Sectors

Solicitors in Westminster, London

Education Law & Schools

Our Education Team is nationally recognised for its expertise and experience, which dates back to the firm's origins in 1855.  LBMW is ranked in Legal 500 as a leading Education firm.

Our Education Team maintains active links with government, the Department for Education, General Synod, the Charity Commission and other relevant bodies. Through our role as advisers to the Church of England Education Office (otherwise known as the National Society), being the body which represents Church of England schools throughout the country, we not only respond to legislative change but are also involved in shaping it. The wealth of our experience means that we are fully equipped to address any queries raised.

We are a market leader in the provision of legal services and support to the full range of schools, academies, multi-academy trusts, chains and sponsors and other teaching institutions throughout the country, including providers of Further and Higher Education. Our litigation department has successfully acted in a number of important and ground-breaking cases affecting this sector, those recently have included Rittson- Thomas v Oxfordshire County Council and Durand Academy Trust v Ofsted.

We pass on our experience and knowledge in this sector through newsletters, briefings, seminars, workshops and conferences throughout the year, including our longstanding annual schools conference. Please see our full list of our upcoming events here.

Our "Education Answers" website provides access to an extensive bank of articles covering a wide range of legal issues affecting the education sector, with the option to raise queries in relation to the issues raised.  This is a unique and free resource which we make available to clients and to the wider education profession.

Schools and other educational institutions use us because of our close understanding of the complexity of interacting land, buildings, staff, policies, community relations and charitable trusts issues.

Parents and students come to us because we are best able to advocate for them from a position of knowledge and careful attention to the presenting issues.   

Contact our education law solicitors in Westminster, London

Get in touch with our education law solicitors in London by calling 020 7222 5381 or filling out our online enquiry form.

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Matters our education law solicitors can assist with

We can provide efficient and effective advice for the following:

Find out more about our specific areas of education law expertise

Academies & Free Schools

Our highly experienced team is able to cover all Commercial, Land, Employment, and Educational aspects of an academy project. We are experienced in the creation, expansion, dissolution and reorganisation of academy trusts, charities, and trading subsidiaries, working with church and secular education providers to ensure the children served have the best opportunities to flourish in the Academy system.

Our particular specialism is making academies work in the context of complicated school site issues, for example where land ownership and the effect of charitable trusts on the land need to be worked through.

We can help with such issues as:

  • Setting up an academy trust including constitutional, governance and funding arrangements
  • Converting an existing school to an academy including investigating title, business transfer issues, contractual documentation
  • Rebrokering existing academies into other academy trusts
  • Establishing a free school
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Governance reviews
  • Leases and licences on academies
  • Relocations, school expansions and building projects
  • Admissions, exclusions, pupil and parental support

For more information see Academies & Free Schools

Church & Faith Schools

We are able to offer a depth of experience in the church education sector which is unparalleled. We currently act or have acted for the majority of dioceses in both the Church of England and Church in Wales in respect of their education work, as well as for the Church of England Education Office in relation to education law matters generally.  This enables us to keep fully up-to-date with all the various issues and immediate pressures being faced both in England and in Wales.

We are also experienced with assisting other faith education providers, many of which face similar challenges to those faced by the Church of England.

In particular, we can help with:

  • Admissions
  • Capital works (including construction)
  • Change of category
  • Children's Centres
  • Commercial arrangements
  • Constitutional
  • Diocesan Boards of Education
  • Dispute resolution
  • Education legislation and statutory guidance
  • Employment and pensions
  • Faith Academies and Free Schools
  • Federations
  • Foundation Schools
  • Governance
  • Intellectual property and freedom of information
  • Land and property
  • Local authority duties
  • Parental complaints
  • Policies
  • RE and collective worship
  • Religious designation
  • Reverter and the Schools Sites Act 1841
  • Safeguarding
  • Section 554 Orders
  • Staffing
  • Third party use and occupation
  • Trading companies

For more information see Church & Faith Schools

Community & Other Maintained Schools

We are well versed in the full range of legal matters connected to maintained schools, including community, foundation, special and other schools.

We can help you with such matters as:

  • Admissions policies and challenges
  • Change of category
  • Commercial arrangements
  • Constitutional
  • Dispute resolution
  • Education legislation and statutory guidance
  • Employment and pensions
  • Federations and other ways schools can work together short of federation
  • Governance
  • Intellectual property and freedom of information
  • Land and property (including construction)
  • Local authority duties
  • Parental complaints
  • Policies
  • Safeguarding
  • SEN provision
  • Staffing

For more information see Community & Other Maintained Schools

Independent Schools

We have represented a number of important independent schools and can offer independent schools extensive advice far beyond governance and charity law.

We can help with such matters as:

  • Charity law and compliance
  • Commercial arrangements
  • Constitutional
  • Donations and legacies
  • Dispute resolution
  • Education legislation and statutory guidance
  • Employment and pensions including redundancies and settlement agreements
  • Fees
  • Governance and Trustees
  • Intellectual property and freedom of information
  • Land and property (including construction)
  • Mergers and demergers
  • Parental complaints
  • Policies
  • Safeguarding
  • Staffing

For more information see Independent Schools

Further & Higher Education

As one of the country's leading education law firms, we are committed to advising and supporting further and higher education for people of all ages and backgrounds.

We have developed a thorough appreciation and understanding of a variety of educational institutions and the challenges and opportunities they face.

Our expertise extends particularly into formations of further and higher educational institutions, mergers and joint ventures, and governance and constitutional issues. We can advise upon and have experience of a wide range of relevant legal issues, including:

  • Admissions
  • Commercial arrangements
  • Constitutional
  • Dispute resolution
  • Donations and legacies
  • Employment and pensions
  • Federations
  • Further Education Colleges
  • Fundraising
  • Governance
  • Higher Education Institutions
  • Intellectual property and freedom of information
  • Internal student and staff appeals
  • Joint ventures and collaborations
  • Land and property (including construction)
  • Legislation and statutory guidance
  • Local authority duties
  • Mergers and demergers
  • Permanent Private Halls
  • Policies
  • Safeguarding
  • SEN provision
  • Staffing
  • Theological Colleges
  • Trading companies
  • Transfer of control

For more information see Further & Higher Education

Education Legislation & Regulations

We are experts in the interpretation and application of education legislation. We are used to looking at the interaction of pure education law with the whole range of company, charity, human rights, competition and data protection laws.

Should the Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 2021 become law, we are well equipped to assist dioceses in determining the best structure for their diocesan board of education and to draft the necessary scheme to be put before diocesan synod.

We can help with such matters as:

  • Admissions and Exclusions
  • Data protection
  • DfE and EFA Guidance and that of the Welsh Ministers
  • Education Acts
  • Education Bills
  • Governance
  • Premises
  • School meals
  • SEN
  • Staffing and employment
  • Statutory Guidance

For more information see Education Legislation & Regulations

Reverter

Any school site which was granted under powers provided by the School Sites Act is liable to be subject to reverter.

This affects many Church of England schools which still occupy their original sites, equating to over a thousand school sites, and can cause huge complications for third party occupation arrangements and on closure or relocation of the school.

We are the market leaders in this complex and specialist area of law. We routinely advise schools, academy trusts, trustees, Dioceses and Government in relation to it and have provided input on associated Government guidance.

We can help you with such matters as:

  • School relocations
  • School closures
  • Section 554 orders under the Education Act 1996
  • Section 2 schemes under the Reverter of Sites Act 1987
  • Third party occupation of sites subject to reverter
  • Claims by beneficiaries under the Schools Sites Act 1841 and the Reverter of Sites Act 1987

For more information see Reverter

School Sites

Our team is able to provide expert assistance with the full range of land issues which may arise at a school site, with particular expertise in Church of England sites, which can often be particularly complicated due to the age of the site trusts and the possibility of reverter.

We use such various sources as the Land Registry, National Records Centre, the Church of England Records Centre and old maps to deduce title and trusts in often unregistered or improperly registered school sites and then ensure that you are able to achieve your project on a proper footing. We ensure that all leases, licences and permissions take place squarely within the ambit of the charitable trusts upon which the land is held to avoid triggering reverter or causing breach of trust. We are able to work with the Charity Commission to obtain the necessary modifications to trusts of school sites where required.

We are able to help with such matters as:

  • Relocation and closure of schools
  • Sale of school land
  • Acquisition of additional school land
  • Site trusts- creation and amendment
  • Appointment and retirement of trustees
  • Trustee disputes
  • Applications to the Charity Commission
  • Charity Commission inquiries and investigations
  • Reverter
  • Third party use and occupation of school sites, including transfer of control agreements (TOCAs), licences and leases including for nurseries
  • Third party rights over school sites, both permanent and temporary arrangements, including licence for works
  • Capital works on school sites
  • Assets of community value applications
  • Town and village green status
  • Playing fields – change of use, disposal and protection
  • Redevelopment projects for closed school sites
  • Orders under section 554 of the Education Act 1996
  • Schemes under the section 2 of the Reverter of Sites Act 1987

For further information see School Sites

Our education law solicitors’ fees

We can provide you with an estimate of our charges following an initial telephone call or email with the background to your matter. Depending on the nature of the work fees might be charged according to time spent or for a fixed fee, or if you will be needing our help over a range of matters we can offer a fixed-price legal advice service retainer. The retainer packages offer blocks of time at reduced rates and can be charged on a quarterly basis which can assist with budgeting. Please contact us for a no-obligation estimate.

Why choose Lee Bolton Monier-Williams?

Our Education Team is nationally recognised for its expertise and experience, which dates back to the firm's origins in 1855. LBMW is ranked in Legal 500 as a leading Education firm. Our national coverage is complemented by our practitioners' close attention to the facts, laws, people and circumstances at each local school or other educational institution we work with. We get stuck into getting to know every situation we deal with inside out in order to give the best possible advice.

Legal 500:

'LBMW has been established for many years and has specialist experience in the education and charity sector. This experience is tangible both in the quality of advice both from longer-serving and new staff, and gives a sense of security. Whilst there are high-quality rivals, I have not seen from any of these the breadth and depth of quality that is available at LBMW. My experience, in particular, is of the state-funded education sector.'

'The education team at LBMW has well-established expertise in educational law which is unrivalled. It is consistently well-briefed on legal developments and is adaptable to the varying needs of a range of clients.'

Speak to our education law solicitors in Westminster, London

Get in touch with our education law solicitors in London by calling 020 7222 5381 or filling out our online enquiry form.

 

  • Ian Blaney
      • 0207 960 7131
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  • Howard Dellar
      • 0207 960 7181
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  • Susan Newell
      • 0207 960 7171
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  • Ella Westby
      • 0207 960 7167
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  • Laura Southern
      • 020 7222 5381
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  • Jane Grenfell
      • 0207 960 7160
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  • David Whittington
      • 0207 960 7145
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