Education in South West

Browne Jacobson LLP

The ‘reliable and up-to-date‘ education team at Browne Jacobson LLP advises the whole gamut of sector organisations, with a particular focus on higher education institutions. Practice head Julia Green sports a ‘great wealth of experience, excellent judgement’ and a specialisation in academy conversions. Bettina Rigg, who is regularly consulted for equality, diversity as well as inclusion and discrimination claims,  is praised for her ‘practical‘ advice and ‘strategic approach’. Academy projects, governance, and student related matters are handled by senior associate Victoria Hatton.

Practice head(s):

Julia Green

Other key lawyers:

Bettina Rigg; Victoria Hatton; Daniella Glynn

Testimonials

‘It is a local practice but is a national firm. It ensures that you get that local knowledge and continuity of people however they have the backdrop of all the expertise within the firm.’

‘Julie Green and Rachel Billen as partners provide support that is first-class.’

‘Sector specific knowledge, wide range of specialists coupled with local client relationship manager.’

‘Knowledgable advisors who take the time to understand how our organisation works. Julia Green and Victoria Hatton specifically have built positive working relationships.’

‘The Browne Jacobson Education team are knowledgable, flexible and respond promptly to any queries or concerns we may have. Whilst we have a named contact, the company has sufficient resources to draw in others as required, particularly where different expertise may be required.’

‘They are experts in their field. The team have a range of specialisms and there is always someone who can advise you. They have good working relationships with unions and other organisations.’

‘We are extremely happy with the service they provide, and as a result have built excellent relationships with the team.’

‘The Education partner – Julia Green – is exceptional. She has a great wealth of experience, excellent judgement and deals with a great many of our matters personally.’

Key clients

An Daras Multi Academy Trust

Ansford Academy Trust

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Bournemouth Poole and 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

Westcountry Schools Trust

Westfield School

Wimborne Academy Trust

Work highlights

  • Supported over 70 clients prepare for, manage and respond to any related challenges to the Government-enforced teacher assessed grades arrangements in the absence of public exams in 2021.
  • Continue to act on a case at the intersection between the freedom to manifest religious belief and the protection of those who are gay or transgender and to date successfully defended claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination brought by a claimant, who had made concerning comments on social media.

Stone King LLP

At Stone King LLP, the education sector comprises the firm’s largest practice area, which is reflected in the number of schools, colleges and trusts the team acts for. The ‘constructive, knowledgeable, and professional’  Helen Tucker spearheads the Bath-based practice and brings to bear strong expertise in the independent schools sector, while Michael Brotherton is specialised in the contentious operational areas of state funded schools and is often sought out for discrimination claims against educational institutions. Commercial and procurement matters fall into the portfolio of Ciara Campfield, who has also been a main driver behind the practice’s growing activity in the further education sector.

Practice head(s):

Helen Tucker

Other key lawyers:

Michael Brotherton; Ciara Campfield; Elizabeth Fortin

Testimonials

‘Incredibly responsive, practical, hard working and pragmatic. The team, led by Helen Tucker, is a pleasure to work with.’

‘Helen Tucker – a quietly unassuming leader who swiftly analyses complex situations and proposes and executes solutions effectively and cost effectively.’

‘Stone King support our trust with a team of education experts covering all areas of the business. They respond to queries in good time and can provide quick advice or in depth support as needed.’

‘The firm has an outstanding knowledge of the education sector and works closely with key sector representative bodies. The firm is regarded as part of the sector.’

‘An outstanding knowledge of the sector and highly regarded by boards and management in the sector.’

‘The team at Stone King is excellent – invariably helpful, with rapid, detailed and helpful responses to a fast-evolving policy landscape. The expertise of individuals can always be relied upon and their creative and informative support is greatly appreciated.’

‘We have appreciated particularly the relationship with Ciara Campfield and Michael Brotherton.’

‘Stone King have always been responsive and pragmatic in their approach and advice. Their expertise and experience in the education sector have been invaluable.’

Key clients

Futura Learning Partnership

Clevedon Multi Academy Trust

University of Birmingham School

The Partnership Trust

Palladian Trust

Midsomer Norton Schools Partnership

Corinium Education Trust

Equa Multi Academy Trust

Gatehouse Green Learning Trust

Athelstan Trust

Wellington School, Somerset

Bruton School for Girls

Prior Park Schools

Felsted School

Wycombe Abbey School

United Church Schools Trust

St George’s School, Windsor Castle

Oakhill College

Dulwich Prep School

Work highlights

    VWV

    VWV advises public and private education sector clients while drawing on the firm’s charities and regulatory expertise wherever necessary. Head of independent schools Barney Northover and head of academies and maintained schools Chloe Brunton jointly lead the South West education practice from Bristol. Employment-related matters are handled by Simon Bevan. In October 2021, a trio consisting of Laura Chesham, Vicky Bowles and James Garside were promoted to partner, while former co-head Emma-Jane Dalley left the firm in January 2022.

    Practice head(s):

    Barney Northover; Chloe Brunton

    Other key lawyers:

    Simon Bevan; Laura Chesham; Vicky Bowles; James Garside

    Testimonials

    ‘They are experts in their field, offering thoughtful solutions to knotty issues. Their team is just as at home advising on a educational dispute as it is advising on complex strategic institutional projects.’

    ‘Unique: Knowledge and experience of and insight into and the education sector. Able to form a powerful team to focus on key projects for clients. Strong partner-led communications and oversight. Successful engagement with other professional advisers.’

    ‘Strong client focus and thorough coverage of all the legal angles.’

    ‘I very much value the input from VWV. The partner with whom we work closely has made an effort to visit us and always seems to find time to offer support when I need it.’

    ‘The team is knowledgeable and keen to help.’

    ‘The team have worked to support our Trust for some time and the depth of the relationship means that we are able to access quick and effective advice and guidance.’

    Key clients

    Bath Spa University

    Bath University

    Cabot Learning Federation

    Cathedral Schools Trust

    Cotham School

    Excalibur Academies Trust

    LEARN@ MAT

    New College Swindon

    Olympus Academy Trust

    Prebendal School

    The Priory Learning Trust

    Reach South Academy Trust

    Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Trust

    The Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust

    The Gloucester Diocesan Board of Education

    The Park Academies Trust

    The Truro Diocesan Board of Education

    Trust in Learning (Academies)

    University of Bath

    University of Bristol

    University of Reading

    University of the West of England

    White Horse Federation

    Nationwide more than 700 independent schools including:

    Badminton School

    Bradfield College

    Bristol Grammar School

    Cheltenham Ladies College

    Christ College Brecon

    Clifton College

    Cranleigh School

    Exeter School

    Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools

    King’ School Taunton Limited

    Malvern College

    Millfield

    Pangbourne College

    QEH

    Rugby School

    St Piran’s School

    Taunton School

    The Redmaids’ High School

    Work highlights

    • Advising a charity that owns the Prebendal School in Chichester and successfully completed a transaction to save a 900 year old cathedral school from closure.
    • Supported a number of schools, on issues relating to peer on peer abuse in the aftermath of heightened publicity about the Everyone’s Invited website following the death of Sarah Everard in March 2021.
    • Advised the University of Bristol in connection with two complex and high-profile disputes involving students and academics regarding alleged antisemitism and Islamophobia.

    Burges Salmon LLP

    The expertise of Burges Salmon LLP‘s education team is regularly sought after by universities, private education providers, research and development organisations, and governing institutions. Based in Bristol and led by Matthew Ramus, the practice covers classic education concerns as well as more niche issues such as the outsourcing of education services. Luke Bowery is recommended for his experience with employment-related contentious and non-contentious matters. Procurement, particularly in relation to private sector clients, fall into the scope of John Houlden‘s practice.

    Practice head(s):

    Matthew Ramus

    Other key lawyers:

    Luke Bowery; John Houlden

    Testimonials

    ‘Our experience of Burges Salmon in the education sphere has focused on potential disputes and they have supplied thoughtful advice, combining legal skill and expertise with strategic thinking and commercial focus.’

    ‘Luke Bowery and Huw Cooke have stood side by side with us throughout the year and provided outstanding expert advice.’

    Key clients

    Department for Education

    University of Bristol

    University of Exeter

    York St John University

    University of the West of England

    Bath Spa University

    Cardiff University

    OFSTED

    Office for Students

    Reading Borough Council

    Birmingham Children’s Trust

    Work highlights

    • Advising Babcock Training Limited on the contractual arrangements in respect of its partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service (IMS) as a lead provider of the delivery of new recruit training and assessment.
    • Appointed by the Department for Education to draft a substantial set of legal precedent and associated guidance documents for use by Local Authorities in the UK considering Children’s and Education Support Services Alternative Delivery Models.
    • Continuing to advise the University of Bristol in connection with a new £300 million campus development in Bristol city centre.

    Harrison Clark Rickerbys

    Harrison Clark Rickerbys fields a ‘multi-talented, adept, informed and engaged team of lawyers’ with vast knowledge of the independent school sector. The practice’s expertise ranges from employment matters to M&A and trade union issues. ‘Exceptional leader’ Kristine Scott, whose work includes issues pertaining to sensitive dismissals and parental complaints, heads the Cheltenham-based team. Emma Swann brings to bear experience in pastoral, governance, and commercial matters, while Rachel Parkin is praised for providing ‘pragmatic advice and realistic solutions to a range of complex issues’.

    Practice head(s):

    Kristine Scott

    Other key lawyers:

    Emma Swann; Rachel Parkin; Kate Hickey

    Testimonials

    ‘A very knowledgeable and responsive team.’

    ‘Rachel Parkin can be relied upon to provide pragmatic advice and realistic solutions to a range of complex issues. Her education-sector expertise is second to none and she has proven to be a trusted advisor throughout some quite turbulent times.’

    ‘Kristine Scott leads a multi talented, adept, informed and engaged team of lawyers. The advice is accurate, timely and pragmatic.’

    ‘HCR’s strength and depth within the Education Sector is very impressive. They are proactive and always on top of the detail specific to our industry.’

    ‘They have the range of services and departments that you would expect in a top tier law firm but match this with a very high level of responsive and personal service.’

    ‘Kristine Scott is an exceptional leader of their education team. She provides clear, concise and pragmatic advice. She is always responsive and quickly directs specific requests to relevant departments if she is not best placed to advise herself.’

    Key clients

    ISBA

    Headington School

    St Dunstan’s College

    Independent Schools’ Council

    Cheltenham College

    Wellingborough School

    Stamford Endowed Schools

    Stowe School

    PHP Law LLP

    Established in 2019, PHP Law LLP provides clients with ‘great expertise and sectoral knowledge in education‘. Founding partners Antony Power, Russell Holland and Laura Partridge are the key contacts, advising maintained schools, multi-academy trusts, and further education colleges out of the firm’s Devon office.

    Practice head(s):

    Antony Power; Russell Holland; Laura Partridge

    Testimonials

    PHP Law are education specialists and are able to provide timely and pertinent advice on all relevant matters affecting our multi academy trust.’

    ‘I have worked with Antony Power, who has impressed particularly with his responsiveness and his ability to think ‘outside the box’ of the litigation we have been working on.’

    ‘PHP is immersed in the education sector. Key strengths are in complex HR matters, supporting academy conversions and ensuring that all matters pertaining to the smooth running of an education establishment, regardless of size are supported with excellent legal knowledge.’

    ‘The PHP team take time to know you as a client in order to tailor their advice to your need and risk appetite. Always quick to respond, excellent knowledge, friendly, approachable and able to work with you to achieve the best outcome. Their strength is their approach.’

    ‘They find innovative solutions and are solutions focused, rather than just coming back with what you can’t do. I always want them on my project team as you have the confidence that they will get the job done and help you get over the barriers you can face.’

    ‘They quickly build positive working relationships and provide a personal service. They are friendly and approachable and don’t make you feel intimidated as others can do. They provide the advice and guidance in a way that makes sense and nothing is too much trouble.’

    ‘Great expertise and sectoral knowledge in education, impressive client base, a proper education law boutique. Understand our Trust really well, take time to listen and understand each issue.’

    Key clients

    Panoramic Business Operations Services Ltd

    The Academy for Character and Excellence

    St Christopher’s C of E MAT

    Truro and Penwith Academy Trust

    Aspire Academy Trust

    Transforming Futures Trust

    The First Federation Trust

    Academic Enterprise Trust

    Castle Gate Legal & Commercial Ltd

    Hampshire City Council

    No.5 Chambers

    Eversheds Sutherland

    The Stour Academy Trust

    Ted Wragg Multi Academy Trust

    Learning Academy Partnership

    WAVE Multi Academy Trust

    Work highlights

    • Advised WAVE Multi-Academy Trust on their procurement challenge of a contract award by Cornwall County Council.
    • Advised Tedd Wragg Multi-Academy Trust on the descoping of a schools PFI project.
    • Advised Truro and Penwith Academy Trust on a disability discrimination claim.

    Wilsons

    Located in Salisbury, Wilsons‘ education team enjoys a strong reputation for its work in the independent school sector. Practice head Stephen Oxley advises senior management teams, governing bodies and a variety of schools, academies and universities on education-related matters. Debbie Ashenhurst brings to bear experience in reputation management, information law and contentious issues.

    Practice head(s):

    Stephen Oxley

    Other key lawyers:

    Debbie Ashenhurst

    Testimonials

    ‘Excellent education knowledge in the team.’

    ‘A strong knowledge of the issues affecting independent schools in the region.’

    ‘The teams at Wilsons are extremely well coordinated. They each have complementary skills, that combine effectively to ensure that their guidance and advice is accurate, timely and based on a wide knowledge base. All cases they have been involved in for us have resulted in a favourable resolution.’

    ‘All individuals, without exception, are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their areas of expertise. Most significantly, they are exemplary professionals and clearly care about their clients. They are warm, polite, engaged, and take a keen interest in seeing the case they are dealing with through to successful completion and resolution.’

    ‘They understand the context and ethos of the school and are always on hand to deliver relevant and detailed advice. They have a team of experts who specialise in a range of areas which cover all our requirements.’

    ‘Thoroughly professional legal firm with expertise and experience within Education sector.’

    Key clients

    Poole Grammar School

    Wisbech Grammar School

    South Wilts Grammar School

    Leweston School

    Milton Abbey School

    Twyford School

    Westminster Academy

    Talbot Heath School

    Thetford Grammar School

    Farleigh School

    Work highlights