Welcome to our first Life Members newsletter of 2020. I hope you all had a good xmas and positive start to the new year in this post Brexit era.
Whilst I don’t particularly relish the thought of getting older having recently spent some time in various schools in my Primary Futures role https://primaryfutures.org/ , I cannot believe the current pace of change and the growing expectations on our colleagues working in school leadership. I’m grateful I retired when I did as I’m not sure how I would have fared under the current regime!
The challenges facing schools and the growing pressures on time underlines even more starkly the important role NAHT Life Members can play in supporting branches and regions in various ways, depending on local circumstances and need. We are hoping to unveil a new leaflet in Cardiff at the Annual Conference highlighting the many ways you can get (or stay) involved if you are interested in doing so. We’ll be sharing this in our next newsletter and on the NAHT website.
Finally, thanks to those who have kindly found the time to put pen to paper to contribute articles to this newsletter. If you are similarly inspired please feel free to get in touch with suggestions and articles for future editions. For the record, the opening rate of the LM newsletter is always above 50% which tells its own positive story!
Steve Iredale, NLMC Chair
National Life Members Task and Finish Update: Positive Outcomes. February 2020
I am pleased to report at its meeting on the 21 January 2020; all members of the Task and Finish Group agreed that the initial aims and objectives for the group have largely been achieved. The ongoing work will now be undertaken by HQ staff overseen by the NLMC. I am indebted to the members of the Task and Finish Group for their commitment and drive to see this work completed within the timescale and achieving such positive outcomes.
Our aspiration to enhance the membership benefits offer has led to the rollout of NAHT Extras through Edenred. This benefits package has been rolled out to all member categories. It offers a wide range of discounts and offers, which affords members the opportunity to save substantial amounts. One serving school leader informed our Committee, that he had already saved his annual subscription, through the purchases he had made when moving to a new house! This benefits offer will be continued to be enhanced and refined to offer even more benefits. But there need to be an increased take up by our members both by signing up to the free service and then taking advantage of the wide range of offers that changed regularly.
Pension benefits and our ability to influence government both for serving and life members has been progressed by the Task and Finish Group. As a result, two motions were proposed and passed at the Annual AGM in May 2019. We are confident that this important development will now be supported and delivered by the association in years to come. Mark Cornell and his team at Haywards Heath are continuing to have discussions with interested parties about potential benefits and services that may be offered to members at an extra charged, through substantially discounted rates. The intention is to survey members as to the potential attraction of these different offers and then follow up accordingly.
A key aspect of the Task and Finish Group’s work was to look at Life Member representation at the highest level in the organisation. With over 13,000+ Life Members it was strongly felt that this substantial section of the association should have a voice on the National Executive; where matters pertaining to this group could be raised and discussed. With the agreement of the National Executive an eighteen-month pilot was undertaken with a Member from the NLMC invited to attend Executive meetings and contribute when approprite. This pilot has been deemed to be a success. However the professional development of the NLMC during this period led Officers and National Executive Members to agree to consider Life Members as part of their wider review of Sector Councils. I am delighted to report at the Executive Meeting in January; Sector Council status was proposed and unanimously accepted. This now requires some minor constitutional changes before the new Life Member Sector Council can officially start. These changes will be proposed at the AGM in May at Cardiff. With Sector Council status, there is an automatic seat on the National Executive. If the proposals are passed in May an election for the Life Member Executive member will follow.
It was therefore agreed to stand down the Task and Finish Group as its work has been completed. I conclude with my sincere thanks to all those in this group who have worked tirelessly to achieve these positive outcomes.
John Killeen Chair of the Life Members Task and Finish Group.
Conference is coming to Cardiff May 7-11 2020!
Our ambitions to welcome you to the home of Rugby World Cup champions may have been thwarted but we still have much to celebrate. Steered by the overarching vision of ‘Growth, Community, Voice’ 2019-20 has been a year of achievement for our national organization. The focused, well-planned campaigning has yielded considerable success across the three countries.
As always, annual conference presents us with the opportunity to celebrate these successes, successes which have led to improved outcomes not just for leaders but for learners too. It gives us the chance to reflect on key policy wins, successful industrial action, and on increased participation and membership.
We are thrilled to be working with Diversity Role Models as our chosen charity for 2020-2021.
Amongst some of the more notable areas of focus, NAHT has impacted significantly on campaigns to make our communities more equal, more equitable settings. DRM will be helping us to kick off the ensuing two days of debate and decision-making with a showcase event on the Thursday evening which will allow us to not only celebrate what’s already been achieved but embolden us to set about the business of next stage plans with ambition and confidence.
As usual, conference will give us a chance to engage with politicians and although at the time of writing it is not yet clear who these are, this presents us with the opportunity to help shape the new government’s strategy for education.
Strategically, conference is the policy making body for NAHT. As such, it’s your opportunity as members to shape and determine the Association’s policy too.
Our success as an organisation is clearly linked to the ability to focus on what matters, to retain the clear voice of reason above the chattering of multi-party interaction and to impact positively on key issues affecting our learning settings.
But above all it depends on a strong community of professionals being ready to debate, to discuss and to interact with each other. Ultimately this is what annual conference is all about.
Conference 2020 is shaping up to be one not to be missed. We very much look forward to welcoming you to Cardiff in May.
Ruth Davies, National Vice President
N.B. Attendance at Conference is as part of a branch or regional delegation that hold the votes of the members in that branch or region.
Life Members should contact their local branch secretary or regional Life member representative should they wish to become part of their branch delegation.
Life Members can then use https://ac2020.eventbrite.co.uk/ to book a place at Annual Conference
Top 5 ways to avoid loneliness in retirement
After years in a nine to five pattern, retirement is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with loved ones.
For many retirees, however, work-free days can lead to condensed social circles and fewer daily interactions. This is echoed amongst the older generation, with almost ¾ of older people feeling lonely and 56% of them never sharing these feelings with others.
However, while this is a widespread issue, it does not need to be your retirement reality, and you can find meaningful connections in retirement.
1. Become a volunteer or an NAHT volunteer
Your days of commuting might be over, but there are still ways to stretch out your days with social activities that benefit the community.
Whether you choose to volunteer at a local charity shop a few days of the week, help out at community events, clean up your local beach, be a volunteer tree planter or volunteer for NAHT, there are plenty of social activities to enjoy across your golden years. You have many skills and lots of experience to share and make use of.
Not only does volunteering stimulate the mind, it also improves an individual’s physical wellbeing and even reduces the chance of disability.
2. Join or organise a club
As a retiree, you will be eager to take advantage of your new-found free time. Whether you want to dust off your old set of golf clubs or attempt delicious new recipes in the kitchen, there are ways to forge social connections by sharing hobbies with like-minded people.
Those with a passion for paperbacks, for instance, might find friends at their local book club. Or, if the fresh air and exercise sound tempting, a walking group in the countryside could fill out your days.
Those privy to a tipple could even form a local beer-tasting group to find the best pub in town or join Camra for £26.50 per year https://camra.org.uk/ .
Not only do clubs keep you stimulated mentally, they also provide a routine so there is always something new to look forward with every passing week. You can check for any interesting clubs at your local community centre.
Alternatively, you could expand your search onto social media or via friendship websites like Meetup - www.meetup.com
3. Take classes
It is never too late to learn something new – and there is no better time to put yourself ‘out there’ than during retirement.
Do you love to make cakes for the grandchildren? Join a local cooking class to finesse your baking style. Want to get creative with crockery? Sign up to a pottery class. No matter where your passions lie, attending these sessions can help strengthen your social network, as well as providing you with a new set of skills.
Search for classes online or head to the local library, community centre or college to keepup to date with your area’s social scene. NAHT also provides free CPD for NAHT volunteers who support NAHT’s branch members in a wide variety of ways.
4. Embrace technology
While iPads / tablets / smartphones and pensioners may not be considered a ‘natural fit’, technology does have its benefits in retirement – do not worry though, it is much easier than it sounds.
If you want to keep in touch with old friends, for instance, you could send them a message on Facebook. For long-distance family, FaceTime , Skype or Whats App are perfect. All free to use, these apps are easy to operate when you know how – and, if you are struggling, you can always refer to the expertise of your tech-savvy grandchildren.
5. Visit family
While technology is fantastic for keeping up-to-date with long-distance family and friends, there is no substitute for the real thing. However, lack of mobility or confidence on the road could prevent you from seeing them in person.
To work around this, you might want to see which free or discounted bus travel options there are for seniors in your local area. Failing that, train companies often offer fantastic cut-price tickets for pensioners. The Trainline, for instance, lets senior citizens save a thirdoff the standard price. You can pay for a Senior Railcard (annually £30 or every 3 years £70), when you are 60 for cut price travel (⅓ or more discount) on each journey.
You're eligible for a Senior Railcard if you are 60 years old or over.
You can buy one up to two weeks before your 60th birthday if you buy online, but it’ll only be valid from your birthday onwards. If you buy from a station, you’ll have to be 60 or over on the day you do it.
Buying online is easy. All you need is a valid debit or credit card and one of the items below:
- A valid passport number
- A valid UK driving licence
If you’d prefer to buy your Railcard at a staffed rail station, you can also use your birth certificate to prove your identity and age.
Looking after the pennies
While many social activities are free, the majority come at a (small) price – and these can add up as the years go by.
To ensure all your social plans can be achieved in later life, it is a good idea to prepare your finances accordingly.
Calderdale Against School Cuts (CASC)
Almost 3 years ago, in June 2017, three people met in a coffee shop in Halifax to discuss their shared concerns about cuts to school budgets and the threat being posed to all schools but in particular to the very existence of some of the small rural schools in the Calder Valley. Out of this initial meeting has grown a very effective campaign which has energised parents, governors, teachers, head teachers and others from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences with a common shared passion for ensuring that all children receive a good education.
Calderdale Against School Cuts (CASC) is a non-party political campaign group of over 20 active members but whose influence and support extends well beyond this to engage schools across the Local Authority, Governors, Councillors and more. Almost from its inception the NAHT has played an active and supportive role within CASC although it must be stressed NAHT involvement is as an equal partner with other school based unions and members from other organisations and none.
During the past 3 years CASC has campaigned relentlessly for proper and adequate funding for schools. In doing so CASC members have appeared on and used local and national TV, radio and press, launched banner and leafleting campaigns, engaged with our local Halifax MP, Holly Lynch, to present a petition in Parliament, organised hustings during elections, engaged with Headteachers, schools and Governors and more including launching our very own CASC beer with campaigning beer mats to be distributed to local hostelries.
Most recently CASC has initiated the Northern Campaign Against School Cuts which has drawn activists from across the north of England to share and co-ordinate campaign activity. NCASC meets on a half termly cycle and has drawn participants from Cumbria, Cheshire, the North East, Stockport, Sheffield, Bradford, Kirklees and more to join Calderdale CASC members in building a co-ordinated response to the assault on school budgets.
If you are interested in finding out more or wish to join in our campaign please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pensions News Update
Brexit - pensions guidance
The UK government has recently updated its guidance in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal following the transition period that is scheduled to end on 31 December 2020.
The government doesn’t expect there to be any issues in continuing to pay pensions (from occupational pension schemes) to overseas members. This means that anyone who receives their Teachers’ Pension Scheme or Local Government Pension Scheme abroad would continue to do so.
McCloud case – be reassured about your pension
You may be aware of a recent legal case brought by members of the Judicial and Firefighters’ pension schemes that found that their schemes were discriminatory to some members (commonly referred to as the “McCloud case”). This was on the grounds of age discrimination when the career average arrangement was introduced in 2015 for younger members only.
The Government has confirmed that this applies across the public sector where discrimination has taken place, including the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and, where relevant, the Local Government Pension Scheme. As such, steps will need to be taken to remedy the discrimination that has occurred. The final decision on exactly what needs to happen to compensate members who were discriminated against will be made by the Employment Tribunal.
It is important to remember that while there may be some improvements for members in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and possibly, although less likely, the Local Government Pension Scheme, the Government has confirmed that there will be no reduction to the pension you’re receiving as a retired member. In other words, as a pensioner member your pension cannot be reduced. If you happened to have any service in the career average section of the Scheme before you retired, and when reviewed you would have received a higher pension if you had remained in the final salary section, you may receive a small uplift in due course. However, this will depend on a variety of factors such as your employment history, age, salary, length of pensionable service etc. If you have suffered no financial loss, there will be no compensation.
If you are interested in this case, the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and the Local Government Pension Scheme will continue to provide members with information as and when they are made aware of it. We will also provide any material updates as they become available.
Changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme
There have been some changes made to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme in September this year following two Supreme Court decisions that have ruled certain regulations to be discriminatory and not in compliance with overriding equalities legislation. This has led to a need for all public service pension schemes to change their provisions and for the governing regulations to be amended. The Teachers’ Pension Scheme has now been changed to provide civil partners and same-sex spouses with the same survivor pension rights as widows and there has also been the removal of the requirement for the completion of a nomination form for unmarried partner benefits. Kate Atkinson: NAHT specialist adviser email@example.com
International Consortium of British Pensioners Campaign (ICBP) - www.pensionsjustice.org
Retirement should be all about doing the things that make life worthwhile. Life can be complicated for many British state pensioners who find that they have retired to a country which is ‘frozen’ and they discover that they do not receive the annual up-rating of their UK state pension. These pensioners now live in one of 120 ‘frozen countries where the UK elected government refuses to provide the annual inflationary increase for state pensions.
Their payments remain ‘frozen’ in time, staying at the same amount as when they first received their overseas pension. This leaves some to survive on as little as £30 per week. How can this be right?
UK pensioners and politicians from both Houses of the British Parliament, and across all parliamentary parties - they are universally saying the same thing - it is time to abolish the ‘frozen’ (let it go!) pension policy, once and for all. Can they all be wrong?
The International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP) is composed of two funding member organisations: British Pensions in Australia (BPIA) and the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners (CABP). The British Caribbean Pensioners Association (BCPA) has recently joined and are represented on the ICBP board. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Frozen Pensions (APPG) is the voice of the ICBP in the UK Parliament. ICBP believes that all UK state pensioners - no matter where they choose to retire overseas - ought to be paid the pension that they have contributed towards and are rightfully entitled to receive.
The All-Party Parliament Group (APPG) on Frozen British Pensions is supporting the 544,000 British pensioners, which is currently half the pensioner living overseas, who are adversely affected by the British governments frozen pension policy. Brexit may increase this by another 476,000 which, according to the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) is the number of British pensioners living in the EEA.
More than 95% of the current frozen pensioners live in Commonwealth countries, mostly in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand, but also India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, many Caribbean islands and all African countries. As an APPG they are championing the affordable and deliverable policy solutions to this injustice. They have members from every political party in Westminster, united by this common cause, across both Houses.
Can you help fight this battle, as every voice counts?
Thousands of pensioners set to lose payments of up to £70 per week from April 2020
11,000 pensioners are set to lose payments worth £70 per week from April, when the Government cuts extra payments for 'adult dependents', according to new data released.
At the moment, those receiving the state pension may be eligible for an adult dependency increase (ADI). This is a payment of up to £70 per week on top of your usual state pension, for a partner who is financially dependent on you. Although these extra payments closed to new applicants in 2010, those who were already receiving the increase were able to carry on claiming it. But from 6 April 2020, all these payments will stop, regardless of when you started claiming. And over 11,000 pensioners are set to lose the payment as a result, according to data obtained from the Department for Work and Pensions through a Freedom of Information request from pensions firm Royal London. For someone claiming the maximum payment, this would mean an annual drop in income of£3,640. But you may be able to apply for pension credit or universal credit to make up for this los. See the article on Moneysavigexpertfor more information
NAHT Organising & Volunteering - Options
NAHT volunteer officials 2020 training programme / Branch official national training programme 2020
2020 marks the third year of our dedicated officials training programme which supports our officials in the vitally important role they play in supporting the trade union function of our association.
In the first two years we have had over 150 officials take part in the training programme, representing branches and regions from all over the UK.
The courses have been designed to aid the development and accreditation of union officials to a level where they feel comfortable and confident to represent the interests of our members - both on a collective and individual level, and across regions and branches. It follows a three-stage process that begins with individual and tailored coaching to help officials understand the basics of assisting members and ends with more detailed modules to facilitate officials becoming highly competent in workplace matters, so they are ready to provide advice and guidance to our members.
All courses are certified by NAHT and recognised and accredited by the TUC. As part of the process officials also receive NAHT credentials demonstrating their official role within the Association. The courses are all free and continue to demonstrate NAHT’s commitment to supporting and developing the life blood of the association, our officials.
Whether members are interested in backing school leaders experiencing difficulties at work or running and leading campaigns on the big issues in education, we have relevant courses, and can develop bespoke training should officials require this.
Rob Kelsall, national secretary, campaigns and organising said:
‘We have been delighted with the uptake of our courses. In 2019 we have seen newly elected officials take part in the training programme and due to the promotion of our programme amongst our membership we have now seen requests come in from members who are not involved in their branch seeking to take on an officials’ role within the NAHT. Our first course in 2020, our Officials Induction, sold out months before it was due to take place which is very encouraging for the future of our association”
To view the 2020 NAHT Officials’ Training Brochure click here
Mark Towle NAHT national organiser
M: 07736 276427 O: 0115 938 5781
NPC: National Pensioners Convention
The National Pensioners Convention’s main objective is to promote the welfare and interests of all pensioners, as a way of securing dignity, respect and financial security in retirement.
The NPC organises rallies and lobbies of MPs, leads delegations to parliament and makes submissions to government on policies affecting older people. The Convention also stages an annual three-day Pensioners’ Parliament in Blackpool, where up to 1,000 representatives discuss issues of concern and share ideas in an atmosphere of genuine friendship.
How are NPC policies made?
The NPC’s federal structure promotes the principle of delegatory democracy, so that the widest possible number of pensioners can have their views represented and discussed.
Major policy issues are dealt with at the Biennial Delegate Conference open to all recognised national affiliates and regional NPC groups.
It should also be recognised that simply by having the NPC, it makes it more difficult for governments to propose and introduce detrimental changes.
The real strength of the NPC organisation however comes from the work of the many affiliated groups, who are active in their local areas and regions promoting the NPC’s campaigns. This makes the Convention unique, as the only national campaign group in the country which is run by pensioners for pensioners.
With more support the NPC will be able to continue to develop its organisation and strengthen its influence as the campaigning voice of both today’s and tomorrow’s pensioners.
For further information go to the NPC website