The education sector can present a number of challenges for schools, local authorities, further and high education institutions and statutory bodies. With increasing statutory provisions being implemented and legal challenges across the sector, it is important that providers have access to consistent and cost effective legal advice and support. In this respect we are perfectly placed to support you. We are ranked in the Legal 500 as a leading firm (South East) for the Education Services we provide.
We understand the pressures facing the sector and have experience advising across a wide range of areas including employment law, contract law, education related disputes and civil claims in the County Court. We are also able to reduce legal costs through our specialist Subscription Packages, competitive hourly rates and fixed fees. We are also able to offer specialist Advocacy Services, which reduces the demand and costs of instructing external counsel.
Our approach is to be proactive and to encourage our clients to instruct us at an early stage to prevent straightforward matters escalating into costly legal claims or time consuming complaints. We specialise and offer the following services to the sector:
Complaints to the Local Government in respect of local authority ‘maladministration” are on the increase. These types of complaints can be time consuming to respond to and have adverse implications where findings of fault are found.
We have experience advising on a range of education and social care related complaints. We can help you:
- Advise on the merits of the complaint
- Consider the case papers and prepare a response
- Suggest remedial steps in the event of a finding of maladministration
Parental challenges against admissions decisions and exclusions are on the increase. It is therefore important that panels have access to specialist advice to reduce the threat of decisions being challenged either through the Local Government Ombudsman or by way of judicial review. We provide clerking facilities for local authorities to provide panels with access to specialist legal advice.
As parental pressure for school places increases, admission authorities are facing more and more appeals. Given that parents are now engaging legal advisors it is important that appeal panels are clerked by individuals with experience of the Schools Admissions Code of Practice and admissions law. The consequences of poor legal advice being provided to the panel could result in an appeal being successful or parents pursuing complaints through the Local Government Ombudsman where they are dissatisfied with the outcome of an appeal.
To meet this need, we provide a clerking facility for admission appeal panels.
We can agree an hourly rate or daily fixed rate with you. This can range from £300 per day to £500 per day depending on the number of appeals and the complexity of them. We are able to tailor decision letters to your local agreed templates.
Where parents have lodged an appeal against a permanent exclusion, we provide clerking facilities for the Independent Appeal Panel. This is an area of increasing complexity and challenge. We will provide advice to the Panel to assist them in making their decision and will draft decision letters on behalf of the Panel.
We can agree an hourly rate with you or agree a fixed fee. For hearings lasting one day, the typical costs of providing the clerking is £500 (+ VAT). This includes drafting the decision letter.
Higher and Further Education Institutions
Further and Higher Education Institutions are dealing with more changes now than ever before, with new financial pressures and government legislation impacting greatly on the sector. As a result, legal challenges which inevitably arise.
Education is one of our core areas of focus and our team provide a comprehensive range of series and support to education providers.
We provide particular advice and support in the following areas:
- Governance, administration, and charity regulation
- All aspects of education law
- Data protection and information governance
- Dispute management
- Equality, discrimination and freedom of information
- Student/pupil discipline and child protection issues
- Public law actions
Government, Advisory Bodies and Statutory Agencies
We provide advice on a range of matters related to the organisation of schools including, but not limited to:
- Advising on the instrument of governance for maintained schools
- Advising on the roles and responsibilities of governors
- Interventions by the local authority
- The establishment of a trust
- Change of status from community to foundation
- School expansions
- School closures
- School competitions and developing local provision
- Developing specialist SEN provision
- Federations and amalgamations between schools
- Disputes with the School’s Adjudicator
General Education Law Advice
Education law is a niche area where local authorities often lack the required expertise in-house. We provide specialist education advice in a range of general areas including:
- Banning parents from school premises
- Advising on complex complaints against schools
- Early Years provision
- After school clubs
- School transport disputes
- Setting up school companies
- Local authority interventions in schools causing concern
- Issues related to the organisation and management of Parent Partnership
- Disability Discrimination challenges against local authorities
- Duties of governors