The number of private schools that have formally given notice to leave the Teachers' Pension Scheme has risen by 54 per cent since November 2019.
In January, Tes revealed that 97 independent schools had been given notice to leave according to a November 2019 freedom of information disclosure obtained by the NEU teaching union.
However, a new FoI request carried out by the NEU last month found that as of 22 May this year, 149 schools had requested to leave.
Exclusive: Private school teacher pension strike threat
The news comes as senior figures in the independent sector fear for its future, with some suggesting that 30 per cent of schools could go bust because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The 149 private schools that signalled they will leave have now left represent 13 per cent of the 1,171 independent schools that were in the TPS in November.
The NEU fears that more schools may follow suit in August and September when it will be clearer about how many of their pupils they can expect to see return.
Andrew Morris, NEU assistant general secretary said: "We’re seeing quite a lot of misinformation. At the moment the numbers are still relatively small – it’s only around 13 per cent that have so far even announced they are considering leaving the TPS. Whether we see a big increase in that will be known in August or September when schools actually know how many pupils they’ve finally got for the new academic year."
The government has said it will cover the increased cost of TPS employer contributions for state schools during 2019-20 it will not do the same for independent schools.
Employer contributions to the scheme rose by 43 per cent from September, which has already forced some private schools to merge.