Your Scheme

Use our Frequently Asked Questions
to help answers your questions
about the Teachers’ Pension Scheme

  • 1. What's the Teachers’ Pension Scheme?

    The Teachers’ Pension Scheme is a Defined Benefits pension scheme available to teachers across England and Wales. In return for monthly contributions from you and your employer, the Scheme provides an index-linked government backed annual pension when you come to retire, as well as insurance benefits if you have to leave due to ill-health or death.

    So it’s a great way to save for your future and help to provide for your loved ones. You’ll also pay a little less tax every month as you’re taxed on your salary after your pension contributions have been taken.

  • 2. What’s my pension all about?

    As a newly qualified teacher, you’ve entered the Scheme as a Career Average member. This means that you’ll accrue benefits each year based upon 1/57th of your pensionable earnings (including any overtime). We increase the benefits accrued in your ‘pension pot’ by what’s known as Consumer Price Index (CPI) + 1.6% each year you’re active in the Scheme.

    From day one you’ll qualify for death benefits, covering your loved ones should the worst happen. You’ll also have the option to make the most of increasing your pension by taking advantage of the Flexibilities available to you.

    Once you’ve built up 2 years of qualifying service, you’ll be able to view a personalised Benefit Statement via your My Pension Online account. You can find out more about your Benefit Statement in our full list of FAQs.

  • 3. What’s my Normal Pension Age?

    The Normal Pension Age (NPA) of a member in the Career Average arrangement is either your State Pension Age or age 65, whichever is the later date.

  • 4. What’s a Teachers’ Pensions Reference number and how can I find mine?

    Your Teachers’ Pensions Reference number (also known as your DfE number) is the number given to you when you qualify as a teacher in the UK. It’s important that you keep a note of it, but if you’ve misplaced it you can confirm your number in one of three ways;

    I work in England

    1. Ask your employer – they’ll hold a record of your individual DfE number
    2. Check any correspondence – we’ll have used this number in any previous communications
    3. Call us on 0345 606 6166 and verify your identity.

    I work in Wales
    1. Call the Education Workforce Council on 0292 046 0099
    2. Check any correspondence – we’ll have used this number in any previous communications
    3. Call us on 0345 606 6166 and verify your identity.

    I work for either a Higher Education or Further Education establishment
    1. Ask your employer – they’ll hold a record of your individual DfE number
    2. Call us on 0345 606 6166


  • 5. How much will I pay?

    Whether you’re a full-time or part-time member, each month you’ll pay a percentage of your gross salary as a contribution towards the cost of your pension. You’ll be automatically enrolled into the Scheme and start paying contributions from your first month’s salary.

    The good news is that you’ll receive tax relief on your contributions and your employer will also be contributing towards the cost of your pension too.

    Contribution Tiers
    The pension contribution bands for 2020 are shown in the table below. They usually change each April (keep an eye on the website, and we’ll announce any changes with plenty of notice).
    Annual Salary Rate for the Eligible Employment from 1 April 2020 Member Contribution Rate
    Up to £28,168.99 7.4%
    £28,169 to £37,918.99 8.6%
    £37,919 to £44,960.99 9.6%
    £44,961 to £59,587.99 10.2%
    £59,588 to £81,254.99 11.3%
    £81,255 and above 11.7%

    Like any financial transaction you make, it’s important you’re paying the correct amount. So check your payslips and if you think a mistake is being made, contact your employer’s Payroll Department immediately.

  • 6. Who keeps you up to date with my details?

    You’ll need to keep all of your contact information up to date, including your email address, postal address and telephone number. The easiest way to do this is via My Pension Online.

    Your employer will be responsible for updating your service and salary details. You can see this by checking your employment history online. If you notice any errors or missing information, please contact your employer at the time of employment, who’ll update this for you.

  • 7. What's MPO?

    MPO (My Pension Online) is a secure portal that lets you check and manage your teacher’s pension online.

    Once you’ve qualified for benefits you’ll be able to access a personalised estimate of your retirement benefits based on the service and salary details sent to Teachers’ Pensions by your employer.

    You’ll also be able to keep all of your personal details up to date as well as complete and return any forms without having to worry about paper and postage.

    To register, you’ll need your Teachers’ Pensions reference number, your National Insurance number and an email address. We recommend a personal email address.

  • 8. What do I need to know now?

    Firstly, sign up to My Pension Online (MPO), a secure portal that lets you check and manage your teachers’ pension online.

    There are certain options you’ll need to consider as a new member of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. It’s important that you understand these options as you may have limited opportunities to take advantage of them.

    Buy Out
    Buy Out is one of the three Flexibilities available to Career Average members that allows you to increase the amount of pension benefits available to you at retirement. This option allows you to Buy Out the standard rate of reduction applied between age 65 and your Normal Pension Age should you decide to retire early.

    You only have one opportunity to ‘Buy Out’ the reduction and this must be done within six months of you first entering the Scheme. Contributions towards the Buy Out option last throughout your career, unless you decide to revoke your election.

    You can apply for Buy Out, along with other Flexibilities via My Pension Online.

    You can transfer any pension credit you’ve built up in a previous pension scheme, providing they meet Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ requirements. You’ll need to complete the transfer in within 12 months of joining the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.

    You can apply to transfer in via My Pension Online.

    Opting out
    We understand that you might decide to opt out of paying contributions and make your own arrangements. We would urge you to seek independent financial advice when making such important decisions, and consider the cost of providing similar benefits to those offered by the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. If your opt out is received within the first 3 months of starting your teaching contract, your election will be backdated and your employer will refund any contributions taken within this time. You can also opt out at any time after this point, but your election will be effective from the first day of the following month that the opt out form is received.

    Before you opt out, we’d encourage you to take a look at the benefits included in being a member of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. You can find out more in our “Opt in and opt out” section.

    If you’d still like to opt out, you can complete the application form online. And remember you can opt back in anytime you’d like.

  • 9. How can I calculate the amount of annual pension and lump sum I can take when I retire?

    The amount of annual pension you can take at retirement will depend on how much you earn and how long you’re actively contributing into the Scheme. As a Career Average member, you’ll build up an annual pension with the option of converting up to 25% of the actuarial value of your pension to a tax free lump sum. You can use our online calculator to calculate an estimate of the annual pension and the maximum lump sum you're able to take.

    You can find our full list of frequently asked questions covering all aspects of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme in our FAQs section.

  • 10. What's my Benefit Statement and how do I view it?

    Your online Benefit Statement is very important as it gives you an estimate of the current value of your teachers’ pension and what it could be worth when you retire. We use the most recent pensionable salary and service we hold for you to determine these amounts.

    It’s good practice to regularly check your Benefit Statement to see how your pension is doing and what options you have to increase it.

    Please note you won’t be able to access your Statement until you’ve completed two years’ service.

    You can view your latest Statement online via My Pension Online.