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Academies and Maintained Schools

As a leading law firm in the education sector, we are the preferred legal provider to hundreds of schools across the country, advising them across the full spectrum of education law.

Our education team has supported schools to achieve academy status since the formation of the academies programme, providing a full range of legal services, including assisting with the formation and expansion of multi-academy trusts.

Meet the team

Solicitors at a desk

Working with academies

We have a particular expertise in working with multi-academy trusts comprising primary, secondary, special and Church of England schools. As you would expect, we are familiar with the legislation, guidance and documentation used by academy trusts, and the challenges faced. We provide prompt, technically expert, commercially astute, and cost-effective advice. Most importantly, we work in partnership with your school to understand your strategic plans, key day-to-day issues and to build long standing relationships.

We’ll be with you throughout your journey whenever you need us. In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in parental complaints, safeguarding concerns, and SEN and disability discrimination claims. We are well-versed in supporting you with these challenges We also work closely with MATs to ensure that your school policies are compliant and can conduct external governance reviews to ensure that your Board of Trustees and SLT’s operate in accordance with best practice.

How we can help academies and maintained schools

We can support you in creating a robust complaints policy for parents and members of the public, and advise you in respect of handling complaints, mediation and pupil discipline issues.

We support with articles of association, funding agreements and compliance with the Academy Trust Handbook. We conduct external governance reviews and review governing documents. We also provide guidance on making significant changes to your academy in line with DfE requirements.

We provide advice for clients who are looking to enter into Collaboration Agreements with other educational organisations, and support with setting up trading subsidiaries.

We review safeguarding procedures including safeguarding policies, low-level concerns, child-on-child abuse, and anti-bullying or pupil behaviour policies and provide staff training to ensure compliance with statutory guidance.

We provide assistance with appeals in respect of Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plans, and can challenge decisions to name your school in a child’s EHC Plan including before the First Tier SEND Tribunal or the Secretary of State for Education.

We can carry out a mini-review of your school, focusing on safeguarding, governance arrangements, and a review of your policies and practices. If needed, we’ll challenge Ofsted’s findings.

The team advises on commercial contracts, from preparing standard terms and conditions for goods and services to advice on the operation of day-to-day cleaning and transport contracts.

We can support your school during claims from personal injury on school trips to property damage and commercial disputes. Our risk management support includes corporate manslaughter legislation as well as non-fatal investigations.

We are trusted to support academies on all employment law issues from recruitment to trade union matters and outsourcing.

Our construction team will support you putting in place the necessary transfers or leases and seeking requisite consent, and provide advice on the use of your site, relevant licences and building contracts.

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Hear what our clients say about us

HCR’s management of the conversion of three schools in one year has been flawless and without error. The Education team drive the process at pace with a range of stakeholders and especially with stakeholders who are challenging to work with!

Conversion of three schools in one year

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