Independent Schools are not automatically enrolled in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. The school you work for might opt to join the scheme, as part of their pension requirement. Equally, they may opt for a different scheme. You might find that your school has applied to be part of the scheme in the past, so you could still be a part of it.
The employer’s role in your pension
If your Independent School establishment is part of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, they will have specific responsibilities. They will:
- Inform the scheme of your service each month
- Pay a monthly contribution to your pension from your salary, as well as the employer’s contribution to your pension
- Keep you with information about the pension scheme when you start and encourage you to sign up to My Pension Online
- Authorise your requests you make to the Teachers’ Pensions Scheme, including your request to retire.
What happens to your pension if your school opts out?
As your school is part of the Independent Sector, they participate in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme voluntarily. Therefore, they are permitted to leave the scheme at any time. If your school makes this decision, you will leave the scheme too. Your benefits will become “deferred”, which means held in the scheme until you are part of the scheme again or you claim your benefits. If you moved to a local authority school or multi-academy trust, or other establishment detailed on the Department for Education site, you will automatically be enrolled back into the scheme. You will then start contributing to your pension again, leaving off from where you were when your establishment opted out.
If you want to stay at your independent school, you may want to ask if they are moving to a ‘Defined Benefits’ scheme. They have to provide a work-based pension, and it may be that this new scheme qualifies as a ‘Defined Benefit’, like the Teachers’ Pension Scheme does. You will then be able to transfer your contribution from one scheme to the other.
If you want to discuss your school’s work-based pension scheme, you should speak to an independent advisor.
The content in this article was correct on 1st June 2020. You should not rely on this article to make important financial decisions. Teachers Financial Planning offers advice on the different types of retirement available with the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. Please use the contact form below to arrange an informal chat with an advisor and see how we can help you.