Teachers’ Pension Scheme - Independent Schools Phased Withdrawal Proposal

The consultation concerns proposals to change the England and Wales Teachers’ Pension Scheme rules to allow independent schools opting out of the scheme to do so more flexibly.  Under current scheme rules, an independent school electing to opt-out of the scheme results in all members becoming deferred.   
The proposal could allow independent schools, electing to opt-out of TPS participation for future teaching staff, to allow existing staff to remain as active members.  

The consultation seeks views on the proposal and whether there are any alternative proposals to achieve the aims outlined in the consultation document.

How did we respond? 
ASCL is concerned that this proposal will lead to many teachers and school leaders, including a significant number of our members, losing access to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS). Many teachers and leaders have been members of the TPS for many years, in most cases since the beginning of their careers. 

We are also concerned about the financial impact of the withdrawal of independent schools from the TPS, whether immediately or on a phased basis, on the scheme as a whole. This could negatively affect the majority of our members, not just those working in the independent sector.  

We agreed with the Government’s position that it is important that as many teachers and school leaders as possible retain their current entitlement to TPS benefits, and we recognise the financial burden that the increased contributions places on independent schools. We cannot, however, support any proposal that allows any teachers or school leaders to be refused access to the TPS.

Why have we taken this view? 
Our current position is that where a teacher or school or college leader meets the eligibility requirements for the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and wishes to enrol or remain in the scheme, then their employer should make this provision available.  The proposal does not support this position which is why we are unable to support it.  

We are also concerned that, if the proposal goes ahead it will be setting a precedent, and that over time it could be extended to other public sectors, most notably the academy and maintained sectors.

Download the full response to the consultation.