Removing private schools from pension scheme would stop teachers moving to public sector, warns union

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Half of independent school teachers said they would not apply to work in a school which did not give them access to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS), according to a survey from ATL.

In addition, more than a quarter said any pensions scheme offered would have to be good value for them to join a school.

Responding to ATL’s annual independent schools survey, more than one in four teachers said they would leave teaching if independent school teachers are excluded from the TPS, and one in five said they would return to work in a state-funded school.

A London teacher said: “Leave the TPS alone. The planned changes to the pension scheme will render it worthless, and with fewer people contributing, the problems will get worse.”

Another teacher said: “The TPS is highly valued by staff, senior management team and governors alike. To remove independent schools from the TPS would be an unfair, unjustified and retrograde step.”

A teacher in London said: “Maintenance of the TPS in the private sector is essential for the survival of independent schools.”

Ruth Story, a teacher in West Sussex, said: “I want to be flexible to move between independent and state sectors as I feel warmly towards both and feel that both benefit from cross-pollination. Withdrawing the TPS for independent schools would damage both sectors.”

More than 90% of independent school teachers have access to the TPS or Scottish equivalent (Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme).

ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “Access to the TPS is crucial for most independent school teachers. It enables staff to move freely between state-funded and private schools to share ideas and expertise. Expelling independent teachers would have serious implications for staff and pupils in both sectors.

“Many independent schools would struggle to provide their own scheme, some would undoubtedly close, in others school fees would have to rise and schools would lose staff.

“And the loss of 60,000 independent staff could put a serious strain on the financial health of the TPS. We will continue to campaign vigorously so that members working in independent schools retain the right to belong to the TPS.”


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