TPS: number of independent schools quitting scheme almost doubled since lockdown

A freedom of information request has revealed that 177 independent schools have withdrawn from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme

The number of independent schools withdrawing from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) has almost doubled in the last six months, a new freedom of information request has revealed.

The FOI request submitted to the Department for Education (DfE) by Wesleyan Financial Services confirmed that 98 independent schools in England have withdrawn from TPS since employer contributions rose by 40% in September 2019; 64 of those withdrawing have notified the DfE since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

The increase brings the total number of private schools withdrawing from the scheme to 177.

In response to a National Education Union FOI, the DfE confirmed in March 2019 there were 1,171 independent schools in England and Wales in the TPS; today’s figure, therefore, represents over 10% of the total independent sector membership of the scheme.

The financial pressures experienced by the sector following the coronavirus outbreak may have contributed to the increase in withdrawals.

Parminder Gill at Wesleyan said: “The number of independent schools opting to leave the Teachers’ Pension Scheme is rising at an alarming rate – putting thousands of teachers into less generous schemes.

“Although we saw an initial jump in the number of schools opting to leave the scheme following the rise in employer contributions last September, this has accelerated sharply as schools began to get a clearer picture of the long-term financial implications of meeting the additional costs.

Although we saw an initial jump in the number of schools opting to leave the scheme following the rise in employer contributions last September, this has accelerated sharply as schools began to get a clearer picture of the long-term financial implications of meeting the additional costs – Parminder Gill, Wesleyan

“With the events of the recent lockdown placing increased pressure on school budgets, many more schools are assessing their TPS options right now to see if they can afford to maintain their membership.”

Unprecedented strike action was called at some independent schools that notified teachers of their intention to quit the national pension scheme. In June 2019, teachers at St Edward’s School in Oxford went on strike over plans to withdraw from the scheme; the school is one of those 177 that will still leave the plan.

Julie Robinson, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), last year said remaining in the TPS was ISC’s “first preference” for its members.

The government has confirmed that it will cover the increased employer contribution rates for state schools during 2019-2020, but private schools must raise funds themselves to meet the additional costs.


Related news: Independent schools ‘accelerating’ TPS exit talks


Neil Barton, head of business development, trustee solutions, at Broadstone, told IE in May: “What we’ve seen since lockdown is an increase in enquiries from independent schools that are thinking of exiting the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and need our assistance to do that.

“There were schools that were planning to launch consultations in September or early next year with a view to getting out of the TPS either early next year or September next year, but now they’re thinking of accelerating those processes because it’s just become more and more critical.

“They’re predicting their financial situation will become increasingly dire because of the reduction in income they’ll be suffering from because of the lockdown period.”

List of schools that have withdrawn from the TPS 

Name Date of notification
The Oratory School 13/08/2020
Woodcote House School 12/08/2020
Altrincham Preparatory School 30/07/2020
Grantham Preparatory School 28/07/2020
Padworth College 23/07/2020
Snaresbrook Preparatory School 20/07/2020
Northcote Lodge 20/07/2020
Broomwood Hall School 20/07/2020
Dorset House School 16/07/2020
The Queen’s School 13/07/2020
Manor House School 08/07/2020
Thorngrove School 02/07/2020
St Neot’s School 02/07/2020
Brookes UK School 02/07/2020
The Prebendal School 30/06/2020
Collingwood School 30/06/2020
St Nicholas School 30/06/2020
Buxlow Preparatory School 30/06/2020
Grange Park Preparatory School 30/06/2020
The Study School 30/06/2020
Westbury House School 30/06/2020
St Christopher’s School 30/06/2020
Warlingham Park School 30/06/2020
St Bede’s College 29/06/2020
Giggleswick School 25/06/2020
Adcote School for Girls 25/06/2020
Burton Hathow Preparatory School 24/06/2020
Howe Green Educational Trust Ltd 09/06/2020
Winchester House School 09/06/2020
College Francais Bilingue De Londres 02/06/2020
Wellington School 28/05/2020
Heathfield School 26/05/2020
Stafford Independent Grammar School 13/05/2020
Willington School 12/05/2020
Micklefield School 06/05/2020
Oakwood School 30/04/2020
Elstree School 24/04/2020
Chafyn Grove School 22/04/2020
Moor Park School 22/04/2020
Maidwell Hall School 17/04/2020
Durlston Court School 16/04/2020
Warminster School 16/04/2020
Brambletye School 09/04/2020
Oakfield Preparatory School 07/04/2020
Eastbourne College 07/04/2020
St Andrew’s School 07/04/2020
Ashfold School 03/04/2020
Silcoates School 02/04/2020
Farnborough Hill 31/03/2020
Kingswood House School 27/03/2020
Cumnor House School 27/03/2020
Unicorn School 27/03/2020
St Dominic’s School 24/03/2020
St John’s College 13/03/2020
Longacre School 11/03/2020
Davenies School 11/03/2020
St Hugh’s School 11/03/2020
Pinewood School 10/03/2020
St George’s School 10/03/2020
Hilden Oaks School Educational Trust Ltd 09/03/2020
Cruckton Hall School 09/03/2020
Windlesham House School 06/03/2020
Burgess Hill Girls 06/03/2020
Gayhurst School 03/03/2020
Ackworth School 26/02/2020
Hollygirt School 21/02/2020
The Cavendish School 14/02/2020
Daneshill School 14/02/2020
St Andrew’s School 12/02/2020
St Wystan’s School 01/02/2020
St Lawrence College 01/02/2020
Copthorne School 21/01/2020
Exeter Cathedral School 06/01/2020
West Hill Park School 12/12/2019
Dover College 10/12/2019
Eurocentres Cambridge 30/11/2019
Eurocentres London Victoria 30/11/2019
Eurocentres Brighton 30/11/2019
Eurocentres Bournemouth 30/11/2019
Eurocentres Lee Green 30/11/2019
Derby Grammar School 19/11/2019
Spring Grove School 18/11/2019
The British School in the Netherlands 05/11/2019
Salisbury Cathedral School 22/10/2019
Waverley School 18/10/2019
White Trees Independent School 15/10/2019
Steephill School 30/09/2019
Dulwich Prep Cranbrook 23/09/2019
Lockers Park 20/09/2019
Edge Grove 20/09/2019
St Margaret’s School (Hampstead) Ltd 19/09/2019
Cothill House 19/09/2019
Ashdown House 19/09/2019
Mowden Hall School 19/09/2019
Kitebrook House School 19/09/2019
Barfield School 19/09/2019
Beaudesert Park School Trust Ltd 09/09/2019
Longridge Towers School 02/09/2019
Aldro School 28/08/2019
Castle Court School 20/08/2019
Farlington School 14/08/2019
The Gesher School 12/08/2019
Edenhurst School 02/08/2019
Sherborne House School 02/08/2019
Elmhurst School 02/08/2019
Bruern Abbey School 02/08/2019
The Hampshire School, Chelsea 02/08/2019
Sherfield School 02/08/2019
Horris Hill School 30/07/2019
Oswestry School 30/07/2019
Holmwood House School Ltd 26/07/2019
The Webber Independent School 26/07/2019
Ealing Independent College 26/07/2019
Skippers Hill Manor Preparatory School 26/07/2019
Wandsworth Preparatory School 26/07/2019
Stoke College 26/07/2019
St Peter’s School 23/07/2019
Sinclair House School 23/07/2019
Rydes Hill Preparatory School 22/07/2019
Scarborough College 17/07/2019
Wychwood School for Girls 17/07/2019
Redhill High School 15/07/2019
Dolphin School 15/07/2019
Luckley House School Limited 15/07/2019
Hanford School 15/07/2019
Cheam School Educational trust 15/07/2019
Holme Grange School 15/07/2019
Castle House School Trust Ltd 04/07/2019
St Edward’s School 04/07/2019
Claire’s Court Schools 02/07/2019
Prince’s Mead School 02/07/2019
Park School (Bournemouth) Ltd 28/06/2019
Twyford School 25/06/2019
Rookwood School Trust Ltd 24/06/2019
Sandroyd School 24/06/2019
Marymount International School 24/06/2019
The Firs School 19/06/2019
Thetford Grammar School Foundation 14/06/2019
Greenbank School 13/06/2019
Birchfield School 13/06/2019
Rupert House School 11/06/2019
Plymouth College 11/06/2019
Highfield and Brookham Schools 28/05/2019
Sunningdale School 23/05/2019
Westville House School 15/05/2019
Brooke Priory School 14/05/2019
Heywood Preparatory School 14/05/2019
St Faith’s at Ash School 14/05/2019
Hatherop Castle School 14/05/2019
St Edward’s School 14/05/2019
St David’s Prep 14/05/2019
Mead School 14/05/2019
Cricklade Manor Prep 14/05/2019
Westonbirt School 14/05/2019
Heathfield Knoll School 07/05/2019
Arnold Lodge School 03/05/2019
Abercorn School Limited 02/05/2019
Boundary Oak School 29/04/2019
Great Ballard School Ltd 23/04/2019
International School of London in Surrey 11/04/2019
Plumtree School 05/04/2019
Chepstow House School 02/04/2019
Falcons Preparatory School for Boys 02/04/2019
Falcons School for Girls 02/04/2019
Hilden Grange School 02/04/2019
Pembridge Hall School 02/04/2019
Portland Place School 02/04/2019
St Anthony’s School 02/04/2019
St Anthony’s School for Girls 02/04/2019
The Falcons School 02/04/2019
Wetherby Kensington 02/04/2019
Wetherby Preparatory School 02/04/2019
Wetherby School 02/04/2019
Wetherby Senior School 02/04/2019
Witham Hall School 28/03/2019
The Croft Preparatory School 13/03/2019
St Christopher’s School 05/03/2019
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