Taunton School gains national recognition for its innovative teachers’ pension scheme

Posted: 15th July 2021

The school, which devised the unique offering with top financial consultants and lawyers, has been shortlisted at tonight’s prestigious Pensions Age awards ceremony to be held in central London

Taunton is the only school to appear on the shortlist for the awards which features household names from the pensions industry.

In partnership with experts from leading accountancy company, Milsted Langdon, and top legal firm, Veale Wasborough Vizards, Taunton came up with a ground-breaking answer to the pensions crisis in the independent schools’ sector.

“It is a real honour to receive national recognition for all the work we have done to create our own pension scheme here at Taunton School,” said Nicola Miller, Taunton School’s chief operating officer.

“As a modern, forward-thinking school we are very proud of what we have achieved. In-depth consultations were carried out with all our staff and, with our partners, we came up with a solution which answered everyone’s needs.

“We are a minnow against these giants of the pension industry, but we are confident that our approach is the answer to the public sector pensions’ crisis.”

A shake-up of the Teachers’ Pensions Scheme by the Treasury last September required schools to increase the employer’s contribution from 16.48 per cent of salary to 23.9 per cent.

While state schools received help to cover the increase, the independent sector struggled to meet the cost out of their own funds.

Taunton School, like other independent schools, faced an additional £500,000 pension bill if it stayed within the Teachers’ Pension Scheme – a cost the school did not want to pass on to parents or take away from funds already pledged to other projects at the school.

The answer was to create a hybrid model giving Taunton’s 200 staff an option to contribute to a brand new bespoke pension scheme – or stay with the old one, with the costs of one offsetting the other.

Now known as ‘The Taunton School model’, the scheme has now been adopted by other schools in the South West and across the UK. The school itself has been inundated with requests for advice on the approach.

Taunton’s scheme first came to national attention last year with articles in both The Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times. Pension industry experts continue to take a keen interest.

“Our hybrid model offers greater flexibility and benefits to staff than many other products currently on the market,” added Ms Miller.

“Crucially, it also means that we don’t have to pass on additional costs to parents by raising fees and our long-term development plans remain intact.”

The Pensions Age awards celebrate the best advisers, schemes and products across the UK. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Gosvenor House Hotel this evening (July 15th, 2021).

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