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Pension consulting
18 October 2023
Author: Punter Southall Aspire

As more independent schools leave the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, are you staying or going?

The prospect of independent schools seeing their contribution to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) increase to almost 30 per cent by next April appears to be driving up the number leaving or now considering leaving. 

According to a Punter Southall Aspire Freedom of Information request, 335 private schools have now left or have said they intend to since 2018, with 947 remaining. 

Of these, 116 are doing so on a phased withdrawal basis, meaning currently employed staff stay in the TPS, which is then closed to new recruits from a specific date. 

Where now for your teachers' pensions? 

This appears like a straight forward result that will satisfy existing teaching staff, but behind the headlines this can present complexities for bursars and management teams. Any institution moving in this direction still requires a great deal of support to get this right. 

It might be that you have some in-house expertise but, given both the scale and complexity of covering the essential aspects of seamlessly moving from TPS and its Scottish equivalents into not only alternative pension and benefit arrangements, but those which will be valued by both teachers and the school, are you confident you have everything you require? 

Our team is working with schools going through this process and can support, advise and partner with your colleagues to ensure that not only are the pitfalls avoided but that you have explored all options carefully to ensure that your employee benefits continue to underpin your efforts to recruit teaching colleagues, without the risk of not being able to afford it. 

Like all employers, independent schools are under pressure from inflation and the cost-of-living crisis and are budgeting accordingly but if you’re in the TPS, there’s no easy answer. 

Teachers’ pensions: what you need to know 

By demonstrating the value an alternative pension and benefit structure can actually deliver to teachers while managing the school’s future costs, we have helped institutions take control of financial uncertainty, while trying to support them in maintaining staff morale with a meaningful alternative pension and benefits package. 

In the same FOI request, the Department for Education said 13 schools have joined the TPS since January this year. While this may appear surprising, in that it bucks what appears to be a steady trend, it does serve as a reminder. Is leaving the best thing for your school? Whatever decision you arrive at, being equipped with the relevant facts to consider and plan next steps is vital. 

If you’d like to talk to us about your school’s pension scheme, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. 

Get in touch today

At Punter Southall, we have a team of highly skilled risk, compliance and legal experts with deep in-house practical experience. Get in tough if you would like a friendly chat with one of us.