Education

“Highly responsive team.”

Legal 500 2017

“They are very good. Always responsive to customer needs and their commercial awareness is excellent.”

Chambers UK 2017
Our Education team is one of the most experienced of its kind, and provides expert commercial, regulatory and compliance advice to over 100 independent and maintained schools, academies, further education colleges, Oxford colleges, universities and education charities. 

Main areas of practice

Education is one of Blake Morgan's core areas of focus and our specialist lawyers provide a comprehensive range of legal services and support to education providers and individuals.

Our team draws together experience and skills from across the firm to provide pragmatic and commercial advice on:

  • Governance, administration, education law and charity regulation
  • Banking finance and funding for development
  • Property and estate management
  • Commercial contracts, procurement and outsourcing
  • Corporate, IP commercialisation and spin-outs
  • Data protection and information governance
  • Employment, pensions and immigration
  • Dispute management
  • Equality, discrimination and freedom of information
  • Student/pupil discipline and child protection issues
  • Fast track debt collection and consumer credit
  • Income generation, fundraising and legacies
  • SEN appeals to the First Tier Tribunal (SENDIST) on behalf of parents and local authorities

In addition to the above areas of specialisation, we also regularly provide added value services such as secondments of staff, contributing to knowledge transfer (e.g. e-bulletins, guest lectures, contributions to legal text-books, entrepreneurial legal services and conference attendance and participation)

Clients

Our clients include:

Universities Free schools
Oxford Colleges Maintained schools
Further education colleges Academies and multi-academy trusts
Independent schools Student unions
Educational charities Educational businesses
Individuals  Local authorities
Parents  

Significant experience

Examples that highlight the Education team’s broad range of skills and experience include:

  • Acting for Swansea University and the Trustees of its pension scheme in the Court of Appeal in the leading case on the meaning of "unfavourable treatment" under the Equality Act 2010-  Williams v (1) The Trustees of Swansea University Pension & Assurance Scheme and (2) Swansea University [2017] EWCA Civ 1008. Click here for the full details. 
  • Acting for King Edward VI College in an important employment strike pay dispute in the Supreme Court- Hartley & Others v King Edward VI College [2017] UKSC 39.
  • Acting for Peter Symonds College in its successful defence of a High Court claim, sponsored by the NUT, concerning the correct deduction from pay for strike action [2013 EWHC 2788 Amey V Peter Symonds College].
  • Advising an established charity on setting up a multi-academy trust company in order to sponsor schools converting to academies.
  • Acting for an Oxford College on a project to modernise and streamline their Statutes and Bye-laws, established by Royal Charter.
  • Advising a Higher Education Institution regarding a student who had appealed against an expulsion for poor academic work on discrimination grounds and alleged racist behaviour.
  • Acting for a university on a number of IP/IT matters including the trade mark protection of commercial IP and a joint software development project for an enhanced student information system.
  • Obtaining a Royal Charter for an existing educational institution.
  • Advice on State Aid implications of various projects and activities, in particular the treatment of IP in collaborative research projects and spin-outs.
  • Advising a funding council on its statutory powers and other constitutional and European law matters relating to University funding.
  • Advising a school on its parent contract and debt collection process.
  • Negotiating with a local authority on behalf of the parents of a 10 year old girl in receipt of an EHC Plan who were adamant that only a specialist school would be able to meet their daughter's educational needs and persuading the local authority to name the parents' preferred school in the Final EHC Plan;
  • Advising parents in connection with School Placement Panel decisions where SEN issues need to be considered;
  • Responding on behalf of a local authority to an application for costs in SENDIST proceedings by parents in a case in which different solicitors had been originally instructed for the local authority.
  • Our Senior Associate Tim Williamson is on the Committee of Education Law Association.
  • Acted for Hereford Sixth Form College to be the first to convert to an Academy. Click here for the full story.

Pro-bono work

  • University of Hertfordshire (UHInvest programme 2013/2014: entrepreneurial services to students and staff).
  • City University (participating in programmes, lectures and entrepreneurship clinics for staff, student and local tech city business).
  • Southampton Solent University (providing an external expert the University's IP Advisory Panel).
  • Oxfordshire County Council (providing a lawyer for their School Admissions and Appeals Panel).
  • Several lawyers in the firm also sit as Governors of schools, FE and HEI institutions and educational charities.

“The whole education team is resourceful, personable, co-ordinated and organised.”

Chambers UK 2017

Related expertise

Main contacts

Related Knowledge & Resources

Consultations for the Higher Education and Research Act 2017

News

A number of consultations have been launched in relation to the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. Our education expert explains what will be included.

Matthew Smith presents Innovation in Policy Award at Cardiff University

News

Matthew Smith, partner in our employment team in Cardiff was delighted to be invited to present an award at the Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Awards 2017.

EAT confirms voluntary overtime payable in holiday pay

News

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has now ruled that voluntary overtime should be included in holiday pay if it is paid sufficiently regularly to amount to normal pay. Our expert explains the impact this will have on employers.

Dealing with de-brief requests from unsuccessful bidders

Minimise the risk for challenge by following the below tips as far as possible.

Good governance of universities

A new voluntary governance code for UK universities has been published by The Committee of University Chairs (CUC).

Multi academy trusts: managing a group of academies

With more and more maintained schools converting to academy status, we have seen an increase in different forms of collaborative working, in particular groups of academies being run and/or sponsored by the same multi-academy trust company.

Do sleep-in shifts qualify for the minimum wage?

In HR Magazine, Holly Cudbill, considers the vexed question of whether employees who undertake sleep-in shifts are entitled to the national minimum wage (NMW) throughout the entire time they are asleep, or only when they are awake to carry out duties.

Landmark ruling on the meaning of ‘unfavourable treatment’

Matthew Smith and Tom Shears (instructing Keith Bryant QC and Saul Margo of Outer Temple Chambers) have successfully defended Swansea University and the Trustees of its pension scheme in an appeal in the Court of Appeal.

Blake Morgan assists Hereford Sixth Form be the first to convert to an academy

Our education team have successfully assisted with the Hereford Sixth Form's conversion to an academy. Click here to read the full story.

Failing school revived

Members of our Restructuring and Insolvency, Charities and Education, Built Environment and Property Litigation recently acted on a sale to rescue a well-established independent school from the brink of closure.

Dispute Management in Education

Examples of dispute management advice for educational establishments

Swansea University

Find out how we have advised Swansea University.