More private school teachers to strike over pensions

Leaving the Teachers' Pension Scheme is 'a deal-breaker' for many private school teachers, says NEU teaching union

Colleges: Scottish FE lecturers have voted for industrial action over a plan to replace lecturers with instructors and other support staff

Teachers at another independent school have voted to go on strike over proposals by their school to withdraw from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS).

Teachers at Colfe’s School, Greenwich, one of the oldest schools in London, will go on strike tomorrow, claiming that leaving the TPS would mean “a significant financial loss and potentially damage the school’s ability to attract and retain quality teaching staff", according to the NEU teaching union.

Kevin Courtney, NEU joint general secretary, said: “It really is a momentous occasion when independent school staff take strike action, and it is testament to the severity of the issue.

Exclusive: More private school teacher pensions strikes 

Background: Schools hit by 'devastating' rise in pension costs

Opinion: Private schools are a canary in the pensions mineshaft

“Our hard-working members are committed to the success of their pupils and their school. When they feel that they have no alternative but to strike, it should serve as a wake-up call for independent sector employers.

“NEU members desperately wish to resolve the matter amicably but believe that leaving the TPS would be a significant blow in the school’s ability to attract and retain quality teaching staff. For many NEU members working in the independent sector, leaving the TPS is a deal-breaker.”

Last month, teachers at the Grange School in Northwich, Cheshire, and at Westholme School in Blackburn, Lancashire, voted to strike about being removed from the TPS, but action was later averted after agreements were reached with the schools.

Last year, teachers at St Edward's School, Oxford, went on strike over the same issue.

In a letter to parents, Colfe's headmaster Richard Russell apologises for the disruption, saying: “I don’t think it is controversial to predict that the TPS will become unaffordable for the majority of independent schools. More than 100 independents have already left the scheme and many more are going through a period of consultation, as Colfe’s continues to do. The main difficulty is that the employer contribution is funded by the taxpayer in state sector schools whereas in independent schools it comes straight out of the fees that you pay.”

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

Latest stories

Covid catch-up: Why talk of a crisis in education is too simple

Why calling everything a 'crisis' is damaging

The tendency to label any issue a crisis means we overlook opportunities for innovation, say three teacher-researchers
Mark Harrison, Stephen Chatelier, and Elke Van dermijnsbrugge 13 Jun 2021