Education in North
At Burnetts, practice head Natalie Ruane receives support from Caroline Redhead, who uses her specialism within the not-for-profit sector to advise HE and FE clients on issues including commercial contracts, data protection, intellectual property, state aid, charity law, and general governance. On the contentious side, the firm represents clients in cases including gross misconduct and sexual harassment. Also recommended is associate Sophie Allinson, who is frequently involved in academy conversions and large-scale restructurings.
‘The team we work with are very authentic and well informed.‘
‘They have been able to offer a broad range of knowledge and experience that has helped build confidence in their capacity to support us.‘
‘Personable approach – quickly establish a trusted relationship.‘
‘Honest and open with the advice offered and able to maintain an appropriate balance of support and challenge.‘
Cumbria Education Trust
Furness Education Trust
West Lakes Academy
St Bernard’s Catholic High School
North Cumbria Pupil Referral Unit
Castle Park School
The Queen Katherine Multi Academy Trust
Energy Coast UTC
Newman Catholic School
Ullswater Community College
Black Combe Primary School
Morland Area C of E School
- Advised Cumbria Education Trust on the conversion of Caldew Lea Primary School from Cumbria County Council to the Trust.
- Assisting with the re-brokerage of the Inspired Learning Trust, containing three academies, into the Furness Education Trust.
- Advising Newman Catholic School on a serious gross misconduct case regarding inappropriate contact between a teacher and a pupil.
With Tony McPhillips at the helm, the growing team at Muckle LLP advises numerous HE and FE institutions, including special, free, and studio schools. The practice was strengthened by the promotion of Robin Adams, whose clients include Sunderland University and Teesside University, and Jill Donabie, who leads on HR and student matters, to partner. The firm has particular experience in assisting with the development of multi-academy trusts, and a special focus on work for the Roman Catholic and Church of England Trusts. Joanne Davison is a key name to note in this area, and frequently advises on academy conversion projects and college mergers.
Tyne Coast College
Bishop Auckland College
University of Northumbria
SMART Multi Academy Trust
Dame Allan’s Schools
Three Rivers Learning Trust
Emmanuel Schools Foundation
River Tees Multi Academy Trust
East Durham College
Park View School
Balmoral Learning Trust
Valour Multi Academy Trust
Southmoor Multi Academy Trust
Newcastle East Multi Academy Trust
Durham Diocesan MAT
Tyne Coast Academy Trust
Trinity Academy Newcastle
Hadrian Learning Trust
Kenton Schools Academy Trust
Cramlington Learning Village
The 1590 Trust
St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School and Sixth Form College Lanchester
Durham Martyrs Multi Academy Trust
Romero Catholic Academy Trust
Holy Family Education Trust
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Education Trust
Sacred Heart Partnership of Schools
- Advised Tynedale Community Learning Trust on a nine-school academy conversion project.
- Retained by multi-academy trust Three Rivers Learning to assist with all legal matters.
- Providing legal support with employment, student affairs, property, governance, commercial and data protection, and dispute resolution to NCG after winning a competitive tender.
The education team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP receives instructions from the full breadth of clients, from the Department of Education, to local government, to MATs, to independent fee-paying schools. The practice offers a complete range of services, including assisting with academy conversions and transfers, leases and shared occupation, and admissions and exclusions. Both advisory and contentious work is handled by the firm. For commercial agreements, practice head Kevin Robertson is the key name to note. The team also fields private education specialist Emma Moody, and associate Peter Cantwell, who focuses on property work.
‘The knowledge of the Womble Bond Dickinson team across our Education sector and specific knowledge of our Catholic sector is second to none.‘
‘The team have great capacity and work rate.‘
‘They truly have a first-class instinct of how school leadership teams and Governors wish to work with them and produce the highest standard of service on every single interaction.‘
‘Highly knowledgeable and reliable team, respond quickly to ad hoc requests as well as meeting deadlines on agreed matters.‘
‘Kevin Robertson leads his team with fantastic professionalism, dynamism and zest for each project undertaken.‘
‘Kevin Robertson is excellent.‘
Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)
Department for Education (DfE)
St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust
Eden Learning Trust
St Lawrence Education Trust (which operates Ampleforth College and St Martin’s Ampleforth (prep school))
Carmel Education Trust, Darlington
Waterton Academy Trust, Wakefield
Newcastle City Council
Castle Trust, Medway
Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School
Vision Academy Learning Trust
Liverpool City Council
The Constellation Trust
Northumberland County Council
Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust
Skills for Life Trust, Kent
Sewell Education York Limited
The Trinity Catholic Multi Academy Trust
- Advising the Education & Skills Funding Agency on the flagship Free Schools programme which includes UTCs and Studio Schools.
- Assisting multiple governing bodies and academy trusts, from the South of England to the North East, with their conversion to Academy status.
- Assisted with the establishment of the St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust, which involved the conversion of 17 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Middlesbrough.
The majority of MATs in the North of England instruct the education team at Ward Hadaway. The firm provides a range of legal services for such clients, handling the full spectrum of contentious and advisory work. As well as advising on the requirements for school to academy conversions, the practice also assists with employment and transactional matters. Joint practice heads Graham Vials and Tim Care focus on academy conversions and employment related matters respectively. On the contentious side, the team represents clients in discrimination and unfair dismissal cases.
Advance Learning Partnership
Delta Academies Trust
Co-operative Academies Trust
The Durham Diocesan Multi Academy Trust
Leeds City Council
Impact Education MAT
De Ferrers Academy Trust
Northern Education Trust
- Advising Delta Academies Trust on property transactions, employment and HR issues, and GDPR and freedom of information queries.
- Assisting The Co-operative Academies Trust with its programme of expansion.
- Assisting the Northern Education Trust with issues including exclusions and admissions, as well as successfully defending the client in a number of tribunal claims.
Institutions looking to convert to academy status make up a large proportion of the clients instructing the education team at Weightmans, which gained a Newcastle presence through its merger with legacy Watson Burton LLP , along with existing and newly formed academies. The team regularly advises on all issues related to conversions, and has particular experience in assisting with academy conversions with a PFI element. Other work undertaken includes advising FE and HE institutions on corporate issues. The practice is headed by Paul Wigham, with support from associates Richard Phillips and Kerry Waters. For contentious matters, Anthony Rance is the key name to note.
‘Paul and the team at Weightmans have been excellent for us and expertly, and successfully, assisted the Group through some complicated legal negotiations.‘
‘Paul Wigham is responsive, accessible, approachable and facilitates understanding of technicalities – something which, as a client who then often has to re-explain to others within the organisation, is crucial.‘
Biddick Academy Trust
Gosforth Federated Academies Limited
Redcar and Cleveland College
Nunthorpe Multi Academy Trust
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
- Assisted with the merger between Northumberland College and Sunderland College.
- Advised Gosforth Federated Academies on the sponsored academy conversion of Heaton Manor School.
- Advised the University of Sunderland on the renegotiation of its banking facilities, including agreeing a new revolving credit facility.