Education in North West
Browne Jacobson LLP offers 'outstanding knowledge and information with regard to all education matters and wider matters affecting multi-academy trusts'. The team is active in the mainstream education sector and has a client-base of multi-academy trusts, faith schools, FE Colleges, universities and local authority maintained schools. The team is increasingly instructed on matters such as the re-brokering of academies between trusts and GDPR issues. It also handles employment work in the sector. Department head Dai Durbridge is 'utterly reliable in terms of providing up to date information, being responsive to questions, and delivering timely presentations on education-related issues'. Legal director Jamie Otter is also a key figure.
Other key lawyers:
Kerren Daly; Jamie Otter; Ian Deakin
‘The firm’s knowledge of the education sector is excellent and the breadth of skills they have individually means every question is answered.’
‘The team very quickly increases your confidence that you have the right information to go in to any situation.’
‘In emergency situations it mobilises its team without delay.’
‘The firm is made up of a group of highly professional, knowledgeable and reliable lawyers.’
‘The pooling of knowledge on key areas of development for schools is invaluable and the range of resources, conferences and materials the firm offer aside from one-to-one legal advice is unsurpassed.’
‘Dai Durbridge and Jamie Otter are knowledgeable, responsive and excellent in their communication and handling of matters.’
‘Dai Durbridge provides excellent support in terms of safeguarding and GDPR advice.’
‘Jamie Otter provides outstanding advice in terms of academy conversions and governance arrangements.’
Liverpool Diocesan Schools Trust
Vision Multi Academy Trust
Everton Football Club
The Aspire Education Trust
Arch Diocese of Liverpool
Rainbow Education Trust
Preston Muslim Girls School
Trinity Multi-academy Trust
Achievement Through Collaboration Trust
Outwood Grange Academies Trust
Ebor Academies Trust
Forward as one C of E multi-academy trust
Vantage Academy Trust
New Bridge Multi-academy Trust
Dixons Academies Trust
Omega Multi-academy Trust
The Blackpool Multi Academy Trust
Abbey Multi Academy Trust
SS Simon and Jude Academy Trust
Cheshire Multi Academy Trust Challenge Academy
The Bolton Impact Trust
Batley Multi-academy Trust
Salford Catholic Diocesan Trust
The Challenge Academy Trust
Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College
South Manchester Learning Trust
Keswick School Multi Academy Trust
Prestolee Multi Academy Trust
North West Academies Trust
Three Saints Academy Trust
Hope Learning Trust
Russett Learning Trust
Wellspring Academy Trust
Bright Futures Education Trust
Accord Multi Academy Trust
Yesoiday Hatorah School
- Advised various clients on multi-academy trust sponsorship and re-brokerage projects.
- Advised more than 100 schools, single academies and multi-academy trusts in the North West on MAT projects.
- The firm provided property support to schools, academies and multi-academy trusts.
- Advised an academy trust on complex case involving the conduct of a member of staff and a criminal case.
- Advised a number of education sector clients on GDPR implementation.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP
The 'outstanding' team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP routinely advises a raft of clients across the higher education and further education sectors, and also acts for schools, academies and private education institutions. Employment, student matters, charity law, dispute management, real estate, corporate, commercial, IP, health and safety, constitutional and regulatory mandates are key areas of expertise. Team head Diane Gilhooley is a 'true leader in the field' and is ably supported by Simon Chamberlain, who is based across the Manchester and Leeds offices and heads the estates education team. Legal director Robert Gray handles employment matters in the education sector and senior associate Siân Jones-Davies specialises in student issues and regulatory matters.
Other key lawyers:
University of Bradford
Sheffield Hallam University
Harper Adams University
London South Bank University
Hamblin Education Trust
The Dunham Trust
University of Manchester
- Defended Keele University in high-value litigation.
- Advised Barnet and Southgate College Corporation on the delivery up of confidential information.
- Defended a university in employment tribunal proceedings.
- Advised a higher education institution on a review of governance structures.
- Advised Russell Group University on potential changes to its procedures and practices for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment by students and staff.
Weightmans LLP has a focus on the higher education sector and it regularly advises on a range of property, contractual, procurement, employment, IP, projects, disputes and commercial issues. The team also handles property mandates and disputes in the sector, as well as outsourcing. It also advises universities on capital projects, funding and collaborative ventures. Team head Martin Vincent handles complex contractual, procurement and academic joint ventures.
Other key lawyers:
Janice Weatherly; Andrew Roberts; Mark Leach; Vincent King
University of Greenwich
Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts
Manchester Metropolitan University
Anglia Ruskin University
Northern Health Science Alliance
- The team advises the Open University on major projects which has included a complex IT procurement, a complex dual procurement of media buying and creative services. and a catering project to replace an existing provider.
- The team assisted Keele University to procure the development of 450 student accommodation units.
- Advised the Northern Health Science Alliance on a variety of governance and commercial matters.
- We advised Liverpool Hope on an agreement with a provider of teacher training and professional practice in the United Arab Emirates whereby Liverpool Hope validate their programmes, including an International Professional Certificate in Education Leadership.
- Advised Middlesex University on the procurement of the construction and operation of over 1000 student beds.
Forbes Solicitors provides the 'full package of legal services to the education sector and the team is praised for its detailed guidance and support at each and every stage'. The team acts for schools and further education colleges and advises on a range of employment, dispute resolution, corporate, commercial, governance, procurement, property, public liability, health and safety, IP and HR issues. The team also has a dedicated social services and abuse department. Team head Jonathan Holden is praised for his 'no-nonsense and down-to-earth advice'.
Other key lawyers:
Ruth Rule-Mullen; Daniel Milnes; Kella Bowers; Catherine Kennedy; John Pickervance
‘This firm has a broad range of expertise for education sector clients.’
‘The team has a growing presence in the North West and its lawyers are exceptionally talented.’
‘Ruth Rule-Mullen has robust knowledge and understanding of the sector.’
Fylde Coast Academy Trust
Penwortham Priory Academy
Lostock Hall Academy
Education Partnership Trust
Nelson & Colne College
Pendle Education Trust
The Aspire Foundation
- The team is retained as a provider for data protection and information governance advice for Kirklees Council, advising all maintained schools in the Kirklees borough.
- Advised Nelson & Colne College on pay harmonisation following a TUPE transfer.
- The team is retained as sole legal services provider for Preston’s College.
- Advised Community First Academy Trust on the application of IR35, third party transactions and governance.
- Advised a FE College in high-profile tribunal litigation.
Hill Dickinson LLP's 'first-rate' team is regularly instructed by schools in both the maintained and non-maintained (independent and academy) sectors, and it has a growing higher education practice which is led by Iain Campbell . The team handles a range of employment mandates in the education sector and is also instructed on academy conversions and re-brokerages. Luke Green is the firm's national head of schools.
Luke Green; Iain Campbell; Alan Pugh; Kerstie Skeaping
Other key lawyers:
Charlotte Hart; Joe Orme
‘They team is always on hand to answer questions, provide advice and negotiate with the utmost professionalism, and it does so in a timely manner.’
‘Luke Green and Charlotte Hart provide an exceptional service.’
University of Chester Academies Trust (UCAT)
The Pennine Trust
Endeavour Learning Trust
The Bay Learning Trust
The Heath Family (North West)
Wade Deacon Trust
Feversham Education Trust
University of Liverpool
College of North West London
- Advised the University of Chester Academies Trust (UCAT) on the re-brokerage of seven academies and the winding up of the trust.
- Advised Star Academies on the re-brokerage of three academies from WCAT.
- Advised on the creation of the Pennine Trust and on the conversion of four maintained schools into it.
- Advised Endeavour Learning Trust on the conversion of Burscough and Churchtown schools into the academy trust.
- Advised The Bay Learning Trust on the conversion of Carnforth High School into the trust.
The 'breadth and depth of expertise available stands out' at Mills & Reeve LLP . The team handles a range of matters for further and higher education clients across the region and beyond; it is 'often involved in, or has knowledge of cutting edge cases and developments'. The team handles a raft of employment work in the sector where Sara Barrett heads the team. It also handles commercial and IT work, as well as construction work. Richard Skyes heads the specialist education law team in Birmingham and Manchester.
Sara Barrett; Richard Sykes
Other key lawyers:
Nick Abbott; Paul Knight; Catherine Kay; Deborah Coyne; Jennifer Lewis;
‘The firm’s UK-wide sector specialism is extremely valuable.’
‘Nick Abbott and Richard Sykes provide excellent, practical and sector- specific expertise in an approachable and user-friendly way.’
The 'brilliant' team at Pinsent Masons LLP is regularly involved in a range of planning, environmental, projects, construction, finance and employment mandates for higher education clients. Development, planning and environmental specialist Michael Pocock advises on large and complex development projects for clients in the university and higher education sector and legal director Pippa Whitmore leads the firm's education finance bank lending practice and focuses on lending to education institutions.
Other key lawyers:
Pippa Whitmore; Rob Childe
University of Sheffield
London Legacy Development Corporation
University of Huddersfield
University of Exeter
University of Gloucester
University of Sussex
University of Lincoln
- Provided strategic planning advice to the University of Sheffield in relation to the continued expansion of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
- Advised Bricks Capital on the acquisition of three student housing development sites in Swansea and Norwich, together with the refinancing of its student housing development portfolio.
- Advised London Legacy Development on redevelopment opportunities, including a new education district.
- Advised Wates Construction on various Priority Schools Building Programme schemes.
- Advised the University of Hertfordshire on a ten day employment tribunal claim for race, maternity and sex discrimination and unfair dismissal.
SAS Daniels LLP regularly provides employment and HR advice to school and further education sector clients in the region, and it also advises on a range of health and safety, regulatory and commercial work. The team handles property mandates for clients in the sector and it has advised on a number of academy conversions. Karen Barker head of the employment and HR group.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team provides support swiftly, offers pertinent advice and its no-nonsense approach is refreshing.’
‘The team gives confidence in the advice and guidance that it gives.’
‘Clare Bromley provides practical support’.
‘Simon Bellard is patient, thorough and shows warmth whatever the circumstances.’
- Advised on the conversion of a special education needs school into an academy.
- Advised a client on the management of performance and long term sickness absence.
- Advised a client on a safeguarding dismissal.
- Handled the resolution of numerous anonymous grievances and alleged whistle-blowing from various staff against a member of the senior leadership team.
- Advised on the re-organisation of school.
Simpson Millar LLP
Simpson Millar LLP acts for individuals on SEND Tribunals, home-to-school transport, failure to provide education, discrimination, admissions and exclusions matters. The team is particularly known for its ability to advise vulnerable clients. Head of public law Imogen Jolley regularly advocates in the Special Needs Tribunal for families and young people and has particular experience in school admissions and exclusion cases.
‘The team is vastly experienced, exceptionally professional and highly effective.’
‘The firm has exceptional knowledge of the education system.’
‘Their team respond with timely and concise feedback.’
‘The team is wiling to go the extra mile.’
‘The firm provides a smooth, straight-forward and genuine service.’