The Girls’ School Day Trust (GDST), which runs 23 independent schools across the UK, is proposing to leave the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, threating the financial stability of teachers in retirement. I met with teachers from Streatham and Clapham High School and their National Education Union representative to discuss the impact of these proposals, which they are being threatened with.
Leaving the Teachers’ Pension Scheme would hit loyal, hard-working teachers hard in their retirement – a poor reward for the extraordinary efforts they made to teach under pandemic conditions. Worse still, the Trust is proposing to fire and rehire them if they do not voluntarily agree. The case for moving out of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme is based on two pieces of speculation: that the employer contribution in the scheme will increase to 30% and Business Rate Relief will be removed from independent schools.
To date, the Trust have refused requests from the National Education Union to conduct an Equality Impact Assessment on their proposals. The Union is concerned that the changes will exacerbate the pension inequality already suffered by women, given that an estimated 75% of the affected staff are women. They are also concerned that it won’t end with GDST, with academies also considering similar moves to downgrade pensions. I will stand with NEU members against this attempt to weaken their pensions.