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In whatever capacity you work in education, there is likely to be an occupational scheme available for you to join and you may have automatic membership as soon as you are employed.

When you start a new job always check with your employer or look on your contract to find out about an occupational pension scheme you can join. Pensions provide salary-related, guaranteed, inflation-proofed income in retirement for a relatively low cost to you.

The employer contributes a lot more than the member and you get tax relief on your contributions so the cost to you in real terms is less than the percentage quoted.

Most of these schemes provide a death-in-service payment, dependents' benefits and a guarantee of at least five years' pension payments in retirement.


Most teachers in England and Wales, whether in schools (including academies), sixth form colleges or FE colleges, are eligible to join the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS). Teachers in Northern Ireland are in the Northern Ireland Teachers' Pension Scheme (NITPS).

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Teachers' Pension Scheme

The Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) will provide much of your retirement income, so it is vital that you understand it.

Supply teachers

Agency worker pensions

Advice on your eligibility for and access to workplace pension schemes as an agency supply worker.

Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have their own pension schemes. You should contact your employer for details.

Independent schools

Many independent schools participate in the TPS, although some offer their own schemes. If you are considering taking up employment in an independent school, it is worth considering their pension arrangements, as an occupational pension should be considered as deferred pay and employers in the TPS currently contribute 14.1% of your salary to the scheme.

Teachers at St. Augustine's Priory, Ealing, 2023

Protecting pensions

We will support members opposing any proposal to remove teachers’ membership of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS).

Model letters

NEU members in over 80 independent schools have successfully defeated their employer’s proposals to deprive them of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.

Support Staff

Support staff members in England and Wales, including those working in academies, are usually eligible to join the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) (Local Government Pension Scheme for Northern Ireland (NILGOSC) in Northern Ireland). Each authority has its own Pension Fund, so some of the rules are determined locally. Contact your fund administrator in the first instance.

Education advisers (Soulbury)

Those on Soulbury terms and conditions will usually be offered membership of the LGPS.

Eligibility for the TPS is dependent on the activities you undertake in your job. Most people who are working as advisers on Soulbury terms and conditions are not deemed to be 'teaching' and on teachers' terms and conditions, and therefore not eligible for the TPS.

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State pensions

Information about the single-tier state pension and changes to the retirement age.

Additional information


TPS Rep Powerpoint

Presentation of the latest information about the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS), May 2023.

Check your pension records

The NEU receives many reports of pension records being incorrect. The growing fragmentation of the school system means a growing number of small employers, and more changes of employer for teachers over their careers. These are perfect conditions for mistakes to be made. Members in the TPS should sign up with MyPensionOnline service and check your pension is correct.

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