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    Strike action over teachers’ pensions: how would you react?

    18 March 2022

    Stuart Arnold

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    1 minute read

    Is changing pension schemes the right thing to do?

    We are seeing increasing media coverage of potential industrial action for independent schools that are changing their pension arrangements. That is, in part, because of how important a topic this is for schools - but also for their teaching staff. 

    Many schools are still looking at the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) or in Scotland the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme (STPS) (referred to hereafter as the teachers’ pension schemes) and what the future holds – here's a quick reminder of the key things to think about:

    Is changing pension schemes the right thing to do?

    Many schools have had to make changes due to the climbing cost of the teachers’ pension schemes. Many more must make changes to ensure the future sustainability of their school (not only to be financially viable but to be able to still invest in the school, both through pay rises to staff and through required refurbishment and maintenance). What’s important here is to clearly understand whether you need to embark on this journey before doing so. With the increasing risk of industrial action you must ask yourself – do we need to do this? For some schools the unfortunate answer will be yes, but it may not be for all. Each school is unique.

    If you need to do it, do it right.

    This is an important topic and we believe teaching staff should be supported through this process.  This needs a combination of:

    • Open, honest and collaborative discussions with the Governors so teachers can air views and understand the ‘why’

    • Clear and informative pension education to ensure teachers truly understand pensions and what they are being consulted on. Pensions are a topic that many of us need some help with.

    Below is an example of a consultation process that we believe is supportive of staff.

    schools-timelines

    In summary, schools must consider the risks of staying in the teachers’ pension schemes against the risks of undertaking a pension change process.

    If a decision is made that you must consult with staff – do it right. Be open, honest, direct and collaborative with your valued staff throughout.

    If you would like to find out more about any of the above or discuss your school's needs then please don't hesitate to get in touch.

    Schools must consider the risks of staying in the teachers’ pension schemes against the risks of undertaking a pension change process.

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