Education in South West
Stone King LLP has a well-established reputation in the education sector nationally, which has made it a first port of call for both state-funded and independent schools, as well as the key national education agencies and intermediaries. The team advises on a full spectrum of schools-related issues, which includes governance, employment, school property, project finance and social finance, among others. Also notable is the team’s ability to advise on niche matters, such as IT and immigration issues arising in the context of education. Helen Tucker leads the work for independent schools and has considerable experience in handling complex issues concerning schools’ operation and in representing groups of schools. Ciara Campfield is the key contact for state-funded clients, multi-academy trusts and further education colleges.
Roger Inman; Graham Burns
‘The team has strong specialist knowledge in education‘
Monkton Combe School
The Girls’ Day School Trust
- Assisting West Suffolk College with issues regarding the development of one of the country’s first institutes of technology.
VWV is a ‘one-stop shop’ for further and higher education institutions, independent schools, academies, academy trusts and maintained schools. Its team has niche expertise in charity law, governance, regulatory compliance, safeguarding, procurement, state aid and immigration. Barney Northover, who provides ‘valuable and highly competent support’, advises independent schools on charity law, M&A and strategic reviews.
Bettina Rigg; Emma-Jane Dalley; Barney Northover; Chloe Brunton
‘All members of the team are highly reliable and very quick to respond‘
‘The advice on employment law and school policy drafting has been exemplary‘
‘Sensitive matters were handled well in a clear and timely manner‘
‘The firm’s rates are very reasonable, while the partners are very direct and pragmatic‘
Bath Spa University
London School of Economics and Political Science
London South Bank University
Oxford Brookes University
Royal Academy of Music
University of Bath
University of Bristol
University of Exeter
University of Greenwich
University of Law
University of South Wales
- Advising a London-based university on the disposal of a £30m landholding by the university.
- Providing ongoing legal support to the National Composites Centre for the running and expansion of the NCC.
- Advising a university on the disposal of a significant landholding.
- Advising Clifton College on a full scope of operational issues.
- Advised Gatehouse Green Learning Trust on the conversion of a single academy to multi-academy trust status, the conversion of four co-operative schools and ancillary matters.
The education team at Browne Jacobson LLP generates work from clients such as schools, academies, maintained and independent schools, as well as further and higher education institutions. The group handles a large volume of academy conversion work, which is a field of specialisation of the ‘excellent’ practice head Julia Green. The department also advises on HR issues, school governance, and various contentious matters. Senior associate Rachel Billen is recommended for education-focused employment advice.
Other key lawyers:
‘Everyone on the team gives their best to deliver outstanding service’
‘True education specialists with excellent knowledge on academy trusts’
‘Responses are always quick, well considered, and reliable’
‘Friendly, professional and highly committed, the team always goes above and beyond to support clients’ development by providing them with the most up-to-date and accurate information’
‘Julia Green goes the extra mile and clearly has superb knowledge of our sector’
‘Julia Green is of great help with property matters’
‘Julia Green understands the business of education and the challenges which schools face’
‘Rachel Billen provides pragmatic and client-focused advice’
Leading Edge Academies Partnership
Lion Academy Trust
Wessex Learning Trust
Westcountry Schools Trust
Education South West
Learning Academies Trust
Exmouth Community College
Coast Academies Trust
The Oak Partnership Trust
Atlantic Centre of Excellence Multi Academy Trust
- Instructed by Weston College to assist in the re-brokerage of five schools contained within the Inspirational Futures Trust.
- Assisting Leading Edge Academies Partnership with the acquisition of a sponsored maintained school.
- Advised an academy trust on a complaint submitted by a parent to the Ofsted.
- Providing ongoing advice to multiple schools on SAR applications and data protection issues following the introduction of the GDPR.
- Assisting multiple schools and trusts with academy conversions and transfers.
Burges Salmon LLP advises on the spin-off of new businesses for universities, the development of new campus buildings, employment disputes and intellectual property issues. The team stands out in particularly complex and innovative projects, such as the outsourcing of education services from local authorities to new children’s services trusts. Matthew Ramus, who is 'highly knowledgeable and exceptionally efficient’, focuses on restructurings and business transformation projects. The ‘competent and very diligent’ Marcus Harling acts as a key contact for university clients. Luke Bowery utilises his employment expertise in advising both employers and employees in the education sector.
‘Burges Salmon is very competent in advising on children’s services around the set-up of new delivery vehicles’
‘Team members stand out due to their in-depth knowledge across multiple disciplines, and genuinely work closely with each other to assist the client when circumstances so require’
‘Excellent lawyers who are highly professional, approachable and committed’
‘Matthew Ramus brings a blend of commercial and legal expertise’
Department for Education
University of Bristol
University of Exeter
York St John University
University of Oxford
University of the West of England
Bath Spa University
The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted)
Office for Students (OfS)
Reading Borough Council
Birmingham Children’s Trust
- Advising on Reading Borough Council’s education services transformation project.
- Advising the University of Bristol on the development of a new £300m campus in Bristol city centre.
- Advising The Department for Education/ Sandwell Children’s Trust on a major children’s services transformation programme.
- Advising a training provider on an arrangement with Royal Mail for the provision of apprentice training services.
Harrison Clark Rickerbys
Harrison Clark Rickerbys handles challenging education sector mandates concerning transactions and investments, employment law, trustee advice, data protection and academy conversions. Led by practice head Kristine Scott, who is ‘quite simply superb’, the team advises clients on sensitive issues concerning pupil exclusions, parental complaints and pensions advice. Emilie Darwin is active in contentious and non-contentious employment work. The 'efficient' Emma Swann joined from Wilson Solicitors LLP in August 2018.
‘A one-stop shop for expertise across the whole education sector’
‘The team is very experienced, highly attentive and proactive in its approach towards clients’ needs’
‘Kristine Scott’s experience and knowledge of the education sector allow her to provide advice which is both relevant and pragmatic’
Independent Schools’ Bursars Association
Independent Schools Council
Association of Governing Bodies for Independent Schools
The Boarding Schools Association
Cheltenham Ladies’ College
- Advised a school on a statutory action plan for the Department for Education, following raised non-compliance issues.
- Advising Independent Schools’ Bursars Association on child protection policies.
- Providing specialist procurement and construction support to Gloucestershire College for a new £18m further education campus in the Forest of Dean.
- Advising University of Gloucestershire on a wide range of issues associated with a £35m campus redevelopment project.
Michelmores LLP has carved out a strong reputation, based on its work for state-funded schools and further education colleges. Its team is experienced in handling sensitive issues, such as parental complaints, exclusions, disability discrimination, and special educational needs. Exeter-based practice head Antony Power has a particular focus on academy structures and capital projects. Charlotte Antoniou is experienced in establishing collaborative structures and supporting groups on initiatives to open new schools.
Other key lawyers:
Ambitions Academies Trust
Aspirations Academies Trust
Academies Enterprise Trust
The Sigma Trust
Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust
Discovery Schools Academy Trust
Aspire Academy Trust
The Stour Academy Trust
Herts for Learning
- Advising Truro and Penwith College on the development of a new £23m-worth campus in Bodmin, Cornwall.
- Supporting ACE Schools Multi Academy Trust following a successful bid for a special free school in Tiverton; currently engaged to deliver the school.
Steele Raymond LLP is deeply embedded in the education sector, with members of its team having experience of serving as school governors. It acts for independent and maintained schools and colleges on governance and staffing arrangements as well as student/staff discipline, among other matters.. John Andrews, who heads up the department, has particular experience of handling appeals, including those involving decisions about pupils’ admissions. Peter Rolph represents clients in disputes over employment, construction and commercial affairs. The team has particular expertise advising clients on issues associated with individuals with special educational needs.
Other key lawyers:
‘A very solid and highly professional team‘
- Advising a university student on a serious disciplinary issue.
Wilsons' wide-ranging client base includes academies, independent schools, grammar schools, preparatory schools and nurseries. Recent work highlights involved issues such as staffing, reputation management, governance, charity law, intellectual property and data protection. Practice head Stephen Oxley assists senior management teams and governing bodies with governance and leadership issues, among other matters.
‘Everyone is very friendly and responsive’
‘The team is very committed and makes sure to address each client’s issues personally while it also maintains a high quality of efficient legal services’
Talbot Heath School
The Sheiling Special Education Trust
Prince’s Mead School
A number of independent schools
- Assisted Talbot Heath School with an extensive review of its parent/school contract and associated documentation.
- Assisted Farleigh School with charity law advice relating to the constitutional framework of the charity.
- Advised The Sheiling Special Education Trust on matters regarding GDPR compliance.
- Handled a wide range of employment law issues for an independent school.
- Advised a multi-academy trust on general GDPR compliance.