Share your view on independent schools withdrawal from Teachers’ Pension Scheme
10 September 2019
This consultation sees the DfE focussing on a proposal that will result in an amendment to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) rules that will enable independent schools to opt-out of TPS participation for future teaching staff whilst allowing existing staff to remain as active members.
This paper has been published in response to a consultation that closed earlier in 2019 that saw DfE agree to consider this option further.
Teachers’ Pension Scheme – Independent Schools Phased Withdrawal Proposal relates to the TPS, which provides a pension for participating teachers and other eligible staff working in the education sector in England and Wales.
The main elements proposed include:
- TPS regulations to be amended to allow an independent school to choose to keep its existing teachers in the TPS while offering alternative pension provision to new teaching employees (as it is mandatory for an employer to enrol an employee into a pension scheme).
- A teacher joining a school that made this choice would be enrolled in an alternative pension scheme, including those who were active members of the TPS immediately beforehand.
- Existing members could remain in the TPS until they leave employment with that particular school (or join another fully participating school).
- A teacher who was employed by a school at the time that participation was frozen but who opted out would be able to return to the TPS at a later date.
- A teacher who opted out of the TPS after the independent school had frozen participation would not be eligible to return to the TPS and would instead be offered an alternative pension scheme.
- A teacher who was no longer in pensionable service as a result of sick leave or family leave etc. would be able to resume active participation in the TPS where the period involved is covered by statutory rights or their contract of employment.
- In cases where the leave of absence is beyond statutory or contractual rights, whether the teacher could return to the TPS, or would instead be offered alternative pension provision, would be at the discretion of the school.
- An independent school which chose to freeze participation would retain the option of returning to the TPS at a future date, but where a school did return, it would be required to enrol all eligible teaching staff from the date that it returned.
Teachers’ pensions in Scotland and Northern Ireland remain a matter for those devolved administrations.
Responses to this consultation, which will close on 3 November 2019, can be made online.
Geographical extent: England & Wales
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