At Clarkslegal we have a team of solicitors and consultants who are experts in matters relating to the education sector. The team has extensive experience of working very closely with Headteachers, Bursars and Governors and takes a proactive approach in identifying and supporting opportunities for their clients to develop their organisations.
The team provides a full range of legal services (see below) to the operators and managers of schools and colleges. Their advice is always tailored, pragmatic and relevant.
We believe that it is our wealth of experience across the private and public sectors allied with our first-hand knowledge of the education sector that differentiates us from our competitors.
Outside their work as lawyers several members of our team have experience as School Governors and they use this knowledge and experience to tailor and adapt their advice to meet clients’ ongoing and future requirements.
Our team has extensive experience of the legal issues that affect both schools and academies. We are proactive in identifying and supporting opportunities for clients to develop their organisations. What differentiates us is our wealth of experience across the education sector allied with our first-hand knowledge of our clients’ needs in the context of ever-changing commercial and political challenges facing schools and academies.
Several of our lawyers have experience as School Governors and we use this knowledge to tailor and adapt our services to best meet clients’ ongoing and future requirements.
We have experience of liaising with the Charity Commission on compliance issues and often advise clients in the education sector on the Charities Act.
Our corporate lawyers have an in-depth knowledge and extensive experience of working with companies limited by shares and we draw on their knowledge and expertise on all matters relating to the corporate structure to ensure best advice is given on all corporate issues that affect them.
We provide advice on all aspects of contractual and commercial arrangements, as well as on the entire procurement process and its documentation.
Our company lawyers have an in-depth knowledge and extensive experience of working with a range of corporate and constitutional structures and can advise on constitutional and regulatory matters. We have advised clients on a range of matters, including academic mergers, severances, boards of inquiry, drafting of statutes and ordinances, rationalisation of prize funds and many other day-to-day issues.
Our construction team’s expertise covers major capital works, from project inception through to the end of a building’s lifecycle. We advise on policy, project structuring, tendering, construction, financing and operating issues, together with preparation of all necessary project documentation. In addition, we also have substantial experience in all forms of dispute resolution relevant to the construction industry.
Another highly contentious area has involved advising on student conduct and the formulation of, and compliance with, policies ranging from social media use to the prevention of harassment. In addition we can advise on regulatory documents such as student charters and formulating academic rules and regulations. Our IP/IT specialists are also adept at handling data protection issues including requests for information. The team also provides legal training and policy guidance, tailored written advice and compliance documentation.
Our top rated employment team has extensive experience stretching over many years of advising maintained and independent schools and, more recently, academies. We advise employers on the full range of employment issues, with particular expertise in Restructuring, TUPE & Outsourcing, Trade Unions & Industrial Relations and Equal Pay, areas which we know are highly relevant to academies and free schools.
Rationalising service contracts is a common issue for clients, with many asking for help to implement changes to T&Cs, following acquisitions and mergers, TUPE transfers, or simply as a result of a general need to update benefit offerings, reduce costs or comply with legal changes. We have been involved in some major harmonisation programmes as well as smaller ones and advise on how change can be managed sensitively and with minimum risk.
The Government acknowledges the fact that there is a shortage of teachers in the UK in the maths and pure sciences fields and all teaching posts in the special needs sector are in shortage in the UK. We can assist schools and academies with recruiting teachers and students from overseas, by acquiring a Sponsorship Licence or acquiring a Certificate of Sponsorship to recruit migrant workers and foreign students.
Schools may also recruit for other subjects and posts but they would require the school to prove to the UK Border Agency, by advertising the vacancy, that there is no one else suitably qualified to fill the post.
Our technology team has extensive experience of advising on the protection, exploitation and enforcement of intellectual property and all IT law.
We regularly advise on IP issues arising on technology transfer, spin out companies, licensing, audits/strategies and infringement/enforcement. Given the importance of data management and protection today, we are increasing helping clients with Non-Disclosure Agreements and the protection of confidential information.
Outsourcing and procurement
We have considerable experience of all four EU procurement processes, working closely with clients at the start of the process to set the timetable, identify the agenda and ensure compliance.
In addition to large-scale, high value agreements, the commercial team advises on a wide range of day to day agreements for higher education clients, dealing with the procurement of goods and services, consultancy agreements, IT and technology agreements and Non-Disclosure Agreements. These agreements may be drafted from scratch or, quite commonly, we are required to provide a high level review of key issues at a fixed price.
Our real estate group has a lot of expertise in assisting schools and academies to support their growth and development. Our experience ranges from acquisitions and disposals and landlord and tenant work, to site assembly, property finance and development, option agreements, negotiation of overage and claw back as well as property management.
Our lawyers have also advise many education clients in relation to the establishment of their organisations, including drafting of detailed constitutions and governance documents which set out the way in which the organisation is managed. As part of this they have advised on regulatory requirements and reporting measures to ensure ongoing compliance with relevant monitoring organisations’ rules.
We recognise that safeguarding in an education environment often requires urgent action working together with a number of agencies. We are able to guide schools and academies on the legal issues that arise in this context and give practical advice on questions relating to their legal responsibilities.
We are able to advise on the responsibilities of schools and colleges under the regulatory framework of the Education Act 2002 and related legislation and guidance, including the evidential requirements in complying with statutory Safeguarding Guidance (revised April 2013).
We have advised a number of schools and colleges on related issues concerning staff discipline, involvement of police and other interested parties and have in depth expertise on whistleblowing matters.