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Education: USS and self-administered trusts

The education sector includes schools, academies, further education colleges and universities. There is no single form of pension arrangement which covers all of these bodies. Although education staff are commonly members of public sector pension schemes (either the Teachers' Pension Scheme or, for support staff, the Local Government Pension Scheme), this is not universally the case, and some universities and schools participate in private sector occupational pension schemes.

The main education institutions with their own pension schemes are the pre-1992 universities. Pensions for academic staff in such institutions are provided from the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). Pensions for non-academic staff tend to be provided by an in-house scheme established by the relevant institution.

Occupational pension schemes are regulated by the Pensions Regulator and are subject to ever-changing legislation, covering everything from scheme funding and governance to benefit change and winding-up. It can be difficult, therefore, for both institutions and scheme trustees to keep pace with changes in the law, which may greatly impact on staff.

How we can help

Eversheds Sutherland s' pensions team has extensive experience in acting for all kinds of occupational pension schemes, and has a specialist team which advises on including those operated by education institutions, as well as acting for a variety of education sector employers in relation to pensions matters. In particular, the team:

  • advises pre-1992 universities in relation to their obligations on participation in the USS
  • advises pre-1992 universities in relation to amendments to their schemes to comply with the age discrimination requirements
  • advises education institutions on the pensions provisions of compromise agreements when employees leave service
  • advises on scheme changes and benefit design in relation to standalone DB schemes
  • advising on changes to the USS, including contractual issues in relation to this