information

Contact the Pension Advisory Service

Pensions Advisory Service short video

NAHT Pensions Advice can be found here

Life Members Northern Ireland report

NAHT (Northern Ireland) Retired Members’ Association meets once per month. Members have visited places of interest, and enjoyed the freedom of not discussing curriculum, staffing, budgets, mergers, closures and political influences besetting schools on a continuing basis.    All in attendance have enjoyed opportunities to get together and enjoy the ‘craic’, chat and ‘chew the fat’ together.    

As a record of our continuing activities, an informative 16 page A4 sized NAHT Retired Members Newsletter containing detailed reports, and a range of excellent photographs of all visits and activities, has been published on a half yearly basis.

Forty one Members attended the September 2017 meeting in Belfast, visiting HMS Caroline of Battle of Jutland fame. Recent visits, apart from the Annual General Meeting, have included Down Museum Downpatrick, a Christmas Lunch in Greenisland Golf Club, tours of St Peter’s Cathedral, Kingspan Stadium, home of Ulster Rugby, Castle Espie WWT Wildlife and Wetlands Centre, Lissan House Cookstown and Belfast City Hall to meet the Lord Mayor and tour the historic building. The annual wine tasting event in Belfast continues to be popular.

Of special mention is the two night residential visit to Waterford in May 2017. Thirty six members were in attendance. A most relaxing and enjoyable time was enjoyed by all.

Members have wined and dined in wonderful locations throughout the past year.

Centre for Ageing Better – First Annual Review 

The Centre for Ageing Better has launched its first annual review. This annual review gives an overview of the Centre for Ageing Better’s work over the past year, as well as setting out future plans for achieving its vision of a society where everybody enjoys a good later life.

On the 17 August 2017, the Centre for Ageing Better launches its first annual review, giving an overview of its work over the past year, as well as setting out future plans for achieving its vision of a society where everybody enjoys a good later life.

The Centre for Ageing Better was set up in response to ‘Ready for Ageing?’ – a report delivered by a House of Lords Select Committee, chaired by Ageing Better’s Chair, Lord Filkin. The report highlighted how Government and society are ‘woefully underprepared’ for our ageing population. Following a start-up phase, 2016-17 was the first full year of charitable activity.

Rather than celebrating the gift and opportunity of longer life, our ageing society is seen as a drain on resources, and ageism is one of the last acceptable forms of prejudice and discrimination. 

The Centre for Ageing Better’s fundamental purpose is to drive the changes needed so that more people will benefit from their longer lives.

Video: Centre for Ageing Better: Annual Review

Video: Don Berry: Ready for Ageing

Activities from 2016-17 highlighted in the review include:

• The commissioning of two large systematic reviews – one on the role of home adaptations in improving later life, and one on inequalities for people in later life.

• Influencing national strategy on housing, including a submission reflected in the Housing White Paper, emphasising local areas must consider the needs of the ageing population in their housing planning and supply.

• Commissioning practical evidence-based guidance on three key age-friendly workplace practices, working with Business in the Community, on: preventing age bias in recruitment, maximising the benefits of mixed-age teams, and effectively managing flexible working.

• Completing an innovation project with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority – to co-design solutions to worklessness with people over 50 who want to get back into the job market, in five GM boroughs.

• Launching two new areas of work on community contributions and physical activity in later life.

• Together with the Resolution Foundation, producing an analysis of the experience and characteristics of low to middle income households age 50 to state pension age.

• Supporting the further development of the UK Network of Age-friendly Communities.

The Centre for Ageing Better will continue to work with partners to develop and secure practical changes to realise the opportunity of longer later lives. Read the full annual review.

Read more here or contact The Centre for Ageing Better here.

Keeping up with current issues

If you like to keep up-to-date with the latest issues affecting school leaders, then make sure you check out the campaigns and news areas of the NAHT website, where you'll find the latest information on matters such as assessment, inspection and funding. You can also read a digital copy of our magazine Leadership Focus which is packed with interesting news and informative features.