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Headaches for Independent Schools using the Teachers’ Pension Scheme

Headlines suggest that some independent schools may seek to leave the TPS as a result of the 7.2% employer pension contribution rate rise from September this year.

There are 1,250 independent schools in the TPS. Of the 360 private schools that responded to the DfE consultation, 185 (51%) indicated their school could leave the TPS and 57 (16%) said their school could close because of the proposals. 

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and Alpha Plus Group are amongst the bodies confirming a number of their members have or are considering leaving the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS).

Kate Atkinson, a pension expert at the NAHT said current contributions from private schools were helping to cover a predicted £1.7 billion black hole in the scheme. The DfE and the Treasury are committed to cover the cost of pension contributions for state schools, but independent schools must meet the costs of membership in the TPS themselves. 

This suggests that as more independent schools move from TPS to their own arrangements the pressure to increase employer contributions further for those that remain will intensify.

Atkinson said at least ten private schools were talking to her union, and Alpha Plus Group confirmed they have already written to the Secretary of State over moving a further 13 private schools and colleges out of the TPS from September.

Schools Week reported in June that it is understood that two other education unions are in talks with private schools about moving out of the scheme.

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