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My School is thinking of leaving the Teachers pension scheme

Discussion in 'Independent' started by nconnolly, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. nconnolly

    nconnolly New commenter

    I work for an Independent School and have just received news that the Governors are going to be making the decision soon about whether to stay in the TPS or not. They are wanting input from the Staff. Obviously the teaching staff want to stay in, but it is becoming unaffordable for the school.
    Has this happened in anybody else's School? Any thoughts of how we could fight our corner. Pupil numbers are dwindling and fee increase to pay for the pension contribution is not on the cards.
    Many thanks
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

  3. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Yes. This happened to me when we left Local Authority control. I loved the job but the pension scheme on offer was useless. Beware, as once out of the scheme, I think I am correct in saying that you cannot make further payments into it. I left, got back in the scheme and have never looked back.

    The TPS is a great scheme. I'd keep that over the school
    annascience2012 likes this.
  4. Hil2009

    Hil2009 New commenter

    This is a really tricky thing for schools. Yes, it’s a great scheme but there are few schools that are going to be able to afford it. Many independent schools are coming out of the scheme in time for September with many others doing so the following year. You can come out without penalties and go back in at the moment but this may change in the future. I think the Gov thought private schools would just take on the extra payments but they can’t. It’s going to add 500,000 to our salary bill and we can’t do it. Plus it is not a fair use of parents fees. We are prob going I come out but five teachers a bit more in salary so that they have money now. Schools have to provide a decent pension so you won’t be left high and dry but I think TPS will become the exception not the norm as it used to be. It is a nightmare for most independent schools as few of them make the surplus they need to afford it. I even know of a school which has decided to close.
    saluki likes this.
  5. Hil2009

    Hil2009 New commenter

    Sorry typos! Going to come out but give teachers a bit more
  6. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Goodness, @nconnolly - that sounds bad news. Of course the teaching staff will want to stay in the scheme and can hopefully put that message across strongly, but if the school feels it simply can’t afford it then asking for the staff view is merely a courteous formality.
    I know of a small school with very modest fees which decided to put these up significantly. Everyone thought pupils would leave in droves, but this didn’t happen. Clearly the calculated risk paid off...
    I think I would be very tempted to move on if my school were to leave the TPS. Good luck!
  7. adjbaker

    adjbaker New commenter

    Yes, the school I am at is very much considering this. We have started the consultation phase, eg staff reps appointed, and we are moving into it. A difficult position for us independent teachers to be in. Clearly increased employer contributions are going to be a massive financial hit for schools so we understand why schools need to take steps to keep school finances in the black, and keep our jobs going at the end of the day, but at the same time coming out of TPS to a different scheme is a step into the unknown. Interestingly, Union advice is to fight it, but I am not sure they understand the independent set up quite as well. Difficult.
  8. missbrody

    missbrody New commenter

    Yes, most independent schools are considering leaving the scheme, including the one I currently teach at. The government is only going to subsidise state schools for a few years, but no help with the cost for the independent sector.
  9. unluckybear

    unluckybear New commenter

    My independent school is also moving into the consultation phase, really difficult as coming out would make a huge difference to my pension and I have to think with my head and not my heart. Don’t want to leave but it looks like the state sector may be the way to go. I believe it is difficult for the school to go forward without breaching our contracts as it states the TPS in our contracts. Worried that this is going to lead to forced redundancies and people having to reapply for their jobs while they force it through. There is not much guidance out there.
  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    One question I'd ask is whether the head/SLT are also moving to whatever they are replacing TPS with. Or will you end up with a two tier pension scheme? "Management" having a better scheme.
    Stiltskin and bajan like this.
  11. Thebeak

    Thebeak New commenter

    I know a few people in other schools going through this at the moment. I’m curious what will happen in the state sector after a year once the guarantees funding ends, are state schools allowed to withdraw? Luckily our school is sticking with the scheme, as I know a few of the other (though not all) big HMC schools are, though with a potential cap on inflationary pay rises to compensate. It seems to me madness to leave, as despite the costs it will surely cause a huge recruitment issue when the state sector and other independent schools are staying in the scheme, I know I certainly wouldn’t apply somewhere that left it..
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

  13. sweet catatonia

    sweet catatonia New commenter

    This is being held over us a little at the moment. Need to make cuts so that we can continue to fund your pension scheme ... It has given the finance staff a stick to beat us with at the moment.
    drvs likes this.
  14. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Yes indeed, my school is also "looking at options" and "consulting" citing a 6 figure increase in cost to find TPS: I suspect that they are intending to withdraw in 2020/21. Still able to afford 7 figure building projects though, just in case any of the staff wonder where they fit in the value structure o_O
    mm71 and caterpillartobutterfly like this.
  15. tonbridge87

    tonbridge87 New commenter

    As said above many schools simply cannot afford this hike in contributions, which will last for a few years and then hike again. However, it does seem to me that the government haven't quite thought this through. Whist the very wealthy independents will stay in, if considerable number pull out then this will create a black hole in the accounts. Further, I have seen evidence that a number of academies cannot afford it either. So we'll be in a two tier situation with a number of schools, some TPS some not and teachers may have to choose between more cash in their salaries but a poorer pension at the end, if they survive teaching till 67!
    With young staff wanting to get on the housing ladder, many may prefer the option of a better salary and making their own choices. Whilst the TPS is one of the best out there, especially if you were over 50 back when the changes were made, then losing this is going to be a kick in the teeth. However, the buying power of many independents looking for a scheme may be that a good one will be available, not as good as TPS but still one that will pay out. There are some really tough times ahead for the independent system.
  16. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    [QUOTE="tonbridge87, post: 12737050, member: 24480326" Further, I have seen evidence that a number of academies cannot afford it either. [/QUOTE]

    State schools cannot withdraw from TPS
  17. Goaliesash

    Goaliesash New commenter

    We've just been given the same news, heading into a consultation process..

    If I was in a different circumstance, I would consider leaving within the next 5 years so that I could re-enter the scheme at a different school on the same T&Cs. However, my son just started in Reception with a very generous discount and my daugher is starting Y7 in September.

    Unless I want to disrupt their schooling, (or fork out full fees for a couple of years) I might have to just take the hit but it's gutting.
  18. pennyh.

    pennyh. Occasional commenter

    Glad I was old enough to claim my pension. When the pensions were changed a few years back and there was talk of the gov. ending access for independent schools our Bursar said the TPS system needed the money form the Independent sector and that we would not be split off- a lot of figures were presented which I can't remember now. So if independent schools drop out the whole scheme may hit problems.
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter


    Just bumping this up, so I remember to read it again when I've read all the bumf we've been given about consultation.
  20. bajan

    bajan Occasional commenter

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