Education in North
The education team at Burnetts provides HR professionals that specialise in the day-to-day advice required by schools and other education sector clients, notably property-related matters. Natalie Ruane is head of the employment law and HR team, and is an expert in employment law working exclusively in the education sector.
‘Highly skilled professionals who know the sector well’
‘The team always ensure they have an accurate clear understanding of the issues’
‘The firm offers clear advice and guidance, which is accurate and focuses on a schools needs’
‘First and foremost all individuals are approachable. They are also extremely knowledgable and highly competent’
‘Natalie is a highly skilled, committed individual who understands the needs of schools well. She offers clear advice and guidance and is not afraid to take difficult actions that result in better outcomes for children’
Cumbria Education Trust
St Benedict’s Catholic High School
St Bernard’s Catholic High School
Westfield Primary School
Cumbria Academy for Autism
West Lakes Academy
- Represented Cumbria Education Trust in its high profile acquisition of Whitehaven Academy from the Bright Tribe Trust.
Muckle LLP has experience across the sector, acting for HE and FE institutions nationally, as well as multiple MATS, academy trusts and independent schools in the region. Tony McPhillips leads the practice and focuses on multi academy trusts, colleges and universities. Also notable in the team is Joanne Davison, who specialises in academies work.
Other key lawyers:
‘Muckle has a responsive, commercial and proactive approach’
‘The firm has developed relationships with key stakeholders such as local authorities in the region and the department for education which means they understand how to progress matters in the most appropriate way in the sector’
Newcastle College Group
Tyne Coast College
Bishop Auckland College
University of Northumbria
Dame Allan’s Schools
Three Rivers Trust
Emmanuel Schools Foundation
River Tees MAT
East Durham College
Park View MAT
Durham Diocesan MAT
Tyne Coast Academy Trust
Hadrian Learning Trust
- Continue to provide legal support to Newcastle University on the design and construction of the new teaching and learning facility at Richardson Road and the provision of advice regarding liabilities for replacement of plant within shared buildings.
- Advised on the creation of the Pele Multi Academy Trust.
- Advising as to whether the recipient (R.C. School) of a nil consideration transfer of land was in breach of the covenant restricting use, thus triggering an obligation to transfer back to The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle upon Tyne.
- Providing a specialist service across multiple disciplines at Dame Allan’s Schools.
- Providing training and support to Diocese of Durham Education Board by running a programme for all Church of England schools across the Diocese.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP
With a national coverage, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP provides a comprehensive range of services. The firm handles advice and support to school clients across various legal disciplines, including academy conversions, FE College mergers, governance and SEN tribunals. The ‘professional and principled’ Kevin Robertson leads the practice and ‘his reputation in the field goes before him.’ Also notable in his team is associate Peter Cantwell, who specialises in property work for education sector clients.
Kevin Robertson; Simon Rowland; Barbara Painter; Emma Moody; Ian Atkinson; Ian Greenshields
Other key lawyers:
‘Womble Bond Dickinson is a superb and professional legal firm that supports schools and academies with education matters in a highly proficient manner.’
‘Swift and pertinent advice enables all actions to be met within agreed time scales and with highly satisfactory conclusions.’
‘The team supported academy conversions to an exceptional level.’
‘Provide outstanding service and attention to ensure all matters are dealt with in a timely fashion that supports superb outcomes.’
‘Kevin Robertson is the consummate professional. His engagement with clients, married with his exception legal knowledge have made all matters of business seamless.’
Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)
Department for Education (DfE)
St Oswald’s Catholic Academy Trust
Trent Academies Group
Zaytouna Education Trust
North View Academy
Whitworth Park School
Tees Valley Education Multi Academy Trust
St Lawrence Education Trust (which operates Ampleforth College))
Carmel Education Trust, Darlington
Waterton Academy Trust, Wakefield
Newcastle City Council
Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School
Illuminare Multi Academy Trust
Vision Academy Learning Trust
Liverpool City Council
The Constellation Trust
Northumberland County Council
Nicholas Postgate Academy Trust
St Hilda’s Catholic Academy Trust
Our Lady of Light Catholic Academy Trust
Skills for Life Trust, Kent
FocusEducation (Lincolnshire) Limited
Sewell Education York Limited
Sewell Education Hull Limited
Romero Catholic Academy Trust
Trinity Multi Academy Trust
Horizons Specialist Academy Trust
Extol Academy Trust
East Durham College
Durham Students Union
City Of Sunderland College
- Continuing to advise the ESFA and DfE on the flagship Free Schools programme which includes UTCs and Studio Schools.
- Advising multiple governing bodies on their conversion to Academy status.
- In May 2018 the firm were successfully appointed by the Department for Education (DfE) under a call off from the Crown Commercial Services Framework to provide general legal advice services.
- Advised St Hilda’s Catholic Education Trust, St Oswald’s Catholic Education Trust and Our Lady of Light Catholic Education Trust on the transfer of their 20 academies to the Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust.
- Advise this four-school well established Tees Valley Education Multi Academy Trust on all of their commercial, contract, property and employment legal issues.
Ward Hadaway in known for expertise in governance and school to academy conversion, as well as being experienced in a range of matters for a diverse clientele, notably multi-academy Trusts. Frank Suttie co-leads the national team with Tim Care, who specialises in issues arising from the Government's current academisation programme; and Graham Vials, who focuses on employment and HR issues in the sector.
Tim Care; Graham Vials; Frank Suttie
‘A calm, common sense approach supported by years of knowledge and experience within the Academy Conversion setting.’
‘The team has extensive experience.’
‘Tim Care, Chris Bowen and Jennifer Patterson all provide critical and welcome support in all aspects of academy conversions, specifically, CTAs Buildings/Leases.’
‘They always make time and are easily accessible.’
‘Michelle Fleming is very supportive, practical and clear in her advice.’
Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT)
Delta Academies Trust
Co-operative Academies Trust
The Durham Diocesan Multi Academy Trust
North East Learning Trust
Advance Learning Partnership
Northern Education Trust
Balmoral Learning Trust
Eden Learning Trust
- Advising on the transfer to Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT) of six academies from the Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT), which has transferred all of its schools during the course of the year.
- Act as sole legal advisers to Delta, which provides education to primary and secondary school children at 50 academies.
- Advise The Co-operative Academies Trust (CAT) on its programme of expansion and in the past 12 months have completed 7 school to academy conversions or transfers (from a previous Academy Trust), with a number of other projects of this kind ongoing.
- The sole legal advisers to this small but growing WISE Academies Trust. During the course of the year it has grown from 6 to 13 schools and we have acted on each of those transfers into the Trust.
- Appointed as sole employment law advisers to Durham Diocesan MAT (DDMAT) and instructed in 2018 to review and redraft staff employment contracts and policies and procedures, including advise on the collective consultation process with the recognised trade unions.
Watson Burton LLP
The Watson Burton LLP team is comprised of experts in corporate, commercial, employment, real estate and litigation. The firm supports educational institutions from schools and academies to further education colleges, universities and providers. It particularly specialises in advising institutions looking to convert to academy status. Practice head Paul Wigham focuses on advice to academy trusts on expansion and major capital build projects, as well as providing advice to further education and higher education clients on corporate issues. Also notable is solicitor Olivia Brown, who is ‘thorough, organised and reliable.’
Other key lawyers:
‘Watson Burton provides good support in conversion processes.’
‘Olivia Brown is excellent. She builds confidence with clients.’
Biddick Academy Trust
Gosforth Federated Academies Limited
Hurworth School Limited
Redcar and Cleveland College
New College Durham
Iris Learning Trust
University of Leicester
University of Northumbria
University of Sunderland
Wellspring Academy Trust
Stockton Riverside College
Oak Learning Trust
Pax Christi Catholic Partnership
Academies Enterprise Trust
- Acted for long-standing client Stockton Riverside College in relation to its merger with Redcar and Cleveland College by way of a “type B” merger under the provisions of the Further and Higher Education Act. The merger successfully completed in August 2018.
- Acting for Wellspring who have agreed with Leeds City Council to take a lease of 3 new school sites which are to be constructed by the council in 3 separate phases for Social, Emotional & Mental Health provision.
- Acting on behalf of Academies Enterprise Trust in employment tribunal proceedings brought by a teacher for breach of the duty to make reasonable adjustments.
- Acted on behalf of Gosforth Federated Academies in the academisation of a large comprehensive school.
- Provided advice to client and its insurer in respect of a grievance raised by a pregnant employee who had been involved in an incident whereby she was subjected to verbal and threatening abuse and subsequently went on sick leave.