Education in South West

Stone King LLP

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.

Practice head(s):

Roger Inman; Graham Burns

Other key lawyers:

Helen Tucker; Ciara Campfield


The team has strong specialist knowledge in education

Key clients

Princethorpe College

Monkton Combe School

Kingswood School

The Girls’ Day School Trust

Work highlights

  • 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.

Practice head(s):

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

Key clients

Bath Spa University

Bournemouth University

London School of Economics and Political Science

London South Bank University

Norland College

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

Work highlights

  • 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.

Browne Jacobson LLP

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.

Practice head(s):

Julia Green

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Billen


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 clientsdevelopment 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

Key clients

Weston College

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

Penryn College

Work highlights

  • 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

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 diligentMarcus 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.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Ramus

Other key lawyers:

Marcus Harling; Luke Bowery


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

Key clients

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

Cardiff University

The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted)

Office for Students (OfS)

Reading Borough Council

Birmingham Children’s Trust

Work highlights

  • 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 'efficientEmma Swann joined from Wilson Solicitors LLP in August 2018.

Practice head(s):

Kristine Scott

Other key lawyers:

Emilie Darwin; Emilie Darwin


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

Key clients

Independent Schools’ Bursars Association

Independent Schools Council

Association of Governing Bodies for Independent Schools

The Boarding Schools Association

Cranleigh School

Cheltenham College

Cheltenham Ladies’ College

Work highlights

  • 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

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.

Practice head(s):

Antony Power

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Antoniou

Key clients

Ambitions Academies Trust

Aspirations Academies Trust

Academies Enterprise Trust

The Sigma Trust

Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust

Truro College

Discovery Schools Academy Trust

Aspire Academy Trust

The Stour Academy Trust

Herts for Learning

Work highlights

  • 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

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.

Practice head(s):

John Andrews

Other key lawyers:

Peter Rolph


A very solid and highly professional team

Work highlights

  • 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.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Oxley


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

Key clients

Farleigh School

Talbot Heath School

The Sheiling Special Education Trust

Prince’s Mead School

A number of independent schools

Work highlights

  • 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.