I am leaving teaching in my forties to start a fresh career. What happens to my pension under the Teachers' Pension Scheme?
You have two options. You can leave your pension where it is and it will be frozen until your 60th birthday, when you will receive it, with the added benefit of index-linked increase during the intervening years.
Alternatively, if your new employer is operating a pension scheme, you can ask the Teachers' Pension Agency about the possibility of transferring your money to a new fund.
You might be interested to know that the teachers' scheme allows a person leaving teaching to continue to contribute to the scheme for a maximum of three more years. This may only be done at the salary level you were at when you left, plus annual awards, and you will be responsible for the employer's contribution as well as your own. Your new employer may be prepared to pay that to you instead of into an alternative scheme.
I strongly advise you to seek advice from your union or from an independent financial adviser before you make any irrevocable decision.