Legal advice to tackle even the toughest school problems

Swift, accurate and practical advice from Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ School Line has given Headteacher Andrew Harris of Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School in Gloucestershire exactly the legal support he needs on a wide range of issues.

Mr Harris said: “Our experience with School Line has been very good; there is a range of issues which we need to address day to day, and this is a very cost-efficient way of doing that. It has been a genuinely good investment.”

Those issues have ranged from a complaint of sex discrimination over the implementation of the school uniform policy, to a disagreement between two separated parents about an admission. The school, which has more than 1,400 pupils aged 11-18, was founded in 1384 and became an academy in 2011.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys has been the school’s legal adviser for some years and Mr Harris also emphasised that having legal support and advice on hand has been extremely useful.

He said: “Before we became an academy, we relied on the local authority or on my union, and, although they both absolutely did their best, they did not have the breadth of experience we needed. They were also often totally risk-averse, and sometimes you need to decide on the balance of risk, rather than just trying to avoid it altogether.”

School Line, which offers legal support for a fixed fee of £1,200 a year, or £100 a month, plus VAT means that a school can phone a dedicated helpline or email a specialist to get advice on any legal issue. So, schools can check their own strategy for dealing with an issue, make a one-off query or get an initial steer on a tricky problem.