Schools & Academies

We’re proud to have education as one of our firm’s longest standing key sectors, acting for over 100 education institutions

Our presence, profile and expertise in the education sector continues to be recognised by Legal 500 which consistently ranks us as a Tier 1 firm

We understand that what is important to you is that your pupils be the best they can be. Each school has its own culture and ethos, whether that be an independent school, a primary school or a group of schools in a multi academy trust. We work with you to get to know your institution and to support you in achieving your aims.

With industry leading experience in the education sector, our multi-disciplinary team of experts work as trusted advisors to help you succeed. We will support you through the myriad of legal challenges that schools face, so you can focus on pupil attainment. This could be from helping you support pupils with special educational needs, dealing with staffing issues, to ensuring that a procurement process is operated correctly or offering advice on governance matters. The breadth and depth of our experience means that we’re excellently-positioned to work with you.

Our education team has years of collective experience in the sector and many of us are also trustees or governors in our spare time.​ We understand the sector challenges and are passionate about education and helping pupils reach their full potential.

Our team of experts understands your requirements and the legal framework under which our advice needs to be provided

Governance and charity support

It is important for schools to ensure they are complying with all governance requirements. Our team have a wealth of experience in advising our education clients on the full range of governance issues.

Information law

We can assist with the information obligations of schools in a. number of areas including, dealing with Data Subject Access Requests from pupils, staff and parents, responding to Freedom of Information Act requests and providing training on GDPR obligations

Educational & pastoral advice

We advise on the full spectrum of education-related challenges, needs, and requirements of your pupils. Areas include student related matters, child protection and safeguarding, admissions and exclusions, parental complaints and more.

Our long term presence within the sector means we have a full understanding of the issues arising across all typical areas

Employment & HR
  • General HR queries

  • Redundancy and restructuring

  • Employment contracts, including both drafting and making contractual variations and their implementation

  • Occupational health

  • Policies and procedures

  • Advising on guidelines for carrying out equality and diversity analysis

  • Performance management

  • Employment disputes and tribunals

  • TUPE

  • Discrimination and whistleblowing

  • Immigration

Corporate & Commercial
  • Commercial contracts and procurement

  • Advising on funding agreements

  • Drafting, negotiating and reviewing collaboration agreements with third parties ​

  • Advising on options for merger or ownership restructuring ​

  • Advising on changes to constitution​

  • Advising on group reorganisations, including incorporation and removal of subsidiaries​

  • Drafting joint venture documentation​

  • Disputes arising out of commercial agreements

Property
  • Advising on acquisitions and disposals of land and property

  • Providing planning and construction advice, including securing planning permission and appealing planning refusal as well as advising on construction contracts

  • Advising on the refinancing of school property

  • Development projects, to include Charities Act requirements

HR Consultancy

If you need additional assistance, our HR Consultancy can support you, from day-to-day advice through to the development and implementation of complex projects.
  • Ongoing HR support

  • HR project work

  • Recruitment solutions

  • Investigations

  • Training

How We Have Helped

We advised a sixth form college on its conversion to academy status and on joining a multi-academy trust. There were complex issues about the continuing right of the college to occupy land (held under a Charity Commission scheme) and to receive income which required supplemental agreements to be put in place and checking that the trust was wide enough to support an academy.

We provided multi-disciplinary advice including:

  • advice in relation to a charitable scheme in respect of the college’s site;
  • legal due diligence in respect of the Multi-Academy Trust;
  • property advice in relation to the college’s leases;
  • employment advice in respect of TUPE; and
  • specialist education advice in respect of the conversion process and documents.

As well as advising on the legal and regulatory framework for the dissolution of the college, carrying out legal due diligence and providing broader support to college’s senior leadership team and governing body, we advised on how the scheme affected the transfer and use of the property following the dissolution.

Our Schools & Academies Experience
  • Advising a former Church of England (CofE) school, now a sixth form college, with permanent endowment of school land, playing fields and investment property.

  • Acting for three schools each converting to single academies but working together under an umbrella trust.

  • Advising a school on the subject access request submitted by the parents of a child who had special educational needs, and their options in respect of adverse comments by the parents on social media.

  • Securing planning permission for the change of use of an existing office building to a school; and appealing a refusal of planning permission for a new special educational needs school.

  • Supporting a school on allegation of misconduct involving a teacher accused of sexually harassing a pupil. We advised on their obligations under Keeping Children Safe in Education, their options in instigating the disciplinary procedure, the reporting requirements, and supported the school in meetings with the LADO and the police.

  • Advising clients on the risks involved of using part time teachers to cover any fluctuations in hours depending on pupil numbers and course requirements.

How can we help?

Our expert lawyers are ready to help you with a wide range of legal services, use the search below or call us on: 0330 024 0333

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