Hall Of Fame

Education in South West

Browne Jacobson LLP

Noted for its capabilities in the higher education sector, Browne Jacobson LLP also advises maintained schools, independent schools and academies on operational and strategic issues across the educational spectrum. Julia Green leads the team from the firm’s Exeter office and regularly assists schools in their transfer to academy and trust status. Bettina Rigg is particularly strong in educational mandates with a distinct employment law aspect. Other key names within the practice include Victoria Hatton, recommended for her expertise in Church of England School matters, and Daniella Glynn, who is well placed to advise on HR issues in education.

Practice head(s):

Julia Green

Other key lawyers:

Bettina Rigg; Victoria Hatton; Daniella Glynn

Key clients

An Daras Multi Academy Trust

Ansford Academy Trust

Bath & North East Somerset Council

Bath & Wells Diocesan Academy Trust

Bournemouth Poole & Christchurch Council

Brunel University

Central RSA Academies Trust

Coast Academies Trust

Colyton Grammar School

Cornwall Education Learning Trust

Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust

Diocese of Bristol Academy Trust

Diocese of Salisbury Multi Academy Trust

Durrington Multi Academy Trust

Exmouth Academy Trust

Falmouth Multi Academy Trust

Finham Park Multi Academy Trust

GLF Schools

Greengate Academy Trust

Hayes School

Heathercombe Brake Trust

Heathfield School

Horrington Primary School

Iron Mill College

Kernow Learning

Kings Langley School

Leading Edge Academies Partnership

Lighthouse Schools Partnership

Linwood School

Lion Academy Trust

Lion Education Trust

North Somerset Council

Osprey Learning Trust

Preston Primary Academy Trust

Quantock Multi Academy Trust

Raedwald Trust

Ringwood School

Severn Foundation

South Devon College

South Gloucestershire Council

Steyning Grammar School

Swindon Borough Council

The Castle Partnership

The First Federation

The Inspire Multi Academy Trust

The Levels Academy Trust

The Sentient Trust

The Youth Engagement Schools Trust

Timberley Academy Trust

Trewirgie Junior School

Twynham Learning

Uffculme Academy Trust

University of Winchester Academy Trust

Ventrus Limited

Warrington Primary Academy Trust

Wessex Learning Trust

Wessex Multi Academy Trust

Westcountry Schools Trust

Westfield School

Wimborne Academy Trust

Work highlights

  • Defending claims of disability discrimination against schools and academy trusts in the First Tier Tribunal.
  • Advising various stakeholders on a range of SEN matters.

Stone King LLP

Stone King LLP is turned to by a broad range of educational institutions on issues such as academy conversions and transfers, procurement and operational pupil issues. Latterly, the team is advising a growing number of schools on their commercial agreements. The Bath-based team is chaired by Helen Tucker, for whom school groups is a fixture of her practice focus. Her colleague Michael Brotherton handles a growing number of matters pertaining to the Equality Act 2010 while Ciara Campfield advises across schools, further and higher education mandates. Elizabeth Fortin is well versed in matters related to students with education health and care plans.

Practice head(s):

Helen Tucker

Other key lawyers:

Michael Brotherton; Ciara Campfield;  Elizabeth Fortin


‘Ciara Campfield is super supportive and passionate about colleges.’

‘The ongoing teamwork and support provided is second to none.’

‘Experts in their respective fields. Great customer service and understanding of the sector.’

‘This big-hitting education specialist firm still manages to retain the personal touch when dealing with clients.  Their experience in the sector is very reassuring to our organisation, particularly when it is involved in significant change.’

‘Professional, pragmatic and responsive.’

‘There is a calmness to their approach that is reassuring, particularly when legislation around our sector can change dramatically and with little warning. Other firms can appear overly corporate and therefore somehow distanced from the topic.’

‘Excellent advice. Great communication. Timely responses. Approachable lawyers who provide information in an accessible way.’

Key clients

Autism Partnership Leeds

Abbey Multi Academy Trust

Active Learning Trust

Ashlyns School

Beaconsfield High School

Beth Jacob Grammar School

Bristol Steiner School

Challoner’s High School

Chester Diocesan Academy Trust

City of Rochester School

Cotswold Beacon Academy Trust

Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust

Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust

Downside School

Dunottar School


Futura Learning Partnership

Future Academies

Greenshaw Learning Trust

Guildford High School

Immanuel College

King Edwards’s School Bath

Kingswood School

Leigh Academies Trust

Midsomer Norton Schools Partnership

Monkton Combe School

Oasis Community Learning


PACE Academy Trust

Palladian Academy Trust

Peterborough Diocese Education Trust

Prep Schools Trust

Princethorpe Foundation

Prior Park College

Sheiling School

Shiplake School

Sixth Form Colleges’ Association

St John’s Beaumont School

St Columba’s College

The College of Richard Collyer

The Girls’ Day School Trust

The Partnership Trust

Thorpe Hall School

United Church Schools Trust

West Suffolk College, part of Eastern Colleges Group

Wright Robinson College

Wycombe Abbey School


VWV ’s ‘market-leading’ Bristol team acts for academies, multi-academy trusts, independent schools and universities on a range of strategic and operational matters, including work in anticipation of large-scale political and legislative shifts. The unit is also well-known in the market for schools transactions, spanning sales, purchases, and charity mergers. Barney Northover and Chloe Brunton head up the team from the firm’s Bristol office. Simon Bevan is well versed in employment and discrimination law matters, while Tabitha Cave leads on safeguarding for the firm. Chloe Brunton, Con Alexander and Naseem Nabi are additionally noted for their capabilities.

Practice head(s):

Barney Northover; Chloe Brunton

Other key lawyers:

Simon Bevan; Tabitha Cave; Chloe Brunton; Con Alexander; Naseem Nabi; Kris Robbetts; Robin Rajanah; Rachel Tonkin


‘The VWV Bristol team are recognised as market leading in relation to offering advice and guidance in the Independent School’s market, which stems from their deep understanding of the sector.’

‘Barney Northover has huge experience in the schools sector and the unusual ability to genuinely listen and learn from clients prior to coming forward with innovative and creative solutions.’

‘ VWV continue to be the most personable and professional in all that they do.’

‘Chloe Brunton is amongst the best.’

‘Specialists who know the area, the relevant legislation and guidance and apply all that to the problem at hand.’

‘Kris Robbetts  provides the right level of tailored advice.’


Key clients

Bath Spa University

Bournemouth University

New College Swindon

University of Bath

University of Bristol

University of South Wales

Cabot Learning Federation

The Priory Learning Trust

Excalibur Academies Trust

Cotham School

Truro Diocesan Board of Education

Trust in Learning (Academies)

Cathedral Schools Trust

Reach South Academy Trust

Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust

Clifton College

Bristol Grammar School

Monmouth Schools

Rugby School

Cheltenham Ladies

Pangbourne College

Cranleigh School

Badminton School

Work highlights

  • Advised on the merger of The Pathway Academy Trust and The Galaxy Trust (two multi academy trusts) to form ‘The Golden Thread Alliance’.
  • Represented the Harpur Trust from 2013 through to judgment in July 2022, in the leading holiday pay case for the education sector (and wider economy).
  • Advised the governors (charity trustees) of Moreton Hall Educational Trust Limited on their duties and responsibilities and helped them find an investor to avoid closure.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP‘s strong focus on university-driven mandates is complemented by work for governing institutions such as OFSTED and providers of work-based training and apprenticeships – an area of growing activity for the firm. Matthew Ramus, who leads the Bristol education team, frequently works with the Department for Education on education and children’s services transition projects, among other matters. Luke Bowery‘s contentious and non-contentious expertise notably covers employment tribunal claims, while John Houlden frequently advises on procurement issues for major education projects.  Huw Cooke is recommended for his business immigration expertise.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Ramus

Other key lawyers:

Luke Bowery; John Houlden; Huw Cooke


‘Customer service; knowledge and expertise; reliability.’

‘Accessible, friendly, know our business.’


Key clients

Guernsey registered non-profit

The Department for Education

University of Bristol

The Safeguarding Company Limited


Trustees of the Cardiff University Pension Fund


Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Children’s Trust Limited

Shareholders of Firebrand Training

Bud Systems

W H Ireland Ltd


University of Exeter

York St John University

University of Oxford

University of the West of England

Bath Spa University

Cardiff University


Office for Students

Reading Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Advised central and local government on Children’s Services restructuring programmes and “Alternative Delivery Models” for over 9 years.
  • Advising the University of Bristol in connection with a new £300m campus development in Bristol city centre.
  • Advised the trustees of the Cardiff University Pension Fund on a proposal by the sponsoring employer to make benefit changes to the scheme.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Harrison Clark Rickerbys' significant record in the independent schools sector is exemplified by its frequent and varied work for the Independent Schools Bursar’s Association.  The broad practice spans teachers’ pensions, safeguarding issues, mergers and the sale of publicly funded land. ‘Stand-out lawyer’ Kristine Scott heads the Cheltenham-based team; her recent areas of focus include issues relating to national strike action and school inspections. Rachel Parkin‘s practice spans restructuring, disciplinary action, and senior severance advisory. Morgan West and Paul Watkins are further key contacts to note.

Practice head(s):

Kristine Scott

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Parkin; Morgan West; Hannah Wilding; Oliver Daniels; Paul Watkins


‘HCR are incredibly knowledgable on the education sector. They are professional and offer wise advice which is practical and useful. ’

‘Oliver Daniels really stands out individually regarding the work he completed for our school. He is calm, measured, professional and extremely knowledgable. Krissie Scott is also superb.’

‘Rachel Parkin and Hannah Wilding have been invaluable in helping us work through some very complex staffing issues in this last year.’

‘The Education Team are market leading, regularly providing timely and pragmatic advice on a range of complex cases.’

‘Kristine Scott is the stand-out lawyer of her field. She always makes time to speak with her clients personally.’

‘Expert knowledge of the sector and the issues facing independent schools. They keep schools up to date with responsive bulletins on hot topics, with sufficient detail.’

‘Kristine Scott is collaborative, pragmatic and understands the big picture for all issues facing schools’

‘I have worked closely with Oliver Daniels on a number of matters and he is always very knowledgeable and practical with the advice provided.’

Key clients

The Independent Schools’ Bursars Association

Canford School

St Mary’s School Ascot

Headington School

Holy Cross Preparatory

The Royal Masonic School for Girls

Cheltenham Ladies College

Uppingham School

St Dunstan’s College

Independent Schools’ Council

Cheltenham College

Wellingborough School

Stamford Endowed Schools

Stowe School

St Peter’s York

Work highlights

  • Provided advice and guidance to the ISBA over the past year and advised on significant issues for the education sector.
  • Provided detailed and tailored training to Headington School which formed part of the school’s evidence when inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.
  • Assisted St Edward’s School, Cheltenham in seeking a potential buyer or merging partner as well as providing legal advice on the actual sale or merger.


Described by clients as ‘a legal team with real heart and personality’, PHP Law LLP advises on PFI projects and procurement as well as providing strategic support to local authorities, school trusts and college trusts. The practice is jointly led by Antony Power, Laura Partridge, Russell Holland and Josie Medforth. Jason Stanley leverages his knowledge of property law on mandates such as school site acquisitions.

Practice head(s):

Antony Power; Laura Partridge; Russell Holland; Josie Medforth

Other key lawyers:

Jason Stanley


‘A friendly and knowledgeable team with an abundance of experience working in the education sector.’

‘Antony Power and Laura Partridge go the extra mile to ensure the client is kept up to date and well informed.’

‘Very strong in the education sector – deep and broad knowledge of law and practice.’

‘Antony Power is organised, has strong interpersonal skills and is a great conciliator.’

‘This is a legal team with a real heart and personality. The partners have a wide background in all aspects of education law, from the complexities of special needs work through to the most tricky of academy work.’

‘Laura Partridge was an absolute stand-out partner to work with.’

‘PHPLaw are specialists in the education sector who take the time to get to know your school context and build relationships, we always feel secure in the advice they are giving because of that.’

‘The key selling points are the partners availability, calm and measured approach. Across the firm, you have depth of knowledge.’

Key clients

Grove Learning Partnership

Embark Multi Academy Trust

Central Co-operative Learning Trust

Esteem Multi Academy Trust

Equals Academy Trust

Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust

The Academy for Character and Excellence

Link Academy Trust

St Christopher’s C of E MAT

Callywith College Trust

Dorset Council

Aspire Academy Trust

The Academy for Character and Excellence

Extoll Academy Trust

South West Institute for Teaching

TEAM Multi Academy Trust

Ted Wragg Multi Academy Trust

The First Federation Trust

Otterpool Park PLC

PGL Training

Delt Shared Services Limited

Liverpool Diocesan Schools Trust

Torquay Girls Grammar School

Transforming Futures Multi Academy Trust Limited

Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust

Acorn Multi Academy Trust

Riviera Education Trust

Ashfordby Hill Academy Trust

The Rise Partnership Trust

Reading Borough Council

Budehaven Community School

Fusion School Services Limited

The Bude Communities Schools Trust

Great Learners Trust

The First Federation Trust

Academies Enterprise Trust

Castle Gate Legal & Commercial Ltd

WAVE Multi Academy Trust

The Stour Academy Trust

Ted Wragg Multi Academy Trust

Truro and Penwith Academy Trust

Learning Academy Partnership (South West)

Academy for Character and Excellence

WAVE Multi Academy Trust

Southerly Point Co-operative MAT

Uffculme Academy Trust

Ventrus MAT

Tarka Learning Partnership

Work highlights

  • Advised Academies Enterprise Trust in relation to a procurement challenge.
  • Advised Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust on the descoping of a schools PFI project.
  • Advised Southerly Point Co-operative Multi Academy Trust on a rebrokerage.


Frequently sought out by clients from the independent schools sector, Wilsons‘ education offering encompasses advice on employment law and governance issues, while the team also handle a wide range of disputes. Debbie Ashenhurst, who divides her time between Salisbury and Wiltshire, leads the team and counts disputes, data protection and reputation management among her practice strengths. Jennifer Martindale frequently assists schools with fee recoveries.

Practice head(s):

Debbie Ashenhurst

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Martindale

Work highlights