Teachers at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire went on strike this week due to an on-going dispute over the funding of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS), The Lancashire Post reports.
Stonyhurst management has said the current arrangements for the TPS are “unsustainable” – costing them £320,000 a year – and has proposed that its teaching staff contribute part of their salaries to fund the employer’s contributions.
The action at Stonyhurst follows a number of teacher strikes over pensions and conditions across the country since the government increased employer’s contributions to the TPS scheme in 2019.
At its annual conference earlier this month, the NEU voted to conduct a national campaign to ensure all teachers had access to the TPS.
A freedom of information request submitted to the DfE by Wesleyan Financial Services confirmed that 98 independent schools in England withdrew from TPS since employer contributions rose by 40 per cent in September 2019. A total of 64 of those notified the DfE since the coronavirus outbreak in March.
Ian Watkinson, Lancashire’s National Executive representative for the National Education Union, said that the decision to strike at Stonyhurst was “momentous” and “testament to the severity of the issue”.
John Browne, head teacher of Stonyhurst, and Ian Murphy, head teacher of Stonyhurst Saint Mary’s Hall, said: “We are disappointed that a number of Stonyhurst College and Stonyhurst Saint Mary’s Hall teachers are taking strike action following a ballot by the National Education Union.
“The additional costs of the TPS are unsustainable for Stonyhurst without a further increase in school fees or further cost restructuring, both of which would significantly impact our offer to pupils and their families.”
They added that they were “grateful” to all staff and their efforts “through the past challenging year.”