Almost 150 private schools notify govt of plans to leave TPS

The Department for Education (DfE) has received notifications from 144 private schools of their plans to leave the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) since February last year.

According to a response to a National Education Union (NEU) freedom of information (FOI) request, the first notification was received on 4 February 2019 and the first departures occurred on 31 August 2019.

The DfE’s most recent notification, as of 22 May 2020, was received on 6 May 2020, with plans to leave on 31 August 2020.

Many of the private schools are leaving the scheme in response to rising employer contributions.

In September 2019, employer contributions to the TPS increased from 16.48 per cent to 23.6 per cent of salary.

Employers were first informed of the changes in September 2018.

Commenting on the findings, NEU assistant general secretary, Andrew Morris, said: "The government's FOI response records 144 schools as having formally notified their intention to leave the TPS since the increase to the employer contribution was announced.

"Many NEU members facing this threat to their pension rights are being told that their school is one of the last few independent schools remaining in the scheme. This is patently untrue - the number above is only 12 per cent of the 1,171 independent schools in the TPS in March 2019. 

"The NEU has successfully persuaded some schools to drop their proposal to leave the TPS and will continue to seek to protect other members. We have also secured agreement from the DfE that independent school employers will be reminded of their obligations to consult properly before proceeding with any proposal."

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