9th November 2018
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education brought to you by Education Advisers...
Wellingborough Independent School to create homeless night shelter
Plans have been approved to turn a private school's outbuilding into a night shelter for 12 homeless people.
The storage building at Wellingborough School in Northamptonshire was formerly a dance hall and social club.
The borough council's official count puts the number of people sleeping rough in the town at 10.
The school has developed the project in partnership with the Wellingborough Homeless Forum and it could be up and running within eight weeks.
There were objections that there would be times when some pupils at the co-educational day school would also be in its grounds.
James Petrie, estates manager at the school, said any safeguarding concerns had been dealt with and the town was "really crying out for this".
"The school sees it as a massive waste of an asset and want to do something positive and satisfy a social duty," he said.
Private schools would leave an £800 million "hole" in teachers' pension pot if a planned hike in contributions forces them to pull out of the scheme
Schools were left reeling last month after being told their payments to the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS) will rise by more than 40 per cent from September next year.
Internal calculations by the Independent Schools Council (ISC), revealed in emails seen by Tes, estimate private schools currently contribute £590 million a year to the TPS, around 10 per cent of the total.
Teachers, who on average put 9 per cent of their salary into their pension pot, contribute a further £225 million themselves.
Combined, the ISC estimates the TPS would be left with a “total hole in the order of around £815 million” if independent schools withdrew from the scheme.
The figures add to warnings that the potential hike in employer contributions to 23.6 per cent, up from 16.48 per cent now, could be the final straw for schools already struggling to make ends meet.
ISC chair Barnaby Lenon said the council's members were considering leaving the scheme as part of a range of options to address the impact of the pension hike.
"There are many schools thinking about it but it will be impossible to say how many will eventually withdraw from the TPS," he said.
"Nobody wants to withdraw from the TPS, but some schools may be forced to do so for financial reasons."
Chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) Chris King has written to chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss, warning that more than 100 preparatory schools could shut down because of the increase.
Mr King said as yet there was no sign there will be a mass exodus among the 700 members of the IAPS, but warned some schools may be forced to withdraw, making it harder for them to attract staff.
"It would make teacher recruitment that much more difficult as a result,” he explained.
“You’re going to have those schools asking themselves if they really want to continue if they’re not offering the kind of service they want to provide."
Executive director of the Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference, Mike Buchanan, said the hike would leave many schools with a “large financial hole”.
“We would prefer to support the current scheme and stay alongside our colleagues in the state sector, but clearly schools have a duty to look at all the options,” he said.
“Those [schools] which are already squeezed are going to be further squeezed. It’s going to add significantly to the financial pressures on them.”
17th December 2018
14th December 2018
13th December 2018