UK independent schools are struggling to maintain their pension provision

As independent schools absorb the impact of Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) contribution increases, many are reviewing this critical area of staff remuneration. Some are also looking for guidance in the funding and governance of their in-house Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution schemes.

These pension challenges occur at a time of unprecedented financial pressures for the sector. Developments such as VAT on fees and the removal of business rates relief add to the risk factors schools face. And a whole range of school-wide priorities – not least infrastructure and refurbishment projects – are competing with pensions for resourcing.

How can First Actuarial help?

Using our extensive experience of the sector, we help independent schools understand their pension schemes, working with them to produce and agree a strategy for sustainable pension provision.

If the strategy involves a change – such as TPS withdrawal – we can provide:

  • A project plan – Setting out key stages and timelines to implement any proposed changes to pension provision
  • Scheme design – Working with you to design a replacement scheme, if required, that meets the school’s needs and takes care of its employees
  • Provider selection – Helping you review the market and select a provider for a replacement scheme
  • Staff consultation – Designing presentations and attending consultation meetings to explain proposed pension changes to staff-members affected
  • Financial wellbeing support - Delivering presentations and one-to-one sessions with staff, to help them manage the impact on their personal finances
  • Ongoing governance – Our firstwatch service gives schools the governance they need, monitoring risks and sending alerts when action needs to be taken.

If your school runs its own Defined Benefit scheme, we can help:

  • Review your pension provision
  • Communicate with scheme members
  • Manage deficits
  • Help employees in higher tax bands
  • Manage changes in strategy
  • Account for pensions under FRS 102
  • Set up a salary exchange arrangement
  • Set up an escrow account to help prevent overfunding of the Scheme.

Employers with DB schemes

Learn about our services for employers with their own DB schemes

Trustees of DB schemes

Learn about our services to trustees of DB schemes

Employers of DC schemes

Learn about our services to employers running DC schemes

Why choose First Actuarial?

We give clear advice, and the information we provide is comprehensive but concise. Just as importantly, we have the human touch. We can communicate any changes to your staff in engaging and reassuring ways.

In supporting change, we will pinpoint the key issues for your organisation quickly and efficiently. We’ll help you understand the options available and guide you to making decisions that are right for your organisation.

We advise some of the sector’s largest organisations – including Eton Group and Rugby Group schools – as well as some of the smallest.

Our expertise covers the TPS and Group Personal Pensions (GPPs) – as well as in-house schemes.

Independent schools briefing

Our briefings are aimed at independent school professionals, providing regular updates on pension issues of importance to the sector

Get in touch

Contact us to find out more about the pension services our sector specialists provide to independent schools.

Find out about our firstwatch service for independent schools

First Actuarial provided excellent advice to the School in relation to the Independent Schools’ Pension Scheme. Their professional and pragmatic approach was extremely valuable in helping us implement changes to support staff pensions and I would be happy to recommend them.

Simon Fowle, Bursar, Sutton Valence School

First Actuarial case studies

Royal Mail

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) enlisted the help of First Actuarial when Royal Mail proposed replacing its Defined Benefit pension fund with individual Defined Contribution arrangements.

“I can’t speak highly enough about First Actuarial – their people have been brilliant. The journey has been inspirational, nothing but a positive experience.”

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Cheam School

With substantial increases in Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) contributions looming for independent schools, Cheam School looked to First Actuarial for specialist support.

“We had a very good experience working with First Actuarial. I felt that they were always on the end of the phone, available to help and respond to issues as they arose."

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Bolton Cares

Taking responsibility for care services previously provided by a local authority, Bolton Cares turned to First Actuarial for help in setting up a competitive and affordable DC pension scheme for its staff.

“They’ve been really helpful and professional throughout the project, and we’ll use them again if we need specialist advice.”

Read More...
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