Next Generation Partners

Education: individuals in London

Doyle Clayton

Doyle Clayton represents parents, students, teachers and professors in claims regarding discrimination, misconduct and bullying. Practice head Simon Henthorn is ‘professional, knowledgeable and kind – he can be robust when needed, but shows great compassion‘. Peter Daly, who joined from Slater and Gordon in early 2021, has represented clients in some high-profile cases regarding alleged harassment and intimidation over philosophical beliefs. Associate Amara Ahmad focuses on children’s law, specialising in advising on special educational needs and safeguarding.

Practice head(s):

Simon Henthorn

Other key lawyers:

Peter Daly; Amara Ahmad


‘Their knowledge of relevant legislation is excellent and they make you feel valued.’

‘The team makes you feel valued and have an interest in your case, as well as giving good advice – even when they could sugarcoat or be vague, they don’t.’

‘The team in general has been courteous, kind, and able to accommodate most requests for guidance and assistance, as and when needed. I feel comfortable with asking any question that comes to mind, as well as requesting an appointment to cover concerns.’

‘Above all, I value their honesty, compassion, and wisdom, for without their assistance, I suspect I could’ve never navigated the complex maze of a foreign judicial system at all, never mind so quickly and painlessly.’

‘Amara Ahmad – a pleasure to work with; a strong instinct for strategy and pragmatism paired with infinite patience and a wonderful instinct for client care’

‘Excellent partnership with a broad range of specialisms. They have a great deal of experience in both employment and education matters. He is approachable dependable and professional in his support for clients.’

‘Simon Henthorn is approachable dependable and professional in his support for clients. He has always been diligent and supportive of collaborative arrangements that we have.’

‘I worked with Simon Henthorn. He was particularly easy to talk to, he was knowledgeable and answered all questions clearly. He was readily available to address any issues or concerns so I wasn’t worrying about anything during the time he represented me. He dealt with my situation compassionately and professionally and I would recommend him to anyone else needing legal advice.’

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell has expertise with regards to special educational needs, disability discrimination and judicial reviews. Part of the practice’s work as a result has involved challenges to school transport policies, home education and exam awards. Head of public law and human rights Yogi Amin advises on policy matters and conducts tribunal and judicial review cases regarding school closures, education transport and safeguarding children. Angela Jackman specialises in mental capacity, education and human rights cases, and was appointed as an honorary KC in 2021 - she joined from Simpson Millar LLP in September 2021.

Practice head(s):

Yogi Amin

Other key lawyers:

Angela Jackman


‘Very knowledgeable and thoughtful about clients’ needs in a holistic sense’

‘Led by giant in the field Yogi Amin, with Angela Jackman in strong support, the IM civil liberties team is one of the strongest. They offer a friendly and thorough service backed by an organisation which exudes a solid competence.’

‘Each member of this team brings a different style and expertise which gives this team a real breadth of coverage.’

‘Really strong team, great claimant education lawyers. On top of the law and knowledgeable about the sector and specific challenges.’

‘Great team with huge experience and talent in this field.’

‘The education team at Irwin Mitchell provide excellent support to families throughout the SENDIST appeal process. They are one of a handful of firms I can feel confident will manage the necessary steps behind the scenes ahead of a hearing, without needing to be prompted or checked on. These cases involve a lot of client management, and I have found the team to be consistently excellent at working with clients.’

‘Irwin Mitchell has a very longstanding reputation in Education Law. It generally acts against public bodies, but has a growing practice acting for schools.’

‘Irwin Mitchell hold a strong position in the education law market, in particular for SEND Tribunal work and judicial review claims which involve education and linked areas of work, such as social care. They also have strong teams in areas such as mental capacity, which dovetails well with their education law offering.’

Simpson Millar LLP

Simpson Millar LLP advises on SEN matters – including admissions, discrimination and exclusion issues – and has expertise with regards to alternative dispute resolution. The practice is led by Dan Rosenberg, who worked with the Good Law Project on matters related to clinically vulnerable families in the pandemic - he is known for his 'expertise in exclusions, and dedication to challenging discriminatory treatment of vulnerable children.'

Practice head(s):

Dan Rosenberg


‘Stellar. They are extremely committed and knowledgeable. They are dedicated and absolutely deserve their reputation as experts. They are also a pleasure to work with.’

‘Simpson Millar is the biggest and best education law team in the country with exceptional expertise in representing children, young people and families. It’s always a delight to work with the team, which is full of superstars that have been brilliantly trained by Dan Rosenberg.’

‘Dan Rosenberg – the best solicitor that I work with. Fantastic judgement. His expertise in exclusions, and dedication to challenging discriminatory treatment of vulnerable children, is second to none.’

‘Simpson Millar are undoubtedly the pre-eminent claimant education law firm. their sheer scale and the breadth and depth of their experience and expertise are second to none.’

‘Dan Rosenberg is second to none across the whole range of education law including SEN, admissions, and exclusions, with a particular interest in discrimination and equality issues. Dan leads a strong team of dedicated and hard-working associate who provide a really solid service.’

‘We have never felt uncomfortable about approaching anyone from Simpson Millar, we have had dealings with many different professionals from within Simpson Millar. We have always been kept fully informed of what has been going on and always felt fully supported whist receiving great advice.’

‘Simpson Millar are probably the strongest education team in the country when it comes to representing parents, children and young people – they have market-leading partners, they have strength in depth, they are a large team spread across several offices nationwide, they do the full gamut of education law, public law and discrimination law, and they are genuine experts in the education sector.’

Key clients

Good Law Project

Traveller Movement

Work highlights

  • Instructed by both the Good Law Project and four clinically vulnerable families in relation to the pressure the Government was putting on schools to sanction parents for children’s non-attendance as the school year started in September 2021.


Sinclairslaw has a track record of working on a wide variety of cases concerning the Equality Act, unlawful school exclusions and council tax schemes; the team is headed from Cardiff by Michael Charles, a specialist in special educational needs, and associate solicitor Helen Gill in London, who acts primarily in claims against the state and public bodies. Managing director John Ford, name partner of the firm which merged with Sinclairslaw in 2018, remains a key figure, while solicitor Louise Eardley is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Helen Gill; Michael Charles

Other key lawyers:

Sharon Reid; Louise Eardley; John Ford; Chris Barnett


‘A great team with heart, breadth and depth of knowledge within education law, and some standout practitioners.’

‘Mike Charles – a legend in the field, particularly in higher education disciplinary hearings, SENDIST and SEN-related JRs.’

‘Good client care and knowledge of the law, prepared to push boundaries’

Bindmans LLP

Bindmans LLP acts on complex cases involving children with special educational needs, handling a wide variety of matters concerning discrimination, safeguarding and free speech. Seeing a crossover between local authority matters and community care disputes, the practice includes solicitors who are also community care specialists, affording them a rounded perspective on education, health and social care provision. The team is led by Karen May, who specialises in judicial review cases and tribunals.

Practice head(s):

Karen May

Other key lawyers:

Alex Temple


‘Excellent and transparent billing’

‘Karen May – Great expertise in SEND and linking to expert medical evidence. Brilliant at influencing Local Authorities on the key issues and knows how to deliver this in different forms of communication both remotely and face to face. Karen is brilliant at delivering the strategy to win the battle and disregards the minor skirmishes on the periphery. A lovely professional to work with and listens to her clients attentively as to what is important to them.’

‘I found every aspect of working with Bindmans made very easy for me mostly through the professionalism they showed, regular contact and updates, going above and beyond what my remit was, etc. I also applaud Bindmans for considering the particular financial situation I was in and making allowances for this in terms of capping the maximum final fee to an affordable level and showing patience in terms of invoice payments regarding my own cash flow circumstances.’

‘Alex Temple worked for me and represented me by constructing an appeal that also set the foundations for a complaint if the appeal was unsuccessful. The appeal was successful and I credit Alex and his high quality work for achieving this. Alex was always available for discussion and, often, reassurance, during the life span of his work for me.’

‘Professional, efficient, knowledgeable, good results and outcomes for the clients’

‘They worked as part of the team with everyone involved with the client being well respected and with a valued voice, by working together the outcomes were achieved. Excellent support and communication from Karen May. She is very passionate about her field and this is obvious to see and she is a pleasure to work with, I would recommend her to anyone who needed support in her field.’

IBB Owen White

IBB Owen White represents clients with special educational needs, including cases where problems have arisen as a result of SEN students struggling to understand a situation or being impacted by anxiety. In addition, the firm works on matters related to misconduct and adjustments in teaching or examination to accommodate students with disabilities. Celia Whittuck and Priscilla Adu work together on most cases, with others led by Adu and Salima Mawji. The team is led by Whittuck, Mawji and Amanda Melton.

Practice head(s):

Celia Whittuck; Salima Mawji; Amanda Melton

Other key lawyers:

Priscilla Adu


‘From the outset they listened and guided me through my options. I have been struck by the consistency in their process, their professionalism and empathy. Their strengths have definitely been in their willingness to collaborate with other legal professionals in order to give you the best possible chance of success. They don’t shy away from meeting online and so I really feel understood and cared for.’

‘Salima Mawji made time for me from the outset, having sensed the urgency to file an application to court. Salima set up an online consultation and listened very carefully to my story. All of the team are professional, and unwavering in attending to their client’s needs.’

‘Celia Whittuck – unrelenting commitment, working weekends to prepare advice and papers.’

‘I found the team to be excellent – if one was away, another would always be able to pick up the thread and run with it. They were prepared to put in the hours, particularly when facing a ridiculous deadline in the middle of the night. Hugely impressive.’

‘Salima Mawji – extremely professional. A good listener, knowledgeable and excellent at keeping everyone calm in what was quite frankly a hugely emotional situation. Celia Whittuck – just excellent all round. Calm and professional. Kind and understanding. Extremely organised and together with Salima, made a first rate team.’

‘Very personal service where nothing is too much trouble. Prompt in all responses and no stone left unturned to advise thoroughly ensuring the best decision is made. Impressive high standards in all aspects of service. I can’t rate them highly enough.’

‘I believe IBB Law Education Team have shown themselves to be true to their word. They have collaborated with me in terms of what to expect at each stage of my case. Their practice is transparent and open, also they are clear and concise regarding the fees.’

‘Salima Mawji and Celia Whittuck stand out particularly for their detailed assessment and conveying the intricacies of my case. I value their ability to get the job done in a timely and in a manner which are very important qualities for dealing with sensitive legal issues.’

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP represents a range of clients in relation to harassment and discrimination claims, including serious allegations of antisemitism by academics. The team is led by Robert Lewis, who is also Vice Chair of the Industrial Law Society and a member of the Employment Lawyers Association. His work includes religious discrimination complaints and bullying claims.

Practice head(s):

Robert Lewis


‘Robert Lewis – very impressive. Very experienced, switched-on team – great to work with.’

‘Mishcon de Reya’s vast array of expertise enabled the team to draw upon other partners for advice which enabled quick decisions to be made with outstanding legal support. I could not have asked for better legal support if I tried!’

‘Robert Lewis provided expert advice, drawing upon his significant knowledge of the education sector. Robert went out of his way to support us and always placed the client at the centre of any decision making. His work was invaluable and played a significant role in the successful outcome of our work.’

‘This team is friendly, professional and responsive. They make their clients feel valued and taken care of. I particularly noticed the personal service they were able to offer. Their down to earth and practical approach makes clients feel as if their case matters to the team and that they are not just one client amongst many.’

‘A lot of expertise acting for schools, parents and associated stakeholders. Understands governance and the regulatory environment. Particularly strong reputation for acting against schools. Rob Lewis, as a former teacher, brings particular expertise to this growing practice area.’

‘Robert Lewis – recently appointed as a partner, Rob advises educational institutions and individuals on crisis management, safeguarding, complaints, exclusions, academic freedom and discrimination. He brings particular insight and expertise as he is both a former teacher and Governor of the Latymer Foundation.’

‘Very smart, decent people, highly experienced, very client-focused’

‘I believe that the uniqueness of Mishcon de Reya lies in the fact that they recognise that each client’s case is unique to him/her and they give significant attention to every matter.’

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Payne Hicks Beach LLP advises on admissions, exclusions and appeals, as well as regulations, exams and byelaws. The team has seen an increase in work concerning appeals and complaints regarding grading, stemming in part from the change in marking criteria during the exam cancellations in the COVID-19 lockdowns. The team is led by Ane Vernon, who has a strong reputation for advising clients in sensitive matters.

Practice head(s):

Ane Vernon


‘Ane Vernon and her team were superb. All the senior team were easily accessible, attuned to the objective, confident in their delivery and totally committed to getting the right outcome.’

‘Ane Vernon is probably one of the best lawyers I have ever worked with – and I have been working with law firms both UK based and global teams for over 30 years. She is technically excellent, supportive and empathetic (rare in a lawyer), available out of hours whenever her wise counsel was required and perhaps the most important element, non-judgemental.’

‘A real depth a specialism in a relatively niche area.’

‘Ane Vernon is extremely knowledgeable and thorough.’

‘The firm’s spread of expertise in dealing with high net worth individuals means they are able to provide a bespoke cross-jurisdictional service.’

‘I have worked closely with Ane Vernon dealing with individuals engaged in disputes with educational institutions, and especially private schools. Ane’s attention to detail and strategic thinking is invaluable for clients. No stone is left unturned.’

Rook Irwin Sweeney LLP

Rook Irwin Sweeney LLP was founded in March 2020 by three lawyers from Irwin Mitchell who splintered off to start their own practice. Bringing with them many years of experience, the education practice has a particular focus on individuals with disabilities. The team is led by its three founders: Alex Rook, who works mainly with charities; Anne-Marie Irwin, who has many years of experience in human rights law; and Polly Sweeney, who specialises in disability and mental health matters. Senior solicitor James Betts also joined in November 2021, with a focus on community care.

Practice head(s):

Alex Rook; Anne-Marie Irwin; Polly Sweeney

Other key lawyers:

James Betts; Caroline Barrett


‘James Betts – one of the best education lawyers in the UK. I recommend him to anyone who wants a solicitor. He is very efficient and well organised; has excellent legal skills; and is very good at achieving a practical outcome using the law.’

‘Polly Sweeney is one of the most highly rated education solicitors. She takes on groundbreaking and legally significant cases.’

‘Anne-Marie Irwin has a rapidly increasing reputation in all areas of public law. Supremely intelligent and grasps the facts and legal issues very quickly.’

Key clients

National Autistic Society

Russell-Cooke LLP

Russell-Cooke LLP has a track record of representing neurodiverse children in claims related to the Equality Act. Head of education Eva Akins is a thought leader on on parenting neurodiverse children, and leads on cases related to life-altering disabilities in education, and is assisted on many of these cases by associate Lenka Wall. The joint heads of children are Samantha Little and Sarah Richardson.

Practice head(s):

Eva Akins; Samantha Little; Sarah Richardson

Other key lawyers:

Lenka Wall


‘An excellent firm with a proven track record in this niche area.’

‘Eva Akins and Lenka Wall both stand out in this field as highly dedicated expert practitioners; they prepare cases thoroughly with a strategic overview and are excellent in their approach to client care.’

‘Russell-Cooke are well established as one of the foremost firms acting for parents or students seeking to secure better education provision. The firm runs very efficiently with excellent solicitors.’

‘Eva Akins is a very well known lawyer in education. She is a go to for parents who can provide clear and pragmatic advice and is able to mould the best possible legal case.’

‘Hugely supportive and knowledgeable team with unparalleled insight of education law matters and the practical realities of SEND in school and as the issues impact home life.’

‘Eva Akins – uniquely qualified to advise SEND parents given her own insights and experience. Practical and tough – exactly what you need when navigating the complexities of dealing with Local Authorities and independent schools in particular.’

‘Lenka Wall – goes above and beyond to assist in getting results for parents and children. Builds up knowledge of a child’s complex needs and experiences and then effectively uses that information to successfully facilitate results.’

SEN Legal

SEN Legal is a specialist firm based in Bury St Edmunds, focused on special educational needs and disability work in the education sector, working on a vast range of matters concerning children requiring support. The team is led by Melinda Nettleton, who is 'a long-time leader in the field, very experienced and highly knowledgeable', and Hayley Mason, who is 'wise beyond her years - tenacious and an unstoppable force.'

Practice head(s):

Melinda Nettleton; Hayley Mason


‘This is a well established team, who go the extra mile in supporting both expert witnesses and clients.’

‘The team provide a very dedicated and personal service and think outside the box. They are very experienced and use this constructively with their clients for the benefit of the children and young people concerned.’

‘The colleagues that I have worked with on a variety of cases have been professionally very respectful and considerate but have been able to see the ‘wood from the trees’. They are knowledgeable and able to consider the unique situations of each client.’

‘Professional understanding and insight to the challenges facing their clients.’

‘Attention to clients’ details and understanding of the clients’ situations.’

‘Professional. Efficient. Caring. Responses received swiftly with thought and consideration.’

‘Melinda Nettleton and Hayley Mason are always ready to give advice and receptive to findings, thoughts and considerations.’

‘Top of the field in representing parents of children with disabilities and young persons with disabilities.’