Leading Individuals

Education in Yorkshire And The Humber

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP acts as trusted adviser to numerous higher education (HE) and further education (FE) providers, schools, academies and private education institutions clients. With its broad local, national and international offering, it is able to cover employment work, charity law, litigation and dispute management issues, real estate matters, corporate and commercial issues, intellectual property work, health and safety mandates, constitutional issues and regulatory matters. Practice members also often advise the government and the main FE and HE sector bodies on education regulations. Chris Mordue and Ben Wood combine education sector and employment law expertise, while principal associate Charlotte Tanikal specialises in the acquisition and disposal of estates and accommodation projects. Nicola Bennison leads the firm’s education team.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Bennison

Other key lawyers:

Chris Mordue; Ben Wood; Alison Oldfield; Charlotte Tanikal


‘We engaged the team to assist us in a major area of work with potential reputational damage. They supplied specialist partners from each relevant area of law and assisted us in pulling together an overall strategy which was coordinated from the top. Excellent service.’

‘Great service and commitment from Chris Mordue – Robust advice provided that was accurate and helped us move forward on our business needs.’

‘We have worked with Chris Mordue for many years and trust him implicitly. His legal and sector knowledge is exceptional as is his commitment to client service.’

‘Eversheds Sutherland provide an excellent service to the Further Education Sector. Eversheds Sutherland are hugely knowledgeable in governance matters.’

‘Without a doubt the stand out Partner I would mention is Ben Wood. He responds to email legal queries very quickly. He is very easy to contact by phone. He is readily available on the virtual platform.’

Key clients

Durham University

University of Leeds

University of Sheffield

University of Hull

University of Bradford

University of Huddersfield

University of Essex

Sheffield Hallam University

University of York

Leeds Trinity University

Norther School of Contemporary Dance

York St John University

School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

University of Leicester

University of Reading

Kings College London

University of Plymouth

Askham Bryan College

Bradford College

DN Colleges Group

Leeds College of Building

Luminate Education Group

RNN Group

Wakefield College

Windsor Forest Colleges Group

Beacon Multi Academy Trust

Batley Multi Academy Trust

Chelsea Academy

Jewish Community Academy Trust

LEAD Academy Trust

NOVA Education Trust

The Potteries Education Trust

The Prospect Trust

Trinitas Academies Trust

The Wensum Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising a number of private sector organisations on their engagement with the sector, helping them to understand education governance and regulation in the UK to inform significant investment decisions.
  • Providing strategic and operational EDI advice to sector clients managing the complex interaction of conflicting rights under the Equality Act and freedom of speech rules; providing advice and support for internal investigations; and reviewing of policies and procedures, including to strengthen recognition of trans rights and to better reflect the boundaries between free speech and unlawful harassment.
  • Advising multiple universities on their response to a coordinated campaign of national industrial action by academic staff over pay and pensions.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP‘s team is noted for its ‘excellent sector knowledge‘ in the education area. Led by the highly-regarded Victoria Goddard, it acts for universities and other HE institutions in matters such as commercial transactions and accommodation developments. Other areas of expertise are handling litigation arising out of the regulatory framework and compliance advice. Julian Sladdin handles disputes in connection with rights of freedom of speech and expression, discrimination cases, and allegations of breach of contract, among others; and Gwen Sharp is a property specialist. Sarah Ashberry departed to Addleshaw Goddard in late 2021.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Goddard

Other key lawyers:

Julian Sladdin; Gwen Sharp; Rebecca McCall


‘Victoria Goddard is a leader in her field. It was not only the breadth and depth of Victoria’s team that led Pinsent to be appointed by a significant margin but also their approach to innovation and technology and diversity and inclusion. Victoria and her team have delivered against all of the commitments made by the firm and the appointment is going very well.’

‘Led by Victoria Goddard, the team have excellent sector knowledge. They point out legal pitfalls but with a clear commercial focus. Additionally, they have efficient work trackers to manage complex projects.’

‘Key strengths in the team are Victoria Goddard’s excellent sector knowledge and her calm assured manner.’

‘Julian Sladdin, Partner – a true expert in his field.’

Key clients

Aston University

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Cardiff University

INTO University Partnerships Limited

Kings College London

Leeds Beckett University

Nottingham Trent University

Nurture Higher Education Group

Solent University

University College London

University of Brighton

University of Essex

University of Gloucestershire

University of Huddersfield

University of Leeds

University of Leicester

University of London

University of Nottingham

University of Sheffield

University of Sussex

University of York

Work highlights

  • Acting for six insured colleges of the University of Cambridge in litigation since 2018.
  • Acting for Birkbeck College in a breach of contract and discrimination claim brought by a former student who failed their Masters’ degree.
  • Acting for the University of Huddersfield in relation to the acquisition and development of the new Southgate Campus for a Health & Wellbeing Academy.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has experience acting for education policy makers and the wider public sector, as well as for the private sector clients. Furthermore, it is active for players who feed into the education sector, such as UK Research and Innovation, the University Superannuation Fund and developers of student housing. Property specialist Andrew Clarke and Richard Taylor, who is well versed in intellectual property issues and research-led and grant-funded transactions, head up the practice.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Clarke; Richard Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Nigel Howard


‘The team provide a comprehensive range of legal services. DLA Piper provide real strength and depth to a full range of estates matters including procurement disputes, property transactions etc. The quality of the work is of the highest standard and they remain an integral part of our comprehensive legal service, a relied upon trusted partner.’

‘Nigel Howard has been a reliable and relied upon partner for many years with the University. The service that Nigel provides is both responsive and courteous but also of the highest quality which is backed up by the team that he leads.’

Key clients

UK Research and Innovation

University of Law

University of Sheffield

West Nottinghamshire College

The Northampton Roman Catholic Diocese Trustee

Diocese of Leeds

University Superannuation Fund

Work highlights

  • Advising The Northampton Roman Catholic Diocese Trustee in respect of the grant of a lease to an independent school which is going to occupy a former school.
  • Advising the University of Law on allegations against the university that the members of staff made racist and discriminatory comments against a student.
  • Acting for the University of Sheffield as it replicates its Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre model in various sites around the UK, including Wales, Samlesbury and Derby.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell often acts for further educations institutions and multi-academy trusts, as well as their CEOs and headteachers. Led by Jenny Arrowsmith, the team covers a range of services but is particularly strong in matters with employment law connections; it handles employment tribunal claims, GDPR issues and subject access requests, as well as student matters including special educational needs work, safeguarding mandates, admission and exclusion issues, and parental complaints. Yogi Amin is knowledgeable in contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Jenny Arrowsmith

Other key lawyers:

Yogi Amin


‘The team have been a trusted partner to our organisation covering all aspects of employment. They understand the industry trends and issues and provide a pragmatic and solutions focused service. They have supported the resolution of some complex issues.’

‘Jenny Arrowsmith is a pleasure to work with. She provides practical advice and solutions to complex issues.’

‘Our experience is that they absolutely know the challenges faced in schools – they understand the limitations that we need to work in, and importantly are able to react to changes in order to support us.’

‘Our main point of contact is Jenny Arrowsmith. The relationship between Jenny and us is a good one – Jenny has been on hand and responds quickly to our needs – even if this is outside of normal hours. This has been valuable to us as unfortunately needs must, and when we need support it tends to have an element of immediacy. The work undertaken by Jenny’s colleagues on her behalf is also of quality and conducted in a timely fashion.’

Key clients

Services 4 Schools Ltd

Association of Colleges

Inspire Trust

Minerva Learning Trust (Sheffield)

Nexus Academies Trust

The Diocese of Sheffield Academies Trust

North Halifax Grammar School

Maltby Learning Trust

Bradford College

Stoke on Trent College

New College Durham

Work highlights

  • Acting as the sole legal provider of employment law support to the Association of Colleges.
  • Advising Services 4 Schools on employment law.

Lupton Fawcett

Lupton Fawcett has ‘wide -ranging capabilities, and consistently delivers quality and timely support on novel/complex matters as well as the more routine matters.’ The team acts for academies and independent schools, with special know-how in advising Church of England and faith schools, academies and educational foundations. Areas of expertise span property and employment instructions. Employment practitioner Tom Watkins is among the key names.

Other key lawyers:

Tom Watkins


‘Knowledgeable and personable individuals, with a diverse range of specialisms, who work well with us and with colleagues across their team to ensure a seamless service.’

‘Wide ranging capabilities, consistently delivering quality and timely support on novel/complex matters as well as the more routine. Excellent understanding of the education and charities sector, as well as the way dioceses operate. Work hard to understand your organisation and what you are seeking to achieve. Ultimately, a firm that are good to work with and in which you have the upmost confidence.’

Key clients

Leeds Diocesan Board of Education

York Diocesan Board of Education

Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust

Leeds Diocesan Learning Trust

Dales Academies Trust

The Grammar School at Leeds

The King’s School, Canterbury

Barnard Castle School

University of York

The Collaborative Learning Trust

Elevate Multi Academy Trust

Diocese of York Educational Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised the Leeds Diocesan Board of Education and school site trustees on academy conversions concerning schools within the diocese, academy governance issues, closed school issues and property matters relating to school sites.
  • Advised the Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust on a broad range of legal issues, from academy conversions and academy governance to issues relating to children and parents, dispute resolution, real estate, data protection and intellectual property.
  • Provided support to five Diocesan Boards of Education in relation to the implementation of the Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 2021.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP is appreciated for ‘helping to craft pragmatic yet robust solutions to different scenarios.‘ The group is regularly retained by HE clients to advise on a variety of public, private and charity law queries. It not only covers strategic matters but also new regulatory guidance and requirements, bond and private placement matters, student accommodation projects and campus redevelopments. Martin Priestley leads the practice, and also often advises on international mandates.

Practice head(s):

Martin Priestley


‘Excellent in-depth knowledge of the education sector.’

‘Adaptable, responsive, and with specialists who really understand the sector and can adapt to a range of complex situations. Easily our go-to practice for anything public-law or HE-law related.’

‘Mills & Reeve are very good at understanding the risk appetite of the organisation and helping to craft pragmatic yet robust solutions to different scenarios all the while effectively supporting the business to manage its legal risks.’

Key clients

Academies Enterprise Trust

Arden University

Birmingham City University

Buckinghamshire New University

Cardiff University

Coventry University

Lancaster University

LTE Group

Manchester Metropolitan University

Nottingham Trent University

Royal Northern College of Music

Sheffield Hallam University

South & City College Birmingham

The University of Birmingham

University of Exeter

University of London

University of Liverpool

The University of Manchester

The University of Nottingham

University of Salford

University of Worcester

Leeds Beckett University

Work highlights

  • Advised the University of Bradford on the sale of its 14-acre Heaton Mount/Emm Lane campus, comprising three Grade II listed buildings, to Greensville Trust.
  • Advised Nottingham Trent University on data protection compliance following the end of the Brexit transition period and the entry into force of the UK GDPR.
  • Advised the Association of University Legal Practitioners (AULP) on the creation of a new international student exchange template for use across the sector by AULP members accessing the Turing scheme.

Rollits LLP

Rollits LLP advises the full range of education clients, such as colleges, universities, student unions, schools, single and multi academy trusts, nurseries, awarding bodies, and charitable and private training providers. Caroline Hardcastle has experience representing clients in litigation and mediation proceedings, while John Flanagan specialises in transactions, banking law, and providing clients with company secretarial and governance advice. They lead the practice together with Chris Crystal who covers commercial property issues. James Peel excels in commercial and intellectual property matters.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Hardcastle; John Flanagan, Chris Crystal

Other key lawyers:

James Peel


‘Local knowledge and responsiveness to queries and in the provision of advice. Very accessible with a dedicated and named team.’

‘Professional yet friendly and approachable.’

‘The Education team at Rollits provide us with a regular and trusted source of advice on an increasingly wide range of matters. We have a good, personal relationship with the team of solicitors. They are extremely responsive and will always get back to us same day, and in an emergency they are usually available on demand.’

‘The way in which the team collaborate is a real strength – you only ever have to tell the story once – everyone gets it!’

Key clients

Lincoln College

Leeds City College

Hull College Group

Bishop Burton College

East Riding College

DN Colleges Group – Doncaster College and North Lindsey College

Salford City College

Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology

University of Hull

White Rose Academies Trust

Swanland Education Trust

The Consortium Academy Trust

Hymers College

The TEC Partnership

York College

Shipley College

Work highlights

  • Advised York College in respect of its arrangements for the occupation of a new multi-million pound education campus which has been constructed by Hambleton District Council and will be used by York College and The University of Sunderland.
  • Advising St Cuthbert’s Roman Catholic Academy Trust upon its arrangements to act as the lead delivery partner for the Hull and East Riding area in respect of the national early careers framework and national professional qualifications courses.
  • Advised Lincoln College on its acquisition of the training provider Human Alchemy Limited.

Schofield Sweeney

Schofield Sweeneyoffers valuable advice across a range of specialist areas‘ and the team is noted for covering a variety of concerns for local education clients, such as construction documentation, data protection work, employment law, contractual disputes and governance issues. Group head Andrew Hurst has a strong track record in academy conversions, and the formation of free schools and schools redevelopment projects, while Simon Shepherd is an employment law specialist.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hurst

Other key lawyers:

Simon Shepherd; Tina Morris


‘They are a high quality team, who always offer valuable advice across a range of specialist areas. Particular specialisms within my knowledge is education and employment law, where their advice has been unfailingly accurate and commercially focused. Response times and customer service are excellent, with their personnel always polite, friendly and eager to assist.’

‘Very personalised, supportive service. Quick response when making contact for advice. Down to earth, supportive. They have worked with us on a range of matters affecting my school over the past few years with successful outcomes throughout. They know the law very thoroughly, preparation is always very thorough and advice is sound.’

‘Simon Shepherd successfully supported the school through an unusual, complex and stressful claim against the school recently. He was outstanding in his calm and knowledgeable approach, made himself available when we needed him and was very reassuring for the staff concerned. A very diligent, kind and humane man.’

Key clients

Carlton Academy Trust

BMAT Education

Wellspring Academy Trust

Moorlands Learning Trust

Attain Academy Partnership

Enhance Academy Trust

Heckmondwike Grammar School

Beckfoot Trust

Oasis Community Learning

Trinity Multi Academy Trust

Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust

The Crossley Heath School Academy Trust Limited

Watergrove Trust

Bronte Academy Trust

St Mary’s Academy Trust

SHARE Multi Academy Trust

Ashville College

Shirley Manor Primary Academy

The Basildon Academies

South Westmorland Multi Academy Trust

The Adnan Jaffery Academy Trust

Peak Edge

AIM Academies Trust

Work highlights

  • Assisted SHARE Multi Academy Trust with the updating of the Articles of Association for the Trust to the latest DfE model documents including the drafting of bespoke Articles requested by the Members to allow for virtual meetings.
  • Assisted St John’s Church of England Voluntary Controlled Infant School in the drafting of a successful appeal submission to the Schools Adjudicator following the decision of Kirklees Council to reject their proposal to become a through school thus jeopardising the financial viability of the school’s future.
  • Assisted Brighter Futures Academy Trust with the transfer of its three primary academies to join a newly formed multi academy trust.

Stone King LLP

The team at Stone King LLP is considered to be ‘professional yet approachable and always willing to go the extra mile.‘ Instructions come particularly from state schools, independent schools, as well as FE colleges and HE institutions. The group provides support in operational, transactional, property, construction, HR, immigration and employment law matters. Practice head Tom Morrison has than 20 years of experience in the field, Polly O’Malley covers employment queries, and senior associate Louise Castle handles PFI arrangements and academy restructures.

Practice head(s):

Tom Morrison

Other key lawyers:

Polly O’Malley; Jamie Otter; Craig Vincent; Louise Castle


‘Their knowledge and understanding of the sector is exceptional. In addition, they really take the time to get to know the organisation and the individuals within it.’

‘Professional yet approachable and always willing to go the extra mile.’

‘The team respond promptly and with a deep level of expertise in our sector. They have got to know us as an organisation and understand our aspirations and challenges.’

‘The knowledge, teamwork, support and communication provided to the client stands out.’

‘Very personal approach and makes my organisation feel that we have our own legal department.’

‘Jamie Otter and Polly O’Malley have been exceptional with our trust.’

Key clients

Luminate Education Group

United Learning Trust

The Co-operative Academies Trust

Wakefield College

The Sheffield College

Astrea Academy Trust

Red Kite Learning Trust

Altus Education Partnership

Rainbow Education Multi Academy Trust

Venn Academy Trust

Exceed Academies Trust


Northern College

The Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) CIO

Nottingham College

Shipley College

David Ross Education Trust

Abbey MAT

Ethos Academy Trust

West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

Work highlights

  • Advised on the creation of the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, a progressive new college group spanning Wakefield, Selby and Castleford.
  • Appointed by Luminate Education Group to advise on all commercial general and legal matters – including in support of its regional education strategy.
  • Acted for Polaris Multi Academy Trust on the creation of its Multi Academy Trust and subsequent transfer of a three school multi academy trust into the newly formed entity.

Walker Morris LLP

Areas of expertise for Walker Morris LLP are advising schools and colleges on academy conversions and also construction matters; the group is increasingly working for universities and also assists councils, funders, education institutions and suppliers. The practice's work spans a wide range of mandates, covering topics such as general commercial issues, governance work, state aid matters, employment and pensions mandates, real estate transactions, regulatory work and litigation. David Smedley has knowledge of employment law, admissions and exclusion issues and acts in judicial reviews, while Jules Harbage is well versed in construction and building matters; the pair jointly lead the team.

Practice head(s):

David Smedley; Jules Harbage

Other key lawyers:

Alex Jones


‘Very approachable and knowledgeable, and supportive teams, good network support.’

‘Very down to earth in approach whilst still providing a very professional service.’

Key clients

Leeds Arts University

Bury College

Leeds College of Building

Burnley College

New Collaborative Learning Trust

Rochdale Sixth Form College

Exceptional Education Trust

St Mary’s Catholic High School, Chesterfield

South Wigston High School, Leicester

Kirkbie Kendal School, Kirkbie

Bradford Grammar Schools

Connaught School for Girls

Bolton College

Pontefract Academies Trust

Leeds Beckett University

Eveleigh Link Academy Trust

Hoyland Common Academy Trust

New Collaborative Learning Trust

Brodetsky Primary School

Rodillian Multi Academy Trust

Findel Education

The Rutland Learning Trust

Spalding Academy

Hartwell Primary School

King Edward Vi Education Trust

Giles Academy

Monkwearmouth Academy

Upperwood Academy

Stanley Learning Partnership Trust

Innovate Multi Academy Trust

Excel Academy Partnership Trust

Every Child Matters Academy Trust

Westgate Academy

The Grammar School at Leeds

London South Bank University

Work highlights

  • Acting for ENGIE in relation to a £200m housing and student accommodation scheme at the University of Birmingham’s Pritchatts Park campus.
  • Advising LSBU in relation to its dispute with WDI concerning WDI’s notices of delay and anticipated additional costs due to delays to works.
  • Acting for a trust on several CIF-based construction projects at several of the trusts schools.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP is noted for its specialist knowledge of advising faith schools and academies as well as advising on special educational needs work. The team is often active in academy conversions, academy to academy mergers and transfers, as well as governance, compliance and regulatory work. Chris Billington combines commercial and employment law experience; he leads the group. Consultant Graham Shaw is another prominent practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Chris Billington

Other key lawyers:

Graham Shaw; Alacoque Marvin


‘Everyone is very knowledgeable and, most importantly, proactive. Delineation of expertise is very clear and complementary.’

‘Wrigley’s are one of a handful of practices specialising in education law. What they provide is an essential resource for education leaders or managers, particularly those working at a strategic level. They have a very sound knowledge of the intricacies of education legislation, which is notoriously interlaced as a result of different iterations from successive government administrations and shifts in education policy. The process flow is a good one: working from initial outline discussion, through initial brief outline and verification through to clear assessment of work and costs involved into the thorough and professionally detailed reporting on work done.’

‘Wrigleys offer a team of education specialists who, between them, offer sector specific advice on any legal or HR related topic at a competitive rate. Advice is swift and comprehensive with a recommended approach always given. Offering good value, sector specific effective advice in a timely manner is a unique selling point for Wrigleys.’

‘From a personal perspective they have certainly demonstrated an ability to adapt quickly to ever changing educational landscape and wider environmental issues, such as the pandemic. Having dealt with other practices and solicitors over many years, from a work and personal context, I have found that they have kept their promises and have delivered against agreed timescales.’

‘Professionalism, efficiency, recommended for trust conversions.’

‘Alacoque Marvin and Graham Shaw have demonstrated in equal measure a thorough understanding of issues raised, explained simply possible outcomes and worked collaboratively in developing actions moving forward. They have always delivered to agreed timescales.’

‘Their experience and knowledge, friendly approach and support is outstanding.’

‘Graham Shaw was excellent.’

Key clients

James Montgomery Academy Trust

Cockburn Multi Academy Trust

Ponteland Academy Trust

Henlow Church of England Academy

T.E.A.M Education Trust

Coast & Vale Learning Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising James Montgomery Academy Trust on a wide range of academy conversions.
  • Providing Ponteland Academy Trust with operational advice on property, funding and staffing issues.
  • Advising T.E.A.M Education Trust on a satellite provision by its special school on the site of a maintained school in a neighbouring local authority.