Our retirement policy will assist teachers approaching retirement age by explaining the various options available and the associated processes.
This policy is applicable to all teaching employees of the Council covered by The Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) conditions. It may not be possible under this policy for all requests from teachers to be approved.
Individuals who are not in the Scottish Teachers Pension Scheme (STPS) and are in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) should refer to the Retirement Policy (non teaching).
State Pension Age (SPA)
For all employees, the State Pension age is currently 65 although this is set to increase from 65 to 68 between 2024 and 2046.
With the removal of the default retirement age (65yrs), there is no longer an automatic date when you retire.
Your Normal Pension Age (NPA) will be the same as your State Pension age.
Normal Pension Age (NPA)
Your benefits will be worked out in a different way using pay throughout the length of your career and not just final pensionable pay. This is known as Career Average Re-evaluated Earnings.
If you have built up pension in the STSS – you will still be eligible to retire at the Normal Pension Age (NPA) set out by this scheme. That means members who joined the STSS prior to 01 April 2007 can claim pension benefits at age 60. Members who joined after 01 April 2007 can claim their benefits at age 65. Claiming at NPA means you will not receive an early retirement reduction on your legacy scheme benefits.
However, if you choose to retire at your legacy schemes NPA, you will receive a reduction in pension for any 2015 benefits built up between 01 April 2022 and your retirement date. This is because the NPA of the reformed scheme is set at your State Pension Age (SPA). You will be able to defer these benefits until your reach your SPA.
The STPS is regulated and administered by the SPPA. You can join and make contributions up to the age of 75.
On 31 March 2015 the Scottish Teachers Superannuation Scheme (STSS) closed. From 01 April 2015 most members (excluding those protected subject to age) automatically joined the STPS.
From 01 April 2022 all of our Teachers' scheme members will join the 2015 CARE pension scheme and the STSS final salary scheme will be closed to future pension build up. This means that when your claim your pension after 01 April 2022, it will contain both final salary and CARE scheme benefits.
From 01 April 2022 all Teacher members will become members of the 2015 pension scheme and the pre-reform schemes will be closed to any further pension build-up. This means that members affected by the 2015 remedy and who choose to retire after 01 April 2022, will be entitled to both legacy and reformed scheme benefits.
Who these pension changes will affect
These changes will affect you if you joined a public service pension scheme on or before 31 March 2012:
- and were still a member of the scheme on or after 01 April 2015.
- or left the service after 31 March 2012 but returned within 5 years.
These changes will not affect you if you:
- joined a public service pension scheme after the 31 March 2012.
How these changes will impact you
All affected scheme members will have their pension benefits built up during the remedy period assigned to their legacy scheme.
When you retire, the SPPA will offer you a choice between receiving either legacy scheme or reformed scheme benefits for the pension built up during the remedy period.
From 01 April 2022 all scheme members regardless of their previous protection will start building up pension in the reformed scheme.
More information on the changes to the Teachers Pension Scheme is available:
Retirement options and criteria
You should seek advice from the SPPA before making a decision on any retirement option.
Member of STPS
Phased Retirement and Actuarially Reduced Pensions (ARP) Scheme
Applying for phased retirement allows you to draw up to 75% of your total benefits whilst still working and building up more benefits in the scheme. You must be at least age 55 to apply and your pensionable pay must fall by at least 20% or more for a minimum of 12 months.
Your pension will be reduced to reflect early payment. You can apply for phased retirement on 2 separate occasions before applying for your final retirement benefits.
If you are between 55 and NPA you can request early retirement under the ARP scheme and take reduced benefits. Members of the STPS 2015 can take a third phased retirement but this one can only be done after they are aged 60. Both the pension and the lump sum will be reduced using factors relating to your age at the retirement date.
If you are considering phased retirement or ARP you should submit an application using the flexible retirement form to your head teacher.
Flexible retirement (teachers)
This should be submitted as early as possible to allow enough time for your head teacher to assess the application. It is recommended that you submit the application 3-6 months before the date you wish your amended working arrangements to start.
Although employer consent is required for the ARP scheme, consent cannot be withheld for more than 6 months from the date of application if you have qualified for benefits.
Member of STSS legacy
Winding Down Scheme
The Winding Down Scheme is available if you have full protection. If you have tapered protection you must begin winding down before you join the STPS scheme.
Winding down is not available in the STPS. More information on winding down is available at www.pensions.gov.scot.
Medical checks will only be carried out where there is a genuine occupational requirement or there are concerns about your ability to carry out the duties of the post. The checks will be carried out in line with normal Occupational Health referral procedures. Where the retirement option means a transfer to a different post, then the recruitment checks as per the Council's Recruitment and Selection policy will apply. Any queries concerning this matter should be directed to Human Resources.
Risk assessments should be carried as per the normal process. In addition you also have a responsibility to raise any health concerns you may have to your head teacher.
How to tell us you are retiring
You must give your contractual notice period if you wish to retire.
Non STPS Member
If you decide to retire and are not a member of the STPS, you should complete the retirement notification form to confirm that you are retiring.
Retirement notification form
Member of STPS – Normal Retirement
If you are a member of the STPS and wish to retire at or after the normal retirement age applicable to the scheme, you should complete the relevant section of the retirement notification form and submit this to your head teacher. You should be aware that the SPPA require 4 months notice of retirement to release pension benefits and the process period for pensions is approximately 4 weeks from receipt of the completed forms by the SPPA.
Retirement notification form
Member of STSS – Normal Retirement
Your pension will be reduced for early payment if you take it before your normal pension age.
There is no default retirement age.
You can continue to work in your current post while you are able to perform the duties of your post to the required standards. If you fail to meet these standards, this will be dealt with through the Council's Capability Procedure.
You do not need to apply to continue working.
You can delay retirement and continue contributing to the scheme and building up pension for each year of service. Pension will be revalued in accordance with scheme rules.
While there is no maximum period of service that you can build up, you will not be able to pay into the scheme or earn any further benefits beyond age 75.
Re-employment with Falkirk Council
Whilst retirement options will enable the Council to retain the skills and knowledge of experienced teachers, if you have retired early from the Council you will not normally be able to return to employment. The Council has a responsibility to create opportunities to enable newly qualified teachers to gain experience. This supports the Government's aim to refresh the profession.
If you take early retirement you will not be able to return to work for the Council when you have accepted an offer of early retirement and a cost has been incurred by the Council or you are in the process of winding down. Only where there is no cost associated with the retirement can you be accepted onto the supply list.
If you retire after reaching your normal pensionable age and you wish to continue teaching you must register on the supply list.
In specific circumstances and to meet service requirements, the Director of Children's Services, in consultation with the Head of People, Technology & Transformation, may authorise a short term arrangement for recruitment of a retired teacher for either supply or temporary work, however this must be time limited, normally for a maximum of 3 months and only with permission from the Chief Executive can this be extended. This may not be repeated in the same calendar year and in general the same ex employee should not be re-engaged regularly.
You have a responsibility to ensure that you have the relevant information to help you to make a decision about your retirement options.
Information is available from a number of sources including www.direct.gov.uk, your head teacher, Human Resources and the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA).
You are responsible for completing the correct forms and submitting these in good time. Late applications could mean a delay in the release of your pension benefits. You are expected to communicate the outcome of your SPPA pension application to your head teacher.
Head teacher/Staffing & Recruitment Team responsibility
Head teachers should pass on retirement forms to the Staffing & Recruitment team who will complete a termination form and submit this to Payroll. The Staffing & Recruitment team will write to you to confirm dates and other relevant details.
Phased Retirement, APR or the Winding Down Scheme (STSS legacy only)
Your head teacher should arrange to meet with you to discuss your request in more detail along with any options available. You are entitled to representation at this meeting.
Your head teacher should consider your application and make a recommendation taking account of your circumstances and service provision within the school. The application will then be passed to your Service Manager for consideration in relation to the wider Service needs and legislative criteria. The Service Manager will consult with relevant officers to ensure that you meet the criteria for length of service and pension contributions.
Your head teacher should contact the Staffing & Recruitment team to complete a notification of change form through HR Forms Online and to issue the appropriate forms and letters. A new contract of employment, where applicable, will be issued to you in relation to the new working arrangements. Alternatively a contract amendment may be outlined in the successful application letter and this can be attached to your statement of particulars where the amendment is minor. The Staffing & Recruitment team will send you relevant SPPA paperwork.
It is the Staffing & Recruitment team's responsibility to record any agreed phased retirement arrangements under this policy in Resourcelink on the flexible working screens and to refer these to the head teacher to review these arrangements in good time, ensuring that there is appropriate communication and notification to both you and Payroll at the end of any agreed period.
Information on Non Approval/Deferment of Phased Retirement, ARP Scheme and Winding Down Scheme Applications
Service Managers have the right to refuse an application for the Phased Retirement, ARP Scheme or Winding Down Scheme for the reasons shown below:
- A genuine occupational requirement that you do not meet, such as not being able to carry out a task of the new job/arrangements required for the scheme
- A legitimate reason such as your health, safety and welfare or economic factors such as where you wish to continue in employment on a different working pattern, which cannot be accommodated due to business reasons
- If you do not meet the criteria for entitlement for an option under the STPS regulations.
Phased retirement can be refused on the following grounds:
- If you are not aged 55 or over
- If your pensionable pay is not reduced by at least 20% for a minimum of 12 months, for example by lowering your grade or reducing your hours accordingly
The Actuarially Reduced Pension (ARP) Scheme can be refused on the following grounds:
- You do not fall between the age of 55 to 59 for those with a NPA of 60 and 55-65 for those with a NPA of 65;
- The pension entitlement at the time of application does not meet the guaranteed minimum pension to which you would be entitled to at state retirement age.
The ARP scheme cannot be refused for more than 6 months from the date of application if you have qualified for release of benefits under this scheme.
The Winding Down Scheme can be refused on the following grounds:
- You are not aged 56 or over for those with a NPA of 60 or 61 or over for those with a NPA of 65
- You are not protected under STSS
- You do not have the relevant length of service
- For service delivery reasons
- Due to excessive costs which are unreasonable for the Service budget to accommodate.
It is advised that advice is sought from the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) in relation to these options before any decision is taken.
The Service Manager should contact their HR Business Partner if considering refusing an application to ensure that the test of objective justification is met before any discussion takes place with you.